#TBT (Throwback Thanksgiving)

A reblog of Ever On Word’s 2011 Thanksgiving post. Because gratitude is timeless, like that.

<<<>>>

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed by people referring to the fourth Thursday of November as “Turkey Day”?

Not that I’ve got anything against turkey, mind you. It’s tasty. It’s remarkably plumed. Ben Franklin could have gotten his way and had it made the national bird, for all I care. Turkey, in and of itself is not, the problem. This is a matter of respect, and the dignity of names.

I don’t know that holidays have feelings, but if they did, how do you suppose Thanksgiving would feel about being called Turkey Day? Belittled, perhaps? Underappreciated? Loved only for its traditional bounteous feast? Singled out, probably; we don’t treat the rest of the holidays this way!

And, hey, why not? Why not give up the charade of caring what holidays are really about and just call a spade by how we honestly perceive the spade all year long? A sneak peek at the adjusted calendar, everyone:

Valentine’s Day = Spend Big Money on Your Woman Day

Presidents’ Day = Day Off from School

Easter = Candy Day

Birthdays = Cake Day

Independence Day = Fireworks Day

Minstrel Day = Totally Oughtta Be a Holiday

Labor Day = Barbeque Day

All Hallows’ Even = Candy Day Part II

Christmas = Presents Day

New Year’s Eve = Stay Up and Party ‘Til the Next Day …Day

Tacky, isn’t it? So here’s an idea – how’s about we all show Thanksgiving a little consideration by remembering what the day is actually for. Not parades, not football, not awesome pilgrim hats; not even the sweet delights of turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the good eats in between. It’s about giving thanks; expressing gratitude for the stuff we’ll probably go back to taking for granted, most of the rest of the year. I’ll lead off:

Thank you, family, friends, followers, and strangers, for taking a few minutes out of your day to read my blog. I truly appreciate the attention, the support, and the opportunity to share my words with you.

And thank you, too, Thanksgiving! – for just your being you.

“Reenactment” or “The First Avalon Faire Thanksgiving”

W.A.I.T. Button

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every Saturday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you a historical reenactment of the first Avalon Faire Thanksgiving!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a lone spotlight shining on Allyn-a-Dale, seated on a tall stool with a heavy, official-looking tome in his lap.]

Allyn: The year is nineteen-seventy-something-or-other…or roughly eight-hundred years earlier, depending on which side of the great divide you’re watching from – a divide by no means easy to cross. Many lives were lost on the pilgrimage from medieval Sherwood to the New World. Come to that, nobody made it over alive at all.

[A light goes up on Robin Hood, Marion, Little John, and Will Scarlet in front of a forest backdrop, all wearing tall, buckled pilgrim hats, and clutching at the arrows and/or swords jutting out of their bodies.]

Merry Men [in unison]: Unngh! [all fall down dead in a pool of fake blood]

[All light save Allyn’s goes black]

Allyn: Fortunately, their destination’s natives were possessed of powerful regenerative magic, and restored the pilgrims to life.

[The light returns, sparkling off of a glitter-covered cardboard castle cutout. The weaponry and blood has been removed from the Merry Men, who begin to stir and look around them in wonder.]

Little John: Oooh…

Marion: Aaah…

Will: So much wooonder…

Robin Hood: Where are we?

Merlin [stepping into the castle doorway]: Welcome to Avalon Faire.

[All light save Allyn’s goes black.]

Allyn: They’d come to a beautiful land of freedom and bounty.

Will [calling out from the dark]: Freedom?

Allyn: Well, less freedom than some would have liked. You see, the magic that kept the pilgrims alive also kept them bound to within a fairly strict perimeter. They could not leave the Faire.

Will[’s voice in the dark]: Boo!

Allyn: But there were other benefits. Television, for one.

[Light comes up on Will Scarlet lounging on a couch in front of the glitter castle, flipping imaginary channels with a prop remote control.]

