In this time of Thanksgiving in the United States, I have so much to be thankful for. My childhood set me up for success—parents who loved me and taught me to be curious, to read, to push myself.
I give thanks that my parents made decisions to prepare my siblings and me for success, from the first book my mom read to me to the house they chose, focusing on a great school system and a reasonably placed industrial building for his welding business. Then there was the library—six houses away, around the corner. When my mom trusted me to solo trips, I became a library fanatic. I checked out my maximum number of books (probably five), raced home to the shade of the tulip tree or mountain ash, devoured the books, raced back to the library, and checked them in so I could pick up round two for the day.
One day a librarian told me I didn’t need to check out my books. She never imagined I took them out and brought them back that fast; and as a kid, I didn’t know better. So my next round of books, I grabbed my five, trotted out the door, and set off the alarm.
I probably cried at being scolded, but eventually they understood the confusion. I think that was the same day my book limit was increased to more than I could possibly read in one day.
I’m thankful that I’m working hard at the day job I love, along with my after-hours “job” in creative writing. Every day, I’m chasing my dreams, and everything I am today goes back to that fateful third day of the third quarter of my freshman year at OSU, when my sister came home to me “watching” the TV. Which wasn’t turned on. She helped me dial the phone to call my parents. I wanted to change majors to English, which meant giving up my full-ride scholarship and my guaranteed job by an energy corporation upon graduation.
I’m thankful, when I cried about not knowing how I’d make money with an English major, they didn’t try to talk me into sticking with the well-paying major (summer internships, that would vanish with the scholarship, too). What did Dad say? “Do what you love, and the money will come.” Enter my research skills: who knew Columbus, Ohio, was an awesome publishing town, with two major educational publishers? And that OSU was home to the American Political Silence Review, under the management of Professor Pat Patterson and chief editor Jean Kelly, where I took on a part-time job my junior and senior years as an editorial assistant.
I’m thankful for every job I’ve had since then, educational publishers and technology firms, until the job I have today as a business analyst.
I’m thankful that my parents, my sister, have always supported me. My sister, Patti, is the big sis who breaks ground to make my tasks easier. She cheers me on. She shows me all the things a woman can accomplish if she puts her mind to it. Where I excel at words, she excels at artistry. Stained glass, cross stitch, quilting, and now her dream venture, long-arming.
I’m thankful for my health, and excellent caregivers who keep me moving. Thank you, Licensed Massage Therapist Christine Graham; Physical Therapist Vijay Nadkarni; and Doctors of Chiropractic Alicia Booher and Doug Black.
I’m thankful my friends at the Westerville Bicycle Club encourage me to find time to ride my bike now and again. I had to downsize my 3,000-mile years for 300-700-mile years to free time for my writing.
I’m thankful to generous writers who mentor me. I shouldn’t name anyone from North Columbus Fantasy and Sci-Fi, for I’d surely leave names out. They’ve critiqued every chapter of my novel, River Daughter. A group of online writer friends were instrumental in helping me find my short-story chops. With their help, I went from not even making it out of round 1 in my first NYC Midnight Short Story Challenge in 2015 to taking 2nd in my first-round heat and 1st in my second-round heat, placing me in the top 40 in 2016 out of more than 2,100 people (and I’m proud of my online friend Sarah for winning! And Corrie and Maria for placing). As a whole, my online friends beta read for me, they crit pieces, they bounce ideas, they cheer, they console. These two writing groups are my “tribe.” Writing is solo, lonely, and hard, for all that I love writing. They bring the community back into the writing, so my in-the-head time doesn’t kick my introvert into hermit.
What are you most thankful for? Tell me your story.