by David Ellis
In my last blog entry, I went on a rant about the state of politics in this state and the media coverage of it. It was the first time I didn’t write about writing itself. And it was the first time I went negative, so to speak. Today, I’d like to spend a little time talking about some things for which I am grateful.
I feel like, when I write on this blog, typically tips or observations about writing, that I usually just restate the obvious. But I still think it’s helpful. And I think this point is also obvious, but also a good reminder: We should constantly remember how good we all have it. We have our highs and lows, some of us have more success than others, but dammit, we live in the greatest country in the history of the world, we have houses to shelter us and meals to feed us, friends and family that love us, and the things we typically worry about? They pale in comparison to what the vast majority of the people on this planet have to worry about.
I’m grateful for my beautiful new daughter, Julia Grace, who came into my life last week. Sorry, Bouchercon, I really did want to attend but Julia decided to make us wait and make a fashionable entrance. My daughter Abigail is now tied for most beautiful girl in the world, as judged by a panel that includes me, my wife, and their grandparents.
I’m grateful that I get to write for a living, or at least for part of my living. There are few things more fulfilling than creating something, molding it and tweaking it, and getting to share it with the world. And other people buy it. And I get paid for it. Wow.
I’m grateful for the chance to read wonderful works of art, many of them by friends and colleagues like my partners on this blog. Reading enriches my life like few other things. You think, you react, you marvel. I still get that rush whenever I realize I’m going to have the chance to steal away a few moments to read a chapter or two of whatever it is I’m reading.
I’m grateful for the new energy breathed into literature by new authors. How exciting, the untested, mysterious new author. I remember when I was first introduced to new authors like our own Marcus Sakey or Blake Couch or Theresa Schwegel, wondering how they were so damn good so quickly, whereas I felt like it took me years to be even decent. Or Laura Caldwell, whose work I started reading even before she made it onto bookshelves. It’s amazing to me, the diversity of authors in our crime/mystery/thriller genre. People who don’t read the genre have no idea.
I’m grateful for New York strip steaks and dirty martinis and sautéed spinach. If I’m ever on death row and eligible for a last meal, someone call Gibsons. I’m also grateful for the carne asada burritos at La Pasadita, corner of Ashland and Division. When I was in law school, you needed a bullet-proof vest to visit the place. Now it’s trendy. It doesn’t make the burritos less tasty.
Most of all, I’m grateful for hope. It means different things to different people. I don't know what the future holds, but I’m going to keep writing novels until someone tells me to take a hike—and then I’ll probably still keep doing it—and who knows if that day might come that I’m on the best-seller list. I have absolutely no idea what the likelihood of this happening is, but I do know that it’s possible, for each of us, and it won’t happen unless I keep trying and keep hoping. And if nothing else, I will sure enjoy the ride.