“It isn’t what you have, or who you are, or where you are, or what you are doing that makes you happy or unhappy. It is what you think about.” (Dale Carnegie)
Happiness for me today is thinking about another book written. Another story told – difficult though it was to pry out of my head and onto my computer screen.
A fellow writer in an e-mail posting today said he didn’t think there was anything magical about writing a story. Perhaps not for him, but it feels a little magical to me each time I write “the end” and then start to read to see if I got the story told. I did that this week. Read my new Shaker story, The Gifted, with some trepidation since a lot of its story words had been difficult to summon out of the murky depths of my storytelling well. But the story is there. The one I wanted to tell. The one my characters lived for me in my imagination.
So happiness is a story told. A blessing received. The first reader liked the story. That’s always me – that first reader I have to please. Stephen King in his book On Writing says you should write for one reader. For him, that is his wife. But for me, well, it’s me. Of course a writer can be deluded and fooled by her own words. Most writers do have critique partners and first readers other than themselves. But as that Frank Sinatra song says, I did it my way. That’s the only way I can. And the story has to speak to me first.
Now I have to finish it up, cut and polish my words in hopes that my next readers will think I’ve found the right story and told it in the best way I can. I need to trim away some more of those words I had such difficulty coming up with in the first place. But sometimes you just have to spill the whole bucket of words even when you only need half or three quarters of the bucket. Then you have to mop up.
On my Facebook page this week we’ve been talking about the University of Maryland research that found reading a book made people happier than watching t.v. I don’t know if that’s true of not. I think surveys can prove just about anything at times and today it could be books making people happy and tomorrow t.v. or Facebook. But reading makes me happy. And reading my book after writing the end and finding the story actually is there the way I doubted through the last hundred pages or so, now that’s happiness.
Does reading make you happy? On FB a lot of readers have shared the books that make them happy. What a gift to me that some of them mentioned my books. Hope you are finding happiness in your thoughts today.