|November sunset 2017|
“Oh what marvels fill me with thanksgiving! The deep mahogany of a leaf once green. The feathered fronds of tiny icicles coating every twig and branch in a wintry landscape. The feel of goosebumps thawing after endured frozen temperatures. Both hands clamped around a hot mug of herbal tea. The aromatic whiff of mint under my nose. The stir of emotion from a child's cry for mommy...The milky luster of a single pearl. Rainbows reflecting off iridescence bubbles. Awe-struck silence evoked by any form of beauty..." --Richelle E. Goodrich, Slaying Dragons (GoodReads)
Writers have their own ingatherings that spur a sense of thanksgiving. Ann Lamott, for example, writes about her gratitude for good writing: "...for some of us, books are as important as anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid pieces of paper unfolds world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet you or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die. They are full of the things that you don't get in life...wonderful, lyrical language, for instance. And quality of attention: we may notice amazing details during the course of a day but we rarely let ourselves stop and really pay attention. An author makes you notice, makes you pay attention and this is a great gift. My gratitude for good writing is unbounded. I'm grateful for it the way I'm grateful for the ocean."
A commenter at a past BookRiot post, "10 Literary Quotes for Thanksgiving" (here) gave an interesting list of what he was grateful for as a reader, including:
...finishing a book just as the train pulls into the station
...seeing someone reading a favorite book in public
...a good beginning
...a better ending
...a mysterious, wistful inscription in a used book
...a bustling bookstore in full holiday swing
...acknowledgements that are honest, funny and humble
...picking up a classic you've been avoiding and loving it
Annie Neugebauer at WriterUnboxed addresses this issue in her article "Getting Back to Grateful" She writes, "If there's one universal truth about all types of writing and all types of writers, it's probably that this is hard. Writing is difficult...It's also wonderful." But when it's not wonderful, when it's more like "heavy sludge" as Ms. Neugebauer describes it, how do we get back to the feeling of wonderful? Her antidote: gratitude.
"You don't have to buy things or fix things or rearrange," she writes. "You don't have to take a hiatus. You don't have to go to switch genres or go back to school. You don't have to change a single thing you're doing; you only have to change the way you look at them. How? Gratitude." She continues by making the point that science supports the idea ("Gratitude changes your mindset, your sense of contentment, your mental and physical health."); that a 'gratitude depository' (she calls hers a Joy Jar) is a nifty tool; and concludes by listing the many things a writer has to be thankful for. It's a great read.
Finally, from A.A. Milne:
Beauty and marvels abound. Books and good words abound. Blessings around our Thanksgiving tables abound. May we give ourselves space to recognize them and, fashioned a bit like Piglet, enlarge our hearts to gather in more of a thing called gratitude. Happy Thanksgiving!