What are you thankful for?

The lovely, lovely folks over at Modcloth recently posted their Top 10 list of things to be thankful for, in honour of Thanksgiving Day 2008! And, since I did something like this for Halloween, I thought I’d run another little contest here. Post a list of things (it doesn’t have to be 10 things, or anywhere near as lengthy as mine!) YOU are thankful for in the comments box, and if there are enough entries, the best one will win a poetic prize!
This is open to everyone, not just those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, although you lot may well be better versed at this kind of thing… You have until this Saturday to write your lists, so get on it!

My own list is as follows…

1. My flat. This is up there with all the other big stuff - you know, running water, being born in a safe, stable(ish!) country, my education etc. Having a roof over my head is a big deal, and although I whinge about how small it is (The Boy and I live together in a one-room studio apartment), it’s a pretty decent roof. My flat is on the fourth floor of a converted warehouse on the super-trendy (apparently) Grassmarket, right in the centre of Edinburgh’s Old Town. It has sunny yellow walls, posters, plants, my prized stereo and space for all my books and records. It’s easy to keep warm and clean because it’s so small; it also has a balcony and a communal roof garden right under the magnificent Edinburgh castle! It’s also stupidly cheap; I love it really.

2. The Boy. Cheesy but inevitable. Like I say, we’ve lived together in a tiny one-room apartment for over two years now, and so far we haven’t even come close to murdering each other — for that alone I am grateful. Probably because he’s 5′4″ of tattooed loveliness… apart from the fact he doesn’t seem to know how to hang up wet towels in any way at all.

3. The Read This team, past and present. I nag these guys endlessly, but I couldn’t do it without them, and I love them to bits. They all bring something different to the magazine (Dave is the serious, literary one; Struan is the nice one; Chris is the cynical, scathing one and Hayley is always the casting vote!) and they always ensure that there’s never a dull moment when it comes to editorial meetings!! I’m particularly grateful to them now that we’ve reached one year in publication: I never thought it would happen… but between them they made it happen!

4. My sister. Because no matter what I do or say and regardless of the fact that no one else wants to talk to me or help me out, she’s always around and she’s always ready to forgive me for being stupid or annoying. She’s also freaking hilarious, crazy, spontaneous and great to spend time with. She produces some pretty sweet artwork too!

5. Forest Cafe. Forest is without doubt the coolest place in the whole of Edinburgh, and sometimes I feel like I practically live there. It’s a cool, cozy cafe and venue-space with bright orange walls, murals, crazy painted table-tops, a tiny stage with a piano, and incense burning everywhere. They serve delicious veggie and vegan food (soup, burritos, cake) and loads of different kind of tea, and the kitchen is totally staffed by volunteers. Forest also has its own art gallery space, a music practice studio, an action room, a library, a free shop (where people take stuff they don’t want/need any more and other people are free to take it away), a hairdresser (£10 for a haircut with a free shot of vodka!) and a shop selling the art, crafts and music of Edinburgh locals… all under one roof! They also run Forest Free Records, their own recording imprint, and Forest Free Press & Forest Publishing - publishing initiatives which, among other things, put together chapbooks for poets and produce Read This! Forest is basically my second home and I love it!

RT eds Dave, Chris and Struan, and Tontine ed Julia, in the Forest!

6. The Universe being kind to me. Just small things like finding out that one of my neighbours had a bookcase going free-to-a-good home, just when my book collection was starting to spill off my old shelves (and the fact that it fit perfectly in a space in my flat!). Sweet emails from you guys, finding awesome stuff by chance in charity shops, writing a great poem… stuff like that. Cool, small things happening.

7. Edinburgh. I love my home city to bits, and having lived here five years, I really feel like a part of it now. I can give directions to just about anywhere, I’m officially a regular at the Blind Poet pub, I know all the cool poetry events and such that are going on and I’ve managed to keep a literary magazine going here (in the UNESCO World City of Literature no less!) for a year. It’s cold and windy here but it’s also beautiful, friendly and there’s always something going on. It’s possibly the best place in the world to be a writer, too… so much inspiration and encouragement. Thank you Edinburgh!

8. Secondhand stores. Because I am a poor and smelly student (and have been for the past four years!) most of my stuff - clothes, shoes, records, books - comes from thrift shops and vintage stores. To anyone who’s turning their noses up at the thought: think again! Pretty much all the coolest things I own were once thrifted… and anyway, I am sick to death of reading all these look-at-my-brand-new-designer-shoes, look-at-the-outfit-I-wore-today-it-cost-£300 type blogs and sites. They seem to place so much value on labels and spending. Thrift, guys! It helps your pocket and it helps the environment.

