Friday, November 16, 2012

November theme: Thanksgiving for Writers (Stephanie Burgis)

Earlier this week, I spent some time explaining the concept of Thanksgiving to my son. We live in Wales, not America, but since he has dual US/UK citizenship (as do I), I really want to keep him in touch with the American holidays that are still important to me as well as the ones that he celebrates with his classmates.

Of course, since I'm vegetarian, my husband's vegan, and none of us watch football, some people wouldn't recognize my version of Thanksgiving at all! But it was always my favorite holiday when I was younger, because it's a holiday all about gathering family together with no commercial motives - it's just about taking a moment to appreciate each other and really be thankful for everything we have.

After I explained this to my son, we spent some time talking about what we're thankful for...

...and then I started thinking about how important the concept of Thanksgiving really is to me - and how desperately I need it, as a writer.

Being a writer means having a set of goalposts that are constantly changing. First, all you want is to finish something, and be happy with what you've written. Then you want to get published. Then you want to get a good deal. Then it's time to worry about sales numbers, popularity, future deals...

...And if you aren't careful, it's way too easy to forget all the good things that happened along the way.

This year on Thanksgiving, I won't be having a big feast with family and friends, because it's a school day (and school night) here in Wales, and all of MrD's cousins are out of town, while my parents and brothers are all far away in America. I'll be celebrating Thanksgiving with my husband and my son and our dog, though, taking a moment to be truly thankful for my family (all of it, including the relatives spread around the world), my friends...and, yes, everything that's happened with my writing, too.

Maybe it's normal to focus on what's coming next, on what we're hoping to someday achieve...but it's great to have at least one day a year that's all about stopping and just appreciating where we already are.

6 comments:

  1. Thanksgiving isn't really about football or turkey, although the feast is a nice way to celebrate our gratitude for having enough to eat. I agree with you, and I've always loved Thanksgiving because it is about just that: taking a day to appreciate our gifts (spiritual and material).

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    1. Absolutely! (And I do love a real Thanksgiving feast - the whole family gathered with lots of really lovely food - whenever possible. There's a real feeling of plenty and comfort to that kind of gathering!)

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  2. I love this, Steph--sometimes, you need to get your eye off a goal and put it on the already-achieved...

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    1. Absolutely! And it can feel so hard to shift focus that way...but it's SO important to do it at least from time to time.

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  3. Well said, Steph! Sometimes, I get so busy trying to get around the next corner I forget to take a minute and look back at the wonderful road behind me and be grateful for how far I've come. Happy Thanksgiving!

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