I am the fortunate writer to have the pre-Thanksgiving post, so naturally, we need to honor gratitude, no?  Truth be told, I am in one of those life seasons where I am looking for answers to BIG things. Job things. Geographic concerns. And when the answers don’t come in my time frame, I need to turn my attention to and be grateful for the beauty that fills my life in an everyday way—and find inspiration there. Things like … that first cup of coffee, a kind e-mail, a morning hug from my kid, a client who wants more from me, a tree silhouetted against the sky, a walk at dusk with my dog.  Or a handpainted rock.

Marianne Richmond, 2013

Marianne Richmond, 2013

The same goes for our writing.  While we trying to get the big stuff down—genre, characters, plot, narrative story arc , we need to focus, too, on the smallest supporting cast if you will—the objects and experiences that can either be overlooked OR unearthed, examined and celebrated.

Here’s the backstory on the my Smile Rock:

I made this for my mom when I was about seven or eight, and she loved it.  It adorned various places in my childhood home—her dresser, in front of the door, on the front porch.  When they sold that house and she gave away 80 percent of her and my dad’s belongings (including the antique Christmas ornaments… ya, another story), she moved the rock with them to their Independent Living apartment which became their Assistant Living apartment.  And when they moved for the final time to the Memory Care unit in the nursing home, she took the rock then too.  This rock was meaningful to her because I made it.  Seriously, she told me many times how much she loved my rock.  And in doing so, I heard her telling me how much she loved me.

What’s a detail you can bring to your story through which you can introduce the concept of gratitude?


For fifteen minutes, write about your character interacting with or observing an object that evokes gratitude and love. Why this object?  What’s its history? Why does it evoke gratitude? And just for Thanksgiving—feel free to write about YOU, memoir style, and what in your life evokes gratitude.