Will: Say, wilt thou look upon all the neat stuff that people in the future doth get up to! What’s this? Advertisements and holiday specials all about…Thanksgiving? Hmm…

[All light save Allyn’s goes black.]

Allyn: Always eager for excuses to make merry, Will Scarlet coaxed the pilgrims to make like Americans and adopt Thanksgiving traditions of their own.

[Three spotlights appear in a row on the stage. The Merry Men chase each other through the first, tossing a football back and forth and tackling each other to the ground. …or trying and failing to, in the case of Will smashing ineffectually against the wall of Little John.]

Will: Oof!

[Spotlight #1 goes out and the Men enter #2, where lovely artificial snow tumbles down in flurries.]

Will: Game called on account of a SNOWBALL FIGHT! Get ready for payback, Little John!

Little John: [throws a snowball big as a man’s head in Will’s face]

Will: Oof!

[Spotlight #2 goes out and the Men enter #3, where a feast awaits on a beautifully laid-out table. Seated around the table, the Men clink glasses and pass dishes around and laugh at jokes that nobody made.]

Robin: Pumpkin pie, anyone?

Will: Hahahaha!

Little John: No, seriously.

Will: No, seriously, I ate all the pie.

Marion: Oof.

[All light save Allyn’s goes black.]

Allyn: And that’s how Thanksgiving first came to Avalon Faire, a day of gratitude for life reborn, for family by bond of friendship, and for a home where Robin Hood never again had to make the difficult choice between letting either Will Scarlet or England starve.

Will[’s voice in the dark]: Hilarious, Allyn.

Allyn [closing his book with a laughing-eyed smile]: The End.

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Steven Bourelle and Miranda McNeff,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘snowball fight’ and ‘pumpkin pie’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! Until next week, friends! Will and Allyn out!”

“Thanks” or “Advance Gratitude for the Bounty to Come”

Thanksgiving’s tomorrow, in my little part of the world, and I’m already getting into gratitude mode. Specifically, I’m thinking about how glad I am that J. Taylor Publishing’s “One More Day” anthology launches on Monday – (this coming Monday, guys! How did this day creep up on me so fast?! Next thing you know, I’ll blink and it’ll be Christmas!) – and ways in which I want to show how appreciative I’ll be for every display of support by readers, friends, and fans. And few things say “thank you, thank you, thank-ity thank you!” like a giveaway, right? Right!

This is by no means the only giveaway that will be going on in celebration of the book’s release. It’s just the one I’m most excited about at the moment, because come on, look at what I have to give you!

OneMoreDayCharmBookmarks

One More Day” bookmarks … laminated … with little clock charms in keeping with the book’s theme of frozen time. Are they not the most adorable, gorgeous little things I ever assembled?!

*tries to remember if I’ve ever assembled a more adorable, gorgeous little thing*

*nothing comes to mind*

I want to give these away! …And I want to keep them and stroke them and call them my preciousss, but don’t worry, I’m totally giving them away.

OneMoreDay-Blog-Tour-Button

Entry will be the usual easy-peasy affair I try to make ‘em: Blog comments, Facebook shares, retweets, and the like for raffle points. There will be seven winners, in honor of the seven authors (myself included) who contributed to “One More Day”. The action starts on December 2nd (Launch Day!) when I post my first of a series of interviews with the anthology’s authors for the “One More Day” blog tour. ^.^ So, yup – plenty to get hyped about, and plenty to be grateful for, and I haven’t even had a bite of turkey yet!

Stay tuned, and stay thankful. (:

“Hostel” or “A Homophone for ‘Hostile’, but Way Friendlier”

As a part of my awesome NaNo 2012 adventure*…

*(My apologies to anyone who had performed a happy dance under the misapprehension that you wouldn’t have to hear another word about National Novel Writing Month until sometime next autumn. If you are, for personal reasons, sick to death of even a passing mention of the subject, please know that it was not my intention to contribute to your nausea, and have my assurance that this blog piece is not actually so much about The Month That Shall Not Be Named as it is about other stuff entirely. So do stick it out to the end of the article, if you feel that your constitution can handle it.)

