As I write this, I'm sitting at my desk watching a cold rain trickle off the roof, soaking our dormant lawn. Joe is asleep in his usual place and, aside from the house making house noises, the place is quiet. It's a good life, and I'm grateful for it.
I'm grateful for my wife and daughter. My wife is a marvel, a daily source of inspiration for me and Lyla. Her work as a guidance counselor at an inner-city high school is emotionally challenging, and yet she returns to her family at the end of every day with patience and kindness. I don't know another person whose life is as greatly oriented toward the service of others. I'm grateful for my daughter, who attacks every day with energy and enthusiasm. Most days, when I go in to help her out of her crib, I find her jumping up and down with enthusiasm. She's a fun-loving and sensitive child, and I adore being in her company.
I'm grateful for my family--for parents who sacrificed to give me and my sisters a chance to make our way in the world. I'm grateful that they took us outdoors most weekends and spent time with us as a family, and that they were my first paying writing gig. I'm thankful that there were books everywhere in our home, and that they let us stay outside until it got dark. I'm grateful for sisters who love their brother without condition, and whose intelligence and humor make it such a treat to be together.
I'm grateful for a wonderful network of friends, from colleagues and administrators at the college to the dozens of folks who have touched my life in Oregon, and who patiently deal with my musings by telephone since I can't bug them in person. I'm grateful for the advice they've given and the love they've shown us over the years.
I'm grateful for the consistently stellar creative output of writers like Joe Lansdale, Nick Mamatas, Aaron Polson, Jeff Ford, John Connolly, Kij Johnson, Gemma Files, Jeff VanderMeer, Cat Valente and dozens of others. I love that I'm reminded on a daily basis that the law of diminishing marginal returns doesn't apply to quality fiction. One can delight the world with narrative, it seems, in perpetuity...
I'm grateful for the oases of good humor and insightful commentary that I've been able to find on the Internet. It's really not all anger and bombast and spite out there. Really, it's not. Try the web journals of folks like Karen Schindler, VanderMeer, and Polson if you want evidence. There you'll find people helping each other, people encouraging one another, people building viable communities.
I'm grateful for oysters and cold beer and grilled steaks. I'm grateful for Modern Family and good westerns and new Bruce Hornsby cuts.
I'm grateful that I still have the health to play a solid '3' in pickup hoops and that I can run a couple of miles without needing a cortisone shot. I'm grateful that there's food in the pantry and the lights always seem to work and my daughter doesn't have to worry about the nights that dip below freezing around here.
I encounter a lot of negativity out there--both online and in print--and it gets to me sometimes. Writing occasional posts like these helps me stay focused. I'm an optimist. Even when saturated with negativity, I don't want to lose sight of that.
Sure, it's raining right now, but it's supposed to dry out in a few hours. Rain or shine, I'm heading out for a round of golf at Mill Cove later in the day. That's what raincoats are for, after all...