What We’re Thankful For: A Writerly Thanksgiving

Pumpkin Patch

A pumpkin patch by Adrian Valenzuela

With the holiday season approaching, it feels appropriate to reflect on everything we’ve accomplished this year and all the tools that have aided us. This week CWC turned to a group of writers, editors, and agents to see what they’re most thankful for.


“I’m thankful for Google. Seriously. I’m always looking up things like “is it ‘nip it in the bud’ or ‘nip it in the butt?'” As a non-native English speaker, I didn’t grow up with a lot of these idioms. Google helps with hyphens, too.”

“I’m grateful for so many things – the supportive lit community in Chicago, the CWC board, and my staff – Amanda, Lorraine, Judy, and Kevin – who keep CWC running smoothly. If we’re talking about tools, I couldn’t work without my Dr. Grip pen. I’ve been working and writing more over the last year, and Dr. Grip helps me avoid carpal tunnel syndrome. It’s so comfortable.”

Mare Swallow, Chicago Writers Conference Executive Director

“The magical system of inter-library loan is a marvel on par with Roman aqueducts. That, combined the services that whisk books to your door (or iPad or Kindle) make the literary life a blessing and a curse. Yes, as a writer, there’s increased access to audiences as vast as the ocean. But, as a reader, I still need time to soak in all of the amazing: short stories (Harlan Ellison’s “The Man Who Rowed Christopher Columbus Ashore”), nonfiction works (A.N. Wilson’s Dante in Love), novels (Alan Moore’s Jerusalem), audiobooks (anything read by Jim Dale), poetry collections (Tony Hoagland’s What Narcissism Means to Me), and interactive texts (The Mongoliad). That’s why I’m investing in technology that – for every book we buy – we also purchase the time to read it. Maybe that’s science fiction. But then again, that’s just one more book to read.”

Robert K. Elder, Author 

“I’m grateful for my writing group who keep my feet to the fire since I tend to put too much focus on my job and not on my personal writing.”

Susan Dennison, CWC Board President

“I’m grateful for the plethora of amazing writers — Naomi Williams, Margaret Atwood, Helen Oyeyemi, Neil Gaiman, and so many others – who tell brilliant stories and inspire me to be a better writer. I’m also grateful for my Scheaffer fountain pen. It makes all writing feel like more fun.”

Lorraine Boissoneault, CWC Content Manager and Author


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