Something to be thankful for

Here in the United States it’s Thanksgiving. It’s the day we remember how we arrived here as illegal immigrants over three hundred years ago and would have died without the assistance of the indigenous peoples. In thanks, we later began a process of systematic genocide against those original inhabitants that continues in overt and insidious ways to this day.

What? Not accurate?

Anyway, I suppose I should consider the things that I’m thankful for—besides chocolate, Kylie, and the wisdom of Julia Sugarbaker. I’m a writer. So I’m grateful that there are people out there who actually read the things I put down in words.

I was reminded of this last week, when N.S. Beranek posted a review of my story “Blackout” from the anthology Night Shadows: Queer Horror. This is a bit of a golden oldie, as it came out in 2012, but the story is also special to me because it’s something I originally wrote in 1990 for a campus ‘zine, put away, revised the hell out of, and then finally got published. There’s basically nothing left from the original draft in the final that was printed, except for a blizzard and an unfriendly ghost. I’m glad I didn’t throw it away.

Anyway, Beranek drew an interesting connection between this story, the story “Tea” that was included in Foolish Hearts, the mom in Detours, and some concepts in The Unwanted and came up with a comparison to something Ken Burns said. None of those connections would have occurred to me, and heck, I wrote the darn things. It’s not the first time that’s happened, either. I’ve gotten the occasional e-mail from readers mentioning things they liked about a story or book and what they thought it meant, and they’ve had insights that weren’t even on my radar.

That’s the thing about writing: The circuit isn’t completed until someone reads it, and every time that happens, it’s a different experience, and that kind of makes it a different story each time.

So, thanks to everyone who’s ever spent the time completing that circuit. And go check out Beranek’s blog and her own writing.

For now, though, go eat pie and think about white privilege.