I can’t believe it’s Thanksgiving already! Where has the year gone? This year is a strange one for me. It’s not the first time I haven’t been able to spend Thanksgiving with my family. It’s not even the first time I’ve been in another state on Thanksgiving (in 2003, I spent Thanksgiving in a TGIFriday’s in Ohio, I think, with my castmates/crew in a children’s production of Babes in Toyland with which I was touring. No, it’s not my cast in the video, but I performed that same show – I played Widow Piper.). It is, however, the first Thanksgiving where my being apart from my family and close friends has an air of permanence about it. Like, This is how it’s going to be from now on. It’s strange. Not sad, just weird.
However, one of my new friends here in Los Angeles – the lovely Emily, along with her BF, Phillip – has invited me over for the big meal today, which I thought was really sweet. So, that’s where I’ll be enjoying my turkey.
I love Thanksgiving, because it always forces me to stop and acknowledge the things for which I’m grateful. It’s so easy to forget that such things exist, isn’t it? We spend a lot of time focusing on the bad things, but if we all sat down and thought about it, I’m sure we could each come up with at least 5 things for which we’re thankful. Here are mine:
1) MY BROTHER AND SISTER
I’m grateful for them particularly this year as they’ve supported me through my transition to the West Coast. First, I got the Are You Sure You Want To Do This? talks. Then I got the No, Really. You Have No Money talk. Then I got the Well, You’ve Made Up Your Mind, Haven’t You talks. Then the I’m Worried About You talks. Then, not a day went by when my sister didn’t make some reference to missing me, or me not leaving on Facebook (ie: Well, that’s what you get for leaving New York! Or, You’re leaving! Waaaaah!) Then, on the last day I saw my family before leaving for California, my brother slipped me a $100 bill as he said goodbye to me.
My mom has passed away, and my dad’s in a nursing home. I’ve gotten a lot of the “parental” support I need later in my life from my brother and sister. If I was going to be born to two people late in life, I’m lucky that a brother and a sister came before me. They’ve been like parents to me, and we’ve also become really good friends. I’m so grateful for that. Thank you, Kenny and Janette! I love you!
2) MY OLD FRIENDS
I have the best friends in the world. Yeah, I said it. I know you think your friends are better, but they’re not. ‘Cause mine are.
Seriously, though, I know amazing people. People I have been able to be completely vulnerable around, knowing they won’t think less of me. People who’ve saved my life in a very real sense by lending me money, cooking me meals, letting me sleep on couches, treating me to nights out, listening to my woes, and keeping me sane as I try to navigate this crazy artist life I’m trying to lead. People who call me on my bullshit.
As I left New York, I stepped away from 32 years of powerful relationships. As I arrived in L.A, I was able to make a little nest for myself in the home of an old friend who is one of the kindest people I know. I’m so lucky to have such quality people in my life. Thank you! I love you all so muc
3) MY NEW FRIENDS
As I’ve mentioned before, L.A. has been very welcoming. I’ve been invited to parties, and mixers, and dinner parties galore. I’ve been given rooms to sleep in, meals, and rides. Lots of rides. I’ve been treated with so much kindness – kindness that couldn’t be repaid, except with kindness – that I wonder where those stories of L.A. folks being excessively self-serving came from. Maybe I’ve just been really lucky. Whatever. I’ll take it. I know good people out here, and I’m looking forward to getting to know them even better. We’re already off to a wonderful start! Thank you, you lovely people!
4) MY WEBSITES
They let me write for them. They give me creative freedom. They listen to me when I make suggestions or have new ideas. They’re really, really nice to the people that write for them, giving them lots of little perks, or treating them to outings/events. But most importantly, they pay the people that write for them. Too often, we complain about the outlets that don’t pay their writers, but we don’t praise the ones that do. So, I’d like to give a shout-out to two of them. Thank you, ChinaShop Magazine and Tor.com! Thank you for being great employers edited and staffed by really great people. I’m a lucky duck to write for such fine folks.
Bob in Kenya. Those kids are all, "So...you've never seen the sun before?"
5) MY “JOB”/APPRENTICESHIP
As I’ve mentioned here before, I’ve become assistant to writer, Bob Harris, who is currently working on what’s shaping up to be an awesome book on microfinance and Kiva for Bloomsbury. I’m really grateful for this relationship, not just for the obvious reasons. I mean, yes, he’s a really cool, genuinely kind person with whom I hope I can become better friends. Yes, he can totally answer my career-type questions as I’m figuring all this writing crap out. But more important than that, he keeps me conscious of how I want to use my art to change the world. Just by watching him work, I remember that it is possible to use the talents I was born with to do for others and to leave the world better than I found it, and I’m inspired to continue thinking about ways to combine my love of writing with my love of humanity. That’s something that’s always been important to me. It’s nice to be able to work with someone to whom it’s also important and who’s a walking example of how to go about doing it. That’s the part I’m really grateful for. So, thanks Bob! As role models go, you’re not a bad one.
Wow. I just realized that I’m pretty much thankful for one big thing – the people in my life. This was just 5 different categories of people, wasn’t it? But do you see how lucky I am? I have so many amazing people to be thankful for, they can be organized into categories.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! I hope your holiday is filled with wonderful people, amazing food, and plenty of time to sit around with your pants unbuttoned afterwards. I, for one, will be watching the Lady Gaga Thanksgiving special later tonight. Because I’m also thankful for crazy performance artists who write catchy pop tunes.