1. BB. He is, quite simply, the best thing in my life. It may seem disrespectful to call him the best thing, but what I mean by that is that he does so much for me, and has taught me so much, and has been there so often for me ... he is my best friend; he's my voice of reason when I need one, and that's oh, so often; he's the one who kills the cockroaches, he's the one who tells me I look good when I know I'm looking seedy, he's the one who knows I need a hug. He's the one who tells me, who convinces me, that things are going to be alright. He's the one who introduced me to jazz (and truly nurtured my inherent love of music in general), and Firesign Theater, and martinis. He knows my sense of humor, and puts up with my lack of humor when I'm in particularly dour moods. He is the best.
2. Personal letters that come by mail. Whether they're handwritten or typed up, getting a real letter in the mail takes me back to the days when getting news from friends who lived far away was a special treat. The days you'd wait between the time you mailed your own letter - which you'd carefully written with as much news, thoughts, meanderings, worries and joys as you could possibly do before your fingers tired or your typewriter jammed - and the time you got an answer, with any luck as jammed packed in answer, were interminable. And the day the letter arrived, oh, it was wonderful!
3. Music. I grew up with music; my Nana and my mother sang, and sang beautifully. I had piano lessons for years, and have always regretted giving them up. I love almost every kind of music, although rock and roll gets my blood flowing the most, and jazz talks to my head and heart almost as much as I've grown older. Even music I thought I didn't like, like various iterations of country, or were bored by, like whatever folk is, I learned to appreciate. Music is language I can share with everyone, and it's a language BB helped me get better at. Without music, my inner life would be an echoing, empty chamber.
4. Cooking and writing. Yes, definitely cheating here by putting both things in the same boat, but they are both ways I can create, and I love that. Cooking is a way I can carry on my Nana's traditions in the kitchen, and those of my mother's too, so that's one reason. It's creation with short term gratification, but with challenges (as anyone who has ever wrestled with making a good pie crust can tell you.) It's also tied in with the joy of feeding family and friends, which of course is also tied in to ego gratification, but that's not necessarily a bad thing. Writing is far more difficult for me, whether it's news and feature writing, or fiction writing. But I could no more stop writing, as slow as I am, than I could stop walking or talking. This happiness comes from my fiction writing, and it comes at least in part from knowing that I'm good at it, and that I can create stories that people love. I doubt that I will ever return to writing original fiction, but writing fan fiction makes me more happy than I've ever been when writing other things.
5. Fandom. By that, I mean many things. I mean the traditional science fiction fandom that I discovered in 1977 when I went to my first World Science Fiction Convention, and which led me to a circle of music-oriented fans in Minneapolis in the 1980s and early 1990s. Traditional fandom was my first real intellectual and emotional home apart from my family. It was the place where I discovered that other people really loved the books I loved, and who didn't think I was weird, mockable, or bullyable, because of it. (Even my family, who indulged my reading, looked at it askance). Bless traditional fandom forever. And now, I am a part of online fandom, which is a child of traditional fandom, but who, like all children, has grown into a creature all its own. I have friends, and friendly acquaintances, all across this globe, people who helped me hang on to happiness, who encouraged my writing, who challenged my mind, who have been wonderful to read and to interact with for the past nine-plus years. You are all part of my life, and you enrich it so much. Thank you!
And let's see, I
should tag people, although it's definitely a voluntary thing, especially if you've done this before. So ... a_phoenixdragon
, and ljgeoff
- tag, you're it!
Honorable mentions: Doctor Who, especially Nine, Eleven, and River; Japanese curry and croquettes; Chicago; anime.