We were in Tribeca on a crystal clear winter morning. I was in the middle of hustling Ella past the open doors of a parking garage, hoping to catch a cab and get us out of the biting wind. She was dragging her feet a bit, and I’d been fighting impatience. We had plans to meet a dear friend for brunch, but it was looking like we’d be late.
And then we turned a corner. Bright buttery light cut a swath of warmth across a little park in the island between two sides of the road. In that oasis, every metal bench, garbage bin, and fence post glinted and gleamed like gold.
I caught my breath and stopped us where we stood on the sidewalk.
“Ella, do you know what we need to say?”
“Fank you God for dis glorious day,” she recited with the patience of a long-suffering saint. She strained against my hold on her hand, anxious to get moving. “You always sayin’ dat.”
I laughed and told her, “That’s because I’m always thinking that. We have so much to be thankful for.”
It’s a nice story, isn’t it? But any parent of a willful toddler – or hell, any toddler – is calling BS right now. Because I am not always thankful, and even when I am feeling gratitude, I often forget to say it.
I started this blog a couple of years ago and called it The Junk Drawer, mostly for lack of better ideas, but partly also because I didn’t want to make it feel too important. This was somewhere to throw some stuff I didn’t know what to do with, like that spot in the kitchen where the discarded rubber bands and pens running out of ink land. I was finally, after years of spending my creative energy on writing for others in my professional life, turning back to the habit that kept me scribbling into the wee hours as a tween. And I was, if I’m being honest, pretty damn nervous about it.
It’s been about a thousand days since then and I’ve written and shared many thousands of words with what I have found to be an incredibly supportive network of readers. I’ve been feeling badly about how quiet it’s been in this little corner of the Internet, but the truth is that for most of the summer and fall, I could barely put a word down.
Some of this was because my attention was being entirely eaten up by really exciting changes for our family. A new baby on the way after such a long time waiting, a new house in a new town purchased on short notice, new routines for all of us with the change in location.
And some of this was because I took a pretty devastating professional blow. In August, three weeks after we moved and two weeks after my 18-week prenatal appointment, I got laid off. I still can’t really talk about that without getting riled up – which I’m guessing would be a bad idea to do in publicly available writing online, legally – but suffice it to say it was unexpected, it was very personal, and it was debilitating to my confidence for a while there.
I won’t say I’ve completely recovered from that shock, but I will say I’m sure not writing since then hasn’t actually helped. So, I want to take another little leap here, and I hope you’ll make it with me.
I’ve participated in November’s National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo, for those in the know) a few times in the past, and only once have I actually reached my word goal. This year I’m going to try something different. Instead of trying to churn out a harebrained novel in a month, I’m committing to posting here every single day.
Because it’s November and because we’re headed into what I hope will be a season of thankfulness, I’m going to use this space to push myself to focus on gratitude – on the days that feel glorious, but also on the days that don’t. It may not be polished, it may not be pretty, but it will be words on the page.
And, because I think it’s time I acknowledge that this writing thing is actually really important to me, I’m going to redesign this humble little blog and give it a new name and the attention it deserves. Look out for some changes soon, but in the meantime, here is a moment of thanks to get started:
Thank you, God, for this glorious day, and for your patience while I try to find the glorious in my new routines.