The days of miracles and wonder, by Elayne Riggs
I’ve taken a break from my promised sequel about comic book artists whose current work I like because (1) I still haven’t made it through the most recent DC comp box, (2) it’s not like there’s a huge clamor for it. and mostly (3) I’ve been in a sort of weird transition mode and needed to write about that because it’s never far from my mind, but is thrown into special relief during the upcoming holiday season.
In truth, I feel like this entire year has been a transitional one for me. Losing my best friend then my father in rapid succession threw me for such a loop it seems doubtful I’ll ever fully regain my equilibrium. Then there was The Job Thing. I’d been looking for a new position for awhile but the timing never worked out. Every time my job search gained momentum, my boss would return from Europe and I had to put everything on hold. Meanwhile, lots of little downturns became bigger ones and, to make a long story which I’ll be happy to tell you in a bar sometime short, on November 9 my employer of ten years and I officially came to a parting of the ways.
I have enough severance pay for awhile and am still interviewing for a new position back in Manhattan, so this isn’t a lamentation on my lack of current employment. It’s more a realization of how lucky I’ve been again this year. Even with deaths in the family and among my circle of friends, I have so very many blessings in my life. And with my half-century mark looming ever closer (a week from Sunday, in fact) I thought it would be a nice and perhaps inspirational idea to count those blessings.
I have my health, I have a way to pay for the few daily medications I need to maintain that health, and after some physical therapy my body is again obeying me to the point where I can start an exercise program again, and perhaps stick with it this time. Small steps, methinks.
I have a husband, my soulmate, whom I adore and who inexplicably loves me in return. I have an ex-husband with whom I am still on friendly terms; we were friends for years before we married, and we’ve been buddies for years after our divorce. I have never been blessed with children, but both my current cats are into double digits and show no signs of slowing down.
My mom reads my blog. My father-in-law reads my blog. My cousin and at least two sisters-in-law (one on my side, one on Robin’s) do as well. I love both sides of my wonderful family, even the ones who don’t read my blog. I’m happy that so much of my mom’s side of my family lives within driving distance of our home.
Our neighbors in the house of which we rent the top floor are usually quiet, our landlord is usually attentive, and our rent is reasonable. Our neighborhood is lovely, particularly this time of year. Three years ago when my now-former job moved out of Manhattan, my father bought me a car, which gives me access I’d never previously imagined, and yet from where we live I can walk to at least four county buses into Yonkers and points north, three NYC buses that pass nearby subway stations, three express buses into Manhattan, and a shuttle bus to the Metro-North commuter train. It’s great to be able to leave the carbon footprint at home if I want to partake in the culture and excitement of the world’s greatest city. It’s even greater to know I have a stable roof over my head. I’m well aware of how many folks don’t.
I have never wanted for food. I have never wanted for toys. I have never wanted for education. As an adult I have never wanted for friends, particularly in the hobbies over which I’ve been passionate through the years. I’m positively in awe of the friends I’ve made in the comics industry, both fans and creators.
The online world has not only kept these friendships alive during the times when I haven’t been able to do "the convention circuit," but continues to bring me new friends with all sorts of interests; for instance, there’s a whole politically-active set of online friends who have nothing to do with comics but regularly visit my blog because I talk about my many interests. I met Robin through the internet, and lots of British comic creators through him. This year ComicMix has brought me in contact with yet another level of comics luminaries. My Venn diagram of friends only seems to widen and encompass more and more talented and fascinating folk.
And there’s always something new to discover or explore, whether it be in my chosen primary hobby of reading or my interests in food or tech or just plain general knowledge. Anybody who wants to, and who has the resources I’ve been blessed to amass, can immerse themselves in these 21st century marvels that uplift the soul. They’ve been especially helpful to me during these last few years when I felt as though pieces of that soul were slipping away from me for 40+ hours each week.
And you can bet I’m grateful that, very soon, this will no longer be the case. And as I feel bits of myself returning that I thought lost as surely as some of my loved ones, I realize all those loved ones are also still with me in everything I do. I hear their voices in my heart every day, guiding me and chatting with me and warming me with my memories of their earthly presence. I think I am most grateful for those memories — so many of which are starting to come back! — for having known and continuing to know such extraordinary people who’ve touched my life so deeply. And so, as I count up my years to that round-number milestone and count down this next few months to the end of my "annus horribilis," it comes down to me thanking all of you for being among the blessings I count every bit as much. Blessings which, in the end, outweigh the tragedies and allow for the hope of an annus mirabilis next year and beyond. Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.
Elayne Riggs is ComicMix‘s news editor and has no idea what she’s doing for her 50th birthday but understands that, this year, dessert at Serendipity 3 is right out.