I have opinions. Wanna hear them? Giving thanks
Thanksgiving. I’d always wondered about this uniquely Northern Hemisphere event. It seems to involve an abundance of pie, pumpkin recipes, a proliferation of Starbucks lattes laced with what I’ve discovered is mixed allspice, and some sort of parade, followed by frightening demonstrations of how to effectively stampede through the aisles in stores, elbowing people out of the way to score the last TV. I’m not sure about the turkeys.
I figured there had to be more to it than that. So, I googled. And I discovered that Thanksgiving occurs on the fourth Thursday of November in the United States and at various other autumnal moments in Canada, Brazil, Grenada, the Philippines, Saint Lucia, Liberia, and the Netherlands. Blessing the harvest appears to be the basis of the celebration, which makes perfect sense if one is sitting in a log cabin on the land, having gathered in the summer crops to shove them away in crates, casks, and cellars in preparation for the long winter. This probably explains why it hasn’t taken off in Australia, as come November we’re pretty much done with Spring, and on our way to Summer. Maybe it’s because our toilet water rotates backwards or we wear thongs on our feet.
But the idea of giving thanks, and showing gratitude, is universal. It’s a character trait that comes with a buffet of awesome benefits. Like serotonin. It’s nature’s little happy pill, an inbuilt mood-stabiliser. If you’re on the receiving end of a thank you, a super dose of serotonin smacks you right in the heart. The person saying thanks gets a super dose of serotonin as well, even if they aren't expecting it because maybe their only goal is to express appreciation. What a thoughtful, egalitarian hormone.
It’s important to say thank you. To tell someone that they’re appreciated. To express gratitude. It makes people feel valued, not just because of what they can do, but because of who they are. You’d think everyone would do it more often, what with all the warm fuzzy goodness that comes with it.
I say thank you to my wife and kiddo every day. But in this month of Thanksgiving and pumpkin lattes and inordinately large inflatable balloons, I’d like to say a few more thank yous.
I’d like to say thank you to each and every reader who has ever picked up and read one of my books—the fluffy romances, the deep stories that are romances as well, that story where the bloke gets incinerated, the one which isn’t a HEA. You’re all wonderful people and I love that you have embraced the words of a still-newbie writer from Australia who wandered into the lesfic meeting because they couldn't find the bathroom.
I want to say thank you to those who have reposted, retweeted, shared, liked, replied, or interacted somehow with one of my inane writerly ramblings and essay-thingies. Even if you clicked by accident, that’s really nice of you.
I want to say thank you to the reviewers; the ones who click the stars, the ones who write their hearts, the ones who post something about one of my books but don't tag me so I come across it randomly and I leak happy tears, the ones who tweet 280 characters of ‘oh my God this book is great and you should read it and here’s a string of emojis about how I feel because I’m running out of—-”. You’ve read one of my books, and given it space in your memories, and that is a gift.
I want to say thank you to the writers and betas and designers and people who gave me access to Canva, and Vellum, and other excellent author-y tools, and the person who put together my website when I blew up the other one, and the person who made 'You need rescuing so just send me the file' gimme hands and designed my covers so they look professional and amazing, and those who sent words, memes, GIFs, videos of encouragement and motivation and praise in emails, and in direct messages, and in Skype calls, and in Messenger videos, and in person. You’ve welcomed me into the club and it’s embarrassing how much I’ve rushed about showing off my membership card and lanyard.
I value every single person who has helped me grow from an invisible human with access to the internet, to "that Australian author who writes in that kinda squirly, unique way and has good characters and somehow managed to win a couple of things”.
So, thanks. I hope you have many serotonin boosts in the days, weeks, months ahead. Right in your heart. You deserve it.
Although, technically, serotonin isn’t in your heart, but rather it is produced in neurons originating in the midline of the brainstem and transported throughout the body by the endocrine sys—right. Sorry.