9. My parents. I’m so lucky to have parents as supportive, accepting and generally cool as mine are. They’ve supported me all through my degree and continue to do so in all kinds of ways. They are totally behind me in terms of my poetic projects, they help me out financially when I need them to and their house is always open for me at all times. The only slightly disturbing thing is their habit for Googling my name to find out what I’m up to!

10. You: my ONS readers! ONS has been going for about three months now - it took a bit of a leap of faith to set it up, but thanks to all your support and help, I’ve been reassured that it was a good thing to do! It would be pointless if no one read, if no one responded, so thank you guys! You keep ONS going and you are the reason for it!

OK guys - what are you thankful for? You can list the big stuff, the small stuff, or anything else in between. The best list will get a prize, so get listing!

(Image by BlueRidgeLady)

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9 Responses to “What are you thankful for?”

  1. Charlotte R Says:

    Procrastinating, so here we we go:

    1. Photographs, photographs, photographs. I’m thankful for my camera and for photographic technology. I love taking photos, editing them, experimenting with them, and it’s such a great alternative outlet for creativity when my poetry’s in a rut. Emile Zola said you haven’t really seen something until you’ve photographed it, and I find that a photo I’ve taken can spark off whole new ways of seeing things and help with art and writing and everything. Personally I think you haven’t really seen something until you’ve photographed it, sketched it, and written a poem about it…

    2. To be in Cambridge again - I feel like I’m learning loads, reading amazing things, and really making the most of it now I’m healthy enough to appreciate it.

    3. Speaking of which… my health. After spending so long drifting in and out of painful illnesses, it’s really nice to be fit and robust again (not including the traditional winter colds and flu, of course…)

    4. Slaving over sonnets that turn out to work better than you think they will. That was a fun way to spend my Sunday this week!

    5. The owl that lives outside my window. I love hearing him hoot in the evenings when I’m slaving away on work for college. He’s like my own personal cheerleader :)

    6. PARTY SEASON COMING UP! I have my lipstick and my sparkly dress and it’s going to be lovely, lovely, lovely!

    7. Of course, friends and family. Always!

    Awww, writing this list made me feel all warm!

  2. free name poems | Sun Microsystems Says:

    [...] What are you thankful for? Forest also has its own art gallery space, a music practice studio, an action room, a library, a free shop (where people take stuff they don’t want/need any more and other people are free to take it away), a hairdresser (£10 for a … [...]

  3. Maggie Says:

    What a great list (and great responses) ! Thanks, as always, for the kind words.

  4. Anthony Cuervos. Says:

    What am I thankful for…

    the sun, the sky, the earth. everything nature has to offer in its fundamental, exquisitely simplistic beauties. I am thankful for solitude, thankful for the times when I hear laughter in my ear and warm hands on my back. I am thankful for the rain when it falls at night, and the sound of the wind through the trees. Gifts come to me in the form of whispered breezes that rush among st the branches outside my window, a-rattlin’ near the rooftops. I am thankful for sweet white snowfall and intelligent conversation over warm cocoa or coffee. I am thankful for the smell of hazelnuts brewing or the heated crackling dance of a freshly-kindled hearth-fire.
    I am thankful for the inspiration I receive, the muses that sway in and out of the grasp of my mind and the hope that comes and goes with what gifts are given for me to create. I am thankful for the characters in my stories and the music that is made by millions. I am thankful for those who take time out of their day to talk to me. I am blessed by so much and I just…truly wish to say thank you for it.
    and thank you, most of all, for offering an opportunity for me to gush. And taking time, perhaps, to read this.
    With gratitude,


  5. Anthony Cuervos. Says:

    (*and to amend, the line after people who talk to me..)
    the roof over my head, shoes on my feet, warm clothes and plenty to eat…

  6. Orc Bruto Says:

    Hummmm… let me see…

    I am very thankful for all the wonderful girls in Deviant Art that pose very creatively to great photographers and make wonderful photos, making my day marvelous for seeing them!

    I am also thankful for the wonderful girls that not only take the photos but answer my notes and add me in MSN to chat! Its wonderful to have such gorgeous friends all over the world!

  7. Nick Says:

    It’s been tough thinking thankfully.

    I’m thankful I guess that it’s not Thanksgiving anywhere except the US.

    A whole day of being thankful? Sounds like gruelling work.

