As many days as possible, I list at least one (sometimes up to six) distinct thing(s) for which I’m grateful. The list is archived monthly. Here’s October 2014.
I’m grateful that Ruby and Ellie liked their food so much that they didn’t switch bowls. Morning hours to devote to writing two pieces–one old and difficult, one new and easier. A worthwhile evening gathering and the hug that followed. The exquisite ending to Remember Me Like This by Bret Anthony Johnston. Some time reading three experimental short stories; perhaps someday I’ll get it.
I’m grateful for the need to write down an idea about the old and difficult story at 5:13am. That I fell back to sleep for another hour afterwards. A week of making progress on several projects.
I’m grateful for peanut butter and Instagram. Great art made available. Recorded music and radios. Crosswalks and legs and feet and shoes and brakes and breaks. Another full day of paying work with kind people.
I’m grateful for a super day and night with Andy.
I’m grateful to have spent a little time getting a jump on the week’s bookkeeping work.
I’m grateful for fingernail clippers.
I’m grateful for a delightful pre-class dinner with a dear writing friend. A surprise copy of NER from our teacher. To come home from class to find that Andy had put together our new bookshelf. The beauty of that: a partner who puts together a bookshelf for me while I’m out learning to write.
I’m grateful for a safe drive to the dealership for a couple safety recalls. That my car was repaired before the possible danger occurred. To have made it home safely in the piece of crap rental car. Kind notes from new friends.
I’m grateful for a morning walk. That I picked up my new and improved Jeep with relatively little hassle. That no problems were found with the vehicle. Lively spark plugs and new light bulbs. Friends who understand when I tell them I had a horrible time trying to write.
I’m grateful for my favorite burger from Stout: beef, brie, fig jam. The wonderful friend & colleague who introduced me to the place. That we had time for a lunch out. More new books: Best American Short Stories 2014, The O . Henry Prize Stories 2014. Stories. Coming home to Andy and the two super clean bathtubs he scoured.
I’m grateful for coffee and homemade honey cake with a dear friend and her daughter. Helping them make paper chains for the sukkah. Needing new rugs, only to drive to Cost Plus to see a big banner out front that said it was the special RUGS ON SALE weekend. Meeting Andy for a delightful lunch out.
I’m grateful for time to read peer stories for class.
I’m grateful for the will power to take the extra cupcakes to a client’s. That our writing teacher assigned Stuart Dybek’s “Chopin in Winter” with all its iterations of water and sound.
I’m grateful to have spent a morning writing before class. The time for pre-class dinners with a new friend, an amazing writer and source of support. Writing class.
I’m grateful for time to spontaneously write a cover letter to apply for another fellowship. That the man at the carwash quickly convinced me to get the Jeep semi-detailed.
I’m grateful for the flexibility in schedule of being able to work early from home before attempting to clean the entire apartment. All the prep-cleaing Andy did. The safe arrival of his parents. Gorgeous weather. An uber from a client’s to the gorgeous main dining room at Loews. Sitting next to Andy when he told his parents we’re getting married.
I’m grateful for solving an excel problem by finding a new-to-me formula which made my spreadsheet design more user-friendly. The sparkle of job satisfaction.
I’m grateful for a wonderful day and evening with Andy’s parents. A pleasant stroll along the Santa Monica Pier. That Skylight Gardens could fit us in even though Open Table botched our reservation. Knowing where to park to avoid the crowds. Being able to see the Los Angeles Ballet perform Swan Lake.
I’m grateful for a safe drive up PCH. The Pacific Ocean. Eyes. Brunch at Geoffrey’s. Those amazing rosemary rolls!
I’m grateful for a day to write.
I’m grateful to weigh myself and have the scale miraculously reflect a loss.
I’m grateful for a full day of writing.
I’m grateful for the Spring Arts Tower downtown and garlic fries at Cole’s.
I’m grateful for lunch at El Chollo with one of my favorite colleagues and her insightful encouragement regarding the weekend of writing ahead.
I’m grateful for a full day of moving the same fucking 200 words around on the same fucking page hour after fucking hour knowing that I still had two more days to write before the deadline.
I’m grateful that after several more hours of screen staring and paragraph toiling, when I told Andy I might as well quit writing forever, and that I was panicking about getting the story written, he was calm and quiet, and told me that I would not be quitting. Then, after the rescue pizza came, he read scenes by masters Herman Wouk and Richard Price aloud to me, to remind me why we try.
I’m grateful that when I sat down to write at 7am, the words began accumulating on the page. For being able to write all day without any interruptions. Being able to turn out the light and sleep at 10:45pm.
I’m grateful for dreams of the draft. That I was up at and working again by 4:30am. That by 2:30pm, I was ready to do one more read, get to the copy machine and arrive to a pre-class dinner with manuscripts in hand. I’m grateful that none of my clients had any emergencies during the writing sprint.
I’m grateful for the indescribable satisfaction of having the next draft of that story delivered.
I’m grateful for the overwhelming number of people who congratulated me and Andy on our engagement.
I’m grateful for the lingering happiness of having spent the early part of the week immersed in creative work. Being told I was glowing and knowing it came from meeting a long-standing writing goal. My velour goth dress. Another chance to wear it. Those hundreds of sweet trick-or-treaters in Culver City. The dear friend who invited me to spend the holiday with her and her fabulous people. Uber luck. Rain.