This blog post is the epitome of cliches, except that I never do it. Oh, I toss out a little Thanksgiving sentiment now and again, but I'm usually too busy cooking food and navigating the politics of dinner with my in-laws to have the time to actually give thanks.
So, now I find myself with a small pocket of time, and I've been thinking lately about these things in some detail. Sounds like a perfect time to blog what I'm thankful for, here in 2011. Here we go in no particular order:
1. I'm thankful for the city of Vernon, Texas. You didn't have to take to us like you did, but you did, and I thank you. Wait, did I just riff on a ZZ Top lyric?
2. All of my friends, both near and far, who keep me engaged, thinking, and motivated. Some days, you are all that keeps me on an even keel.
3. Facebook and Twitter. See above. I love the strange conversations that break out, the crystallized thought that borders on poetry, and the instant access to so many of your lives. It takes some of the sting out of being so far away from you all.
4. John Lucas, Weldon Adams, and Toby Heidel. Three guys who could not be more different, and yet, we share a brain in some of the most important ways. I love you guys, my brothers-in-arms.
5. Clockwork Storybook: Thank you, Bill Willingham, for resurrecting and expanding our writer's group into this most brilliant think-tank that inspires and challenges in equal parts. Our annual retreat is a high point in my calendar year.
6. My family, both near and extended, has always been a place where I can go be myself. We are a close-knit bunch of oddballs and lunatics, but from that nucleus sprang some amazing, talented, brilliant smart asses. I am grateful for growing up in that environment.
7. All my nieces and nephews, feral and otherwise. I do so love being "Uncle Monkey," and the best thing of all is that they like the same stuff that I like, whether it's mythology and superheroes or Scooby Doo cartoons and magic. It's never boring when we get together.
8. Over the years a number of people have plugged into what I write, whether it's comics, or Robert E. Howard studies, or my prose fiction, and have made the effort to buy my work when they see it. To all of the fans of my writing, thank you so very much.
9. I'm thankful that VCRP is getting back together.
10. Thanks also to Dark Horse Comics and Ape Entertainment for publishing my work. I appreciate the vote of confidence!
11. I'm thankful for my creative voice. Just because it's always come easily to me doesn't mean it's easy. It's a lot of work. And some folks don't have that ability, and they really want it. I'm thankful that one of my gifts is the ability to communicate and entertain with my words.
12. Cathy No Middle Name Day, my wife and partner, is the yin to my yang, the cream in my coffee. Literally and figuratively. I'm so thankful she's a part of my life.
13. I'm thankful for my dog, Sonya Louise Finn. She's become such a big part of my life with her sweet, goofy personality. She makes me be a better person, she really does.
There's a lot more, but against that list, it all seems fairly trivial. This is a lot. These are big gifts. Thanks so much, all of you, for everything.