Posted by: jeannineatkins | December 16, 2010

Thursday Thanks and Thoughts

1. I’m happy to hear that Borrowed Names is going into a second printing, and it will have quotes from four starred reviews on the back cover. And so thankful for all of you who’ve bought, borrowed, blogged, talked about, read or mean to read my book of poems making this second printing possible.

2. Wordswimmer is a great blog about the ins and outs or ups and downs and sidestrokes of writing and publishing. I’m honored by Bruce’s recent review of Borrowed Names. (and I’m thankful to my husband, who just showed me how to make these cleaner looking links — one thing off my list of things to learn in 2010!)

3. And happy that novelist Sara Zarr included Borrowed Names on her list of books published this year “… that kindled my enthusiasm for craft on some level: language or structure or originality or feats of storytelling wonder and courage.” And how’s this for a blurb: “This is a collection of linked poems in a book that utterly defies the elevator pitch, the three-point query letter, and the market.” Well, maybe we’ll leave that off the jacket, though Sara’s right that this was written more from my own curiosity and obsessions than a sense that it might be wildly hailed in a marketing department.

4. Our daughter will be here next week! And hopefully some of her friends. Zach? Colleen? Nell? Liz? Deepa? Please, I miss you!

5. And I’m grateful for all who will be joining us for Christmas, as well as those who can’t be here this year. Grateful for all memories, and those who can’t be seen but are beside me singing a wonderful tenor or setting the table, making me laugh and sometimes being a little bit annoying. All of it I miss, but singing will happen and the table will get set and new memories made. I’m grateful for it all and glad it’s not one of those years, which, like most people, I’ve had, when all the festivity seemed to be a room I couldn’t enter. I just read in the newspaper about three local churches holding special services next week for those who feel this season as one of loss. Some of these services will be on the solstice, the darkest day of the year. Sometimes days are just dark, and it’s hard to look back or forward, so I’m thankful sanctuaries are opening for people who don’t particularly want to light candles or sing or smile. But where for one night they don’t have to be alone with that.

Trying to shrug off loneliness was my biggest motivation for writing when I began in my twenties. And the greatest gift from writing all these years is to find out that I never really was alone. None of us are, even if sometimes, I get it, that’s just a really annoying thing to hear.



  1. Very cool on the second printing!
    On your #5–the first year I was married we were in Germany. It was Christmas and our church had a nice service in the morning. But we were restless and wanted to do more Christmas stuff the rest of the day, too. So we went with another couple from our exchange program to midnight mass. While there we ended up meeting a woman whose husband had died that year, and she couldn’t stand to sit at home all alone and think about it. None of us were Catholic, but we all sat together and the whole town was there in that little (but seriously old!!) minster, and–I can’t describe it well, but for five people who were lonely, it ended up being a very light-filled and very much connected-to-other-people-filled evening. Really glad we did that one.

  2. Love your Thursday thoughts!
    YaY for your wonderful, fabulous book!
    Christmas is a mixed bag of gathering and missing.

  3. Rose, you expressed this well enough that it brought tears to my eyes. It sounds like you all made a choice that mattered.

  4. Thanks for your thoughts, Laura, and the cheers coming through loud and clear even with your cough. Hope you feel much better for the holidays.

  5. Love you, Jeannine!

  6. Wonderful to hear all the wonderful things happening for Borrowed Names!! Yay 2nd printing! Starred reviews! And yes to Sara’s inclusion on her list!! I wholly agree — what you did with this book defies description on so many levels. 🙂
    Have a beautiful holiday, Jeannine!!

  7. hooray for you and hooray for BORROWED NAMES! 🙂 You rock!

  8. Congratulations to you on your second printing of BORROWED NAMES! I saw Sara Zarr’s post about your book, and it made me smile. 🙂
    Wishing you and your family a very Merry Christmas! I am finding an unexpected pleasure: My 3-year-old has caught on to what the season brings with it, and she has such a wonder about it all that is just delightful to see. It’s a gift, truly. Take care.

  9. Congratulations on the second printing! That’s wonderful!!!

  10. Love you, Jo!

  11. Jama, thanks for all the wonderful words and exclamation points! Sending them back — with snow! No, the snow’s not from me.

  12. Thanks, Debbi. Of course you rock, too!

  13. Thanks, Jeni. Three may be the perfect age for gazing at glitter and green and awe in it all. Glad your whole family can enjoy this gift — happy holidays!

  14. Thank you, Cindy!

  15. yay for Borrowed Names! and you!

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