It’s Thanksgiving in the states. I think about things I’m thankful for quite a bit (because I’m a big sap like that), but I don’t think I’ve ever made a list off the top of my head of the things I’m thankful for when it comes to writing.
So here goes:
- I’m thankful for my fifth grade teacher, Ms. Armstrong, who always looked out for me. She was the first teacher who realized how much I loved reading; she was the first teacher to encourage me to write.
- I’m thankful for Ms. Sammons, the teacher’s aide we had in sixth grade, who helped me throw together a Jack London costume at the last minute for a speech I gave.
- I’m thankful to everybody who picked on me to no end in 7th and 8th grade. Writing rejection is nothing compared to the rejection of the two years when I discovered how tenacious I could be and retreated into writing as a way of getting through.
- I’m thankful for Terry Gilliam’s Time Bandits. It was the first time it clicked in my head: “Hey! Somebody wrote that!” I sat through the movie three times, thinking about how words on paper made their way to the screen.
- I’m thankful for the days I found the copy of Stephen King’s Different Seasons and John Irving’s The World According to Garp lying around the house. They were the books that made me want to write the way I write.
- I’m thankful for my high school English teacher, an old guardian of the language named Dr. Gladys Rios. While she taught high school, she could have easily destroyed all my college English professors put together if it came to a battle of literature and rules.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Candy Schell, who liked the same writers I liked in high school and has been one of my best friends ever since.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Brent Meyer, who also refuses to give up on his dreams and has been there since the beginning.
- I’m thankful for my friends, Mark Felps and Tim Czarnecki. They were not only there when I started taking writing seriously — they are, in large part, the reason I took writing seriously.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Larry Tubbs, for always encouraging me to be me and write what I want to write. (And for always giving me good ideas of ways to get stuff out there.)
- I’m thankful for for my friend Jeremy Smith, and the countless hours of talking about writing and art. Jeremy is one of the few people I really open up to, and I always appreciate the evenings we hang out chatting.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Rick Klaw, the first editor to ever accept something I’d written.
- I’m thankful for my friend, John Picacio, who liked a non-superhero comic book script I wrote when everybody around me was doing superhero stories. I love superhero stories, but John was one of the first people to encourage me to do what I wanted.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Mark Finn. Mark is truly a badass among badasses!
- I’m thankful for my friend, John Lucas, who called me out of the blue after some time apart to tell me how much he loved a comic book I self published with my wife.
- I’m thankful for Cuyler Etheredge, the professor for the only creative writing class I ever took. She didn’t teach me how to write, but she taught me how to be a writer.
- I’m thankful for Susan Goldberg, who gave me the best critique I ever received.
- I’m thankful for my friend, Stephen Howard, whose feedback on the things I write is always thorough and appreciated!
- I’m thankful for my friend, Deacon McClendon, who makes up 1/3 of our writing group and amazes me with the chances he takes when he writes.
- I’m thankful to every editor who has made an article I wrote even better. I know many writers hate the thought of having their work edited, but they make you the best you can be (at least all the editors I’ve worked with).
- I’m thankful to all my friends at work who think it’s cool that I keep writing.
- I’m thankful for everybody who has read, and who will ever read something I’ve written or will write. I don’t write only for myself; I hope the things I write are appreciated by those who read them. If you’re reading this, thank you.
- I’m thankful that my father got to read some things I wrote before he died. He was an incredible storyteller, and I know he’d love what I’m currently working on in a big, big way.
- I’m thankful for having had a sister who told me our house was haunted when we were kids and did everything she could to terrify me as a child. Through my sister, my imagination opened up. More than that, though, she is the biggest reason I read and write, and was always my biggest fan!
- I’m thankful for having a mother who always supported and encouraged the creative things I’ve done. While many people around me were being shaped by their parents to become what their parents wanted, I’m lucky to have a mom who let me become what I wanted to be and who always encourages me to be true to myself.
- And finally, I’m thankful for having a wife who refuses to hear about or read my stories until they are done (because then I have to finish them!). I’m thankful for having a wife who can separate her feelings for me from my writing and tell me whether something is good or still needs work. My wife is the only person to see me when my confidence slides away; when I’m down, she’s there to help me up. She listens to me talk about writing on walks, at dinner, and encourages me to always keep going. She’s been there for more than 17 years, and whether I make it writing full time one day or not, I’m incredibly thankful to be with the person who will be there with me until the end.
What a nice entry this is. Thank you. I’m so glad you do what you do and write what you write. I’m thankful for you.