It’s Thanksgiving week in America, the time of year we think, however briefly, about what we’re thankful for in our lives before we go back to being angry and resentful bright and early Friday morning. Here’s what I’m thankful for as 2009 draws to a close.

A sense of near-completion.

I will finally be done with the book that may or may not share a title but will share a philosophy, with this blog. Though what I really mean is that I will be done with the first draft, but that’s something to be thankful for. I’m way past anything that used to be a deadline, have used up all bullshit excuses, but have also finally found the voice, and finished the really long, hard part on worldbuilding. It means more work, less play over the long weekend, but I will have a complete first draft in my editor’s hands on Monday the 30th. I will. I will. Damn it, I will.

Lolth never closes a door without opening a window—into HELL!

Things are going fairly well at work, with some tough challenges ahead, but also some opportunities to do some great work ahead as well. More people need to buy and play the new edition of D&D, and buy and read the novels. If you’re reading this, and aren’t doing that, I mean you, so come on now. Though still we continue to sell lots of books to a fantastic, loyal, intelligent, and creative audience—plenty to be thankful for there, but I would prefer to be more thankful for more. Though believe me, I’m also plenty thankful for just being employed. Not all of my friends in the publishing business can say that right now—or have been able to say that for a scary long time.

Health and happiness, for some of us, anyway.

My family is healthy and secure. The kids are doing reasonably well in school, and other than my nasty cold that won’t go away, we’re looking forward to a relaxing long weekend. Everyone but me seems happy, but I’ve now become totally incapable of happiness, especially this time of year where Seasonal Effective Disorder meets Bi-Polar Disorder compounded with poor performances by both of the NFL football teams I follow (the Bears and the Seahawks—yes, pity me) to create a dismal stew of hopeless depression and psychic puppy miasma. Oh, woe is me.

Extra Christmas money.

A mistake on my third quarter royalty statement means I have an extra thousand bucks or so coming in before Christmas, so let the shopping commence! This means we can afford any presents at all. How sad is that? Pretty sad. Of course, had I finished this book on time, that wouldn’t have been a problem. See how I’m my own worst enemy? I’m finishing up a book that will offer advice on how to write a fantasy novel. I promise never to offer advice on personal finances. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

A year off of crippling health care inflation.

My health insurance costs will not be going up next year. How is that possible? It’s the first year that’s ever happened. Are the insurance companies trying to lull us into a false sense of security so we won’t pressure our ineffectual “leaders” in D.C. to run these crooks out of business once and for all and join the rest of the civilized world with a government-run health care system? Yeah, probably, but those “leaders” were bought and paid for by the insurance industry a long time ago. I guess I have to be thankful for small favors and be prepared to pay more than more in 2011.

Beautiful, maintenance-free grass.

The rainy season has hit the Seattle area in full force now, and thanks to our northerly latitude it’s night from 4:15 in the afternoon until 7:30 in the morning, but all the mild rainy weather has made my front lawn wonderfully green and lush, but it’s cool and gloomy enough that it isn’t growing. It’s sad, really, what you become thankful for as a homeowner, like having had the foresight to secure a fixed rate mortgage in the first place so even if I’m sick and whining and behind on my writing deadlines, at least we’re not being foreclosed on, lush green grass and all.

I think I’ll leave it at that, though it certainly came out lots more bleak than I intended. I’m a real sad sack, aren’t I? I should do something about that, when it comes time for New Year’s Resolutions.


—Philip Athans

About Philip Athans

Philip Athans is the New York Times best-selling author of Annihilation and a dozen other books including The Guide to Writing Fantasy and Science Fiction, and Writing Monsters. His blog, Fantasy Author’s Handbook, (https://fantasyhandbook.wordpress.com/) is updated every Tuesday, and you can follow him on Twitter @PhilAthans.
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2 Responses to WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR, 2009

  1. Pingback: WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR, 2011 | Fantasy Author's Handbook

  2. Pingback: WHAT I’M THANKFUL FOR, 2012 | Fantasy Author's Handbook

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