It's the day before the night before Christmas (and I'm busy, busy, busy being good... -- Does anyone else remember that song from the 70's?) Well, I'm trying to be good, but if being good includes not eating a chocolate orange for breakfast, then I'm out.
But as Christmas comes into our town with a splash (yes, it's pouring here) I have a lot to be thankful for.
1) Friends and family - Okay, I always say this, but here's the thing, you might be the friend I'm referring to or who has made my day and has no idea.
You could be one of the incredible women in my poetry group or a friend or family member who supported me. You might be the anonymous stranger who sent me a kind note. You may have just commented on a blog post. You might have just posted a note on my facebook wall, commented on my status or just "liked" it. Or maybe you mailed me a card recently. We may have never even met in person and yet, you've done something to enhance my life. Thank you.
As I move forward in 2011, I think one thing I will be trying to focus on is how I can make a positive difference in someone else's life.
2) White Pine Press and 2 people with the name Dennis. - Last year around this time, I learned my book won the White Pine Press book prize judged by Carl Dennis. Dennis Maloney called to tell me I'd won. I was overjoyed. Though on the phone I leaned more toward speechless, I couldn't even explain my excitement and/or gratitude.
But here's the funny thing (and something to think about if you submit to poetry book prizes), had I known Carl Dennis was judging, I probably wouldn't have submitted. I would have thought-- Why would a Pulitzer Prize winner who is male and born 30 years before me like my work?
So maybe it's some good advice to the poets who are submitting their work-- submit to the presses you want to be published by, not to the judges you think will choose your poems as sometimes our guesses on who will like or dislike our work are incredible wrong.
3) Books, indie booksellers, small presses, authors, writers, poets artists, literary journals, readers, libraries, librarians, bookstores, used bookstores, online journals, blogs, literary communities, festivals and conferences--
Yes, this is a long (and incomplete) list, but if I were to look at the things that really feed my spirit, they usually are connected to one or more things in the above list.
I do not think I would feel as good if these things or people did not exist in the world. For me, writing is a way where I feel connected to something larger than I am. Sometimes it offers me wonderful synchronicity I couldn't have planned for. Sometimes, I feeling that there is a reason for things.
When there is chaos in the world, there is the simplicity of words, one after another.
4) ___________________: I'm leaving this spot blank a way to say, I cannot speak my heart. As much as I'm a writer, a poet, and I'm supposed to be good at these kind of things, words sometimes cannot show what I carry inside me and inside you that is hard to write out in words.
Even explaining it, I've had to use the word "heart" (a so-called no-no in poetry), but how do I share something when I'm not sure how to write it?
I guess for me it was like watching the Nutcracker last night, I tried to take a photo of the Waltz of the Snowflakes because it was beautiful and there was fake snow falling. I wanted you to see it, to put it on my blog. But my camera couldn't capture it. The snow magic disappeared into the background, it couldn't capture the moment and what I was feeling, what I wanted to share.
So I guess if I had to choose a word to name it, I'd choose compassion.
I am thankful for all the compassion in the world and the kindness we carry inside us. For every small act done to help a fellow human, friend or stranger, for that peace that is so deep in us that sometimes we forget to hear its voice (or maybe like Horton Hears a Who, we don't always hear it until we listen hard).
It's the "I Believe" part of us that knows there's more to this life, more to us, more to the connections in the world. There is more than a photograph of snowflakes, more than a blog, a word, but the moment we look around and realize we are all in this together. That is what I am thankful for, that and so much more.