Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A writer's Thanksgiving

I am grateful for the language, brought on boats across the North Sea, grown from the land, sliced and spiced by Normans (more Northmen), spoken over apples and wheat, spinning jennys and steam trains, Carnaby Street and the International Space Station.

I am grateful for the hybrid vigour of the language that meets on the electronic, photonic jetstream and mixes and jostles and flows, this way and that, over England and India, America and Australia, South Africa and Canada--and more, so many more: a communion of billions, whose verbs smell of wide rivers or red dust or stone canals.

I am grateful for generations of storytellers, who first learnt to stand by the flickering fire and frighten their audience; who sang their children to sleep and bad dreams with tales of wolves and woodcutters; who sucked on their goose quills and trembled with excitement because they could see, they could hear, they could feel what had not happened.

I am grateful for those who have learnt and made efficient the delivery of food (and heat, and clothes) so that I can live a life of the mind here in my house at the end of the road.

I am grateful for humankind, who meld electricity and plastic and brushed aluminium, stylised marks and animal metaphor, emotion and reason, to create the machinery which lets me think this, write this, say this, to you.

I am grateful that I breathe, that I think, that I love and fume and dream.

I am grateful that I am stubborn enough to wrestle the fume and dream into story.

I am grateful for readers, who allow the story in.

I am grateful.

I am thankful.



  1. Happy Thanksgiving! Hope it's a good one!

  2. I share your gratitude especially for language and communication and for the way writers like you can thrill with it. Thank you Nico you have added a rich flavour to my life. Happy Thanksgiving... ; )

  3. Hi Nicola, Thank you for brightening our lives with your wonderful books, prose and ideas. Happy Thanksgiving to you all.


  4. Again your words are a gift, one for which I will always feel gratitude. Thank you, Nicola.
    Happy Holiday to you and Kelley.

  5. Again your words are a beautiful gift, one for which I shall always be grateful.
    Thanks Nicola. Happy Holiday to you and Kelley.

  6. Thank you.

    Today, I'm thankful for the world as it is, and language is what opens it to me. Language, this week, has turned my world into a deep and far-horizoned place--even though I've been snow bound for days.

    The snow will mostly melt today. I will eat til I drowse. Life it good.

    May your day be warm and welcoming.

  7. I'm grateful that you're stubborn too! Beautifully said.

    Happy holidays everyone.

  8. Thanks for writing and posting that.
    I'm enmeshed, since weeks, in writing part of a book of a dear friend of 30 years who died much too young. You've probably heard of him by now; his name was Stieg Larsson, and I met him when he was 17 and I only a couple of years older. Writing about him has been a great sadness; you remind me that it should also be a joy. He lived his life as he wanted, doing the things that mattered to him, never compromising his beliefs and convictions, always with time for his friends, for good words and good deeds. Knowing him was a privilege, and to have known him is what matters. Just as the fact that we exist, when chance really tells us that we shouldn't.
    Sweden has no thanksgiving holiday. Or day of any kind, for that matter. Perhaps we should. But regardless of that, I'll keep your words, keep writing of Stieg but hopefully in another perspective as well, and be thankful. And wish you and Kelley a very happy holiday, as always from a faraway and colder place.

  9. John-Henri, I'm sorry he died. Though, as you say (in different words) life is a miracle, so it's astonishing any of us get to do it for so long.

    I hope you'll tell me more about this book at some point.

  10. N. Thanks for grounding me. I refocused on the good, and found much. W.

  11. woody, in my opinion, focusing on the good is almost always more productive than focusing on the bad. I hope you had a good thanksgiving.