on happiness

3/24/14


"It was a delicate, new strangeness, and I held on to it like a candle, hoping it would lead me to an even newer, stranger strangeness. Or perhaps I could accumulate many small new ways and pile them up to form one large new way."

(Miranda July, No One Belongs Here More Than You)

--

I find myself facing a delicate new strangeness.
That is, for a some time now, happiness has made creativity feel hard.

Never did I write more than when I lived abroad. I fill up nearly a dozen journals between my three years in Uganda and three months in Rome. There were times when I found myself running treacherously short of pages, and I would send away for a visitor from American to bring me back a new volume or two for continued journaling.

It was all much of the same. The same angst, the same fears. Dreams repeated over and over, and even more so, the hurts. I spent a lot of time lingering somewhere in the gray area of uncertainty; at the same time, hating and reveling in it. My creativity fed off of life's unpredictability and my own sweet loneliness.

Since Zack, the unpredictability has shifted and all the rest--the angst and loneliness--have all but dissipated, and its no wonder to me that so many great poets and writers lived such unhappy lives. Because to write out of steady, constant happiness requires a different sort of creativity. A delicate creativity that can be much more difficult to harness. Passion and pain prick the conscious just so. As Hemingway may (or may not) have said, "There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed."

I'm still making my way through the same journal I had when we got engaged, three years ago. And while I have commented in the past how I find this consistency annoying, I am actually grateful.

I am so very grateful. Love and happiness have changed everything.

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