For this Thanksgiving Day post, I thought I would consult some writers and editors I love and admire to ask them a simple yet profound question: What are you thankful for? Below are the answers I received. Have a great Turkey Day. Kiss your friends, hug your enemies, and read a book or two by some of these people.
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Photo of a male Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallapavo) by Alan Vernon
(Creative Commons attribution license from Flickr.com)
What am I thankful for? Well, mostly I'm grateful I'm not sick, and that I have enough food. Duh! But also, as a writer I'm deeply thankful to be surrounded by a bizarre assortment of unusual people who let me be myself. I rarely feel like I have to perform, and that's a really nice thing! — Laurel Snyder, Any Which Wall and The Myth of the Simple Machines
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Why is this so hard? I've become cynical, or I'm stuck in a cynical stage. I'm thankful for good poems and I'm thankful for Roberto Bolano's 2666. I'm thankful for those really good issues of The Believer and those times when I make the time to read them. I'm thankful, years later, for that Halle Berry spread in Esquire. I'm thankful for Eric Stanton (R.I.P.) and the movie Sherman's March. Also, The Deerhunter. I'm thankful for The Wire, Bored To Death, and The Daily Show, though I almost never watch television. I'm thankful for every man and woman that has ever had the chance to go to war and chosen not to. Which reminds me, I'm thankful for Human Smoke by Nicholson Baker. I'm thankful for all the hipsters keeping the dream of Generation X alive, for Michelle Tea, Eileen Myles (especially Chelsea Girls), for John Wesley Harding's optimism, and the comedy of Kyle Kinane. Most of all, I'm thankful for my friend Ben, a truly nice guy if ever there was one.
Wait wait wait. I'm also thankful for my friend Kay who claims not to be interested in the spotlight but is upset that I didn't acknowledge her in my book, though I didn't acknowledge anyone in my book. I mean, who wants to be acknowledged in a book like that? Also, I'm thankful for swine flu vaccine and hope it becomes available soon. — Stephen Elliott, The Adderall Diaries
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I'm really quite thankful for cobblers. This is the season for apple cobblers here in the northeast corner of the country, though a summer peach cobbler is no less divine. Where fresh cherries are available, a nice cherry cobbler can hit the spot. I love them all, the Betty, the Grunt, the Slump, the Buckle, and the Sonker.
Of course, I'm equally indebted to my cobbler, who has done wonderful and most rewarding work on my leather shoes. He keeps my welts, vamps, and quarters working in harmony. He performs something very close to animal husbandry on my oxfords, wingtips, derbies and bluchers, boots, loafers, and monkstraps, and he's always got a tip on the horses. — Ernest Hilbert, Sixty Sonnets
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Nothing trumps my wife & children: always the number one thanks & blessing. This year though, I give special thanks to everyone who read & supported Growing Up Dead. It's been a stunning, dizzying trip, the best of my 20 years of writing. All you Deadheads, music fans, and assorted kind readers all over the country: I give thanks for you. — Peter Conners, Growing Up Dead: The Hallucinated Confessions of a Teenage Deadhead
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I'm thankful that Robert Walser existed and that he wrote his weird books. (Is that too corny? It's true!) — Wayne Koestenbaum, Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon
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I am the youngest of three children, and in the spirit of fairness (and to avoid tiny holiday fistfights), my dad would schedule exactly when each kid would get their chance to make a wish on the holiday wishbone. The year I was in kindergarten was my year. Right before the holiday, my kindergarten teacher asked all of us kids to tell her what we were thankful for that Thanksgiving, so she could make a poster of it for Parents' Night. I proudly told her what I was thankful for. Although she was confused, I was adamant and so she wrote down exactly what I said. When my parents came in on Parents' Night, they were greeted with a giant poster with a list of all the kids and what they were thankful for. At the top it read:
Cristin A: I AM THANKFUL... that this is the year I get the bone.
