Monday, November 24, 2014


thanksgiving thoughts

It's that time of year again, around here.  The annual holiday of thankfulness approaches.  And while I continually attempt to live life from a place of gratitude, this year I find myself feeling more thankful than ever.  Difficult times have come and gone, and I weathered them all somehow, and emerged with a renewed and heightened sense of appreciation.  For peace and contentment.  For those days when nothing in particular happens and everyday chores and tasks become lustrous and shining in their pure ordinariness.  I could almost weep over being able to read a stack of books for pleasure, or follow a line of inquiry through a series of paintings, or bake gingerbread, or put up some pretty curtains and recognize the cheerfulness they bring to an already sunny room.  All the stuff of daily life.  How ridiculously grateful I feel for the smallest things!  When a blizzard passes by, as it did last week, and then the snow finally melts away, as it did this week, and I see underneath all the small green things still growing - still going - I have to think That is the way to live.  Storms arise.  And they also depart.  Meanwhile all the small things of life continue, regardless, in their due season.  It's up to us to notice, take heart, and say thank you. 

These are such old chestnuts, aren't they, the commonplace thoughts that make up traditional holiday fare.  But what is sweeter, truly, than gratitude for what arises, storms and peace both.  One illuminates the other.  Blessings on your thanksgiving table, whatever your personal forecast.      

Happy Thanksgiving! "Old chestnuts" are not always as commonplace as we think they are, hence the comfort they bring, I think. I am always thankful for simple things because life is rarely so, but I sometimes have to make an effort to stop and appreciate them.
I am certainly thankful for your blog, which I discovered recently and totally by accident. In the curious modern way in which the internet makes serendipitous connections, Hermione Lee's new biography of Penelope Fitzgerald led me to a novelist I now love despite not knowing who she was before reading her biography, which led me to Fitzgerald's wonderful novel, "The Bookshop," which led me to you. Like the protagonist, you were a brave young woman who did something as challenging as it is soul-fulfiiling(even then): opening a bookshop.
Thank you.
A fine Thanksgiving/thanksgiving post.

I meant to comment earlier about your Slightly Foxed note. What a collection of pieces- Dreamthorp! Morley! Green Gables! Night climbing in Cambridge!

I did a quick search on the school library site, typing "slightly foxed" as keywords. Nine items came back, including "the most delectable history of Reynard the Fox; newly corrected and purged from all grossness in phrase and matter" (J.S. Shirley, 1680-1702), as well as "The Journal of George Fox" (1624-1691), "The vials of the wrath of God poured forth upon the seat of the man of sin, and upon all professors of the world (uh oh) who denieth... [and on and on]". Two of the other items were The Simpsons movie, and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, part 2.

Happy Thanksgiving.
Hi Helen, thank you for the kind comment, I'm glad you're here! I loved my little bookshop so much, truly beyond words. And when it came time to close and move on, well, I loved that too.

I have Penelope Fitzgerald's big collection of essays and reviews lingering in my to-be-read pile/room ("The Afterlife" - Counterpoint 2003). One of my favorite genres of reading is nonfiction written by novelists. It looks wonderful, so very bookish. I will get to it, someday!

Happy Thanksgiving to you too, Dan, so good to hear from you. Yes, that issue of "Slightly Foxed" hit one out of the park, for this reader at least - I couldn't quite believe it, frankly. People still care...? Or, perhaps I should say, The British still care...? About quirky good old books?

I will have to see if I was randomly lucky in that particular issue (still haven't gotten my hands on any others yet), but I think not. They all look great. And the books they reprint - some old friends are among them, and many I've never heard of. They look wonderful too.

Perhaps you can convince your library to subscribe...?
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