This morning, my old friend Facebook notified me that one year ago today, Broken Ground was officially born.
Which is ironic because I took a long leave from Facebook this past Lent, and though I missed my friends and family there, I didn’t miss the act of being on Facebook at all—the time spent and too often frittered, the frenetic scrolling, the distraction, the comparison and contrast, the coming up with something to post, the word “share” in this context—at all. But now here is Facebook, reminding me why it’s existence is important, which I kind of forgot during and after this past social media cleanse. Facebook does facilitate connection–with other dear ones and with our pasts and with people we thought were lost to us and with the larger world. So thank you, Facebook.
I hadn’t even gotten out of bed when I received the announcement, which I have to say took me completely by surprise. There I lay, scanning my phone—I’d gotten an automated phone call from some mechanical voice saying that I’d “stayed at one of their resorts,” which I totally hadn’t, but which did put my phone in my hands to then check in more depth—and there was my post from a year ago today, complete with book cover picture and my shiny happy smiling face.
You know how New Year’s Eve feels—the inevitable reflection, the summing up of 365 days of significance, another 12 months passed, 12 more (God willing) on the horizon, the promises, hopes, resolutions that accompany all this, or that press at the heart, no matter how the heart resolves not resolves? Well, it’s been kind of like that for me this morning.
I can’t believe a year has passed since that novel was published.
It has been a year. A year and a half, I sometimes think. I could go on about the book—what it taught me in the writing (a lot, especially 1. historically, about the deportations that occurred during the 1930s, and 2. artistically, about the craft of fiction, and 3. pragmatically, about discipline and deadlines, and 4. emotionally, about hopes and dreams, highs and lows). Perhaps I did just go on. (Insert Smiley Face here.) But instead I want to focus on gratitude. Because I don’t do nearly enough of that.
Here are ten things I’ve been grateful for since May 3rd of last year.
- I got to write and publish Broken Ground. My family again encouraged me in that work. They supported me in a myriad of ways, forgave me absences, moods, and preoccupations. They’re still here, and should I get it together to write yet another another, I trust they’ll hang in here with me yet again.
- I’ve really been struggling with writing in this last year. That’s not typically something I’m grateful for, but as of today I’m deciding to be so. I think Broken Ground was a kind of turning point for me. I’m writing differently now, making my way forward in bits and pieces, creating more of a mess in the process. I’m not sure how or if it’s all going to work out. I love putting down the words. But there’s no final product in sight yet. If I were a circus act I would be a trapeze artist without a net (Hat Tip to Ringling Brothers, who I heard on NPR today are taking down their tents for the last time).
- I’ve realized that if I never publish another book, I’ll still keep writing.
4. My daughter graduated from high school and went to college. I’m entering a new stage of mothering with her. Sometimes I think that’s what this whole year has been about.
5. My son liked his first year of high school. He has good friends.
6. My husband and I are still relatively healthy and doing our best to embrace our aging.
7. My husband continues to make incredible photographs.
8. Public libraries and independent bookstores and books of all kinds continue to make a profound difference in this world.
9. Journalists and artists and politicians and citizens still speak the truth and act on it. All those phone calls and letters and petitions and marches—they’re making a difference.
10. My dog.
Finally, I am grateful for all I’ve been given and for those who give. I want to give away copies of Broken Ground during this merry month of May. If you know of anyone who would like one, please let me know or share this post. I’ll send one their way.
Here’s to another year, friends! Keep on keeping on!