Happiness

I was going through old files on my external hard drive to see if there were files I could get rid of, and while doing so I came across one called “My Happy Book.” The utter cheesiness of the title aside, I was instantly reminded of what this file contained. In the winter break before my last semester at Union, I was browsing around one of my favorite haunts, Barnes & Noble, when I happened upon a book in one of the carousels by the cafe’. I think the title was something like 10,000 Reasons to be Happy or 10,000 Things to Be Happy About, but I can’t seem to find a book of that title, so perhaps I made it up. However, I do remember thinking several things about this book.
1) It was a little sad that people needed to read a book of generic things someone else had come up with, in the hopes that it would make them happy.
2) It would be silly to buy this book, as I could make a much more personal list of my own for free, thereby saving myself $10.99 and ensuring that each item truly was a reason for me to be happy. (For example, I remember one of happy things being “cigars after dinner,” and cigars are disgusting.)
3) Making a list of happy things would be a good way to remember all that is good in my life, all that God has so richly and lavishly bestowed upon my small existence.

After leaving the store that day I started the document, resolving to add at least 5 items to the list every day. Unfortunately, I’m notoriously bad at coming up with good ideas and never seeing them through, so the 5-happy-things-a-day plan lasted perhaps two weeks before life crowded in and caused me to forget to dwell on the happy things. Every now and then, though, I would remember, and I’d go back to my list and add whatever came to mind, often adding a lot more than the self-imposed 5 happy things minimum.

My Happy Book, as I came to call it, hadn’t been opened for a while, as far as I could tell. When I opened it today, the last item was #317: The smell of freshly-cut grass. It’s been almost four years since I first started that list, and I only managed to get to #317. Reading over the list was quite interesting, and I found my happy things ranging from the general (#27: God’s infinitude) to the very specific (#88: a Miles Davis CD on eBay for $.250), to the academic (#37: Making an A on a paper and knowing I earned it; #201: Correctly breaking up a word into morphemes [I’ve completely forgotten how to do that!]), to the food-related (#20: Chocolate brownie frappuccino from Starbucks [which they no longer have!]; #211: Cherry limeades from Sonic), to the book-related (#29: Sitting in front of a blazing fire and reading a good book; #43: Finishing a really good book with the knowledge that I will definitely want to read it again; #68: Beginning a new book; #69: The smell of a new book; #195: Lying in a hammock on a spring day and reading a good book).

The funny thing about a list like this is that it’s easy to tell what stage of life I was in at the time. I could tell when I wasn’t at Union because I looked forward to break being over so I could go back, and I could tell when I had left Union and had begun grad school at UT because there were mentions of a new city and an apartment and small victories in theory class or Old English. Reading these happy things is like opening up a box of photos and thumbing through them one by one, and I’m so glad I have new happy things–more verbal photographs–to add (#318: My husband; #319: My husband bringing home flowers; #321: Being able to use the word “husband”).

Life is good. I am deeply blessed by a God who shows me His grace every day.

What would you put in your happy book?

What is a story?

Is it more than six words? Hemingway would not think so, for he wrote a story in six words: “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” Last year, Wired asked other writers to compose their own six-word stories, often with interesting, if not somewhat puzzling results. Here are my attempts (I had to resist the urge to count syllables instead of words, as I’m used to writing nonsensical haikus). What are yours?

Test positive. Time to buy diapers.

Road ending ahead. Brakes don’t work.

Cut the red fuse, the red–

I never should have trusted him.

HT: Freethinker777

(Mostly) Surefire Ways to Get Eprops

1. Post pictures of flowers from your boyfriend/fiance, or pictures of your cute puppy or child. People love cute/pretty stuff.
2. Get engaged.
3. Say something wildly outrageous that will anger/excite people. (Example: I think Bush is the best president we’ve ever had.)
4. Have people vote for something, like a background song or a favorite picture.
5. Post about your birthday. People always like leaving birthday props.
6. Recap Gilmore Girls in a witty and intelligent fashion.
7. Bribe. Say things like, “I have HUGE news, but I’m only telling it if I get 20 eprops.” Or make it sound more pitiful, like, “No one loves me on Xanga anymore. Where’s the love?”
8. Ask questions of your readers. (See the end of this post.)

And generally speaking, I find that it’s easier to get eprops when you actually write a post more than once every two months. (*cough* Stephen *cough*)

What are some of your tips for getting eprops?

P.S. I will give eprops to the person who can tell me how to add accents to letters using a laptop. The alt+ number formula doesn’t work.

Glad

I am glad to be alive
on nights like this
one
with the wind blowing through the open windows,
carrying the scent of freshly-cut grass
and honeysuckle blossoms,
the stars winking above,
the road whispering below,
my mind composing poems like this one
that I will forget before I can put
paper and pen together.

I am glad to be alive
on nights like this
one
when I sing with abandon,
my one free arm dangling
out the window, meeting the wind
pressing up against it,
like the very earth rising up to listen to my voice
join the voices of those before me,
preceding those after me,
a chorus of praise swallowed up by the night.