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Point of View: Grateful Amidst the Rubble

On paper, it’s been a fairly disastrous week.

One of our dear friends is dying of cancer, and to watch him and his family going through this just breaks our hearts.

On Saturday, my Mac – the one I use fourteen hours a day, seven days a week – gave up the ghost, deciding it wanted to reboot every 30-60 seconds.

And Facebook suspended my account – apparently because their new AI bot thought I was “impersonating a business.” – and in an instant I came this close to losing a community that I have spent fifteen years building.

That’s not even close to everything that’s happened to us.The last three months have brought a steady drumbeat of terrible things – from job search disappointments to credit card chargebacks, from family illnesses and mishaps to my own broken arm – the second time in a year and a half.

In October, I started a list simply called Shit-Storm – my way of getting my arms around all the awful things that were happening to us. Somehow, detailing them all in one place made it a little better. It was concrete proof that we truly have been dealt more than our fair share of reallybad things.

Given all that, I should probably be laying in bed with the covers pulled up over my head, refusing to “adult” again until the world resumes playing nice.

And yet…

I am one of those weird people with an almost irrepressible optimistic nature. I’m like an inflated beach ball… push me under the water, and I will pop up again, and spring high above the shimmering surface.

So instead of wallowing, I have decided to create a new list, an accounting of some the things I am grateful for, amidst the rubble of our lives:

First and foremost, I am grateful for Mark, who through the haze of his own emotional pain, manages to reach out and throw me a lifeline when I need it. And he always seems to know when I need it.

I am grateful that I renewed my AppleCare warranty last year on my MacBook Pro, and that I keep my old one. Otherwise, what will end up being a seven day wait for the repairs would have been catastrophic instead of just mildly inconvenient, and probably cost us a fortune.

I am grateful that a family member’s accidental fall resulted in only some sore muscles and a couple black eyes, and no broken bones.

I am grateful that we will soon have more family nearby, when my Aunt Lerri moves up to Sacramento from Southern California.

I am grateful that my Facebook suspension debacle was resolved in less than an hour – I have friends who have never gotten their old accounts back – even if I am now much more leery about how little control we have over our own data.

I am grateful for Kim Fielding, who is writing a fantastic new comedic portal fantasy with me, which has kept my writing going even as my own novel has stalled out.

I am grateful for Kim, Steven Radecki, Marvin Neu, Angel Martinez, Carolyn Cranford and Kathie Cox, and all the others in my circle of friends who check in with me regularly to see if I am okay.

I am grateful for sun on a cold winter’s day, reminding me that outside of these windows, the world still lives and breathes.

I am grateful to my friend, Anara, who took the time to walk me through all the little typos and issues she found in my forthcoming release, and to all the others in my life who give their time to help me make each new book the best it can be.

And I am grateful for every day I am granted on this Earth, to do all the things I was put here to do.

Life is shit. It’s is a series of disappointments and losses and pain and fears. Life can tear you down to the studs, and leave your ruination exposed for the whole world to see.

But life is also beautiful and complex and unexpected, the creepers and vines that grow up over the ruins, the midday sun on a winter afternoon that warms your face and reminds you that this is, once again, a new day. Another chance at something better.

And that, my friends, is the thing I’m most grateful for.

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