Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Michael Prescott shares his "Thanksgiving thoughts"

Thanksgiving is upon us, and those of us who make our career as writers have a lot to be thankful for.

We don't always remember this, of course. We complain about poor sales, inadequate support from our publishers, fickle buying trends, small paychecks, slow delivery of monies owed. We fret that our books have been stuck spine-out at the back of the store, and that new copies aren't ordered fast enough (if at all) when the first batch sells out (if it does). We worry about the escalating competition from other leisure-time pursuits that seem so much jazzier than reading - videogames, movie rentals, cable and satellite TV, music downloads, Web surfing, even blogs like this one.

In the face of all this and more, it's easy to be negative. But for writers fortunate enough to earn a living at their craft, there are compensations.

Some are obvious. We work at home. We aren't slaves to an alarm clock, a car pool, or a cubicle. We don't serve a daily prison sentence from nine to five - or more likely, these days, eight to six. If it's a beautiful day, we can goof off and go for a walk, and no boss from hell will be there to rough up our psyches when we get back. We don't live in the Dilbert universe. We don't even get all the Dilbert jokes.

I realize not everybody regards the workaday world with such horror. But writers do. We're like criminals in this respect; in fact, I think this is one reason why writers often gravitate toward criminal characters. We don't want to be penned up in a conventional societal role. Or, to opt for a more wholesome comparison, we're like little kids praying for one more day of summer before we have to return to the monotony of classrooms and schedules and tests. For us, writing for a living is the dream of childhood - endless summer.

Though we may miss out on some of the camaraderie of office life, we have social and professional support systems to keep us sane: caring editors, dedicated agents, loyal readers. Encouragement from other writers. Help from our expert sources. Writing doesn't have to be a solitary life, unless that's how we like it.

And we get to be creative. Whether we write fiction or nonfiction, we need to tell a story that will engage and perhaps enlighten our fellow humans. We are required to learn new things. Over the years I've learned, at least in theory, how to hot-wire a car, defeat a burglar alarm system, implement electronic surveillance, evade a tail, steal a chemical weapon, investigate a crime scene, and preserve human tissue under plastic (don't ask).

There's also a less obvious compensation. Writing books makes us part of a vast ongoing stream of shared imagination and shared knowledge, a kind of collective consciousness that binds past, present, and future, while bridging gulfs between cultures and worlds. I've had books published in Eastern Europe, Japan, even (amazingly) Iran. I've received emails from a bank clerk in Holland who's into death metal music, a woman in Pakistan who invited me on a tour of Islamabad (a fun city, she assured me), and a British expatriate living in Spain who appeared on the British equivalent of Who Wants to be a Millionaire? He is also a chess grandmaster, and he keeps detailed, daily records of every coincidence in his life.

Our books don't have to go abroad to put our thoughts in contact with cultures different from our own. I know a reader who raises livestock on a Missouri farm, another who breeds horses in Texas, and another who now lives on a coffee plantation in Hawaii after retiring from the foreign service, where she saw duty in Kabul and Baghdad, rode camels on sightseeing expeditions, and bartered for handmade cloths at street corner bazaars.

There's a New Age truism that all minds are ultimately connected and separation is illusory. If there's any truth in this, then the crosspollination of ideas and experiences through the written word is perhaps our most important way of combating and overcoming the illusion of separateness. All writers should feel privileged to participate in such an undertaking, no matter how modest our individual contribution may be.

Happy Thanksgiving!


  1. What a lovely reminder. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours.

  2. Well said! Aren't we lucky?
    Happy Thanksgiving!

  3. Nice post, Michael, and very, very true. It's timely too (for me, at least), as I've been drowning under the weight of a lot of work and been trying to remind myself how fortunate I am with how far I've come and how lucky I am to do this for a living. Thanks for the positive thoughts, and have a great holiday.

  4. MP, as usual, you are the best! And nobody can say it better! Later, Di

  5. The daily grind has been weighing me down recently. Thank you for the reminder of what I'm working toward.

  6. 情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣用品,情趣,情趣,情趣,情趣,按摩棒,震動按摩棒,微調按摩棒,情趣按摩棒,逼真按摩棒,G點,跳蛋,跳蛋,跳蛋,性感內衣,飛機杯,充氣娃娃,情趣娃娃,角色扮演,性感睡衣,SM,潤滑液,威而柔,香水,精油,芳香精油,自慰套,自慰,性感吊帶襪,吊帶襪,情趣用品加盟AIO交友愛情館,情人歡愉用品,美女視訊,情色交友,視訊交友,辣妹視訊,美女交友,嘟嘟成人網,成人網站,A片,A片下載,免費A片,免費A片下載愛情公寓,情色,舊情人,情色貼圖,情色文學,情色交友,色情聊天室,色情小說,一葉情貼圖片區,情色小說,色情,色情遊戲,情色視訊,情色電影,aio交友愛情館,色情a片,一夜情,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,免費視訊聊天,免費視訊,視訊,視訊美女,美女視訊,視訊交友,視訊聊天,免費視訊聊天室,情人視訊網,影音視訊聊天室,視訊交友90739,成人影片,成人交友,美女交友,微風成人,嘟嘟成人網,成人貼圖,成人電影,A片,豆豆聊天室,聊天室,UT聊天室,尋夢園聊天室,男同志聊天室,UT男同志聊天室,聊天室尋夢園,080聊天室,080苗栗人聊天室,6K聊天室,女同志聊天室,小高聊天室,上班族聊天室,080中部人聊天室,同志聊天室,聊天室交友,中部人聊天室,成人聊天室,一夜情聊天室,情色聊天室,寄情築園小遊戲情境坊歡愉用品,情境坊歡愉用品,情趣用品,成人網站,情人節禮物,情人節,AIO交友愛情館,情色,情色貼圖,情色文學,情色交友,色情聊天室,色情小說,七夕情人節,色情,情惑用品性易購,情色電影,色情網站,辣妹視訊,視訊聊天室,情色視訊,免費視訊聊天,美女視訊,視訊美女,美女交友,美女,情色交友,成人交友,自拍,本土自拍,情人視訊網,視訊交友90739,生日禮物,情色論壇,正妹牆,免費A片下載,AV女優,成人影片,色情A片,成人論壇,情趣,免費成人影片,成人電影,成人影城,愛情公寓,成人影片,保險套,舊情人,微風成人,成人,成人遊戲,成人光碟,色情遊戲,跳蛋,按摩棒,一夜情,男同志聊天室,肛交,口交,性交,援交,免費視訊交友,視訊交友,一葉情貼圖片區,性愛,視訊,視訊聊天,A片,A片下載,免費A片,嘟嘟成人網,寄情築園小遊戲,女同志聊天室,免費視訊聊天室,一夜情聊天室,聊天室