Guilty or Grateful?

From East of Eden by John Steinbeck:

The dry earth was ticking under the sun and the crickets rasped. “It’s real godforsaken country,” said Louis.

“Makes me feel mean,” said Adam.

“How’s that?”

“Well, I’m fixed so I don’t have to live on a place like this.”

“Me too, and I don’t feel mean. I’m just goddamn glad.”

 

Sometimes I feel guilty because I don’t have to live in the parts of the world where daily survival is a struggle. Guilt turns a person mean.

The accident of my birth in a prosperous, Western country can’t be changed. Instead I try to feel glad or grateful. Here are some of the things that made me grateful in 2015:

  • The Greater Victoria Public Library. Its seemingly inexhaustible resources of books, periodicals, movies, and music enrich my life.

  • HarperCollins Australia who contracted my novel Outback Promise and continue to help spread the word about it.

  • Great Plains Teen Fiction who continue to distribute my novel Lockdown.

  • All the wonderful people who read and / or bought my books.

  • The writing community at large who nudged me forward to helped me improve my writing.

  • The writers and readers whose well-timed encouragement kept me going. You know who you are.

  • My family and friends who continue to support of my writing caper and so much more.

  • My amazing husband whose capacity for joy and optimism encourages me every day.

I try to remember these simpler gifts also:

  • Life in a polite, orderly society where acts of terrorism or gun violence are minimal.

  • The miracles of computers and word processing that allow me to write with relative ease.

  • Having good quality food available within an easy walk of my front door.

  • The gift of electricity that fills my house with light and warmth.

  • Fresh water, hot or cold, that is delivered when I want it, with the twist of a tap.

Amy Morin tells us that gratitude has health benefits too. It seems intuitive. I know I feel better when guilt in my life is minimized.

How do you keep gratitude alive and guilt at bay? Are you feeling glad today or just a little bit mean?

 Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Rose in Winter in Tuscany by Waugsberg

Are you giving thanks?

Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues it’s the parent of all the others – Marcus Tillius Cicero. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day in Canada and I want to list some of the things I’m grateful for, in my writing life:

  • For all my writing friends who share their wealth of knowledge, read what I write in its unpolished form, offer encouragement and hold my feet to the fire when it’s necessary.

  • For all the people who have pre-ordered a copy of Outback Promise for delivery on November 1st.

  • The people who bought and read my book Lockdown. Double gratitude to those who logged into Amazon and / or Goodreads and left a favourable review.

  • For the publishers, Great Plains Teen Fiction, who took a chance on me and published Lockdown. Thank you to the entire team and Anita Daher in particular.

  • HarperCollins Australia contracted Outback Promise for release as in e-book. Thank you Rochelle Fernandez for seeing the potential. Thank you Dianne Blacklock for the edits that helped realize it. And artist Michelle Payne for delivering a gorgeous cover.

  • Friends and family who believe enough in me to encourage me on this road.  

My love of writing started, like most writers, with a love of reading. Long before I dreamed of writing a novel, I had these gifts:

  • I learned to read early and had access to a good public library.

  • Every Christmas until I was eighteen I received a gift from great aunt in England, whom I never met. But hardcover books, wrapped in thin brown paper with my name on them, arrived every December. There were few books in our home and I treasured these ones that were mine and mine alone.

  • Having an English teacher in grades 9 and 10 (RIP Peter Seale) who improved my appreciation for the beauty of language and literature.

John Milton said gratitude bestows reverence…changing forever how we experience life and the world. Do you believe that? What are you thankful for now and in the past? Who or what helps you on your chosen path?

 

Photo from Wikimedia Commons: Fall Colours in Canada by Vlad Livinov from Toronto