…I traveled to California to, a) visit with my writing buddy bestie Tirzah and, b) participate in NaNo’s infamous Night of Writing Dangerously* in San Franciso*.

*(Both of these will totally get blog pieces all to themselves, in the near future. The “sick to death of NaNo” camp can feel free to skip the NoWD post.)

Now, while Tirzah’s house is significantly closer to San Francisco than is my place in the Midwest, it was still far enough away that we needed to find a place to board us while we were in the city. From what I glimpsed while walking its streets (usually somewhere in the range of “mildly lost” to “tragically lost”), San Fran’s got some ridiculously nice hotels to offer. But “ridiculously nice” = “crazy expensive”, often enough, and Tirzah and I were looking for something a little more within the budget.

Ultimately, then, we went with “a supervised, inexpensive lodging place for travelers, especially young travelers” – i.e., a hostel. The Pacific Tradewinds Backpacker Hostel, to be precise.

We arrived on a dark and stormy (well… rainy, anyway) Friday night, after a long day of missing train connections and walking several miles with forty-pound loads and inappropriate walking shoes (note to self from feet: Get some cushy insoles for my awesome boots) and, as I’ve mentioned, being lost. I was tired and sore and grumpy; Tirzah was tired and sore and less grumpy, because she’s the sort of cheerful person that I feel like punching in the face on nights like these. But upon the eventual discovery of the hostel’s door cleverly hidden just a few yards from where I’d been standing in despair, I did not cry – not tears of exhaustion at having to drag myself up three flights of stairs to get to the check-in desk, nor tears of joy at just finally, finally being there.

Checking in was a reasonably quick and friendly affair; we were given an overview of the rules of the realm, the keys we’d need to move about with autonomy, and the magical words every laptop-toting writer loves to hear: Free wi-fi. We spent our last hours of the evening in the common room, happily plugged in and slowly drying out and generally content with our lot. The night hadn’t ended before we’d gotten started on making ourselves at home, making friends, and making memories.

Tirzah with our new insta-buddy, Kat.
Tirzah with our new insta-buddy, Kat.
I told Tirzah to look like she was getting up to something in the kitchen;
she chose “no good”.

Pacific Tradewinds became our home base during our San Francisco stay; the place we looked forward to returning to after long days of sightseeing in the city and evenings dining and writing with fellow NaNo types. Falling out of my top-bunk bed didn’t happen, and enduring some roommate’s mighty snores for two out of my three nights there didn’t kill me (though I may or may not have spent a 4am contemplating suicide; my future husband had better not snore). Bathrooms were small and privacy was limited, but we’d been warned of that going in and were quite willing to pay that instead of additional money.

To my daily delight, every morning featured complimentary breakfast – toast (peanut butter and jelly optional) and cold cereal and hot tea and coffee. And if you were in the right place at the right time, somebody might offer you the remains of their lovely-smelling dinner from the next table over. (Evening number one, Tirzah and I were in that right place and time. Yum, yum, yay for chicken stir fry and potatoes.) There was even a Thanksgiving feast which, sadly, Tirzah and I didn’t get to partake in, having returned to her house the Monday before. On the upside, we didn’t leave too soon to miss out on contributing to the hostel-wide hand-turkey wall.

Voluntary holiday craft time!
Voluntary holiday craft time!
Tirzah is thankful for stars, clouds, ink and paper, the Night of Writing Dangerously, “The Night Circus” (the book that inspired her turkey’s design, by the way), a good night’s sleep, and all things noir.
Tirzah is thankful for stars, clouds, ink and paper, the Night of Writing Dangerously, “The Night Circus” (the book that inspired her turkey’s design, by the way), a good night’s sleep, and all things noir.
I’m thankful for books, characters, and we who write them; sky, water, and all pretty things blue; sisters, best friends *like* sisters, and San Fran; hostels that foster hand-turkey creation.
I’m thankful for books, characters, and we who write them; sky, water, and all pretty things blue; sisters, best friends *like* sisters, and San Fran; hostels that foster hand-turkey creation.
The Pacific Tradewinds hand-turkey wall, in all its glory. ...Or all the glory that we got to see before we left town, anyway.
The Pacific Tradewinds hand-turkey wall, in all its glory. …Or all the glory that we got to see before we left town, anyway.

