I am sitting on the balcony at twilight, overlooking the city of Las Vegas. Our balcony is protected: it has walls on three sides and does not jut out over the side of the building. The sense of privacy is nice, but I still can see the city.
Right now, the sky is bright pink, purple, blue, and a dusky gray that is absolutely breathtaking. The air smells of garlic from the restaurant below mixed with exhaust from a particularly foul motorcycle, smells that will get washed away any minute now by the dry (and somewhat cool) desert wind.
A helicopter thrums by overhead, and cars swoosh by below. The poor automated male voice of the walk/don’t walk sign on the traffic light below keeps shouting “Wait!” as if he’s the unpopular kid and everyone is leaving him behind.
At the wedding chapel across the street, a group of people just cheered and applauded. Another wedding done. Another couple, excited about spending their lives together. For the most part, that chapel is a place of optimism (although on some Saturday nights, the mystery writer in me sees it as a place that facilitates a felony which will occur five to ten years from now). Most everyone is smiling when they come out of that place; most everyone is happy. I like that.
Just like I like watching the lawyers on their way to the courthouse every weekday morning, some schlepping their briefcases and adjusting their ill-fitting suits, and others striding along in silk, as if they don’t have a care in the world. If the wedding chapel is a place of optimism, then the justice center and other courts around it are a place of high drama, some of it small and personal (traffic tickets) and some of it so serious (serial killers) that news vans from around the country line up to cover the case of a notorious defendant.
Last year, when I wrote my Thanksgiving blog, I had not expected to be here. I didn’t even know this balcony existed. Or that wedding chapel. Or the justice center.
I didn’t know that my increasing failing health would drive us here in a few months’ time. Nor, as we traveled on a long (and a bit scary) three-day drive, did I know that this move would work as well as it had. I had not expected to be running 5Ks every weekend this fall, or to have found my way back to writing projects long abandoned. I certainly had not expected to find not just one or two restaurants that could cater to my various food allergies, but so many that I have yet to try a tenth of them, with more opening every day.
I’ve lost weight, gained mental clarity, and have rejoined the land of the living, able to participate in things I never thought I could do again—such as go to concerts or plays or visit with friends in restaurants or go to conferences. It’s such a shift that I’m still reeling from it.
I’m not the only one whose health has improved. Dean’s has as well. And, surprising, so have the cats. Our indoor feral, Cheeps, has become social. He loves the sunlight, the windows, the heat, and has finally—after three years—adopted us into his pride.
I never expected that.
As you can probably tell from the blog posts, I’m digging my feet back into the nitty-gritty of publishing as well as writing. I’m getting my hands dirty on a bunch of different projects. I’ve also come up with some “wild-hair” ideas that have Dean shaking his head, which is always good. You’ll probably see the fruit of those ideas over the course of the next year.
Speaking of the course of the next year, I was looking at the calendar, and realized that Thanksgiving was just a few short weeks away. I decided to write this blog early in November, before we know how the political climate shakes out, because if things don’t go the way I hope, then I might be feeling less than charitable on November 22, which is America’s annual celebration of family, friends, love, and gratitude.
I thought about waiting anyway, and then decided that it simply wasn’t fair. If my mood is dark on that day, that won’t reflect on the year I’ve had. The year I’ve had has been an unbelievably good one, and I’m so grateful for it.
I’m so happy that you all have come along with me on this crazy ride. I say every week that I cannot write this blog without you. Usually I don’t like having readers in my office. I’m one of those selfish writers who writes for my own enjoyment—at least in fiction.
But in nonfiction, I both want and need an audience. More than that, really. I got my professional start in radio, and feedback there is instantaneous. Even back thirty-some years ago. If the listeners didn’t like what you were doing, they would call and complain. If they loved it, they would call and let you know.
Since I worked for a listener-sponsored station, I learned early that the listeners only opened their checkbooks for programming that they loved.
So I value each and every interaction with you folks. It shows me that the time I spend writing nonfiction is worthwhile. I’m constantly having conversations with you all in my head, figuring out what is worth putting to virtual paper, realizations that help not only me, but might help you too.
Thanks for the discussions and the challenges and the links and the thoughts and the willingness to consider what I have to say. Thanks too for reading, whenever you do, and however you do. I appreciate it more than I can say.
So, as November starts, and I look toward the completion of one of the stranger years of my life, I wanted to take the time to say thank you. And I wanted to do it without the noise and distraction that sometimes comes after a U.S. election. I wanted to share the beauty of a fall night in this strange and new-to-me place.
I will finish this post, and write another. Unlike previous years, the Thanksgiving post won’t be the only post of the week.
But it will be the most important.
Because this blog would not exist without you.
And for that, I am very, very, very grateful.
“Business Musings: An Attitude of Gratitude,” copyright © 2018 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / adogslifephoto.