Paula’s Post #119
So, dear readers, here we are, almost halfway through our second ‘write-a-novel-in-five-months’ challenge.
By my count (and admittedly, I’m not that great at math, so please feel free to contradict me), our challenge encompasses a span of a mere 132 days. Admittedly, a whole lot more generous than the mere 30 allotted to those insane enough to partake in NaNoWriMo.
Counting on my fingers, I’ve pegged this coming Monday, November 30th as the official halfway marker, the 66th day of our challenge. Just a reminder, dear colleagues.
But that’s not the focus of my post today. After the events of the past week, and in keeping with the holiday, I have a very simple post I’d like to share. My own, personal, list of why this 5writer loves Thanksgiving.
- Thanksgiving is one of my favourite holidays. It is mostly about eating, drinking and giving thanks, three things I heartily approve of doing.
- Thanksgiving is celebrated in both the US and Canada. If you noted my spelling of the word favourite, you might have been tipped off to my official status. Yes, I’m a dualie – a citizen of both great nations. Thus, I actually get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice: once, in a very Canadian fashion on the second Monday in October; the second, in equally patriotic American fashion, on the 4th Thursday in November.
- Thanksgiving is inclusive. While the other major ‘feast’ holidays of Christmas and Easter are, by their very raison d’etre, originally intended as holidays exclusively for those of the Christian faith (okay perhaps in a smaller subset, maybe Pagans too), and while only those of the Jewish faith celebrate Hanukkah and only those of the Muslim faith the end of Ramadan, those of all faiths can and are encouraged to ‘give thanks’ at Thanksgiving.
- Thanksgiving provides great fodder for writers. Let’s face it, Thanksgiving put the “D” in dysfunctional, when it comes to family gatherings. I don’t know why, but something in our uniquely western perspective on ‘family’ seems to have us all thinking that only our own families are dysfunctional. Everyone else’s family, we assume, is perfect. At least that’s the delusion we labour under. Then along rolls Thanksgiving and – voila – we see the world as it really is and Thanksgiving dinner becomes a Petrie dish for incubating new and disturbing characters for our novels.
- Thanksgiving allows for innovative new traditions. While most Americans will still sit down to a feast of turkey and pie this Thanksgiving, the unique gathering of ‘the clan’ also allows for many new and innovative ways to celebrate the holidays. Here in my ‘snowbird’ home in Southern California, at my house, we’ll likely be starting with a little tennis to burn off some calories before the feasting begins. Others may sign up for 5k Turkey Trots, or simply indulge in a feast of football. And while I may not personally approve, there is no doubt that Thanksgiving now, for many, marks the start of the ‘feast of shopping’. Just not for me. Let’s leave Thanksgiving for feasting and families.
- Thanksgiving is not about buying. In a consumer economy driven by shopping, at least the wizards of Madison Avenue have kept to the fiction that all that shopping that’s starting to occur right after Thanksgiving is for the next big holiday, Christmas. That may be a fiction, I realize. Those lining up on Thanksgiving Day to get a jump on Black Friday specials may, indeed, be just selfishly trying to grab something all for themselves. But in this regard, I’m going to be an ostrich and pretend that behaviour is attributable to that ‘other holiday’.
- People, generally, are at least a little introspective on Thanksgiving. This year, perhaps more so than on days of Thanksgiving past. While it has become ‘trendy’ to keep ‘gratitude diaries’ these days, Thanksgiving was the original ‘things I am Thankful for’ holiday. This year, in a year where we confront very grim news on the worldwide stage, be Thankful if you and your family are enjoying this holiday with peace and plenty.
- Thanksgiving is a time for friendship. While you can’t pick your family (thankfully, I happen to love mine), you can pick your friends. And one of the glorious traditions of Thanksgiving that we try to observe every year is to open our family table to those who are away from their own family, at this special time of year. I bet you do too. What special friends have you invited for Thanksgiving? (I hope you at least picked someone who will provide some interesting inspiration for your latest novel).
- Thanksgiving is for pets. Let’s face it, who doesn’t take joy in watching their puppy hoover back a little turkey?
- Thanksgiving is for stories. Since I retired from the prosecution service, I don’t work a regular work schedule anymore. Now, I’m just as likely to work on weekends as on a weekday. But Thanksgiving, at least for me, does not involve ‘work’, and for that I am thankful. That also means that once the last slice of pie is eaten and dishes are loaded in the dishwasher, it is time for stories: movies, bingeflicks and yes, thankfully, good old books, delivered by kindle or otherwise. What are you looking forward to reading this Thanksgiving?
Well, that’s my top 10. Let me know what you love about this very inclusive holiday, too.
But now for the update. I’ve missed a few blog posts. Work has kept me busy the last few weeks, but I have managed a few days to painstakingly grow my word count on the 5writer/5months novel project. So, here’s the update:
Pies eaten this week: As of today? None. But that’s just so I can over-indulge, like the rest of you, this coming Thursday.
Hours of tennis played this week: 12
Rounds of golf played this week: 1
Number of Bighorn Sheep spotted: about 20, they weren’t moving that fast, but I was so enthralled at how close I was to them, I forgot to count.
Word Count: 42,220
Page Count: 223
Reason I’m not celebrating: I’m still revising my ‘old’, unfinished manuscript. When I run out of words to revise… the really hard part begins.
Movies Seen this Week: 1 – the absolutely excellent Bridge of Spies starring Tom Hanks. I hope he wins an Academy Award.
Goal for the next week: Find a great new book to capture my attention and divert me from the evil that is Netflix.
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone. Please remember that this is a holiday of ‘inclusion’.