My good friend asked me today whether I'm happy. I'm not sure that I am, at the least, I'm not unhappy, but I think a focus on happiness can be toxic. A focus on happiness in an inherently inward-facing frame, one that prioritizes your own hedonic experience above all.
Happiness, then, becomes just one more metric that we track in our lives, and in the very act of constantly assessing it, we pull ourselves out of the present, comparing the current moment to a litany of past and future ones, perpetually asking ourselves - is this good enough?
Instead, I think gratitude is a much better frame. Instead of pursuing happiness, pursue gratitude, giving thanks for all the things that you do have - whatever those things may be. I'm grateful for the people in my life who love me, and for those I have loved, for my health, for living in a country like Canada, for the opportunity to make art, for the gift of having found something (writing) that animates me, that breathes vitality and purpose into my life.
The final draft of Beta Male, after about five years of work, is finally congealing, crystallizing into its final form. I'm cutting the fat, eliminating the dialogue where characters talk like mouthpieces (this isn't something people do in real life), paring things down to their essentials. It's work that I'm truly proud of, something I can point to with pride and say - I made that. The ironic thing about my novel is that even though it's about a broken, hateful person, it was made with love.
No matter what happens in my life, no matter what ups and downs go on, I take solace in art, in the act of making good art, of making something that can move another human being. To see the craft of something, to appreciate the way it rings clean and true: this is a privilege, the privilege of work.
people I admire
Bret Easton Ellis