Day One: 500 Words and a Look Into Happiness

Day one of the Novel Dare is in the books and despite the fact that I only created about 500 words, it was a pretty good one. Having decided to write the weird baseball SF/fantasy/thriller, I decided I had to set my brain by going back and touching base Casey Neal, my main character. So I spent a lot of time going back into the last book I don’t often read my own stuff, so I was quite happy to find myself smiling a lot as I read. These books are great fun.

Actual progress consisted of what I think is a solid jump-off point that was mostly me trying to get something moving while at the same time introducing the character. This is always an interesting moment in the creation of a story from afresh. I feel like I’m skating—which I suck at, but at the same time always game me these shots of adrenaline that came packaged with bursts of gleeful amazement that I was still standing up.

I still need to find the big lever that will wedge me into the environment I want to get wedged into—but I’m figuring that will come today or tomorrow.

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As serendipity has it, I listened to a podcast that got sent along to Malcolm Gladwell’s Revisionist History listeners titled “The Happiness Lab.”

Aside: some marketing thing that is, eh? “Sign up for this and we’ll send you that!”

It’s an exploration into the “science” of happiness—which, if you know me, is, like, the perfect bait to get me stuck in thought for weeks. The episode they pushed (titled “The Silver Lining” and being about human tendency to use other people as benchmarks for happiness) was interesting enough that I’ve gone on and subscribed to it.

So I listened to the first real pod today as I took a morning walk.

Cutting to the chase, the pitch here is that happiness—among other things—is work. It touches on the “old” science that shows money creates happiness up until your basic needs are met, but then extends the timeline into the ranges in which your happiness gets a whole lot more complicated. And it talks about some things you can do to make things better.

I’ll say that there’s not a ton here I hadn’t heard before.

But …

It’s easy to let things slide, you know? Us humans think life should move in a linear path and that you should never fall back—even when every other aspect of our lives tells us that’s just poppycock and blue skies. Life happens. We forget how to be happy sometimes—or just take it for granted—and then next thing you know we’re drifting and feeling out of control and off our rails and just not knowing why.

I’m thinking about this today as I step back into my book.

I made the decision to write this one simply because it was going to be the most fun. Simply because it made me happy to think about it. At the moment I made that decision I felt like maybe I was in the wrong—that really I should write something more … er … mainstream. More in my “brand,” if I have such a thing.

But I’m excited to make words this morning. I’m already feeling that well of joy that can come to you sometimes as I think about a bit of dialog I know the main character is going to have.

I’m looking forward to finding out what happens next.

And as I finish this little post off, I’m thinking that perhaps choosing to work on this book was a good decision after all.

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Posted in Daily Writing, Dare to be Bad.

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