Business Musings: Giving Thanks

Business Musings free nonfiction On Writing

I call this a regular Thursday blog, even though it posts on Wednesday night (if I’m lucky). Which means that every year, this post falls on American Thanksgiving, which falls on the last Thursday of November.

Most years, I write a Thanksgiving post, although some years, I write a standard post.

I have a post ready to go. I’ve scheduled it for next week, because it’s a little bleak. I was going to say that “like 2020, it’s a little bleak.” But 2020 isn’t “a little” bleak. It’s a bleak year.

If you go to history, like I often do, for advice or a way to cope with what’s coming, you’ll see the pattern: there are bleak years. Sometimes they’re bleak for the entire world (the early 1940s come to mind) and sometimes they’re bleak for a community and sometimes they’re bleak for a family.

Having bleak years is part of being human. Living through those years is torturous, but it can be done. People have done so as long as the human race has existed.

I didn’t want to write a bleak blog post on what is for many of us a very different holiday than we usually have. I learned long ago—and posted a note about it on Friday—that the best way to get through a tough holiday season is to own that season. Make it special in the best way you can.

One of the things I love the most about Thanksgiving is in its name. Giving thanks.

Psychologists say the best way to survive a dark time is to stop every day and be grateful for something. That something might be small. It might be something you experience every day. It might be something unusual.

In the worst of pandemic lockdown, when we were uncertain about how we were going to get to May, I ran every day, and actually heard birds in downtown Las Vegas. I enjoyed the sunsets from the spectacular windows of my home. Those things are small, but important.

The other day, I likened those early months to December of 1941 here in the U.S. On December 7, 1941, the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, bringing the U.S. into the war. That sentence is a bland way of describing something that was life-altering.

Men enlisted that day or the very next day. The entire country geared up to a war footing. By Christmas, millions of people were living a completely different life than one they imagined before. But they didn’t yet know what kind of life awaited them. They had no idea how they would fit into the new world, even if they had an inkling.

That uncertainty is difficult. We’re still in some uncertainty, but less so. The promised vaccines actually work. They’re on the horizon. We know how to treat the disease, even though it’s still difficult. We know what will mitigate it, even though exposure is still possible.

We know what the risks are. We know how to minimize them. We are cautious in a way we have never been before.

We now know that our lives will never “go back” to normal, but we’ll live in a new and different world, one we can now catch glimmers of.

As a result, we’re less panicked, although still deeply worried. We know there are a lot of changes ahead, not all of them good. But we’re in a clearer place.

I’m thankful for that.

I’m thankful for everyone who has stepped up. From the first responders to the medical personnel who are going through hell. From the government officials who’ve been trying to make hard decisions in trying times (and, here in the U.S., without federal support).

I’m thankful for friends and family, for people who with even the tiniest of gestures have made every day brighter.

I’m also thankful for readers. They’ve been marvelous this year, with their questions and their concerns, their willingness to try new projects and their support of old ones.

I’m thankful that the writing business is growing, despite the changes that are happening in the older part of the industry. I’m thankful that we, as writers, have a place to escape to (our own fiction).

And I’m thankful for all of you who come here regularly, who support this blog. I’m thankful that you’ve made it possible for me to explore the changes in the industry every single week since the first week of April, 2009. I couldn’t have done any of this without you and your support.

So, as we head toward the end of this very tough year, let’s continue forward with as much optimism as we can muster.

I can’t promise that 2021 will be a better year. I no longer trust my ability to predict the emotional impact of the future.

But I do know that a lot of good things will happen in 2021, because we’ll all be there together, figuring our way forward.

Thanks for being here, for coming to this website every Thursday.

Your presence here is one of the highlights of my week, and has been so for 11 years.



“Business Musings: Giving Thanks” copyright © 2020 by Kristine Kathryn Rusch. Image at the top of the blog copyright © Can Stock Photo / NoraVector


4 thoughts on “Business Musings: Giving Thanks

  1. My Mimi was 12 when Pearl Harbor happened. She didn’t understand why her mom and sister-in-law (Mimi was youngest of nine) were continuing to get ready for Christmas. The Japanese would be in Louisiana by then and there wouldn’t be any Christmas that year. As a writer, I’ve never forgotten when she told me that. It’s one of those little things that brings a whole new perspective to such a big event. Unfortunately I forgot to ask her if she remembered how she felt when Christmas did come that year.

    There are so many little things this year that put a new perspective on everything that’s happened. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. Finding those good little things is so important all the time, but this year more than ever. My current little thing I’m grateful for is the fact it’ll be about 45 degrees tomorrow when we go buy our Christmas tree. I don’t remember the last time it was that cold on Tree Buying Day. Here in Louisiana, it’s a big deal for me to need a jacket when I’m tree shopping. I’m usually in a t-shirt.

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