The Gratitude Journal

Meme's Hangers by InkSpot's Blot
Meme’s Hangers, a photo by InkSpot’s Blot on Flickr.

I’m feeling kind of strange this morning. We’ll see if this theme works out or if it flops and gasps its way out of a half-baked existence. Here we go:

1. I am grateful for verbs. Wait. Are we talking grade school grammar here? Sort of, and yes, I am serious. So why verbs? This piece of oral and written communication “encodes” action. Sure, it also conveys states of being, but the context I’m mostly interested in in this case is action. Think of Shakespeare’s Hamlet. Hamlet spends the entire first half of the play locked in the stifling space of the infinitive. To be or not to be. To do, or not. His existence has not yet been conjugated into action; therefore he languishes. I’m all for meditating. Critical thinking is a necessary component of life, and many of us should do it far more often. For others, however, they are forever lost in thought (Guilty). Never move to act. To attain a goal, we must act. To fix a problem, we must face it, and act. There is no living life without doing.

2. I am grateful for nouns. Oh dear. The stretch has begun. What is so special about nouns, and how can they possibly correlate to something concrete in life? Well, that’s the great thing. These little guys are the signposts. With them, we label and identify. Extrapolating for this case, nouns represent moving from the abstract to the concrete. They signify that most precious act of coming into knowledge. Escaping from vagueness and uncertainty into that hard-edged space of specificity.

3. I am grateful for adjectives. They make the world beautiful. They help us see all the qualities and characteristics that a simple noun, poor thing, cannot convey. It is not enough to know something. We have to feel it, too. His (pronoun) smile (noun). His tender smile. His sweet smile. Forced, beaming, galactic. His empty smile.

4. I am grateful for punctuation. My life experiences have been written with ellipses (unfinished), periods (finished), commas (evolving), semi-colons (stepping), the em dash (a epiphany, a sudden change) and more. Sometimes, my life has been punctuated exactly where it needs to be. In other cases, I have put the wrong marks in the wrong place, or let them be put there. Regardless, punctuation is an important signal. The word comes from the Latin “punctuare”, to bring to a point. It signals transition, whether it be turning the page or closing the book. I think I would be lost and floating without it.

5. I am grateful for conjunctions. Conjunctions might be as beautiful as adjectives. They represent the binding agent in my life. A conjunction links two phrases (clauses, etc) together. Simple, subtle and often considered marginal, yet the impact of a conjunction can be immense.

For what are you grateful?

ps, about the photo. My grandmother made these. Originally, she was going to be mentioned more explicitly in this post. She is still there, between the lines and buried in the generalizations. As are other people and elements in my life.

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