So Much to be Thankful For

For the past several weeks, I’ve contemplated the best way to express my thanks to the people who made 2014 a banner year for me, personally and professionally. I thought a personalized, real card to each of my Writer at Large students might be a nice place to start. Then, I received a pretty interesting e-card (it felt more like “real mail” than other e-cards) from a family friend and considered going that route. In the end, I chose to take 4 days off with family and make sure I was present for that quality time. I didn’t carve out a few hours to write letters during, but I did reflect on the individuals who contribute to my well-being, my business, and my local community. I’d like to say a few words about those folks right here…

My Writer at Large students are spread across the U.S. (and 1 from Canada!) and come from all walks of life: a geologist, a dentist, a nurse, a new mother, a middle school teacher, a professor, a visual artist, a psychotherapist, a homesteader, a speech pathologist, a former POW, a former CIA member, an acupuncturist, a former hair stylist, a gardener, a science writer, mothers, fathers, widows, siblings, and spouses…Their experiences span more than my imagination can contain. Month after month they entrust me with their newest writings, crafted revisions, and creative aspirations. They send me fiction and nonfiction, short stories and novels, flash pieces and essays, memoirs and manuscripts-in-progress. Likewise, their creative interests are as varied as their professions: global warming, personal faith, the natural world, life after death, life at sea, life on a farm, intentional communities, loss of innocence (growing up), technological threats, political facades, culture shock, family dynamics, identity, and more. A number of them experienced publishing successes this year, above and beyond their monthly or weekly writing accomplishments. More about that right here. I also deepened my relationship with poet, teacher, and friend Holly Wren Spaulding this year, as we extended our ongoing conversation into the realm of colleagues, discussing our self-employed business models, aspirations, and best teaching practices.
To each of you: thank you for opening your hearts and minds to the good work of writing, and for enriching my life with your words.
Coming off the book tour (which leads to entirely additional list of people to thank, most especially Alaska writer and friend Rose Austin), I exhaled long and deep in the South Toe Valley, absolutely delighted to be home and get down to this business of “settling in.” A particularly smart, funny, energetic, and creative group of women has been a part of that coming home, and they deserve a shout out here. To Nicole, Alena, Stephanie, Whitney, Jess, and a few other ladies up to no good in the valley–I’m so glad you’re here. Your perspective and laughter fill me up each time we gather.
Last but certainly not least, my family (and newest family members–a delightful clan of in-laws!) and my Number One. This year we set things in motion to spend the rest of our lives together. Next year, we’ll make it public and official with our May wedding. Every day I am sung to, lovingly teased into laughter, cared for, supported, and appreciated. Thank you, sweet Brad, for more than words can say.

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