Posts Tagged ‘gratitude’

For all those in or of the United States, Happy Thanksgiving:)

For the first time I can remember I’m not back at my familial homestead partaking in traditional Thanksgiving Day festivities. The decision not to travel makes sense but it’s still a little weird, not least because I’m in a country where they celebrated the holiday last month (now that’s weird;).

So I’m a little sad with the missing of the family (not too sad, though, as I’ll see them in a few weeks) but feeling thankful for all the wonderful people in my life. I hope you are too.

Let me leave you with a link to John Scalzi’s science fictional Thanksgiving Day grace, which he wrote as a handy guide for those who may be called on to lead their tables in thanks. This timeless classic includes such gems as:

We also thank you for once again not allowing our technology to gain sentience, to launch our own missiles at us, to send a robot back in time to kill the mother of the human resistance, to enslave us all, and finally to use our bodies as batteries. That doesn’t even make sense from an energy-management point of view, Lord, and you’d think the robots would know that. But in your wisdom, you haven’t made it an issue yet, so thank you.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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Despite the title of this post, it’s not about what you may think. Meet my creative cup.

I pulled it out of the cupboard today because I wanted not only tea but a particular mindset. For that I use a cup.

I can tweak my mental orientation on my own, but like a witch with a familiar I find this task easier with the right tools. I have work cups, I have dessert cups (for chocolate pudding, of course), I have everyday cups and I have fun cups. But this is the original, my first cup with a distinct personality. Also, its own special power.

It may not look like much, at first glance. The surface is a fine textured grey that appears dull in poor light, with an image of pussy willow branches in an understated earthy brown and sky blue. There is a small chip on the lip, just above the handle. It could be any cup.

But it also has a larger-than-normal capacity, good for long days and challenging projects. It has tiny dimples where the layered paint is marginally thicker, enough to provide subconscious grip for tired fingers. The handle is both wide and flat for stability without bulk. It has a thin lip that doesn’t drip no matter how distracted the user. And it was given to me by a high school teacher whose name I can’t remember and whom I’ll never forget.

Many people (and, dare I posit, most writers?) were fortunate enough to have a teacher like this. She helped me explore new challenges, let me design a class when the schedule didn’t offer what I wanted, talked about the world outside of school as if it were a treasure box. She ran at lunch and ate interesting food at a desk by an oversized window, trim and fit with shoulder-length brown hair and a joyfully pragmatic outlook on life. She lent books and awarded class credit for wildcrafting my own dyes, medicines and poisons that would have done a 17th-century physicker proud.

She stayed with our school little more than a year, I think, but that was enough. The night before they left she and her husband arrived at our doorstep, a small wrapped package in hand. A gift, she said, that she hoped would suit. Something to take with me on my path.

I untied the ribbon. I tore the paper. Those are long gone. I still have the cup. When I want invention, when I want off-the-beaten-path imagination, when I need the encouragement to create and the belief that the world is still a wondrous treasure, this is my companion.

I thanked her. I am still thanking her, every time I use this cup.

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