she can tell which horse is gonna finish first

by s.

i. I live in a world where I can spend calculated hours with friends on Thanksgiving eating layers of food, playing Apples to Apples, and watching a large bottle of Wild Turkey disappear until I arrive home at 2am and eat my third pie slice of the day straight from the pan standing up at my kitchen counter. I can do this, and I can wake up the following morning with no major repercussions because I am quite healthy and happy and resilient and because I have friends and food in the first place.

What the hell else could you really want to be thankful for?

ii. There’s a really great piece up on Thought Catalog today about the importance of good conversation. It makes a really key distinction between conversation and discussion, which are really two very, very different things.

There is a moment inside every good conversation that has the feel and effect of the creative “flow” state. Sometimes it changes the fabric of a friendship and sometimes it only matters right then in the context of the dialogue, but that moment is the thing in life that I look forward to the most and the reason why I will never disappear completely. Every “how to have a conversation” book in the Self-Help section of bookstores should be avoided at all costs; what we really need is someone to tell us how to really have a conversation.

I don’t know many people who know how, and I will let the ones who do be complete and total jerks to me as long as it means I get to have those conversations some of the time.

iii. I wrote myself this letter last November about all of the things I wanted to do with my life in the coming year. When I re-read it recently, I decided that writing letters to your future selves is a mean, spiteful thing that will end in nothing good. It is a younger and more hopeful version of yourself saying, “Please give me these things!” and the version of you that reads it later is more or less doomed to have to look back and say, “I did not give you these things and some of them weren’t even mine to give.”

I’ve been thinking about it a lot as we hit the holidays and prepare to start another year. I mentioned to Matt the other day that this year had been the craziest of my life so far. One thing about that letter that I had failed to really acknowledge is that even the things in it that I have failed at are ones that I really, really tried at. This year, I really tried, and while the results of that effort are mixed, I’ve been honest and I’ve been genuine and I’m not really sure there are many better things one can say about oneself. This is important because you only get so many years on a planet and I think that there’s no way to do anything good unless you’re trying.

So here’s to that, at least.

iv. Lately I have been obsessed with the The Books They Gave Me tumblr for many reasons. Other people’s relationships are fascinating, for starters. That books are also fascinating is a given. It’s an interesting way to link what the gift of a book says with how a relationship turns out in hindsight, and it’s an unintentional but rather amazing reminder that things do not always work out the way we want them to. Additionally, if there was one true thing that could be written about the world, I suspect that thing is this: Everyone gets their heart broken.

If I wasn’t the kind of person who no longer writes her future selves letters, the letter I’d be writing myself right now would include a motion to find a dude who would give me a book as a gift at all, because although I know and have known some very, very upstanding gentlemen, it still seems like some sort of failure that none of them have ever given me a book.

Books are the conversations you get to have when no one else is around, and if we’re counting things that I’m thankful for right now, that might be at the top of the list next to all of the real, wonderful conversations I have had and all of the glasses of whiskey that have accompanied them. Next year is really going to be interesting.