    1) My Garden. It’s long and narrow, starts with a patio. I’ve sat there for hours in the quiet in evenings past. It’s nicknamed ‘The Jungle’ by friends, on account of the unorganised clutter of the plants. It gives me space to think, and space to listen. I’ve had conversations out there that feel precious even now, in spite of forgetting the words. And it’s where I make my head slow down…

    2) My Herbs. Drugs are a curse, this much everybody knows. But to find the blessings hidden amongst all the crap, for this I am thankful. My brain with it’s restless tide of thinking threatens to never cease, and it’s weed that chokes my thoughts and allows me to breath. It essentially dumbs me down so I can function. I hate it. But if my addiction went, I think I’d miss it.

    3) My Brain. It works too hard, but it’s beautiful. Everything else seems relative; it could flee whenever. But my mind is something that will stay, I hope. It passes exams for me, knows what to say, and guides me in what I do. It’s been a terrible guide, but faithful, and for this I am thankful.

    4) My Expulsion. My brain secured me a place at an expensive and traditional school for free of charge. I hated school. It was all so pointless. With the exception of Art and Greek, it required memory, not intellect - the English department scared me. But in my final year, almost a year ago to this day, my medicine/burden got me expelled. Every person who smoked drugs in school time was swiped away. I am so thankful. It gave me freedom, wisdom and suffering, through which I became so much more than I could ever have been if i had stuck to the tightrope of normality. This probably makes no sense to read, but it does make sense to live. And living is very different to simply ‘progressing’, and I thanksful that I know that.

    5) Coffee and Tea. Bloody hell, without hot drinks I’d probably suffer from chronic depression. Those ten minutes drinking a drink, often with both a book and fag in hand, they kept me sane. I work at a coffee shop; if you want liquid pleasure, try a double expresso mocha with whole milk and a touch of cream…

    6) English Weather. I love seasons. I love how the year starts so cold. You wake up to frost. And then the world seems to thaw! By Spring there’s new life, which always reminds me that through the harshest winter comes the same Spring flowers. And then Summer! Not before the rains of course - and Summer lasts about a month if we’re lucky. But those days, lying on the grass with friends, in lucid indifference to just about everything; I say thankyou!

    7) Books. Thankyou, civilisation, for producing authors and books. For words on a page, waiting for fresh life, for the mind to merely consider them. Thankyou for Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist. Thankyou Lawrence! Thankyou Pratchett, Golding and Gaskell. I’m thankful for the dreams they hold, for the promise that there truly is no ‘normal’ life.

    8) Something. Something keeps saving me. I got expelled, desended into far worse levels of addiction, spent the whole year in Birmingham, turned up to the exams, and pulled it off, and got an offer for Uni. It wasn’t me. it was lucky. For that lucky spark, I’m so so thankful.

    9) My Friends. They seem to see something in me that I don’t. They make me feel loved when I need to be. They criticise me for my shortcomings. But most of all, they give me space. They don’t demand my trust. We’re a family, we all speak English and spend nearly all our time in Birmingham though we are all so thoroughly different. I’m thankful for that.

    Nick. Sply.

  8. Katja Nikula Says:

    1. My parents (and dog!). They’ve been there for me through some really, really rough patches and sometimes i cannot understand WHY they would keep on keeping on with me, but they do.

    2. Getting accepted into the Uni I’m at, getting to study English filology, which means lots of literature and arts and history and language.

    3. Being on the mend.

    4. As butt-kissy as it sounds, this blog. I found it literally a few weeks after starting Uni, right when I was going through poetry in my Lit tutorial class, and reading this blog inspired me (still does!) a lot, and made it somehow easier to understand what we were talking about in class.

    5. All the great, inspiring people I’ve met online and in real life, who dare to think outside the circle and are creative and unique.

    6. Music, without which I would go absolutely insane, be bored to tears, feel more alone than I am, etc.

    7. I’m thankful that there is thankfulness in the world, still! It’s like hope.

  9. H. Says:

    Sadness and wealth.
    South African liquor.
    Smoking a cigar in my pink bathrobe.
    Tyler, who writes poetry and licks the inside of my mouth.
    Sadness and wealth.
    My mother, who stole 7 thousand dollars from me - I hate you, but thank you for birthing me, I suppose.
    My brother, who no longer speaks to me, thank you for getting into the fight with me one time when I hit you with a shovel - these things teach us a lot.
    Sadness and wealth.

    The first time I held a gun and shot a plastic bottle in the desert.

    My husband, who works twelve hour days so I can sit around smoking a cigar in my pink bathrobe and writing.

    The turkey we cooked at midnight, drinking apple wine, eating molasses cookies.

    The place I lay my head that is sadness and wealth.

    And the way a turkey looks like after you take off all of the meat - so naked and strange and wonderful.