Sunday, November 29, 2015

Giving Thanks for Blood Banks and Balloon Malfunctions

I went on a little Twitter rant Thursday morning. It was a positive rant, which is unusual because rants are not usually positive - nor are tweets. It felt weird seeing my string of gratitude filter between people griping or giving half-hearted thanks for tiny things in their lives. Often I'm like that, because you get caught up in your own norms and anxieties. 

But if you have the privilege of internet access, something that would have passed for magic in any time before that of our grandparents, you can be thankful for more than toast. Sometimes it's useful to remember that. So here comes an obnoxious barrage of things I'm glad are real.

For instance, I'm thankful for the crossovers cosplay affords.

For polar bears that don't read warning signs.

And for float malfunctions.

I'm thankful for the compassion of God, the reason of the Enlightenment, and for laughing so hard that you fart. For Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Rice and barbecue chicken. Jersey knit sheets. Welcome to NightVale. The polio vaccine. Warm rain.

This post is a few days late due to exhaustion over Thanksgiving and some depression. I'm not thankful for having chemical depression - except I am. I'm thankful because it's made me more understanding of what other sufferers go through, more patient with them in my strong hours, and helped me represent them better in my fiction. I'm not thankful for all the hours it guzzles or weight it's helped me gain, but you can be unthankful at any point.

I'm most grateful for my family. That includes my mother and grandmother, but also Cassie Williams and Nat Sylva. Friends outnumber my biological relatives in my family, in that circle of people who care and will come running when things go wrong, and who are joyous when things go well. Of course this family isn't defined by blood. That's why I don't mind giving away so much blood to the Red Cross.

Of course I'm grateful to the people who donate and who collect blood for organizations like the Red Cross, who've helped save so many lives of strangers. Likewise I'm thankful to organizations like GiveWell that hold charities accountable and help financial donors find the orgs that do the most good - it's too easy for people to say everyone is corrupt and donate nothing in a world without accountability. I'm grateful to firefighters, Doctors Without Borders, to civilians and police who have reached out to people in their worst times and helped them off the ledge.

Nobody's pulled me off the ledge of building, and I haven't needed any blood. But most of better moments are the result of a bubbly gratitude for all the good things people for others, not for me. That stuff we like to brand as "humanity".
Speaking of Among Others, I'm grateful for the fiction of Jo Walton. For Stephen King, Guy Gavriel Kay, Gail Simone, Helene Wecker, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Kelly Link, Ted Chiang, Etgar Keret, Jorge Luis Borges, Alice Walker, G.K. Chesterton, Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett and Rumiko Takahashi (who are more alike than you'd think), Max Gladstone, Eudora Welty, Scott Lynch, Elizabeth Bear, Yangsze Choo, and... yeah. I'm pretty thankful this whole literature thing keeps going. It's why I've started that monthly Reading column.

Obviously I'm thankful to the zines that have published my work in 2015: The Sockdolager, Fireside Fiction, PodCastle, Daily Science Fiction, and the Charleston Anvil. Obviously they have impeccable taste. I've sold more pro-stories this year than ever before.

For that, how can I not be thankful to readers? Both betas, for folks who just wanted more of my stuff since the Bathroom Monologues. It's funny how Death of the Author exalts the reader when it's readers that prevent authors from dying.

Oh, oh  - and photos of Pluto. This year New Horizon brought cameras closer to the dwarf planet than humanity has ever gotten before. The pictures are stirring. Here is an unparalleled view of Pluto and its moon, Charon.

Your descendants may walk there one day. For what will they remember to give thanks?


  1. If you can't be grateful for the struggles you won't be grateful for the blessings.
    That balloon photo is just wrong. Funny, but wrong.
    And what an amazing photo of our non-planet.

  2. Just read this today, but what a great post!

    You know, I've tried to give blood before and it's never worked out, but it never occurred to me I could help with a blood drive without being a donor. I just checked and nothing in my area at the moment, but I will keep an eye out now! Thank you for the idea. :)

    I love the idea of a day set aside for being conscious of all the good things in our lives, but shouldn't that also be every day? I know it's hard, but I think that's part of living a good life: learning to notice all the beauty and awesomeness in our everyday lives. Why not be thankful for toast? It took the entire history of creation up until that moment for that toast to be on your table, so you should appreciate it. :)

    1. Well this post just became available today, so you did well! And thanks for looking up blood drives. Shelters, pantries, and soup kitchens can also sometimes a hand, or a donation of unused clothing. Though you strike me as someone who already gives that. :)

      It would be great if we always measured our struggles and anger with our gratitude, but things pile on, and people forget, or get ingrained in toxic patterns. It's the same reason I'm glad we have a holiday that reminds us to dress up, pretend, and watch scary movies. Though Halloween is my absolute favorite holiday.

  3. Big smiles. And nods of agreement.
    Here's to more laughter induced farting in the year(s) ahead. Love and laughter are wonderful foundations in my world.

  4. I saw a few of your tweets and the tweet about people complaining. Were they really? Like for real, people were griping that you were tweeting about being thankful for things? What is wrong with people??????

    PS: I am thankful to know you. I enjoy reading your posts and tweets.


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