Thursday, November 26, 2009

Annual Sappy Thanksgiving Message

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

I love Thanksgiving. It is my favorite holiday because it's just like Christmas, only without any religious connotations or monetary burden vis a vis present-exchanging. In other words, it's about gorging yourself like a pig with family and/or friends. 'At's what I'm talking about. For those who are not US Americans, I urge you to consider embracing this fine holiday. If you'd like to escape American colonial connotations, consider renaming it "Stuff Your Face Day" or something. (And let me know when you're celebrating; I'll totally show up with the Death by Chocolate.)

As usual, I would like to post an Annual Sappy Thanksgiving Message. Here goes.

My senior year in college, I didn't really have my act together. I suddenly realized that although I wanted to work in publishing, I hadn't really taken good steps in that direction. Haphazardly, I managed to secure an internship at a literary agency, working under the supervision of the agency's assistant.

I won't say her name here--if you're really curious, she's one of the people thanked in the acknowledgments in Junot Diaz's BRIEF WONDROUS LIFE OF OSCAR WAO, which just shows me I'm not the only one whose life she's affected. But this woman changed my life. She went out of her way to demonstrate and instruct me on tasks, instead of just having me read slush. She had me accompany her on errands, so I could see multiple facets of the ass(istant) lifestyle. She gave me invaluable advice on career development, name-collecting, personal organization, and etiquette. She practice-interviewed me and taught me to write thank-you notes (whoda thunk?). She invited me to industry networking parties, where I met a number of inspiring, hard-working young men and women, many of whom I still work with frequently today. One of these women she introduced me to happened to know of an opening for an editorial assistant in her company--this would become my first job. The agency assistant wrote my recommendation.

This isn't the end of what she did. When I got the job fresh out of college, I quit my internship, of course. Even though she no longer had anything to gain from me (if she ever did), she helped me through the very difficult transition. She literally allowed me to live on her couch (for zero rent) with her and her fiance for six weeks until I was able to find an apartment.

Perhaps most importantly, she paid me the one compliment in my life that has meant more than any other. I was very bummed about a specific thing in my life that hadn't gone well, and she said something to console me that, to this day, if things are going really bad, I still think of to make myself feel better.

This woman, who did all this stuff for me, is no longer in publishing. Unfortunately, after she left New York, we lost touch. She is doing something else that I hope is making her happy--it seems, from some online stalking, that she's doing very well.

I'm a great believer in karma. And I can't pay this woman back at this point in my life for everything she did for me. So, when I remember to, I try to pay it forward. She gave me so much advice and untiring support that I'm not sure that I would have gotten a job (or deserved one) without everything she did. That's one of the reasons I blog; besides tapping into my flagrant exhibitionism and offering a sense of community to someone who's a bit of, um, well, a community-seeker, blogging also offers me an opportunity to try to pay back/forward some of my advice debt. I've been a part of the alumnae mentorship program at my alma mater for two years now, and I try to pay special attention to the interns who pass through my clutches.

The thing about paying it forward is that it's never enough. I mean, however much I can try to be helpful and available to other people, that can't *make up* for the fact that I ever got a job in the first place. But I can try, when I remember.

So today, I'm thankful to this particular women, and the many ways she changed my life. I'm also thankful to anyone who's ever asked a blog question here, because you're helping me chip at that karma.

Thank you~

32 comments:

Laurel said...

Such a nice post! Happy Thanksgiving.

Kate said...

What a great story. Is there any way for you to contact her? I bet she would love to read this post.

Happy Thanksgiving

Kate x

Shreds said...

Your generosity with your readers leads me to believe that time really does flow in both directions-- the universe anticipated the service you'd do, and gave you that kind mentor so you could conduit some of that wisdom on to the thirsty masses. Or something.

Happy Stuff Your Face Day;)

Frankie Diane Mallis said...

I love this post! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Kristan said...

Oh Moonrat, now I'm all teary and warm & fuzzy inside...

Happy Thanksgiving. :)

Emily Cross said...

