Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. If I’m being perfectly honest, because of the food: the turkey, the mash potatoes, gravy, stuffing, apple pie…. But it’s also a good reminder for me to be… well… thankful. It’s way too easy for us to sink into our comforts, forget that we even have those comforts, and what it took to get those comforts. And while there are still so many people in want and need, never before has the standard of living been so high for so many people than in our present age. So as an exercise, I took to Twitter and listed off as many things I was thankful for as I could before the small writer in me ran out of steam and/or I needed to move about the Thanksgiving day with friends and family.
To start off, I’m grateful for Man’s creative nature. The stories we tell and share–that influence our lives, and our inventiveness that makes those lives better and easier to live. So much of what I want to share revolves around these two things, and I think that is true for most of us as well.
These days, I rage against LotRO (and other MMOs), but I’m grateful for my time with it. I never would have met some fantastic people otherwise: people like Mark, John Di Bartolo, and so many others. Without them I probably never would have been a part of the Middle-earth Network, certainly not before it’s birth. I still remember the day Mark spoke after who knows how long, and he laid his plans out. I never would have imagined that this would become the things that it has. And of course, I’m grateful for Tolkien. Without him, there would never have been a LotRO for such meetings between such people to take place. Without him, there wouldn’t have been the stories which have inspired so many people to do so much. And without the inventive minds behind our computers and the internet, stuff like these games, and these meetings, also never would’ve happened. Storytelling and overall creativity: these things made even my typing this right now, to be read and shared by people across the world, possible.
And as much as Halo tries to give me grief, I am grateful for Halo, for Bungie, and for Xbox. Without these I never would have met a person who is now one of my good friends. Our meeting was a million to one chance (if chance you call it!), and it is a good story. It is also a story with sadness in it. Nevertheless, it is still a good story, and that sadness is part of what makes it good, and the story it is. And for those of you wondering, if I ever decide to share that story, it probably won’t be on this blog.
I’m grateful for Shamus Young, his family, and his blog, which have taught me so much about games, stories, and the various issues within the games industry. He has also been a great source of laughs and entertainment. Furthermore, I am grateful that because of Middle-earth Network, I got to actually speak with him on two or three occasions! I’m also grateful that, through blogging, I’ve gotten to see Mrs. Young, Shamus’ wife, share her family experiences, and how God always comes through for them when they need it most. And through Shamus’s blog I never would have met all the people I have and gotten to talk video games with–the Twentysiders (after Shamus’ blog). I’m grateful for Twitter and how it has allowed myself and my friends to all easily follow and interact with each other (and abuse its reply system horribly!).
I’m grateful I have ten fingers with which I can convey all this to you–no seriously. Have you ever stopped to think that you have hands that are whole, which allow you to do all the things you do? Seriously where would we be without our hands? Let’s be grateful for our hands! Some people don’t have hands or fingers (anymore).
I’m grateful for all the websites I use: WordPress and Middle-earth Network, which host our blogs, Twitter, and the wonderful digital gaming distribution websites like Steam and Good Old Games. And I’m grateful for the people who work around the clock, even on holidays to keep these sites up and running for our convenience. Because of these sites, gaming has never been better or cheaper, and communication has never been easier.
Additionally, it has been swell getting to know Tyler Michael Jonsson, AKA “the American Gollum”, as a person. He is a fantastic individual, and it has been a pleasure both talking and sharing video games with one another. I’m also grateful for my Twentysider friend, Krellen, who gifted me my first Dawn of War game for Warhammer 40,000 (which also happens to be the first DoW game. (Yes, my 40k post is coming, I promise!)). I’m also grateful for my other Twentysider friend, Varewulf, who gifted me the fantastic game Dust: An Elysian Tail (and also taught me a few Norwegian words)! Then there’s my other other Twentysider friend, Justin–the guy who got me to play the first Deus Ex! I don’t want to forget the other other other Twentysider, “Time Pyradox“, who throws together a pretty sweet tabletop RPG! There are many other friends whom I have talked and exchanged games with, and they are too many to mention.
Back to Middle-earth Network, I’m grateful that it has allowed me to meet fellow Tolkien scholars like Joseph Bradford, AKA “LotR Lore”, Britta Siemen, AKA “Tolkien Britta”, and even Dr. Cory Olsen, the Tolkien Professor!
I’m also grateful for my professor back at my old community college who taught many fantastic history and Tolkien courses! And because of him I also got to meet Colin Havard, the son of one of the Inklings. Not only that, but Mr. Havard lives in my home town–how crazy is that???
I could go on for days, listing off all the things I am thankful for, but at that point, I was running out of steam listing stuff on Twitter. Plus it was time to eat. And the food was wonderful. I’m grateful for that too.