JULIA SPENCER-FLEMING: Another list! Soon, I'll have to make a list of my lists. Don't worry, I'm through with ranting and venting. (Sounds like the name of a law firm, doesn't it? Ranting & Venting, LLC.) Today, I'm sharing a list of what I'm grateful for. It's always a little easier to be grateful on the weekend, don't you think?
1. Computers. Specifically, computer writing programs. Our mechanical-digital friends are so ubiquitous they tend to fade into the background of our lives, but I remember typing all my papers in college and grad school on my electric typewriter. I literally cannot imagine writing an entire novel - suitable for submission - that way. No wonder writers of yore drank so much. You'd have to, just to get through all the backing up, erasing and retyping.
2. Retinol-A. If you're old enough to know what this is, you know why I'm grateful for it. If it sounds like a vitamin to you, bless you, my sweet summer child. Enjoy your youth and dewy skin.
3. Cheap flowers at the grocery store. Because it's nice to pick up a bunch of cheer for ten or twelve dollars on your way home, even if you live in East Podunk, like I do.
4. Enormous special-effect movies. Practically the only thing that lures us away from the dvd player is the opportunity to see aliens invade, or a huge ship sinking, or earthquakes destroy California (sorry, west coast readers!) I mean, I love other, more grown-up films - I thought Spotlight was one of the best flicks I've seen in years - but do I really need to see it on a supersized screen with Dolby Surround Sound? At ten bucks a pop? (And we're on the cheap side of tickets here in Maine. I understand they're more expensive most other places.) Plus, if you stick to movies filled with booming, blasting and blowing up, it's harder to hear the people who just won't stop talking.
5. Sorry, that kind of devolved into a rant, didn't it.
6. Daylight Savings Time! (Turning that frown upside down now.) Because I really do love having a cookout and drinks with friends on the patio while it's still light at 9pm.
7. This winter. I feel more than a little guilty about being so pleased with our super-mild season this year. I know it's a preview of the warmer world we're all facing. But damn, it was nice to only have to shovel out the driveway three times. I saved a ton of money on heating oil and I'm willing to have to start dosing our pets with flea and tick repellent in February for the pleasure of hearing songbirds and peepers in March.
8. Books in all their varied forms: hardcover and paper, digital and audio, from bookstores and libraries, by mail and by download. We are living in the Golden Age of literacy and accessibility, with more books available to more people in more places than ever before. I want to remember to appreciate that, not just as a writer, but as a very happy reader.
9. A good cup of tea. Having tea with Rhys one time, I learned I take mine "builders' style" - ridiculously strong and sweet. Tea is that good friend who greets me first thing in the morning, keeps me company throughout the day, and helps me make it through the evening if I have to pick someone up from the train station at 11pm. You can substitute coffee - and most of you probably do - but the great advantage of tea is that you can have so much more of it before you start to twitch.
10. Jungle Reds. Writing is a lonely profession. Writing as a woman, with children (grown or not) spouses, grandkids, community and business obligations, is a difficult haul sometimes. Having a group of friends to see you though is priceless, and having a great community of commenters to talk with every day is a blessing. Thanks for being here, everybody.
What are you grateful for, dear readers?