It’s time for a special Thanksgiving post. Since I’ve been writing a lot about deer lately, I suppose this could have been a timely history lesson about how turkey wasn’t even on the menu at that first Thanksgiving. The main course was in fact venison. Which is true, and the “story behind that story” gives us fresh insights into American history. But more about that another time.
Instead, here’s a post about being thankful. First, of course, for deer—even though botanists, ecologists, and foresters have taught me and my readers a great deal about how too many of them in one place can be a mixed blessing. Deer are wondrous creatures, and their mere presence makes the woods feel wilder. They have also provided us with a few dinners, and writing about them has even paid a couple bills.
For turkeys, especially of the wild variety—a few of which occasionally wander through our neighborhood. For being far to the north and far upstream of the “farms” where those other turkeys come from. (Sorry. This was supposed to be an unrelentingly positive post. I’ll get back on track in a moment here. Please continue enjoying your leftover turkey sandwich.)
For all the reviewers, columnists, and bloggers who read DEERLAND, enjoyed it, and helped to spread the word. For the TV and radio hosts who patiently coached me through my earliest interviews—and then later, through the magic of editing, made me sound incredibly fluent and articulate. Thank you.
For everyone else who read DEERLAND, enjoyed it, and is telling their friends about it. And even for readers who didn’t enjoy DEERLAND—usually because it included new facts about deer that didn’t fit with their existing beliefs. I heard from a few of those people, too. (Interestingly, roughly half were hunters and half were anti-hunting vegans. People of all sorts have strong feelings about deer.) You can’t please everyone, and those occasional pieces of genuine hate mail helped confirm I hadn’t written a bland book. For that, and for all the footnotes and rock-solid science I made sure to include, I am hugely thankful.
For tremendously supportive fellow writers and bloggers. For a great agent who has given me wise counsel, supportive guidance, and tough literary love when I needed it. For the talented, hard-working editors, publicists, and salespeople I’ve had the privilege of working with at two different publishers. For all these people, I am deeply thankful.
I should also remember all the non-literary reasons I have to be thankful this Thanksgiving. A loving wife who’s the best thing that ever happened to me. Our health. A roof over our heads, and a great place to live. Wonderful friends and neighbors. And more.
Although I can often be a real glass-half-empty kind of guy, sitting down to write this blog post has reminded me that I have a lot for which to be thankful. Every now and then it’s good to pause and count one’s blessings. Glad I did that. I highly recommend it.
So… Here’s to the deer, and Happy Thanksgiving!
© 2013 Al Cambronne