Friday, January 1, 2010

The Gratitude List

Well, there goes another decade. Forget all the sayings: Time flies whether you're having fun, working your ass off, or putting off until tomorrow what you should be doing today. Maybe it's a function of middle age now, but I'm finding that there just aren't enough hours in the day to accomplish all that my busy mind dreams up for me in terms of personal goals, professional objectives, and daunting deadlines.

One thing that routinely gets pushed off to the side is reflection time. That period of looking back and assessing life, cataloging accomplishments and failures, and the simple act of giving thanks for the myriad blessings – big and small – that make life the magical journey it is. So today, New Year's Day, the start of a new year and a new decade, I'm stepping back, taking stock, and sharing some of the things I'm most grateful for from the past year — a gratitude list, if you will.

2009 was a year of tremendous growth, change, and reconnection for me, and I'd like to share some of the highlights I'm most grateful for:

I'm grateful for my health (despite my best attempts to test my body at every turn with poor eating and exercise habits) and the health of my father and those I love;

I'm grateful for the man I've called my partner in life for 21 years now, a man who despite my frequent testing of his patience still loves me, makes me laugh, and makes me feel safe and warm in this sometimes scary, cold world;

I'm grateful for my abundance of friends who love me in spite of...well, me;

I'm grateful for my dogs, Sydney and Kirby, for their unconditional love and daily doses of pet therapy when I walk through the door exhausted and worn down by a day in my life;

I'm grateful for the entrepreneurial spirit with which I've been blessed;

I'm grateful for the economic crisis that inspired me to pay down credit card debt this year;

I'm grateful for my new day job that, despite every initial misgiving, has served as a reminder of why I went into healthcare administration to begin with and is allowing me to reconnect with my passion for service to others;

I'm grateful for the loyalty of co-workers who took a leap of faith in joining me on the new venture;

I'm grateful for my creativity and the ability to write and use words to evoke emotion in others;

I'm grateful for my Bram Stoker Award and even more grateful of what it represented for the larger LGBT community;

I'm grateful for my friend and frequent collaborator Chad Helder, with whom I was proud to share Stoker honors;

I'm grateful for the opportunity to travel to Burbank this year to attend Stoker Weekend and to meet and mingle with so many of my writer friends and literary colleagues;

I'm grateful for those virtual friends I met and bonded with in real, flesh-and-blood life this year — especially (but certainly not exclusively) Chad, Jim Currier, Lisa Morton, Nanci Kalanta, Alex Sokoloff, Ellen Datlow, and Martel Sardina;

I'm grateful for my #1 fan, Amanda Reyes, whose slipping me a copy of THE LITERARY SIX to sign for her at Dark Delicacies this past summer still makes me smile;

I'm grateful for my friend Jamie Rose who found the time between teaching and tango to schlep from Malibu to Burbank to attend my book signing and for her endless generosity of spirit and creative passion;

I'm grateful for network television for having the keen insight to showcase the enduring talents of veteran character actresses like Veronica Cartwright, Susan Sullivan, Christine Baranski, and Swoosie Kurtz;

I'm grateful that creativity is alive and well on television in shows like TRUE BLOOD, DEXTER, and MODERN FAMILY despite the glut of reality-based and tabloid shows that seem to clog the pores of ingenuity;

I'm grateful for the guilty pleasure of CW's reboot of MELROSE PLACE, made an even guiltier pleasure by the return of Laura Leighton, Daphne Zuniga, Josie Bisset, Thomas Calabro, and Heather Locklear;

I'm grateful for all the music that made up the soundtrack of my 2009 — from the husky lushness of Adele to the outrageousness of Lady Gaga to the remastered bliss of Alison Moyet;

I'm grateful for all the superb books I read this year and for those marvelous literary surprises I found when I least expected to like Jameson Currier's THE HAUNTED HEART AND OTHER TALES, Rio Youers' MAMA FISH, and Paul Ben's KELLAND;

I'm grateful that print magazines survived another year. I don't quite know what I'd do if FANGORIA and ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY didn't continue to arrive in my mailbox;

I'm grateful for my blogging brethren in the League of Tana Tea Drinkers for their inspiration, friendship, and endless supply of food for thought — especially John Cozzoli, Jeff Allard, and the camp-tabulous Pax Romano;

I'm grateful for Eric Arvin's fascination with the male gluteus maximus that's on fine display on his Daventry Blue blog;

