As much as I love the crazy, complicated chaos that is the internet, there comes a time every year when I sign out of Facebook, stop tweeting, and push the power button on all my devices.
Now is that time.
I will miss (at least a little bit) Lenny Kravitz’s wardrobe malfunctions and cats-vs-roomba and the latest kerfuffle in the YA community. I will miss (much more) the sharp insights and biting wit of my colleagues.
And I will miss you (a lot).
But I will be listening to pebbles and sliding through water on wings of my own flesh and feeling the smooth wood of a paddle shaft under my palms. The smell of wood smoke will curl through my dreams, and when I wake early, and the mist is still rising, I will crush a leaf of sweet gale between my thumb and forefinger and breathe deep.
It is time.
When I see you next, my dears, I will be more me and less maelstrom.
I know I blog a lot about being angsty. I like to rely on Ralph Keyes assessment that if you’re not a bit angsty and anxious, you’re not much of a writer, but that doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like to feel better a lot of the time. Hence, I paid careful attention to HAPPY, the movie.
You should watch this.
It summarizes several decades of “positive psychology” aka happiness and yields some serious gold.
About 50% of happiness can be explained by genetics. That means each of us have a set point that has a strong genetic component. I get that my set point for happiness is lower than that of say my uber-exercising, perennially-positive editor friend (you know who you are). I can deal with that.
About 10% of happiness (ONLY 10%!!!!!!!!) can be explained by wealth, health, and success.
The other 40% — well, it’s up to us.
And apparently the formula is simple. Play + Movement + Service + Friends = HAPPY
Who’s with me?
In general, I’m an advocate of the “YES” principle (also known in my world as “JUMP”). I’m a risk-taker. I push myself. I want to try new things, hard things, scary things. I’m not crazy or an adrenaline junkie. Instead, I believe in forward motion and growth rather than stagnation or withering.
Except right now… I’m curling up in my den and licking my wounds.
Over the weekend, my family was a serious car wreck. We were in a series of blind S-curves when a car blasted toward us half-way into our lane. My husband had a split second to try and get us out of the way, and a likely front-end collision turned into more of a side blow, taking out the rear tire and axel. Somehow we all walked away from a car that is likely totaled. It was very scary and for a split second I didn’t know what was going to happen but thankfully, we’re all ok, just a little shaken up. After looking for a towing service, we came across this site, https://findanattorney.net/car-wreck-compensation-lawyers/, which is giving us some insight into the compensation we can get because after all, buying a new car isn’t the most affordable purchase a family can make. Plus, I want to be able to buy a car that’s suitable for our family and that might be a little more than the average car value.
We, humans, have this remarkable capacity to forget. We forget the pain. We forget fear. We forget that every second of every day we balance on a well-honed edge between life and death. Remembering takes me out at the knees, steals my breath, pummels me with the echo of loss.
I know I’ll come up swinging again, but today–and for as many days as it takes–I’m burrowing in and tending to some gashes.
I’ll be honest. I’m complicated. I worry about a lot of things. I over-analyze. I dissect. (Nod your head sympathetically toward my husband. He’ll appreciate the gesture.)
Sometimes I feel like I’ve got a whole universe jammed inside my skin. I’m stretched tight like a sausage with all the stuff I think about. (Bonus points if you know why I selected that image.)
I’m not going to tell you what I worry about. Mostly it’s boring, cliche, or embarrassing. But I will tell you that the worrying is analogous to my writing process. In the same way I might fret about my kids’ future, I turn the elements of my story around and around. I twist and tangle and ultimately untangle the narrative threads. Because I’m complicated, I write complex characters in shifting universes. I like to think that the personal anxiety has a purpose that is made manifest in the writing.
But the curious thing (and the point of this post) is that I never feel anxious about writing the book. Isn’t that weird? I worry about all these things, but there’s a deep down secure knowledge that I can write the book. I will serve the story. And I’m always learning how to do it better. Cool, huh?