Giving Thanks for Life

A year ago next month, I brought home a box of water and rocks and set it up in my office. It looked like this:

The rocks represented a life-long dream – and also a challenge. Could I learn enough chemistry to keep the salinity stable? Could I make this box of rocks support life?

For Christmas, I received worms (you know your family loves you when…):

One year later, I have them still….

(The pink cones in the lower center are Ed the Coco Worm doing his coral impression.)

In the spring I acquired corals. Among them, nuclear green palythoas and ring of fire zoanthids:

Corals grow slowly. Their daily increases aren’t visible to the eye. But one year later, the change is clear:

(The plastic cap below the corals is attached to Wilson the Tuxedo Urchin, who spent the last several months wearing it as a hat.)

In June I acquired Cygnus the baby seahorse:

His original mate died, but Cygnus will celebrate Christmas in the company of the new babies, Ghillie and Ceti. He’s grown a bit, too:

I also wrote a novel this year. Like the tank, it took hard work and attention to detail. There were days when I wanted to put it down and walk away, when my courage failed and my confidence ebbed low. But like my seahorses and my corals, my characters would have died without attention. My story would have withered and not grown. There were hard days when it felt like I made no progress, and easy days when the words flowed almost on their own.

Some of you are having a good day today. For others progress seems like a dirty word. Hang in there. Just because you can’t see the growth doesn’t mean it’s not occurring. Just because you feel tired or lost doesn’t mean you’ve lost your way.

A lot happens in a year, most of it when you’re not looking.  If you stay the course and keep chipping away at that goal you’re working toward, you may wake up one morning to success that exceeds your expectations.

I know it’s possible. In fact, I think this proves it:

Happy Thanksgiving, and to all of you working on NaNoWriMo – hang in there and keep writing!

2 thoughts on “Giving Thanks for Life

  • November 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

    This is an amazing project, Susan. Lots of folks are too impatient to begin something that takes this long to complete. Maybe that’s why NaNoWriMo is getting so popular…it speeds up the process.

  • November 30, 2011 at 3:35 pm

    Thanks Pat! I think you’re right – NaNoWriMo speeds up the process, but hopefully not at the cost of edits later on. Even those of us who manage to bang out a draft in 30 days should know that the work is only beginning, for sure.

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