Thanksgiving has a long and, of course, difficult history. Don’t worry, I’m not going to go into some rant or recount any history, here. I’m simply saying that even as I enact some of the rituals of white, middle-class gastro-vacational privilege today, I am aware that they are both revisionist, colonizing, and yet still hold warm memories for me. Well, warm-ish, at any rate. My family is…difficult (as I suspect almost all families are). So now that I live alone, away from the people I grew up with (both family and early friends), I find myself still wanting to create some semblance of the day’s expected food memories, and the traditional listing of things one is thankful for. It’ll never be Larry’s turkey and stuffing, which lives on in my mind and one of the single greatest meals I ever shared (both because of the food and because of the warmth of the thronging company that day), but it at least carries the echo of that meal and gathering.
I’m thankful for my health, such as it is (40 is creeping up on me, and already promises to be interesting in the same sense as the curse, "may you live in interesting times"). I am thankful for the amazing, powerful, inspiring women in my life who show me every day what it means to be graceful and articulate under fire. I am thankful for the companionship of my cat, who was an ally completely un-looked-for, but is now essential to daily life. I am thankful to have a job that I enjoy doing, even on days when I wish I had different colleagues. I am thankful for finding a publisher who believed in experimental work that was in no way a guaranteed money maker or award winner. And I’m thankful for you, those of you who have found my books, and been so kind to them, even when disagreeing with them.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, Jacob Connor, wherever you are now. And to you, too, Zeus, though you’d never accept such plain sentiment. And to you, Gan, proof that one can still sing in the chains. And to you, Lincoln DuBois, though you got such short shrift, you never flinched at telling the truth. And to you, Orpheus, patron saint of longing.
Happy Thanksgiving to absent far-flung friends and family.
Happy Thanksgiving to you, too, on the other side of the screen, which I hope you will accept in the spirit in which it is offered—aware of the complications, but carrying no less sentiment for its troubled past.