This morning I woke up and everything was okay. Nothing was behind schedule or over-budget. Nobody on my staff was mad at me for anything. There was work and the prospect of work. And I was excited about all my friends from all over the world who are getting ready to come to New York for KidScreen. I woke up and I felt–what’s that word?–happy.
I felt good about this industry I have chosen. I felt good about the fact that my creative conversations still far outnumber my business conversations. I felt good that I get to spend most of my days writing songs about Potatoes or looking at designs for characters named “Fuzz” or hanging artwork by my staff on the walls of our red brick studio. Don’t get me wrong, I have as much stress and grief as anybody who runs an indie, but somehow not today.
Today I just feel grateful. I feel grateful for the number of people who have taken a chance on me and my team. I feel grateful for the fact that the creative spring that I draw from (that we all draw from!) has not yet run dry.
I feel grateful for the Brazilians, the British, the Australians, the Poles, the South Africans, the Canadians, the Uruguayans, the Germans, the French, the Chinese, the Japanese, the Koreans, the Slovenians, the Mexicans, the Palestinians, the Israelis, the Finns, the Egyptians, the Qataris and everyone else who has welcomed myself and my staff into their countries and into their homes since I began my career twenty years ago. Our industry is far more international, far more culturally intertwined than any industry I know of. I’m grateful that when I look through my inbox the e-mails come from all over the world and they’re all about one thing: Making great preschool TV.
I feel grateful for the spirit of collaboration that still exists between competitors in our business. If you haven’t seen this yet, just stop by The Grand at midnight or Prix Jeunesse or Cartoon Forum or any one of Adina’s dinners. You will feel such a common bond between companies, such camaraderie, that any type of Stalinist corporate position will seem isolating, unnecessary and a little ridiculous.
I feel grateful for the patience that my staff has shown me over these past ten years as I learned how to morph from a shy writer who slept until noon into a businessperson who owns cuff links and gets on planes and tries to read deals.
I feel grateful for the currents of emotion that sweep through me whenever I make something new: The fear that it will suck, the tenacity to finish it anyway, the relief when it’s done, the anticipation when I’m about to share it with someone and the pure joy I feel when a kid or an adult laughs at one of my jokes or sings one of my songs.
I feel grateful to my senior staff, Jennifer Oxley, Tom Brown, Tone Thyne and Jeffrey Lesser, for sharing Little Airplane’s journey from year to year and from show to show. Each day we make something new together and each day it feels like the very best thing we have ever made.
And I feel grateful to Dr. Laura G. Brown, our Director of Research, who has informed every show we have ever made with her profound understanding of young children and how they learn, how they feel and what they most enjoy. Laura has been my secret weapon for almost ten years now and she makes sure that our shows are not just lovely and funny but that they have something in them that’s really good for the kids. You may think I’m the one who decided “The Wonder Pets!” should teach teamwork but actually that was Laura.
And finally, I’m grateful to you, my readers, my community. I’m a very quiet person by nature. I don’t like to be around a lot of people. Like many writers, I think I feel connected to the world mostly through my work. So I’m grateful to all of you for being at the other end of that connection. I’m grateful that you listen to me.
And now I guess I’m wondering what you’re grateful for?