That Thankful Time of Year

Nov. 24, 2013

I have a confession to make. I am a scatterbrain. Well, not always, but lately. Life has been so full of, well, life, that I forgot to plan for this scheduled blog post until yesterday. Eeks! Then came the panic. What should I write about? I posed the question to my hubby and thirteen-year-old son at a local sandwich shop. There was a volley of reflective and silly suggestions.

Hubby “Write about how writing is a lot like Kiddo’s experience with football. How insecurity and nervousness can make you focus yourself into being an invaluable player.”

 Kiddo “Trucks. Write about trucks.”

 Hubby “Or how the key to you nailing that first book is that you never gave up.”

 Kiddo “No, trucks. How the Ford F-250 is the best in Texas and EMLA.”

 Hubby  “???”

 Kiddo “Onions. No, peppers. I hate onions and peppers.  Write about onions and peppers. And trucks.”

What was the question again?

On second thought, maybe my scatterbrain-ness isn’t such a mystery after all. But, rather than discussions about trucks, onions, football, or more trucks, let’s talk gratitude, shall we? It is Thanksgiving week after all.

I have a great deal to be thankful for. 2013 has been good to my writing career: “The call” finally came for my first trade book; I finally broke into the educational market with two book deals; I have been welcomed into an agency full of remarkable new friends; I’m tackling revisions for an interested editor on a beloved project; And, there might be a bit of unrelated good news under wraps for the moment, too. That’s a bigger bucket of success than I could have imagined in years past.

I am grateful for every step forward. All writers inhabit that dusty sweat camp of words, where we rely on hope to fuel our stories. I always imagine the writer’s landscape as scenes from Louis Sachar’s HOLES, where Stanley and his unfortunate fellow “campers” are charged with digging for presumed treasure. That pretty much sums it up for us, doesn’t it? When one hole offers nothing but dust in our mouths and eyes, we move on to the next hole, er story, until we find IT. Until we are in the right place at the right time. Usually, we are arm-linked with fellow writers. In Stanley’s case, his lifeline actually was a truck. And onions. Hmm…there’s an odd coincidence.


This week, I am grateful indeed:

I am grateful for my family’s health and happiness.

I am grateful for the blessings of an imagination, and a sense of curiosity.

I am grateful for the authors and books and mentors that came before me. They are my teachers.

I am grateful for the time and means to chase a career that has no guarantees.

I am grateful for the piles of rejections, for they are my stepping stones.

I am grateful for friends and family who support my dreams.

I am even grateful for those who have doubted me, for their doubt fueled my determination.

I am grateful for my Austin SCBWI family, my EMLA family, and my critique partners.

I am grateful for an agent who encourages me and watches my back.

I am grateful for editors who are toughees on the outside, but softees on the inside, especially the ones who give me a chance.

I am grateful for readers who are willing to unplug and turn the pages. And librarians who are always our champions.

And pie

And turkey

And trucks.

And onions.

Turkey 10

Happy Thanksgiving to each of you. May your bellies be full, your spirits be high, and your opportunities be endless.

Now, please tell us what you are especially grateful for this year.


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16 responses to “That Thankful Time of Year

  1. Joshua McCune

    Happy TDay to you, DBB, but death to onions!!! Unless they’re green. Those are a’ight.


  2. I love onions, can take or leave trucks, but your grateful words stirred me, Donna. ‘Specially the part about using the doubters’ words to fuel determination. I do that a lot. After crying first.


  3. I like onions, but I hate peppers. And they contaminate everything they touch with their gross pepper flavor! Hot peppers are okay, though. And red pepper flakes. And that one song by Salt n’ Pepa.

    Great post, Donna! Cheers for all the awesome things in your list, even the rejection letters . . . maybe. 🙂


  4. Well done, my friend. I LOVE the analogy to HOLES, one of my fave books. You are one of my fave people and I am so thankful to know you in this life.


  5. ” Kiddo “No, trucks. How the Ford F-250 is the best in Texas and EMLA.””

    This line made me snort out loud with laughter. I think your kiddo is on to something!

    I also like that in your line about being grateful about soft editors, you spelled “softee” the way Mister Softee does. Which really should be the only way allowed. 🙂

    Happy Thanksgiving, Donna!


  6. Cynthia Levinson

    Wonderful post. I share your gratitude–and, not coincidentally, you are one of the many people I’m grateful to.



  7. You made me laugh, Donna! And then your grateful list made me teary…onions can do that!
    Thanks for an awesome post!


  8. megtyme

    Donna, I think that if I asked my son what to post, he would get pretty excited about trains. Trucks would also make the top 10. Yours is a beautiful gratitude list – thank you for sharing it!


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