Wednesday, November 25, 2009

An Unexpected "Thank You"

When I was trying to think what I wanted to write for a Thanksgiving post, Alanis Morissette's "Thank You," off her 1999 album "Supposed Former Infatuation Junkie," popped into my head as a silly joke. Alanis? For Thanksgiving? She's Canadian, for goodness's sake. But I have always liked her for her emotional nakedness and sheer belting, and liked the song, too, for its hypnotic rhythm and narrative of slow progress toward health and peace. And when I thought more about the lyrics of the chorus:

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

I realized how interesting and appropriate they would be for Thanksgiving. Because the song is not about giving thanks for good things, like I do every day, for sweet potatoes and my family and James and a warm bed and the novels of Georgette Heyer; but rather giving thanks to things, sometimes (not always) hard things, for experiences that made me better by pushing me beyond where I had been. And Thanksgiving at its best is meant to be both, I think: a peaceful moment of good things, celebrating a respite from the difficult ones; and gratitude for all of the harvest of one's year.

So there is no way to make this lyrically pretty, no matter what beat I put under it, but I would say thank you to rejection, anxiety, and self-consciousness; Park Slope United Methodist Church; my authors; my commenters here; various people discussing various questions in children's literature; therapy, yoga, running; Kickstarter; the bloggers at the Atlantic; and all the people in my life, especially my friends. And I am thankful for many of those same things, and for cuisines from around the world and good movies and independent bookstores and my running shoes and blonde hair, and public transportation even when I curse it, and my job even when I want to do nothing, and James Franco on "General Hospital" and "Glee" and the good gentlemen of Project Rungay, and for many things more. And for Alanis, too, for always being so thoroughly herself.

Happy Thanksgiving, all!


  1. It is so true that without challenges, life would be boring. It would be worse than never experiencing rejection, anxiety, and self-consciousness. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Comfortably numb is what life would be without the things we first perceive as negative. (Hey, if you can use Alanis M, I can use Pink Floyd:)

    I'm also thankful for a lot: my wife, my girlies, and my Life!!!

    Happy Turkey Day all!

  3. What a lovely, untraditional Thanksgiving thought. I know you're an editor, but your inner writer is showing a little bit here.

    I'm thankful for all kinds of things, including publishing people who take the time to teach me the biz through their blogs.

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  4. Thanks for not posting a generic Thanksgiving post. :)

  5. I love that you are thankful for James Franco on General Hospital and Glee, two shows that are welcome escapes in my hectic schedule.

    There is much to be thankful for, and your insightful, entertaining blog definitely makes my list. Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy Glee tonight!

  6. I saw this after Thanksgiving, but it's perfect. Yes, the hard stuff challenges us. Great post! (I'm visiting via a link at Lurker Monkey's).

  7. Hey Cheryl, did you see the kerfluffle about the SLJ cover in their magazine? Roger Sutton has a link.

    Kerfluffle in short: "OMG alcohol!"

  8. yeah truly a great site.I really enjoyed my visit.