In 2009, I am grateful that I have a mother who never stops finding this story funny, and never ceases to remind me of it every year. — Cristin O'Keefe Aptowicz, Everything Is Everything
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I'm grateful that the good Lord has allowed me to meet my financial obligations and family responsibilities while spending much of my time reading and writing poetry. That's been a great gift. I count myself one of the lucky ones. — David Lehman, A Fine Romance: Jewish Songwriters, American Songs
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I'm thankful for the bird outside my window (which is a bird but is also my heart & my friends & family & their hearts) & thankful for the leaf left on the tree (which is a leaf but is also the changing seasons & the whole wonderfull yeare) & the me that is sitting here seeing these things & saying these things, alive & alive & alive. — Nate Pritts, Honorary Astronaut
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Jessica Anthony is thankful for your pants. — Jessica Anthony, The Convalescent
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I'm thankful for cats and candy and Jesus and ribaldry. And for Nick Cave, and puns, and the golden age of radio, and the lives of the saints, and the lives of the sinners. Especially the lives of the sinners. And for George Fenneman's voice. And for Dorothy Parker's poems. And for Barack Obama. And for my job. And for anagrams. And for Jess, and Reb, and Paula, and Susana, and Cheryl, and Lisa, and Stacey and all, all, all my friends, living and dead. And for psychoanalysis. And for health. And for my red bicycle. And for dominos. And for every goddamn word there is. And for all the words, ever. — Jill Alexander Essbaum, Harlot
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This year I am most thankful for our health care workers, our nurses and doctors at hospitals everywhere. Last year — the day before Thanksgiving — my father-in-law suffered a heart attack that, without the prompt and attentive care of his physicians, he might not have survived. This April, a team of doctors and nurses delivered our baby boy with compassion and without complication. Thanks to these physicians' collective skill and dedication, this Thanksgiving my son won't be missing a granddad. — Andrew Womack, co-editor, The Morning News
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The larger community of Soft Skull-ness deputized me to participate in this process of helping us all get a wee bit closer to understanding what we and our world are all about. What a fuckin' privilege. Thanks for letting me help. — Richard Nash, former Soft Skull publisher and co-founder of Cursor
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I am grateful for gratitude. But in case somebody else already said that, I am also grateful for nanowrimo, which I'm known about for years, and finally decided to do this year. As a writer, every month is supposed to be nanowrimo, but I'm finding the "quantity over quality; just push through and put down some pages and worry about them later" method to be incredibly liberating. — Janice Erlbaum, Have You Found Her
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After ruling out pomegranates, pajamas, and the telephone as too twee, I decided upon: my husband (and Mad Men!) — Paula Bohince, Incident at the Edge of Bayonet Woods
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thankful: today i watched a show called "the universe," and — after i saw the tenth through the fourth biggest known cosmic explosions — i jogged with a dog named betsy in a hilly graveyard where she chased canada geese and ate their green black poop. then i got chocolate frozen custard with my dad, step-mom, and grandma. on the car ride home, betsy and i listened to a CD of richard brautigan reading his work, and it was all a very convincing argument against suicide. i am also grateful for cellular telephones and aly. — Robbie Q. Telfer, Spiking the Sucker Punch
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I am thankful for monotony — a break from the excitement.
I am thankful for tribute albums.
I am thankful for my motorcycle — may it continue to sputter along, despite my inability to afford rebuilding its carbs.
I am thankful for my new Cannondale bicycle.
I am thankful for words — and phrases.
I am thankful for Allen Ginsberg — may he rest in peace.
I am thankful for my shrink.
I am thankful for my pastor.
I am thankful for my wife, Becca — all the shit I've put her through.
I am thankful for baked yams.
I am thankful for my Parker 45 — may it never be without a fresh cartridge of blue ink.
I am thankful for old trees.
I am thankful for rain — the rolling, boiling kind.
I am thankful for my Vans.
I am thankful for all the Hollywood hipsters.
I am thankful not to be dead quite yet.
I am thankful for American Spirits.
I am thankful for Morrissey — whose sense of humor sometimes saves me.
I am thankful for second chances.
I am thankful for beauty of all sorts.
I am thankful for the honesty of my own pillow.
I am thankful for the amazing variety of hair products.
I am thankful for my daughters Natalie and Amelia — beautiful and clever.
I am thankful for my son Elijah — may he ever hit home runs.
I am thankful for sex.
I am thankful for sadness — to remind me.
I am thankful for the Cloud of Unknowing, too.
I am thankful for Jesus Christ.
I am thankful for my teachers — I don't know how they had the patience — or what they saw.
I am also thankful for my students, especially the weird ones.
I am thankful for Laguna Beach and all its hidden coves.
I am thankful for stars.
I am thankful for Bob Dylan, who still sees himself as a glorious mess.
I am thankful for hope.
May there be endless tomorrows for the people I love. — Aaron Belz