The Thanksgiving Deal: a Disjointed Post about Doing What I Love

It’s Thanksgiving Day and I woke up this morning and gave God a little shout out thanking him for all of my blessings. I try to do that most mornings—wake up with gratitude. But, it is much easier to practice thanksgiving when you wake up on your own time clock, when it’s quiet, when it’s a holiday, when you are sporting your most comfortable ugly pajamas, and when you have a 42 oz. bag of peanut M&Ms downstairs. Okay, the M&Ms aren’t really that critical to the thanks.

I started a post last night at 9:30PM and wrote until about 2:15AM with little pause. The first three paragraphs flowed out in about half an hour. The rest of the time, I typed then deleted, copied then pasted, then unpasted, then cut, then retyped words I had deleted, then stared, then drummed my fingers loudly and forcefully on the lap of my laptop. It wasn’t exactly a pleasant process, but I cannot complain. No. I am extremely grateful to be in a space and a position in which writer’s block and obsessive self-editing is an actual frustration. I am so terribly privileged.

So, last night, amid pages of jumbled thoughts and odd disjointed reflections, I wrote: Yes, it is Thanksgiving Eve and my thoughts, as Thanksgiving thoughts often are, have been centered on gratitude. I started writing about how thankful I am for the rolls that are baking in the oven and the flour that needs to be swept up from the floor. I started writing about my failed attempts at gratitude lists but also about my reverence for the little miracles unfolding in my life. I even started writing about the time that I accepted a ride from an unknown man in the middle of the night, in the middle of a city, in the middle of a foreign country. Alone. So, yeah, I started writing about how grateful I am to be alive right now.

Then I went on to try to tell a minimalistic version of the story of me getting in an SUV with a strange man in Guanajuato City, Mexico that ended with me thanking God that I wasn’t buried in a ditch somewhere. I am serious about this. But, the story didn’t work. Not now.

For inspiration, I tried to look at older holiday posts and at unfinished essays logged in the cloud or in my journals. I started writing about how I used to be jealous of musicians because they practiced an art that lent itself to collaboration and performance and I practiced an art that required isolation and provided delayed feedback. I mean, no one responds to my work with their happy feet and their wild hips. At least I don’t think they do…

So, then, I expounded upon how I no longer feel alone when I write. I wrote: I always imagine my audience. I imagine them scanning their eyeballs from left to right across the page or the screen. I do not imagine them smiling or laughing or weeping; I just see their faces. I was told that a good writer always composes for someone. Sometimes when I write, I might be picturing you. So, thank you for your beautiful face and your time.

And, now, I am back where I started. It is almost 10AM and a broccoli-cheese casserole is baking in the oven. It is quiet. There is coffee. I am doing what I love.

Last night, these are those first paragraphs that flowed so easily: About ten years ago, I was in a brilliant clergyman’s home. The small abode was absolutely littered with papers and books and odds and ends. Pencils and Bibles, journals and coffee mugs were piled on tables and chairs. Shoes were on the stairway waiting to be carried up to the second floor. Strips of fabric and canvasses billowed out of his wife’s art studio. I felt both alive and at ease. Here was a couple who had their priorities straight!

There are many times when I think that there is something that I “should” be doing other than writing. Generally, that means cleaning my apartment or catching up on paperwork. If I died tonight, my bed would be covered in laundry that needed to be put away and my own dining table would be cluttered with journals and pens and coffee mugs and unopened mail. There are items on my stairs that are patiently waiting to be carried up. I must remind myself to believe in my writing and to revel in my passion. I am that important. The laundry can wait.

This morning, there are Thanksgiving dishes in the sink. There is trash to be taken out. My hair is disheveled and I need to take a shower so I can get my ass to my sister’s and make the mashed potatoes. But, I needed to pause and string together some sentences and honor the time I spent on my words last night. Writing is a way that I love myself. And, loving one’s self is, I believe, a form of gratitude. And gratitude is the whole Thanksgiving deal.

So, yes, I am grateful for family and friends and space and words and keyboards and turkey and love. Ray LaMontagne is on the radio and I am so very grateful for his voice. I am thankful to be sitting in the warmth of my apartment in my ugly pajamas, sipping coffee, receiving happy day messages from friends, and using my voice. However disjointed or seemingly pointless. I am so, so, so very blessed!

Happy Thanksgiving!

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