September 13, 2010

Gratitude

What I’m Reading Today: Catching up on some blog reading.

One of those great things happened to me this weekend. It happens periodically, and when it does it makes my whole week. I friended on Facebook a writer whose work I admire. I always send a note when I friend (just as I always send a note when someone friends me). But then it started a wonderful email exchange where I got to know him and he got to know me. So so cool.

(Thanks, Guy!  Guy writes the best book reviews on his blog Guy's Library.  Check it out.  He also writes for Bookslut.)

It reminded me of the many many people I owe so much to. There are many people whom I owe my wonderful life as it is: my husband, my kids, my parents, my family, my inlaws, my long-time friends. Without them, I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I’m very happy.

But, in addition to these very fundamental relationships, there are innumerable others who have helped me in so many ways small and large.

I think of a man who led a session at the very first very small writing conference I went to. He wrote (writes?) westerns and taught at a central Colorado college. For the life of me, I cannot remember his name (something Brown?). But he led such a great session, and weeks after it was over, I sent him the first couple of chapters of my first novel. The encouragement he gave me on what was surely awful material made all the difference.

A new professor and creative writer at the university where I work took the time to read my complete first manuscript when it was done. He gave me such great feedback and I owe him so much (thanks, Caskey!). And then I did that horrible thing where I offered to give him feedback but I was so so nervous about it that I never got myself to do it. For that, I apologize profusely! So so sorry!

I’ve talked here about Alyson Hagy’s wonderful support in my first writing workshop.

Oh! And the kindergarten teacher who taught me the alphabet with large blow-up monster letters (Mrs. ?), the grade school teacher who taught me to read (Miss Jones), the grade school teachers’ aid whom I trailed around every recess and who listened (Miss ?), the middle school teacher who impressed upon me that “a lot” is two words (Mrs. Workman), the middle school teacher who encouraged my reading (Mrs. Dixon), the high school teacher who accepted a short story in lieu of an essay (Mrs. Crosby), and the high school teacher passionate about the sciences who took us on field trips to collect minnows (Mr. Dixon). (Mr. and Mrs. Dixon are married, and their daughter Elizabeth, whom I idol-worshipped, was a year ahead of me.)

Four of my writer friends also read that draft through completely and gave me feedback. So cool! I don’t know if they realize how appreciative I am!

And then there’s all the people I’ve met at conferences and online that are just so great. They’ve all encouraged me in ways they probably don’t even know.

A HUGE THANK YOU TO YOU ALL!

It really does take a village, and not just to raise a child. It takes support to pursue a creative endeavor and to succeed at anything, much less just make it through day-to-day life. The self-made man is a myth; he had a lot of help along the way.

Questions of the Day: Whom are you thankful for? Are there people out there who made a huge impact on your life and they probably aren’t even aware of it?

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