So, that was pretty much my experience there. Travelers planning on passing through San Francisco, check it out. Pacific Tradewinds is run by a fun bunch of folks, and there’s plenty of cool stuff within walking or busing distance…some of which will get written about and photographically illustrated in a post coming soon to an Ever On Word blog near you. Stay tuned, y’all…

“Thanksgiving”

Am I the only one who gets really annoyed by people referring to the fourth Thursday of November as “Turkey Day”?

            Not that I’ve got anything against turkey, mind you. It’s tasty. It’s remarkably plumed. Ben Franklin could have gotten his way and had it made the national bird, for all I care. Turkey, in and of itself is not, the problem. This is a matter of respect, and the dignity of names.

            I don’t know that holidays have feelings, but if they did, how do you suppose Thanksgiving would feel about being called Turkey Day? Belittled, perhaps? Underappreciated? Loved only for its traditional bounteous feast? Singled out, probably; we don’t treat the rest of the holidays this way!

            And, hey, why not? Why not give up the charade of caring what holidays are really about and just call a spade by how we honestly perceive the spade all year long? A sneak peek at the adjusted calendar, everyone:

Valentine’s Day = Spend Big Money on Your Woman Day

Presidents’ Day = Day Off from School

Easter = Candy Day

Birthdays = Cake Day

Independence Day = Fireworks Day

Minstrel Day = Totally Oughtta Be a Holiday

Labor Day = Barbeque Day

All Hallows’ Even = Candy Day Part II

Christmas = Presents Day

New Year’s Eve = Stay Up and Party ‘Til the Next Day …Day

            Tacky, isn’t it? So here’s an idea – how’s about we all show Thanksgiving a little consideration by remembering what the day is actually for. Not parades, not football, not awesome pilgrim hats; not even the sweet delights of turkey, pumpkin pie, and all the good eats in between. It’s about giving thanks; expressing gratitude for the stuff we’ll probably go back to taking for granted, most of the rest of the year. I’ll lead off:

            Thank you, family, friends, followers, and strangers, for taking a few minutes out of your day to read my blog. I truly appreciate the attention, the support, and the opportunity to share my words with you.

            And thank you, too, Thanksgiving! – for just your being you.

“Parade”

A special blog post, now, for the announcement of “an organized public procession on a festive or ceremonial occasion”-related news:

            The festive occasion? Thanksgiving Day. The organized public procession? Chicago’s McDonalds Thanksgiving Parade. The reason I think this merits your particular attention? Because – I’ve lately learned – my super-awesome, dance-tastic little sister, Dianne, is going to be in the parade – twice!

            So for those of you with access to WGN (or WGN National, for non-Chicagolanders) tomorrow, starting at 8am Central, it’d be really awesome if you tuned in to see her. Here’s the gorgeous face for which to keep an eye out:

Love ya, D!

            She’s first scheduled to show up as a background dancer for The EriAm Sisters (whom you may or may not know from “America’s Got Talent”). From what I gather, that performance is supposed to be rather early in the lineup.

            She’ll be back for more near the end (sometime a little after Santa makes an appearance, she tells me), groovin’ with several members from her crew, Design Dance Company, and something about a high school and a marching band… Our communication tends to lack detail. The point is, she’ll be looking hot, because she’s Dianne.

            I’m really excited for her, and now I triply can’t wait to watch the parade! Leave a shout-out in the comments if any of you see her! 😀

Edit: Yippee-skippe, we’ve got video! The EriAm Sisters performance is here for your viewing pleasure. Everyone did a great job! …probably. I confess, the sister to which I paid most heed was mine. (: