Saturday, October 10, 2009

Saturday Geeky Greek History Moment

In the course of my morning rummagings I came across this story (from Herodotus), which I thought was nice. (Think of this as an early celebration of Canadian Thanksgiving, which is on Monday.)

Polycrates was the king of Samos, and kind of a benevolent pirate type. Anyway he got filthy rich, and did all these public works with his money, and then people were grateful so he got even richer. This cycle went on for a while.

Soon Polycrates became nervous (as any reasonable religious Greek would have)that the gods were going to get jealous of him for his wealth and good fortune (the Greek pantheon gods were like that, very jealous). The pharaoh of Egypt, a buddy of Polycrates, advised him to make a sacrifice to appease their potential wraths. So Polycrates took his most prized possession--a big old ring with giant gemstones in it--and threw it into the sea as a gift.

A couple days later, a grateful citizen turned up at the palace with a gift for the king. The gift was a giant fish he had caught in his boat. When Polycrates had the fish cut open, inside was his favorite ring, returned to him.

Later, Polycrates got into other shenanigans and was assassinated for snubbing the Persian ambassador or something like that, but that's not really relevant to the story at hand.

For me, the moral of this story is--if you remember to thank the folks who've helped you out thus far, they'll give you even more in the future. A little gratitude goes a long way.

Today, I'm particularly grateful to the Rally Monkey, who cooked me delicious taco rice and cornbread, which I ate cold for breakfast, and who also did a bunch of my laundry because I have been too busy (and also because, as we all already know, I never do laundry). I am also grateful to one of my authors who was supposed to get me a re-write by Monday, but actually got it to me yesterday, so I was able to get it off my desk less overdue than I had feared it would be. I am also grateful to my two current front-list authors, who are pretty tirelessly stumping around on all kinds of publicity efforts 24/7 these last few weeks. I am also grateful to my secret boyfriend Michael Chabon, who touched my hand on Thursday night and looked me in the eye to thank me for coming to his event and buying his new book. I am also grateful to myself that I didn't drool on him.

Among a number of other things.

Happy Saturday! (If you're feeling bored, use the comments to tell me what you're grateful for this morning.)

31 comments:

Miriam S.Forster said...

Today I'm grateful that I have a job, a house with a heater, and that all of my fingers and toes work.

Sometimes, you just have to hang on to the basics... :)

Empress Awesome said...

I'm grateful for tacos, cheesecake, fall break, and wonderful friends who introduce me to movies with sexy Irishmen in them.

Kristi Faith said...

I'm thankful for fingerpaint and homemade play dough on rainy days.

I'm thankful that I did NOT marry a former high school football player.

I'm thankful that all of us are currently healthy and not battling any major illnesses or disease.

I'm thankful that the odd pain in my wrists and arms that hindered me for three months is mysteriously gone. (I don't care how, I'm glad it's gone)

I'm thankful for all the suffering agents, editorial assistants, publishers and writers that all network together to help each other along the way.

Amalia T. said...

Man, there must be some Greek history wavelength traveling around this morning. My Geeky Greek History moment is not nearly as fun or positive as yours, though.

Thanks for sharing this story!

Betsy Hammer said...

I'm grateful for this beautiful post. (Truly. I'm not being a suck up.) Reading it was like taking a brain shower. Thank you.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Ah gratitude. That's a good one for me to work on today. Thanks! I'm grateful for your reminder to be grateful.

Laurel said...

What a happy post! And artful segue from Greek myth to personal good fortund.

Cheers! Enjoy the weekend and fresh, clean clothes.

JES said...

I'm grateful that it was Saturday afternoon when I read this, not Saturday morning -- because that means that my weekly Saturday word-marathon has been run.

Hey, I said "marathon." Another geeky Greek history moment!

Charles Gramlich said...

Yes, it's always good to remember those who help us. I'd have to say I'm thankful for Lana.

Kate said...

I'm grateful for friends.

SM Schmidt said...

Aww warm fuzzies all around after reading the other comments.

I'm thankful for good friends that drag you away from the keyboard to run around a huge corn maze at night.

Jade said...

I'm grateful that no-one is up yet and my house is silent.

I'm grateful that I'm leaving today to go to the coast for the week.

I'm grateful that my husband doesn't mind that I'm going to the coast for the week when he has to stay here and work hard.

I'm grateful to Johnny Depp's parents. They gave the world something really pretty to look at on rainy days.

Anita Saxena said...

