“Who does not thank for little will not thank for much.” — Author Unknown
Here in the US, it’s Thanksgiving, a day to overeat, watch too much football, make bets on what family grievances will be aired and try not to strangle your relatives and in-laws.
It’s also a day to pause and reflect on our blessings. No matter how desperate times may seem — and I have known some truly desperate moments in my life — if you dig down deep, there will always be something to be thankful for. It may be a small thing; a warm, fluffy cat, a book that brings you joy, a movie running on television that makes you smile, the taste of a familiar dish that brings back memories of happier times. It might be big things; a roof over your head, making it through one more month with food on your table, a hand to hold for better or for worse. Whatever it is, be thankful and nurture that small flame of warmth in your heart.
For those of you with families, enjoy the warmth, mine any drama for inspiration if necessary, and you can try using the excuse, “I have to write my words!” if it all becomes too much. (You have no idea how many times I’ve done just that.)
For those of you on your own, I wish you well. I’ve been there, too, and I know today and the weeks to come can be some of the darkest of the year in more ways than one.
Best to you and yours today and all the days through the year. If you’re ahead on your word count, reward yourself with another piece of pie.
If you need any other inspiration today, take a gander at the tale of Hedy Lamarr, once dubbed “The Most Beautiful Woman in Films.” She was gorgeous in Ziegfeld Girl with Judy Garland Lana Turner, though most people would probably immediately recognize her for Cecil B. DeMille’s Samson and Delilah, wherein she wears a gown festooned with peacock feathers before Samson brings the temple tumbling down.
But Hedy was more than just beauty. With composer George Antheil, she developed spread spectrum and frequency hopping technology to defeat Axis jamming of Allied signals during World War II. The Navy didn’t actually adopt the technology until the ’60s (after Lamarr and Antheil’s patent had expired), but the principles of their work form an important part of our modern WiFi, Bluetooth and CDMA technology. So if you’re out and about, tweeting or surfing on your phone, today of all days, say “Thank you,” to Hedy Lamarr.
Hedy is also the subject of today’s Google Doodle, a reminder that we may know the image, but the real story is what lurks beneath.
“Have you ever seen a little girl run so fast she falls down? There’s an instant, a fraction of a second before the world catches hold of her again… A moment when she’s outrun every doubt and fear she’s ever had about herself and she flies. In that one moment, every little girl flies. I need to find that again. Like taking a car out into the desert to see how fast it can go, I need to find the edge of me… And maybe, if I fly far enough, I’ll be able to turn around and look at the world… And see where I belong.”
― Kelly Sue DeConnick
A lot of people don’t like the fact NaNoWriMo happens in November because of the complication of Thanksgiving and the start of the annual Holiday Insanity. I always welcome it for one very important reason. My birthday marks the beginning of the second week and every year I do NaNo means that I spend at least part of that day doing one of the things I love most in the world: writing.
I generally take some time off to do something fun — this year, we’re planning on seeing Crimson Peak, which has eluded us the past two weeks — but there will be a portion of the day spent in front of my computer, fingers on the keyboard. It’s my gift to me, putting myself first in the midst of any other calls on my attention. It’s a reminder and affirmation that, yes, this is who I am and what I do, no matter what other roles I play.
Today’s quote is from the first issue of Captain Marvel (2014), written by Kelly Sue DeConnick, with art by David Lopez and colors by Lee Loughridge. Titled, “Higher, Further, Faster, More” those words, which appear on the issue’s final pages, have become something of a mantra among many women in comics fandom. It’s a call to find the wonder in ourselves that time and the world have often ground out of us, to be more. That’s what we’re doing with NaNoWriMo. We’re running so fast and we’re going to fall down at some point; if nothing else, the month will end and this experience will be done, pulling us back to earth. But if we keep running this month, there will be those moments when we fly.
I wouldn’t miss those moments for anything in the world. Happy Birthday to me.
The notification was from Archive of Our Own, known by folk who enjoy Fan Fic as AO3, and it was for a short piece — less than a thousand words — that I’d written several years ago and just moved to the site. It wasn’t a big deal; they’d clicked the button and probably moved on to the next story, but it was a lovely thing to find in my inbox.
The emails show up every so often, letting me know someone has read something I wrote, often in some small and obscure fandom, and enjoyed it. There have been days when those emails have been the thing to get me back to the keyboard when everything else is going wrong.
Fan Fiction is a subject I’ve seen hotly debated in writing communities and I remember a day when one didn’t admit you had ever written a continuation of a story you’d seen on television or at the movies. Now, of course, we have best-sellers that began as fic, and Kindle Worlds on Amazon invites fans to submit their own work for certain licensed products.
The side I prefer, though, is the side where stories are written just for fun, or as a gift for someone which the rest of us can enjoy. It’s easy to find stories written for Star Trek, Doctor Who, the Marvel Cinematic Universe or many of the “big” fandoms that exist across the internets. But every year, that is the madness known as Yuletide, where people sign up to write a story at least 1,000 words long to fulfill the request of someone else has put in (who will be writing their own stories for their own assigned recipients). This years collection went live on December 25 with recipient names attached, but the authors shall remain anonymous until January 1, 2015.
The point of this is giving and receiving, the creation of a unique and special gift for someone. There’s always some drama, but, in the end, it’s the stories which shine, ranging from TV shows and movies such as The Bletchley Circle and WALL-E, to books to Anime and commercials — and even straight historical fiction. It’s an amazing collection because good, bad or indifferent, a pairing or situation you would never read or has you hitting the “back” button on your browser, each of the stories is a gift of the heart, made for the purpose of delighting and pleasing someone who said, “I’d love to read a story about this…”
I can’t think of a better reason for sitting down at a keyboard.