Happy stuff your face day!! :)

Natalie Whipple said...

Thanks for the "sappy" message. She sounds like an incredible person. Thanks for paying it forward whenever you can:)

unboundscribe said...

Those people always mean so much, the ones who do for us and help us and guide us and never expect in return. :sighs: :happy sighs: Thanks for sharing this wonderful story and happy thanksgiving to you and to her and to the rest of us. :smiles:

Megs

bonniechernoff said...

I stumbled across your site a few days ago and am thrilled with my find. Selfishly, I hope that you never feel you've repaid your debt to this incredible sounding woman. ;)

Happy Thanksgiving!

Larissa said...

Aw...you made me tear up! What a great story to share. Thank you for sharing and thanks for all that you do!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Natasha Fondren said...

Awww, wow! What a woman! I know a woman like that. I swear, she spends like 10-15 hours a week being like that. I don't know how she does it. She totally humbles me.

storyqueen said...

This is the best Thanksgiving post I've read today.

Good luck at the Karmic Payback!

Shelley

Kristi said...

As a total believer in karma and paying it forward, I loved this wonderful story. Thanks for sharing it and Happy Thanksgiving!

Donna Gambale said...

I'm fond of the sappy. And the Death by Chocolate. It's great to thank those people who made a huge difference in your life -- and they probably had no idea. Enjoy your Thanksgiving!

Adam Joseph Drici said...

Great post! Happy Thanksgiving!

Sarah Hina said...

A beautiful post on gratitude. I hope she somehow reads it. You're paying forward that good karma every day. I have so many of your helpful posts bookmarked.

Happy Thanksgiving!!

WendyCinNYC said...

Oh, that's such a nice post. She sounds like an incredible woman. Happy Thanksgiving!

alexisgrant said...

This is a great story, partly because most of us can relate. Those of us who were lucky had a person in our life like this woman, someone who went out of our way to help us. That person has probably forgotten about what they did, but to the individuals she helped, the good deed is never forgotten. I like your way of thanking her, by paying it forward.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Simon Hay Soul Healer said...

Happy thanksgiving, and thanks for everything. Generosity has nothing to do with karma. You've got a big heart moonie.

Daniel W. Powell said...

You, dear Moonrat, have done so much for the rest of us. Consider us thankful for the generous insights, the personable advice, and the superb company.

You truly are a credit to publishing.

Let me know if you and the RM need a place to chill in Florida. Our family would love to cook for you (alligator tail, oysters, grouper).

Happy Thanksgiving!

jalexissmith said...

lovely story! happy thanksgiving!

Merry Monteleone said...

Awe, Moonie, add this post to the very long list of reasons why I love you. And let me just tell you, you're earning that karma, and much much more...

I hope your Stuff Your Face Day was fantastic.

Whirlochre said...

Hope youy've had fun stuffing your face and being glad.

Bernita said...

I give Happy Thanks for finding you.

Melanie Avila said...

We should all be so lucky to have a person like that pass through our lives.

Happy Thanksgiving!

writtenwyrdd said...

Lovely post, Moonrat. I think we often underestimate what others have done to help us, and it's a good thing to recognize those moments that turn out to be pivotal to your growth, personally or professionally.

I hope you had a marvelous Stuff Your Face day.

Irene S. Levine, PhD said...

Not sappy at all! Beautiful story---but why haven't you tried to reconnect?

I bet she would love to hear from you!

Ex-in-the-City said...

That was a stellar post. Thank YOU.

tricia said...

What did she say to cheer you up, that you still repeat to yourself when things are going bad? Could you pass on this karma, too?

L. W. said...

A perfect "stuff your soul" post. I'm full now. Also, as I scrolled down to the read the comments, I noticed your Mischief news (more books to add to the TBR pile). Great stuff. Thanks.

Bruce Pollock said...

I've had a few people fulfill that role in my life, and now I'm proud to add you to the list. Thanks for your support in '09, Moonrat!

Precie said...

I'm procrasti--catching up on blogs. I love this. Just wanted you to know.