Serious studies of late (here’s one) suggest that expressing gratitude can make you feel happier and improve physical and emotional health.
So many people I know are feeling sad, or mad, and the world at large feels fractured and splintered and polarized. It’s hard to counteract negativity in the abstract (even harder when it’s a constant background drumbeat), and hard when so many have experienced personal losses (as I have in the past year). And this is the time of year when we are forced to weigh our feelings against expectations of happiness, which often creates quite the opposite result.
But I am grateful, so grateful, to so many, that in the spirit of the season I’m going to turn Thanksgiving from a noun into a verb.
- I want to thank my family, husband and son, for supporting me through my life and career, giving me much-needed strength and financial backing, as well as being my first readers/critiquers/idea generators. And, of course, I thank them for their love.
- I want to thank my three publishers – my editors and copy editors, illustrators and cover artists, in-house staff who have touched my books even when I don’t know your names – who have given me the opportunity to send my words into the world. Deepest personal thanks to Marlo, Kendra, Aneeka, and Madeleine.
- I want to thank my agent, Erin, her staff and co-agents, and all the EMLA family of artists and writers who have become my tribe.
- I want to thank my collaborators and critiquers, from my first critique group years ago in Texas, to my partners in Montana, with a special bow to my friend and mentor Kathi and my current partner Jen.
- I want to thank my VCFA family for providing me a knowledge platform that has helped me to express what I really want to say, and for being a continuing base of support and friendship.
- I want to thank the wider writing community that truly comprises the world in which I want to live. Especially thanks to SCBWI, for starting me on this road, to my Spooky team, and to all the people who are part of the incredible kidlit community.
- I want to thank my local indie bookseller – and all booksellers – for doing what you do fabulously: putting books in the hands of readers.
- I want to thank my readers – the schools, the teachers, the librarians, the students – and thank Carmen who helps me reach them. And I especially want to thank those of you who have written me notes or have told me how much you love something I’ve written, which gives me great joy – and thanks to you young readers most of all.
- I want to thank the universe – and my parents – for giving me the chance to live in a place of great beauty and peace.
- Lastly, I want to thank those of you here, reading this, and I send you the wish that you, too, can receive many blessings.