Here’s how some Oregon authors responded this year to the question, what are you thankful for?
I’m thankful for my wonderful family and for being able to make a living, however modest, doing what I love (which is writing–in particular, writing while in my pajamas with a giant mug of coffee by my elbow). Those are the top two, but here are a few other things I find myself giving thanks for on a regular basis: my friends, my 17-year-old cat, down comforters, toast, the Oregonian print edition, slippers, hawks, tomatoes, beans, good books, public transportation, Portland parks, New Seasons, the USPS, tea, and the great state of Oregon.
I’m thankful for the privilege of teaching writing to bright and deserving students, who fill a cold classroom with the clamor and energy of their opinions, well-considered and ill-considered alike, and for having Langston Hughes’ “Theme for English B,” to teach them the proper spirit with which to turn in a paper: Teacher, this essay will change you. And I’m thankful for my two nephews, silly, wild-haired boys of six and four, who called me in the third quarter of the Oregon-Stanford game to tell me that the Ducks were the best, while the “Cardinal” (my alma mater) have a mascot that “does no push-ups, and doesn’t make any sense.”
Kathleen Dean Moore:
I’m grateful to the writers who are taking to the streets, going to jail, finding strong words for fledgling ideas and, in brave and beautiful ways, speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves — future generations, plants and animals, marginalized people everywhere.
Lisa Ohlen Harris:
I’m thankful for fog-streaked fields and soggy leaves composting over transplanted daffodil bulbs. I’m thankful for a warm home and for bread and soup and cinnamon sugar on toast
I’m thankful for my loving wife and children, my generous and crazy friends;
thankful for my job, fish-filled waters, books, bourbon and vodka–oh, and food, I can’t forget food and shelter. See what happens when we have so much? I am thankful. Very thankful.
I am grateful for chanterelles and rosemary. Also for the words “chanterelles” and “rosemary.” For Woodford Reserve Bourbon and the friend who gave me a bottle. For sloppy kisses from my dogs and sloppier kisses from my husband. For a warm home. For a little more time.
I’m grateful most of all to feel healthy and loved every day.
I’m thankful I live in a city that loves writers. I’m thankful I’m a writer. I’m thankful for my Literary Arts fellowship, the first writing award I ever received; other exciting things followed this year, but you were the first institution who believed in me. I’m thankful beyond measure for all the signs from the universe I got over the past twelve months saying, “Yes, Claire, you’re a real writer, keep doing this, don’t give up.” I’m also thankful for all the bad days over the past years, all the times when it seemed like I was just running into the same brick wall over and over again and felt like I wasn’t ever going to get anywhere. The bad days make the victories and triumphs feel more real, and keep me from taking anything for granted.
Today I’m thankful for the downsizing magazine shop that sold me four bookcases. And I’m thankful for books: for Katherine Anne Porter and her Miranda and Miranda and Rosaleen, for Ella Bend Hess’s stirring up my senses and for her boorish husband’s punching my gut (thereby for William H. Gass, too). And I’m thankful for David Bradley’s Chaneysville Incident, for Uncle Jack’s shack, setting to last night’s dream of my grandfather.
Happy Thanksgiving from Paper Fort!
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