I'm grateful for your post, which made me stop and think of all the things I am grateful for in my life.

Stuart Neville said...

I'm grateful that once upon a time Aerosmith were really, really good.

But I'm most grateful for new adventures.

Word verifaction: "crazin" - strangely appropriate for life of late.

Rosemary said...

Grateful that the gray furry cousin of yours I saw in my attic this afternoon scurried AWAY from, rather than towards, yours truly. Never made it down a flight of stairs so quick in my life.

And Jade--so with you on the Depp parents. . .

moonrat said...

I want to run around in a corn maze.

L. W. said...

I'm grateful for my half-Canadian brother (and the reminder to cook him Thanksgiving dinner on Monday; he's too gracious to remind me, so I'm glad your post did). He stopped here on his cross-country bike tour and has been tirelessly playing with my kiddos and cooking for my family all week.

Christy Pinheiro, EA ABA said...

Ah. This is the best post I've read all day. Thank you.

So a version of "paying it foward" was alive and well in BC Greece?

I read Herotodus in College. It's been a loooong time.

Anonymous said...

I'm grateful for publishers like Elizabeth Law who says that stumping around for weeks on end isn't as important nearly as writing a damn good book.

http://shrinkingvioletpromotions.blogspot.com/2009/10/some-thoughts-on-marketing-from-amazing.html

Chris Eldin said...

:-)
:-)

I'm grateful for the biggest, warmest smile and patience my older son has. And the biggest warmest heart my youngest son has. I'm grateful for all the beautiful colors and smells of autumn.

I'm grateful for living in an area that has a Renaissance Festival every fall, and for the pumpkins down the road. For the neighbor's chickens that run amok through the everyone's yard. For the Wetlands mobile that visited my youngest son's school, and all the kids got to hold a python and learn about conservation.

jenny milchman said...

for fall, for children, for husbands, and to have found this blog...

_*Rachel*_ said...

I'm grateful for bright red cock's comb. I'm grateful for early morning light on trees tinged by autumn. I'm grateful for the sort of cold that tenses your muscles and makes your heart beat fast, and the crisp delight of new books, and the sweet slowness of golden honey. I'm grateful for funniness and new friends and people who tell the truth, even when it's so sad and strange you can only imagine it.

I'm grateful for this world, which is the present, and heaven, which is still to come.


I once heard the story of a man who gave his daughter a necklace of pop beads. She treasured them for years because they came from him, and she never took them off.

One day the man came to his daughter and asked her to give him the necklace. "But you gave it to me, Father," she said. "I don't want to lose it."

"Trust me," the father said.

Reluctantly, she gave him the necklace.

"You are too old for pop beads now," the father said. "It is time for something new."

And he gave her a necklace of pearls instead.

Ellie said...

It's a little like paying it forward? Very well, I'm grateful for lavish meals and massages.

Dana said...

OH, OH, OH! Chabon is coming to Denver in a couple of weeks. Maybe he'll touch my hand too. :)

Ello said...

You didn't drool?!!!

Inconceivable!

moonrat said...

that word, ello. i do not think it means what you think it means.

_*Rachel*_ said...

Met Micheal Chabon. Not as interesting a speaker as Sherman Alexie, but much less vulgar. Though my favorite was hearing Amy Tan.

I read Kavalier and Clay, but only liked the first half. The second half was... you know... literary fiction.

Nikki B said...

I saw Michael Chabon on Wednesday! He has the most beautiful eyes... oh, and he's a pretty darn good writer too! I'm such a fangirl, I'm pretty sure I just babbled nonsense at him when he signed my ragged copy of The Adventures of Kavalier & Clay. Can't wait to read his new book!

Jemi Fraser said...

Being Canadian, I just blogged about this yesterday :)

One of the things I'm thankful for is this amazing online writing community. From writers to agents to editorial assistants to editors to rally monkeys. I've learned so much from the generosity of spirit shown. Thanks to you all!!

Ulysses said...

Today, I'm grateful for my keyboard, without which this comment would consist entirely of blank space.

But that's not all.

Jaleh D said...

I'm grateful for 8 years of marriage to a wonderful man and to be mom to a preschooler.

I'm grateful for having gotten to meet another of my online writer friends in person a couple days ago.

I'm grateful for wonderful online writer friends who have helped my writing improve drastically in two years. And to my hubby for patience in hearing me babble relentlessly about my stories and even help me brainstorm event sequences.