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Caroling for Turkey

November 28, 2013

This was going to be a standard Happy Thanksgiving post (and still is, kinda.) But as I sat down to write it, my little dog, who is my writing companion and muse and an annoying little brat, asked to go for a walk.

Looks sweet and harmless, even thoughtful, doesn’t he? Ha, I wish! Sometimes he talks to me, and today it was one of those typical conversations:

Dog-muse : So, today is Thanksgiving. More food for me, right?

Me : Dogs get dry kibble for Thanksgiving… (And gravy, and a bit of stuffing, and no doubt seven other little treats from my husband, but Dog-muse’d be insufferable if I tell him that.)

Dog-muse : I bet the neighbors would feed me. They think I look starved.

Me : Slim is healthy.

Dog-muse : *In a dreamy tone.* I bet they would give me real turkey, not that tofurkey stuff you eat. Maybe real gravy from actual meat. Maybe bacon!

Me : You’d have better luck tomorrow or Saturday, when they’ll be getting sick of leftovers.

Dog-muse : Oh yeah. I could go caroling for leftover turkey. Great idea.

Me : Take singing lessons first.

Dog-muse : I’ll show up on their doorstep, all starving. I’ll look cute – that gets me through everything. *winning look with big brown, if somewhat-misaligned, eyes* Doesn’t it, Mom?

Me : What did you do now?

Dog-muse : You know that book you’re writing, about the two guys?

Me : Every book I write is about two guys. Spit it out.

Dog-muse : I’m putting a big turkey feast in that new one. John and Ryan like turkey.

Me : It takes place in the spring, you dork. No one does turkey feasts in spring.

Dog-muse : Why not? It could be Easter. Or hey, lamb… picnic ham… Oh wow, this’ll be good.

Me : I’m not writing about your wet-dreams of food. And that’s final.

Dog-muse : Maybe a squirrel? Or an elk? There could be elk in the book. A little dog takes down a looming elk…

Me : Hurry up and pee already; it’s freezing out here.

Dog-muse : I’ll stop in front of this neighbor. They like me. I’ll shiver with cold and hunger. They’ll give me lots of turkey when I go caroling tomorrow.

Me : We are not going caroling tomorrow. That was your joke.

Dog-muse : Oh yeah, you take control. Like you do with your stories. Works so well, doesn’t it? *an extra-pathetic shiver and tremble, before he trots back to our place with his tail wagging, pulling me in his wake.* Turkey in the book. Definitely.

This is more what he looks like: You’ll know who to blame if extra food shows up in Rebuilding Year #2.

Today I’m thankful for having a muse, even if he does pull me in odd directions, and I never know where the story is going. (John and Ryan are Not having turkey in April in this book… I think.) I’m thankful that writing can fill difficult times and empty spaces, and can make me feel like I am doing something worthwhile. And I’m grateful for other people’s muses, that produce all the wonderful books I read. Because even on the holidays, fiction can smooth the edges of real life.

Holidays can be tough, as well as wonderful. Thanksgiving is a time for counting blessings, but it’s hard, when you do that, not to miss the blessings that aren’t there. We’re grateful for family, but wish we could make them all happy and healthy, and accepting. We’re grateful for home and food and warmth in our lives, and yet hurt to know how many other people don’t have enough. We’re happy to have pets, but wish… never mind, pets are great. *Dog-muse made me say that.*

For some people in the LGBT community, family is hard to come by. Or going home for that family holiday means squeezing yourself back into a constricting closet that doesn’t fit, for the sake of being with people whom you love. People who love you back, at least for now, but who don’t really know who you are. Sometimes we have to make our own family – of chosen friends and not ties of blood. Mixed blessings.

So I want to wish a happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates it (and the same thoughts go to those who don’t.) May the joys carry the day, may the food be good and the company better, whether it’s family you’re born with, family you create, or even fictional family in the books that touch your mind and heart.

And as I sit down to the vegetarian tofurkey later, I will give thanks. Thanks for everyone I’ve met here on my blog and in my writing life, and my reading, who make my days brighter, my outlook more hopeful and who show in so many ways the warmth, love and caring that can exist in human hearts.

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