A time and a place for gratitude

Thanksgiving. A time to reflect and be grateful. It should be easy in this land of plenty, right? Except this past year it hasn’t been all that easy. We tend not to be truly appreciative of things we take for granted, and we take a lot for granted, until someone tries to take them away and then we’re all, “Oh, hell no.”

It’s been an “Oh, hell no” kind of year.

. . . and then I wrote several hundred words about things that have transpired this past year to make it difficult to feel thankful . . . until I (gently) slapped myself upside the head and said to myself, “What the hell is wrong with you? No one wants to hear that.”

DELETE DELETE DELETE

So, instead, here are a few things that have succeeded in making me immensely grateful and appreciative in the past twelve months.

I have siblings. No matter how difficult certain losses and situations have been or inevitably will become, my sisters are there to share them. I am so grateful I’m not an only child.

I have writer friends. As much as I love and treasure my non-writer friends, there is a special camaraderie among writers, an understanding that doesn’t need to be explained about the struggles and triumphs of being a writer. I am immensely grateful to have found the community of smart and funny writers over in the comment section at agent Janet Reid’s blog. This is not the only place where my writer friends congregate, but it’s by far the most plentiful and diverse sampling, which has value all on its own. I appreciate that Janet tolerates our neurotic brand of crazy creativity even as she attempts to educate us about an agent’s perspective of publishing.

Speaking of that blog, Janet occasionally hosts flash fiction contests, which I occasionally enter. [WARNING: shameless self-promotion ahead] [someone has to do it] [apparently] The competition is FIERCE and I never expect to win or even be a finalist. It’s great practice, but this is not my forte. I mean, please, I can barely say hello in 100 words, let alone tell a complete story incorporating five ungainly prompt words. Except, this past weekend, my entry DID manage to be a finalist.

These were the prompt words, first names of the authors whose books were the prize:

Tony
Peter
Mick
Nick
Bill

This was my entry, exactly 100 words:

* * *

My brother’s joint was the kind they’d slip you a mickey sooner than start an honest fistfight.

The regulars played billiards in the back, the snick of balls an accent to rough voices. Couldn’t compete with the tony clubs on the north side, but the table felt was immaculate. Priorities.

Conversation petered out as I stepped up to the bar.

“We don’t serve cops.”

“Good thing I ain’t planning to order one.”

We traded hard stares, harder memories.

“Cut bait while you still can, Frank.”

He sneered.

Priorities.

Goddammit.

I held the door for the Feds on my way out.

* * *

These were Janet’s comments (she generously tells us what she liked about each finalist and/or why she chose it, which is remarkably educational):

“That first line is one of the best I’ve seen in a long time. The importance of a good first line can not be overstated. And the ending is sublime. This is a perfect story.”

SQUEEEE. And yet, even with it being a “perfect story,” someone else won. THAT’S how tough these contests are (if you want to see the other finalists and winner, they’re here). But I was just thrilled, to put it mildly. A few words of praise from someone with her experience go a very long way. And for that I am deeply thankful.

Let’s see, what else.

Oh, I know! Some of you might remember that last December my Bossy Older Sister gave me a birthday gift of a year of flowers, specifically orchids. I received the twelfth delivery yesterday and I think they’re the most beautiful of all. Of course, I’ve said that about each month’s delivery. This pic makes them look rather pink, but they’re actually a deep rich cranberry colour.

November 2017

Here’s a shot from above, the colour is a bit better:

I’m grateful for her generosity and creative gift-giving skills. I posted pics of a few of the early months’ orchids last spring but sort of got distracted and forgot to post the rest of them. So here they are, April through October (slideshow):

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Aren’t they gorgeous? What’s that, you say? One of the pics is not like the others? Well, imagine that.

IMAGINE THAT.

Yes, that is yet another thing for which I am grateful and thankful and OMG SO EXCITED ABOUT and very much looking forward to in the coming year.

What have you found to be thankful for in this “Oh, hell no” year?

 

11 Comments

Filed under health and well-being, holidays

11 responses to “A time and a place for gratitude

  1. Wow! Congratulations! I’ve read the comments on JRs blog, and this is a highly creative gang of people there. I think you’ve won if you’ve made it to the finals! Take that praise and put it in a folder for moments when you’re feeling unsure about your talent.
    I am grateful for kind friends who talk me off the ledge when I start thinking I should stop pretending to be a writer.
    I liked all the orchids, but I’m especially fond of the one with a tail. Not sure how you’d fit it into a vase, but it’s still beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks, Evelyn! Those comments made me so happy, I can’t even describe it. And yeah, I do have a folder of positive comments from people. Probably I should look at it more often.

    I think perhaps I’m being too subtle here, though, with my clues about the Really Important News. Has no one noticed the item my daughter propped up against her dog’s foot? Did no one notice the tag that says “yes that’s a sonogram”? Or the caption that reads “May 2018”?

    Like

  3. I was being discreet 😉
    It was introduced as subtext, so I thought discretion was called for.

    If not, WOO HOO! This calls for celebration 🙂

    Like

  4. No discretion needed, I just thought it was a fun puzzle. Too clever for my own good.

    Yes, we’re all very excited about this news (and finally allowed to share it). WOO HOO, indeed!!

    Like

  5. Squee! On both the contest and the pending family addition!

    I noticed the date on the photo, but I kept trying to make the image bigger so that I could see the smaller picture. Did not think to try to look at the image caption. Sneaky.

    Like

  6. Thanks, Theresa! Yeah, it IS a pretty small image. I wanted to post a pic of her baby bump, but she refused. Told me to stop being weird. :sigh:

    Like

  7. CMS

    Congratulations!!!!!!!

    Like

  8. Thank you, CMS! It’s an exciting time, that’s for sure.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. CMS

    You’re a talented and entertaining writer but it’s always satisfying to have expert validation.

    I loved the Orchid with a tail photo. Very exciting time. You’re not being weird, you’re excited. Sheesh

    Like

  10. KdotLdot

    Grandkids are absolutely the very best of best. Way more fun than kids ever were. This is super exciting. We are going to absolutely inundate the blog with grandbaby talk. I can’t wait.

    Like

  11. Exciting, and scary too! Not sure I’m ready for my baby to be having her own baby. Or that I’m ready to be a grandma! I guess I’ve got a few months to get used to the idea.

    Thanks again for all the congratulations. I’ll pass them on to my daughter and her husband.

    Like

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