Best of 2008!

November 30, 2008 | 10 Comments

beaming with pride!

Snowfall at Willow Lake is listed as one of Amazon’s “Best of 2008” editor’s picks! I’m so proud and excited. The full list is here. Enjoy!

The Gratitude Project concludes.

November 27, 2008 | 11 Comments

Illustration by Sally Mara Sturman,
Illustration by Sally Mara Sturman,

It’s Thanksgiving Day, so I thought it a good time to conclude my little Gratitude Project. I have to say, I am so impressed by you people! It’s been a pleasure every day to turn on the computer and see what people are thankful for. I’ve learned so much and I’ve been so inspired by everything I’ve seen here.

Two things strike me as I go down the list of comments for each day–we are amazingly diverse. And we are remarkably consistent. We love our families, first and foremost. Our pets and our friends rank high. Mothers and husbands seem to be in a class by themselves. We’re thankful when somebody has a good opinion of us. We’re filled with hope, even when times are tough. Some of us even found the bright side of being laid off or surviving lousy economic times. We love books like there’s no tomorrow. We love comforting things to eat and drink. We adore the beauty and drama of nature–sunshine, starlight, a blustery wind, a storm. We’re thankful for our health, and even on days when it’s not so good, we’ve been able to find something to be grateful for anyway.

We meet people who strive every day to make the world better in whatever way they can, and we value them. We’re grateful for people who make the grand gestures–like fostering children–to the mundane–driving a friend to an appointment or covering for someone at work.

I loved hearing from the young hip ones telling us about Scrivener and Fuze. And the wise women of all ages reminding us of the things that really matter, everything from hugging a child to Dulce de Leche coffee creamer. I loved the intriguing, even cryptic comments, and the creative acrosstics. I loved the comments that made me smile or even laugh out loud.

What a great group! We are writers, dreamers, lovers of beauty. We are thankful for families, friends, beauty, health, meaning.

The one thing I didn’t get from the postings: stuff. Money. Sure, we’re grateful to have full bellies and a roof over our heads. But if there was a gratitude post about a THING, it was because the thing does what it’s meant to do–a car heater turns on, a hair product works, a pair of shoes feels comfortable, a sweater feels soft.

I’m not seeing anyone here who is grateful for a thing because it enhances her status or makes her seem superior in some way. In the hundreds of gratitude comments on this blog, we never once went there. Yay us!

We are so mentally and emotionally healthy here it’s driving me crazy.

So here is what I’m going to do, and I hope you’ll do something similar. I’ve bought a purse-size, skinny datebook for 2009. I’m not going to use this to record appointments or reminders or deadlines. This particular book is for one thing and one thing only–gratitude. On each date square, I will write down three things I’m grateful for each day of the year, starting now.

Many thanks and many blessings for your participation. And Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26 gratitude

November 26, 2008 | 8 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

1. The Internet, for enabling foreign publishers to inquire about translation rights to my books. I’m also grateful to my foreign rights agent and publisher for following up on each inquiry. Thanks to these connections, I’m going to be published in a bunch of new foreign countries.

2. My favorite Italian food site, by Deborah Mele, with recipes like Winter Minestrone and links to Italian pottery.

3. Sweet videos like this, a global performance of “Stand by Me.” First seen (I think) on Bill Moyers Journal. Be sure to watch to the end. Four minutes of fun!



What are you grateful for right now?

November 25 gratitude

November 25, 2008 | 9 Comments

Happy Birthday Eric!
Happy Birthday Eric!
  1. a repeat viewing of Good Will Hunting, which I haven’t seen in years; watching the film in light of last month’s Michael Hauge workshop was very enlightening
  2. Boston Legal, which makes me laugh
  3. birthday cake! Who doesn’t love birthday cake!

What are you grateful for today?

November 24 gratitude

November 24, 2008 | 8 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. a clear, starry November night

    breakfast of champions
    breakfast of champions
  2. John Mccann’s oatmeal with fresh blueberries
  3. a long walk in the sunshine with a good friend

What are you grateful for today?

A sunny day in November; whats up with that?
A sunny day in November; what's up with that?


November 23 gratitude

November 23, 2008 | 6 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. Google. Let me count the ways. If you need a recipe, type in “recipe” followed by your key ingredients. If you need a map, type in “map” followed by the name or zip code of the place. Ditto weather. Ditto “define” followed by shunpike or conglobate or whatever word you need to define. There are so many other shortcuts to put in that little Google box–calculate, flights, hotels, phone numbers, you name it. Try some of your own.
  2. Google Reader, Google Images, Google News, Google Alerts and sometimes even Froogle. The hours of searching these engines save…the mind boggles. [Note about Google Alerts–this is not for faint-hearted authors. It will find all mentions–news, blogs, articles, etc.–of the phrase you tell it to search for, and send it to your e-mail. So if you set a Google Alert to catch your name or book title, gird your loins for the onslaught. Remember that people will say anything on a blog, even nasty stuff about you and your books. It’ll also catch people being nice–really nice. And the occasional oddity. For example, Google Alert sends me a link every time the other Susan Wiggs–a Vancouver teacher in a dispute over union dues–makes the news.
  3. …and their latest, which wickedly pleases my sarcastic side, “Let Me Google That For You.” Next time you get a clueless, easily-resolved question from a co-worker, type his question into the search bar and click any button. LMGTFY will then create a link to share, directing the co-worker to a page with a Google tutorial with his specific question. The tutorial ends with snarky, “Was that so hard?” and a list of the search results. Note: if you’re really exasperated, you might need to bump it up a level. Just don’t use that one on your mother.

What are you grateful for today?

November 21 gratitude

November 21, 2008 | 11 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

its whats for breakfast
it's what's for breakfast
  1. Awrey’s Corn Toastums for breakfast
  2. Christmas books! I’ve been devouring them this season. I love reading other writers’ visions of Christmas.
  3. how cute Jay looks when he inadvertently puts together a great outfit, like today’s argyle sweater and Chuck Taylor hightops

What are you grateful for today?

November 20 gratitude

November 20, 2008 | 8 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. a six-hour phone and Internet outage today = six hours of uninterrupted writing
  2. seeing a comment from an old friend on this blog
  3. Google, for putting the entire LIFE magazine photo archive online:
Children follow the Drum Major at the University of Michigan, 1950.
Children follow the Drum Major at the University of Michigan, 1950.
Children follow the Drum Major at the University of Michigan, 1950.   
  “Another picture I hope to be remembered by is this one of the drum majorrehearsing at the University of Michigan. It was early in the morning, and Isaw a little boy running after him, and all the faculty children in the playingfield ran after the boy, and I ran after them. This is a completely spontaneous, unstaged picture.”   – Alfred Eisenstaedt

What are you grateful for today?

November 18 gratitude

November 18, 2008 | 9 Comments

Three things I’m grateful for:

  1. friends who put their trust in me
  2. a literary agent who is a fount of clever, amazing, outside-the-box ideas
  3. the lovely colors of nature in my garden today:

What are you grateful for today?