Tag Archive 'thanksgiving'

Nov 24 2015

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WTB 30 Years

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WTB 30 YearsWith Thanksgiving almost here, I figure now’s a good time to reflect upon the past and give thanks for all the good fortune that has come my way. Having Judy in my life is at the top of the list, certainly, closely followed by family and friends. Having a new business is also on the list, along with good health, a home, and access to the woods. Then there’s my dog Matika of course. But that’s not all. There’s also my literary work.

I’ve been so busy with online bookselling this year that I’ve completely ignored an important milestone: My small press, Wood Thrush Books, is now 30 years old.  I started it in 1985 with the self-publication of a chapbook of poetry, Shadows Dancing. I’ve published over 40 chapbooks and paperbacks since then – mostly self-publications but also anthologies, works by other writers like Walt Franklin, Rob Faivre and Michael Jewell, and the Writers of the 19th Century series to boot. So today I’m giving thanks for the ability to have done that, and for all the readers who have made that possible.

What is a small press without people like you supporting it? Some of you have done so for many years, for decades. What good are all my written words without readers? Some of you have almost as many of my books on your shelves as I do. And for that I am grateful. Your checks have kept WTB going. Your words of encouragement have kept me writing and publishing even though I’ve been close to quitting many times. So I count you, dear readers, among my blessings. Thank you. Thank you very much!



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Nov 30 2011

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A Place to Ponder

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Every once in a great while, I go up to Aldis Hill to sit on a downed tree and just ponder matters. Usually I have a cigar in hand, which I smoke in celebration of some small accomplishment. In this case, I was celebrating the publication of the latest Wood Thrush Books anthology – no mean feat considering how busy I’ve been keeping myself lately. But maybe this celebration was just an excuse. It was an unseasonably warm day in late November and I badly needed to get out of the house.

Remnant patches of snow from an early winter storm remained on the ground despite several days of thawing temps. A pile of wood chips at the base of a dead tree caught my eye. Evidently some hungry critter had been digging there for bugs. I’m guessing a raccoon. My dog Matika watched intently as a squirrel ran the branches overhead. Some unseen bird squawked unrecognizably from a nest.  I couldn’t make it out in the twilight. The sun had set a half hour earlier, just as I had entered the woods.

My mind wandered as it does on such occasions. I congratulated myself for completing yet another literary task, pondered current projects, then considered what the future holds. Then I thought about matters on a grander scale: the people I know and love, and the human condition in general. It doesn’t take me long these days to leap from the personal to the universal. For better or worse, I’m in the habit of philosophizing.

Funny how these woods-sitting sessions of mine always end with a thanksgiving. I can’t help but count by blessings whenever I stop moving long enough to consider my place in the greater scheme of things. The pursuit of happiness breeds unhappiness, I think. Only when I stop and think about what I already have do I start feeling good.

I walked out in darkness, feeling my way along the trail.  A galaxy of city lights sparkled through the naked trees as I meandered downhill.  I delighted in it.  A half hour later, I was back home and busy doing things again.  But this time with relish.  I had been miserable about something earlier in the day, but couldn’t for the life of me recall what it was.


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