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T.C. Porter’s Gratitude List

Posted by on Nov 20, 2012 in Blog, Fresh Ink | Comments Off on T.C. Porter’s Gratitude List

One San Diego writer’s gratitude list.

I’m thankful for:

  1. Cushions. Because the first commandment of writing is: “Sit your ass in the chair” (John Dufresne).
  2. My wife. Because, for me, the writing recompense is in the rears. And because she believes. And loves.
  3. Kelli Wescott. Jim Ruland. Tammy Greenwood. Rob Williams. Elle Brooks. Patrick Stewart. Stacy Magic. Amy Locklin.  And all the other great writers/teachers/leaders associated with San Diego Writers, Ink.
  4. Judy Reeves (A Writer’s Book of Days) and Steve Kowit (In the Palm of Your Hand), whose books on writing are as good as anyone’s anywhere – and they are locals, and active at SDWI, and they teach with approachability, kindness, compassion, enthusiasm, wisdom.
  5. “So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”
  6. The unnamed high school teacher who assigned F. Scott Fitzgerald, if only for the last line of The Great Gatsby.
  7. The forgotten college professor who did the same.
  8. Blissful time spent in closing sentences like Fitzgerald’s.
  9. And words like zoetic.
  10. Being a writer. It hasn’t always been easy. For a long time there was an identity crisis, accepting the fact that the world isn’t wired for writers, and I never fit in a cubicle, office, truck route, hard hat, coat and tie, newsbeat. I took too personally, and even imagined myself, what was behind the looks when people said, “Good luck with that (wink, wink).” But … eventually …
  11. … the gift of being myself. Settling into the beautiful world, letting things go, giving up another person’s dream for me, enjoying the thoughts, the feelings, the tastes and smells and everything else the writer is called to relish and pontificate and create in story. The appreciation for seeing the world through novelist lens, enjoying the daydreams, laughing when people say, “You think too much.” Yes! I do! Now, scat.
  12. The election cycle. Oh the folly! Oh the sensationalistic journalism and the woefully shallow public banter in the face of great global crises. There must be a thousand writers with new characters, enriched themes, plotlines, hysteria – but fiction finds it hard to compete with:
  13. Forty-seven percent.
  14. Binders full of women.
  15. And then: Petraeus. Archetypical fiction (anti)hero. In real life!
  16. The dream: End of politics.
  17. “They will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks. Nation will not take up sword against nation, nor will they train for war anymore.”
  18. Prophets.
  19. Writer friends. All those years writing in solitude, and then I found so many other dreamers.
  20. SDWI, my scribe tribe.
  21. Deadlines.
  22. And lack thereof.
  23. All things in their time.
  24. Young people in love.
  25. Elderly couple holding wrinkled hands, leaning into one another’s good ear.
  26. Room to Write. Every Tuesday, spending four or more hours writing from dawn to lunchtime. And then …
  27. Brown Bag. Writing prompts at noon, topping off my primary day of writing amidst a busy week.
  28. Wake up and Write. One more hour of writing prompts, Wednesday morning at 7.
  29. MTS transit, which funnels into East Village and the home of SDWI, the Ink Spot, 710 13th Street. I have come to enjoy the ride, reading novels, taking in the scenes and the disparate people on the way to Ink Spot, writing, editing via Android on the way home.
  30. There is no more beautiful ride in the city than the trolley between Old Town and Morena/Linda Vista. The oaks. The palms. The river of grass. The cypress of Presidio Park watching over us from the south, across the river to the majestic buildings of USD in its 16th-century Spanish Renaissance grandeur. The crescent conglomeration of mesas emerging north, east and south. The Pacific Ocean to the west.
  31. The creative writing programs of UCSD and SDSU.
  32. So Say We All.
  33. Vermin on the Mount.
  34. Words Alive
  35. Traveling Stories.
  36. Omniscient narration, and contemporary literary authors who employ it.
  37. Public libraries.
  38. Local bookstores.
  39. The beach.
  40. 40.  Infinite Jest.
  41. Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce.
  42. Readers who make it to the end.
  43. Goodnight moon.

T.C. Porter’s work appears this month in The Speculative Edge, 2012: Best of the Year edition. He hosts SDWI’s Room to Write on Tuesday mornings.