Monday, November 21, 2011


It’s been a long week.

You know, the kind of week where it seems everything goes wrong, where disappointment rears its ugly head, where it’s hard to keep my own head above water, where all I want to do is shut down, crawl into a hole and throw myself a major self-pity party and scream WHY?! until my voice gives out.

And it’s really, really hard to stay positive. It’s hard not to wallow in a swamp of self-pity. And when all I can think is WOE IS ME, it’s even harder to be thankful.

But I am.

In a week where I spent hours critiquing someone’s manuscript only to lose over four hundred comments or when I couldn’t figure out this computer thing and I tried everything and I really wanted to do this thing and why, why, why do I have to be so…OLD, I remind myself that at least I have a computer. Three actually. And that was DEFINITELY put in perspective when my poor husband had both his laptops and thumb drives* with all his soccer stuff stolen** from his classroom last week.

Or when my husband’s boys soccer team lost in a heart-breaking game, one step away from the State Championship, and in that same night, my school’s boys lose in sudden death overtime, I have to remind myself that they had a great season and were still playing soccer way into November, when most other schools were not.

Or when I feel overwhelmed with papers to grade and senior portfolios to score and I have to complete this survey and create this activity and load my lesson plans to this site and do a million and three things for every new program that my school system wants to adopt, I have to remind myself that I have a JOB. A lot of people (sadly) don’t.

Or when I my mom walks into my house one morning and tries to help me with my breakfast when all she really did was make things worse, I remind myself that my mother is HERE, that she is around to help get my children off to school, that because of her I can do so many other things.

Or when—ugh—there’s that one kid who just couldn’t keep her freaking mouth shut and had to have some snarky comment to EVERYTHING I had to say, I remind myself that there are SO many students who learn from me, tell me they love me, or well, care about me and what I’m trying to teach them.

Or when my daughter rolls her eyes at me for the fiftieth time and says stuff to guilt me into feeling like the WORST MOTHER EVER (it worked), I remind myself that I have a daughter. One who is healthy and active and usually a genuinely nice person. And pretty much took care of my seven-year old when, after I lost said hours worth of work, I mentally shut down for the day.

I have SO MUCH to be thankful for. And so when the self-pity monster tries to bully his way into my head, I will try to remain grateful. Grateful for all that I can do, for all that God has blessed me with. Cause it’s a lot, yo. The following list does not even do my thanks and praises justice.

PS—I wrote this list last year, but honestly, it’s not changed much. Here’s what I am and continue to be thankful for…

1) GOD – for the gifts He’s given me. Seriously could do nuh-thing without the Big Guy.

2) My husband – who reads EVERYTHING I write – even the crap. And lets me steal off for hours to write and revise even though he is as busy as I am. He must really love me.

3) My kids – who deal with Mommy disappearing for a few hours (to write). And they’re really great kids who do well in school and can READ and are healthy and so stinkin’ adorable. I really am blessed.

4) My “day job” and my on-the-side tutoring—so that I can somewhat afford to go to writers conferences. And the "job" perpetually feeds me goodies for my novels.

5) My friends and family – I have never experienced such incredible support - especially from the most unexpected places.

6) My critique partners and beta readers – seriously don’t know what I’d do without the Alexandras, Rickis, and Margos of the world. And the Pollys. And Tevins. And Annies. And… okay there’s a LOT of you.

7) My students – the good, the bad, the indifferent. The athletes, the brains, the princesses, the criminals, the basket cases – YOU are my muse – it is my personal goal to write stories based on every single one of you - all 2000-some of you. Oy.

8) Vacation time – so I can write (duh).

9) The ability to only need five hours of sleep a night (thank you, coffee).

10) YA Confidential—my fellow operatives, our spies—it’s been a fantastic ride with some truly AMAZING people. I look forward to every Google plus hangout and chat and phone conversation and email and ohmygosh ALA…*sigh* I hope this thrill coaster never ends.

11) The opportunities I’ve had since I started writing. The critique partners I’ve found, the people I’ve met, the books I’ve read as a result of reading someone else’s blog.

12) My blogging friends—Katy, Jessica, Tracey, Jennifer, Rebecca…okay, there are SO many of you that I’ve met virtually and can’t wait to meet in person. My writing, my life is SO MUCH better because I know you.

