Wow, I can’t believe it’s almost Thanksgiving. American Thanksgiving, that is, to differentiate from the Thanksgiving that my friends north of the border celebrate in October.
It has a very different feel this year than it did a couple of years ago, though. Thanksgiving in 2016 felt bleak and hopeless, and although things are still not great, we took a small step toward improvement. When I went to vote on November 6, there was actually a line (or queue for you non-American readers) to check in. It wasn’t a tremendously long line, but it was there. Later, as I scrolled through Facebook, more and more people were reporting similar experiences—that there were more people than usual waiting to vote.
If one good thing came out of this horrendous administration, it’s that it’s galvanized progressive Americans and sparked a new wave of involvement. The feelings of accountability and social responsibility that got people to the streets to protest various injustices in the 1960s and ’70s is making a comeback. A sense of complacency and—let’s just say it—selfishness started to take over in the 1980s. That era wasn’t called the “Me generation” for nothing. (Hmm, and let’s think about what happened in the ’80s that sparked this Me-ness.)
Young people, in particular, learned the importance of voting the hard way. And many young faces showed up at the polls. It was heartening. We have a long way to go, and there’s a hard, dirty battle ahead of us. But the results of this midterm election was a small bright spot on an otherwise dark canvas.
Last Thanksgiving was difficult for me on a personal level as well. It was the first one without my father, and I went about preparations for my family meal in a kind of fog. I was busy the entire day, and so I just kept thinking about what I had to do next. That kept me focused and kind of numb to the loss. You always miss loved ones at holidays, but the first one is always the worst. I’m hoping there’s a little more lightness in my house this year.
This November also marks the very first time I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month. But what’s particularly positive for me is that I’m doing it without pressuring myself, which is something I totally would’ve done in the past. Having said that, I’m nevertheless a little frustrated because I’ve been so busy with my 9-to-5 job, preparing books for release very soon from DRB, trying to keep up with all my business commitments, and trying to get my house and myself ready for Thanksgiving that I’ve almost zero time to focus on my writing. I think that NaNoWriMo would have more participants if a different month had been chosen. November and December are intensely busy months for so many people and it’s definitely a deterrent.
Speaking of what’s coming from DRB, in just a few weeks, we’ll be releasing Learning Curve, an anthology of stories about learning. The collection contains tales from some well-known authors, as well as some writers newer to the scene. We’re also working on something special for our newsletter subscribers, so keep an eye out for that. If you’re not a Dirt Road Books subscriber, you can get on our mailing list at http://www.dirtroadbooks.com.Also! If you’re in New York City on December 20, come to the KGB Bar in the East Village in Manhattan. I’ll be there with Sacchi Green and DL King, reading from Best Lesbian Erotica 3.
I hope everyone has a healthy, safe, fun, drama-free Thanksgiving. And even when things seem darkest, remember that there’s always something to be grateful for.