A silent Thanksgiving day – nothing open in the city, nothing scheduled here. What a gift. I was sitting on the deck in the sun reading Nuala O’Faolain’s Are You Somebody?: the accidental memoir of a Dublin woman when I had to put the book down, I couldn’t see the words for tears. Nearby, the cardinal chipchipchipping at the feeder and the last roses, drooping, nearly gone, but not quite.
How grateful I am to belong to this crazy league, in however minimal a way: the writers. How I want to do what she does. She’s writing about her Irish past, her parents, schooling, and work, a great swirl of sensations of such vividness and honesty and humour – exactly what I would like to do, what I have tried to do. These days it’s harder than ever to get words out there; I realize I have no idea about the new ways it’s done, the online zines, the podcasts, the … whatever they are. It’s discouraging. But I will take heart from Nuala’s truth.
Lynn just sent pictures of her 70th birthday party this summer. Student Andy just sent an essay for So True. Antoinette, my mother’s dear friend and piano teacher, just sent her thoughts on my work with the letters and on her own life. Wendy, a glamorous university professor, and Barry, an actor I’ve known since 1972, just sent pictures of their surprise wedding in Tofino.
Anna sent me a picture of her just-washed floors gleaming in the sun. Longtime student and friend Mary wrote to say, “I am thankful for you and the gift you bring to my life – friendship, encouragement and your wisdom.” And I sent friends this, from yesterday at Sam’s bar:
Blessings to you all, on this blessed day. Though it’s a far from blessed day in many, many places in the world, I know that. But today I give thanks that here, now, it is.
And now – back to Nuala.