“When Giving Is All We Have”

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I am here in Northern California, where there are 80 dead and 1,000 unaccounted for in the worst wildfire of the state’s history. Air quality is bad; people are wearing masks. And coughing. Yet people are also giving thanks that, in this time of cataclysmic climate change, the loss of life and property was not even worse. Grace under pressure, as Hemingway once defined courage.


Many people this Thanksgiving week are working to bring food and clothing and shelter to those in need; food banks are reporting record numbers of donations and record numbers of people seeking aid. In my small village, our food bank distributed 58 turkeys and as many hams, along with staples and fresh vegetables—and a few treats for kids.


As always, I am grateful for family and friends. And as always, I am most thankful for students, for young people everywhere who give me—every single day—reason to hope. Here’s a poem of thanks for them, and for all of you: “When Giving Is All We Have” by Alberto Ríos.


Happy Thanksgiving to all.


Image Credit: Pixabay Image 1768857 by Sabrina_Ripke_Fotografie, used under a CC0 Creative Commons License

About the Author
Andrea A. Lunsford is the former director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stanford University and teaches at the Bread Loaf School of English. A past chair of CCCC, she has won the major publication awards in both the CCCC and MLA. For Bedford/St. Martin's, she is the author of The St. Martin's Handbook, The Everyday Writer and EasyWriter; The Presence of Others and Everything's an Argument with John Ruszkiewicz; and Everything's an Argument with Readings with John Ruszkiewicz and Keith Walters. She has never met a student she didn’t like—and she is excited about the possibilities for writers in the “literacy revolution” brought about by today’s technology. In addition to Andrea’s regular blog posts inspired by her teaching, reading, and traveling, her “Multimodal Mondays” posts offer ideas for introducing low-stakes multimodal assignments to the composition classroom.