Today is Thanksgiving here in the US, a holiday one might describe as a celebration of plenty through ritualistic overconsumption. In that light I’d be sending the wrong message if I said that every day is Thanksgiving at my house.
Less cynically, Thanksgiving is an expression of gratitude through ceremonial indulgence, but okay, that’s not less-cynically enough, so I’m going to back all the way out of that and try an approach that doesn’t have quite so much stuffing in the mostly-metaphorical poultry carcass.
Here in our home we are aware, every day, of the blessings that you, our readers, patrons and friends, provide for us. We say “thank you” so much that we worry the meaning may have bled out of those words. We don’t want them to sound rote, but we can’t not keep saying them.
We just closed a Kickstarter which bears witness in a numerical way of the support for which we’re thankful. With every update to that project we expressed thanks, and every time we did so we had the aforementioned concern that maybe we were saying it too much, or incorrectly.
Those are risks we’ll take, because the alternative—not saying thank you at all—simply will not do.
Thank you! Yes, we DO think this every day, and we say it as often as occasion permits. Today we’ll be overeating and relaxing with extended family, and the only work I’ll do is this blog post, and it just now occurred to me that I cannot recall many instances in my previous career in which the public expression of sincere thanks was part of the job.
So thank you for putting me to work in a field where gratitude is a required part of the mind set. It feels good to be grateful, and better to say it.
Sandra and I have returned from the 2018 Writing Excuses Retreat. This was the sixth year the event has been held, and it was the fourth year it’s been held aboard a ship.
It was wonderful.
Sure, I got to see the ship’s medical bay¹, and I’m nine pounds heavier than I was two weeks ago, but it was totally worth it. I ruined comedy for all the students by showing them how the sausage is made, I saw a sunrise take shape across the Gulf of Mexico, and as an unexpected and delightful bonus I got back just in time to celebrate NASA’s 60th birthday on stage for an episode of Houston, We Have a Podcast.²
We’ll open registration for next year’s event sometime in the next three weeks, but you can pencil in some dates on your calendar now.
WXR19 runs from September 13th to the 25th of 2019, starting in Houston, and progressing to Galveston, then setting sail. I think it’s around $1,900 for nine days of writing, instruction, networking, and flash-mobbing one of the bars on Royal Caribbean’s Liberty of the Seas.
I’m already looking forward to it, but I’m also quite happy to be home. I’ve got comics to draw, and (at least) nine pounds to lose.
¹ Laryngitis. Very annoying, but at least I was done teaching by that point.
² Our episode will air in mid-October. I’ll link to it, because holy crap I was in the auditorium in NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston and they gave me a live mic.
I’m fifty years old.
I don’t want skull-shaped balloons¹, or a headstone-shaped cake. I just want to get my stuff done, and be surrounded by people who are happy. If the pattern holds true, my own happiness will follow pretty naturally on that, especially if the stuff I’m getting done is stuff that helps the people around me be happy, and happens to be fun to do.
It didn’t take the full fifty years for me to figure that out, but it did take longer than I wanted it to.
¹ Okay, skull-shaped balloons shaped liked actual skulls could be pretty nifty, but don’t bother with the grave-cake. Grey frosting is for yuck.
I had an epiphany several weeks ago, a vision of sorts in which I could see very clearly what kind of lighting I needed on my drawing table. This led (hah!) to an investigation of LED strips, which in turn yielded better lighting in my office.
And then I turned my attention to the replica BH-209i plasgun that Doc made for me. The hardest part was threading two-conductor wire through it.
I may upgrade it with a warmer¹ set of LEDs, or perhaps some colored ones², but for now it’s just fine. Doc, thanks again for the gift that I didn’t know I needed until it arrived!
¹ I used a double-wide strip of 5000k LEDs, giving an almost blue-white color (described as “cool white.”) . Warmer would be 3000k, like this roll I just started playing with.
² Color-changing LEDs would require threading a 5-conductor wire through the plasgun, rather than the simple two-conductor speaker wire I used for this. Cycling between yellow and red-orange would be nifty, but I think I’d have to design my own strand for that.