Acknowledgments are in order today. Aside from the usual friends-and-family gratitude — everyone in question there has already been thanked and appreciated directly — here's a few giving of thanks for things I talk about on this blog.
First, I'm thankful to my parents, who always let me pursue the things that made me curious, even if they didn't always understand them themselves. I may not be able to discuss Justice League or Philip K. Dick with them, but we can always talk about Proust and John le Carré.
Endless gratitude goes to my close creative friends, in no particular order: Steven, Bonnie, Scott, Rob (there's several of you; you know who you are), Paul, Lauren, Jason (1 and 2), Marc, Matt, John, Bill. For feedback, for moral and spiritual support, for just plain listening and being there.
I'm thankful to a bunch of people I've never met, and who are now long gone, but who shaped my imagination in key ways. Some of them ought to be pretty familiar to longtime readers: Philip K. Dick, Stanisław Lem, Akira Kurosawa, Hubert Selby, Jr., Sōseki Natsume, Anne Tyler, Joanna Russ, James Tiptree, Jr., a couple of Russian fellows named Zamyatin and Dostoevsky. Pieces of me are made out of pieces of them.
I'm thankful to Eva Kafka Barron (yes, she's related to that Kafka) for giving me the jump start I needed to help take myself and my work seriously, and to also not become my own worst enemy in the process. I wasn't a great person when I knew her, and I only became a slightly better one during that time. I wish I had been able to do more.
I'm thankful to Brad Warner, who's provided the most useful and least pretentious introductions I've yet found to the spiritual path I'm currently following. He'd probably turn all shades of red if I told him this, but his work helped me get my head together in ways I'm still learning to appreciate.
I'm thankful to a number of people, past and present, who recognized, supported, and helped me develop my skills in other areas apart from writing fiction and blogging about entertainments and art forms. I've got a good day-job career because of them, and because they went the extra mile to help me cultivate myself in it.
I'm thankful to Michael Azerrad for writing a book called Our Band Could Be Your Life, about the indie-punk scene in the U.S. in the early 1980s. I think more than any other thing I've read, that helped me realize the indie band ethos was the model I wanted to emulate through my own work. If you blaze a trail, even if it's only wide enough for one person, at least it's a trail of your own.
Likewise, I'm thankful to the band Killing Joke, for embodying a principle — not to just make music, but to consciously serve as an example of a creative force that inspires other people to dive headlong into whatever it is they want to make real in the world, to remind everyone that you get nowhere waiting for someone to give you permission to be yourself.
I'm thankful to Roger Ebert, not just for the way his love of movies was contagious, but for how he was a tireless and stout-hearted advocate for them, and how good, humane criticism of creative work is a badly underrated quantity in this world.
Finally, thanks to everyone who reads this blog, who enjoys my work — or even those who don't enjoy it and use it as a negative object lesson. However I can help, you know? The world will little notice or long remember what I do here, but I'm thankful I get the chance to do it anyway, to do it my way, to get it out there, and to learn something from it as I go on.
Thank you. You're welcome.