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gra-ti-tude

So Thanksgiving is over (and I probably won’t be hungry until Christmas) but this thing called “thanksgiving”, no caps, is a year-around event. Kristin Briana Otts tagged me: rules: list ten things you are thankful for, five of which must be writing-related.

1. Home: I’m sitting on my kitchen floor right now (favorite room in the house: sunny and Italian and warm) — ignoring all the dirty dishes in the sink from family homemade pizza night, listening to my dad and uncle talk technology, watching a pie crust brown in the oven, groovin’ to Dave Brubeck — after a random day of shopping with the family (my dad never shops, not ever; but basically bought out Eddie Bauer today; it was great). I love being here. We laugh a lot and talk about random things and cook — and it fills me up inside.

2. Family: Okay, I know this is kind of like #1, but I am very thankful for my family. They’re really cool (I’m going to brag for a second): my dad is building a boat, my mom is on the board of a nonprofit org called Sister Connection (which helps widows in Burundi, Africa), my sister is next-year’s cross country team captain, and my dog is the smartest dog in the world. We’re a very funny family, too.

3. College: I liked freshman year. It was fun and weird. But sophomore year is light-years better. I am in love with it. In love with my friends, my dorm, (most of) my classes, loooong funny dinners in the cafeteria, v-ball at the beach, spontaneous trips for frozen yogurt…

4. Friends: There’s this old song — “make new friends but keep the old; one is silver and the other’s gold” — that we sang in preschool. And it’s in my head a lot because I have a lot of new friends and a lot of old, and I’m grateful for them all. Old friends have seen me grow from awkward junior-higher to less awkward high-school senior. We’ve gone through tons together and I’m grateful that we can still hang out over breaks. New friends have stuck with me through rocky, homesick lows and sunny, hilarious highs — and this year especially we’ve become very tight.

5. Seattle: Big city in the rain. Soggy leaves in the street. Pink and purple clouds at sunset when the sky clears for half a second to show off the Sound and the skyline in evening sunshine.

6. My first book: It was crap (no, literally, it was) — but it’s what sparked this whole crazy obsession. I’m thankful that I began something without a plan and without any idea of what it would turn into — because it’s led me here.

7. The Inbetween: This book won’t let me get away (believe me, I have tried) because something about it wants to be heard. I mean, really really wants to be heard. And I’m thankful for this year-and-a-half journey of learning about Sophie and Esmund, about plot structure and style, about persevering…

8. My agent: This is a big one. I remember one of my friends asked me, back in September, what I was looking forward to this year. First thing I said was the big a-g-e-n-t, and although I had no idea if it would really happen, I wanted it bad. And it happened! I’m thankful that Joan saw my query, thankful that she fell hard for my book, thankful that she sees ways to make it better, thankful that all those ways fit with and enhance my vision, and thankful that one of the first things she mentioned was the sequel…

9. Support: Family and friends who are 100% supportive of this adventure — who cheer me on and push me to new levels. I’m truly grateful.

10. Absolute Write: I learned everything from that place… a.k.a. I would have no query letter or agent or plain hope without all that advice, critique, and help.

Tagged: Anna, Jenn, Kristina

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