13) And my faithful blog readers—thanks for reading my rants, for sticking with me and supporting my crazy ramblings. I heart all of you.

So yeah, despite times of disheartenment, I AM thankful. And I have A LOT to be thankful for.

How about YOU? Ever have one of those weeks? What are you thankful for?

PS—I’m blogging over at YA Confidential today on why teens inspire me. Check it out here!

* has since been recovered :)

** Can you even imagine this happening to you?!?!?! I cry just thinking about it.


  1. I love this post. You're so right. Life can be stressful and overwhelming and really get you down, but staying focused on the things we're thankful for is one way to beat the negativity. Thanks for the reminder.

    My own thankful list reads a lot like yours. ;)

  2. Aw! That is such a great list of things to be thankful for. :) It sounds like you've managed to surround yourself with fantastic people, which I kind of see as the entire point of life (if you don't have good friends and keep your family close, then what exactly are you doing?) And I am thankful for having YOU as a friend and cp and that we're in YA Con together!

    I'm sorry your week was so rough, though. Sometimes, unfortunately, all those things can get you down for a while, even if you do have a lot to be thankful for. But you're doing a good job of pulling yourself out! :)

  3. That is a crappy week!

    Unfortunately all I can do is give you this virtual (((HUG))) and tell you how much I admire your fortitude!! :)

  4. Thanks, Alison :) This was a much-needed reminder that I have SO much more to be thankful for than things that suck in my life!

  5. Happy Thanksgiving! And thanks for the reminder that life is up and down, and we still have so much to be thankful for!

  6. This is a wonderful list of things to be thankful for. Hope you have a better week this week and that you have fun celebrating the holiday.

  7. Yikes, what a week! Hope this one is better and have a great Thanksgiving. Email me your address I've got a book for you :)

  8. What a great reminder. I know I often get so caught up in the little things that are going wrong that I forget how blessed I am. Example - I am one of those teachers who gets laid off every year. And when I'm in the middle of a stressful, frustrating week at work, I lose sight of that feeling when I get my notice and spend a few weeks wondering if I will even be employed the following year. It has always worked out (so far), so I am LUCKY that I have those stresses to deal with.

    Thanks for the lovely reminder, Alison. And I am so thankful that I have met you! :-)

  9. Wow. Love this post, Alison. It made me sniffle more than once. :)

    It sounds like you have had an INSANE week and the fact that you can leave it feeling positive and thankful is admirable. :) Thank you so much for sharing!

  10. Great post. Sometimes we're so caught up in the business of life that we forget to take stock of the things that we have to be thankful. It's good to be reminded.

  11. Oh dear, that is a bit of a week of suck. I'm so sorry. And yet, you have a very good perspective on it all. And so very yes to all of these things to be grateful for.

  12. I so needed to read this today. Was sending out the invite... to myself... for my own pity party but this gave me a check. I'm pretty lucky too!

  13. Great post, Alison. Trying to stay positive when so much is going wrong, is definitely tough. Thanks for the reminder! And your top three to be thankful for are mine as well! :)

  14. This is such a fantastic post, Alison, and a lovely reminder to appreciate the little things when the big things are spinning out of control. And maybe I'm having one of those crazy weeks too, because seeing my name on the list of things and people you're thankful for nearly made me teary with happiness. You are so amazing, and I hope you enjoy your much deserved Thanksgiving break!

  15. What a wonderful list and timely post. I've been struggling with some writing ennui on top of a few crazy busy weeks--so I can sympathize. I should make a similar list to remind me of all the great things in my life.
    And seeing my name in your list was a total make-my-night moment. So thank you, and have a wonderful Thanksgiving week!

  16. WONDERFUL post! Losing all those crit comments? I felt that one in the gut...and my mostly charming and loving daughter uses that guilt thing on me quite affectively at times also...thanks for reminding me that even on the worst weeks we have so much to be grateful for!

  17. Aw, sweetie, I'm so sorry you had such a crappy week... but I admire you that despite that you still remember to be thankful and that's a great attitude! I only wish I could remain that positive always!
    PS: I've lost things on my PC too, and I know how it feels, but just in case I know what ms you're talking about don't worry, lol, I'd totally understand! <333


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