I'm grateful that Jamie Lee Curtis allowed herself the opportunity to make another film this year (excited for YOU AGAIN in 2010!) and for her undeniable effect on my digestive regularity;

I'm grateful that important movies continue to be made – from films that inspire to films that make us squirm in discomfort at the naked humanity they display on the screen – and for the actors who bravely open themselves up to absorb the characters they play. This year, no single actor did so more than Mo'Nique in PRECIOUS and I'm grateful for her unflinching performance;

I'm grateful that Hollywood execs continue to "get" Kathy Bates and that they continue to revere Meryl Streep for the acting royalty she is;

I'm grateful for the marvel that is Facebook for reconnecting me with childhood friends and old classmates alike, and for making it so easy to keep up with everyone's lives;

I'm grateful for the warm sense of nostalgia that SYRIUS XM Radio's "80's on 8" brings me – complete with original MTV VJ's Alan Hunter, Nina Blackwood, Martha Quinn, and Mark Goodman sharing DJ duties – every day while driving to and from work. If you have to get older, then having Haircut 100, Culture Club, Duran Duran, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood along for the ride doesn't seem quite so bad;

I'm grateful for straight guys who get it;

I'm grateful for the enduring appeal of the slasher film;

I'm grateful for my loyal Slasher Speak readers who come back when I find the precious time to actually write something;

And, lastly, I'm grateful for the endless possibilities that this magnificent enigma of life holds for each of us.

Here's to reaching out and grabbing a strand of that endless possibility in 2010! Happy New Year, everyone.


Eric Arvin said...

Haha! Great list. Thanks for the shout out :-)

Pax Romano said...

A wonderful posting, my friend. I am humbled to be included in your gratitude list ... the check is in the mail.

Happy 2010!

Iloz Zoc said...

Now THIS beats all of those top ten lists hands down. I have a lot to be grateful for, especially how you put up with us LOTT D'ers. And that you are my friend.

William Malmborg said...

Great list. In a year where so many people seem to dwell on all the negative aspects of life, it is refreshing to see a positive look back. I may have to give it a try myself, because overall, despite a few setbacks, 2009 was a great year for me too.

BJ-C said...

You are a fantastic person and truly an inspiration.

Vince Liaguno said...

Thanks all. And back at you, Ms. Colangelo!

B-Sol said...

Great list, Vince!

Invisigoth said...

Thank you Vince. Meeting you was one of the high points of a very bad year for me. In fact, remembering the whole Burbank experience is what kept me going on my really bad days. ---Nanci

Chad Helder said...

Wow Vince! That is an amazing and inspiring list. I am honored to be included, and I am very grateful for our literary partnership and friendship. I am also very grateful for your awesomeness and generosity. I am also grateful for your accomplishments like the creation of your online magazine and the creation of your small press, which has provided wonderful opportunities for me, and I know I am not alone--many writers have now benefited from your entrepreneurial spirit. Let's face it--Dark Scribe Press has made dreams come true, and I am very grateful to you for that! Our weekend together at the Stokers was a dream come true, and just an amazing, mind-blowing, and all-around really fun time! And so very cool to meet you after all of our work together on the website and the anthology. Also, I am very happy to hear that your new career position is going well and providing lots of growth and challenges. And I want to add that it is inspiring to read your list because it is rare to find someone who loves and reveres pop-culture as much as I do! And I am grateful that you are such an excellent writer and prose stylist! Happy New Year Vince!

Paul Bens, Author of "Kelland" said...

A wonderful piece. I'm so glad to have met you and am incredibly grateful for the support you've shown me and "Kelland." Here is to an amazing 2010.

Jeff Allard said...

Wow, what a wonderful post - I'm honored to be included! A very Happy New Year to you, Vince!

Martel said...

Great post. And I'm very thankful to have had the opportunity to meet you in person as well. I wish you all the best in 2010 :)


Rio Youers said...

Fabulous post, Vince. Filled with optimism and love. What a wonderful way to begin a new decade. And, as always, your support means so much to me. I hope 2010 brings you everything you desire.

Colleen Wms said...

Fantastic. You are such an inspiration to be able to be so inclusive in your list. All the best of health, wealth and happiness to you this coming year my friend!

kindertrauma said...

We're thankful for YOU Vince! Happy New Year!-Unk

Amanda By Night said...

Awwww, I'm a little late in the game, but thanks for the mention. Meeting you was definitely in my tops list for 2009 too. I really enjoyed your book and your company when you came to Burbank.

Now go write another book. I need one! :)