Are You Happy? by J J Dare

Happiness is a Warm Mouse on a Cold Winter Day

Experts define happiness as a state of mind. Along with every other emotion experienced by humans, happiness is subjective.

Happiness is letting someone else have the last piece of chocolate cake. Being complimented by a stranger can bring a blushing rush of happiness. The first bite of a my favorite ice cream is heavenly. Hearing from a friend I haven’t talked to in a long time makes me smile. Happiness is upgrading from “starving artist” to “semi-starving artist.”

All of these happy moments depend on the state of the giver and receiver. If I’m not receptive, no amount of ice cream will make me feel better and it won’t matter how many flowerly compliments I receive; in the end, happiness lies within me, not outside.

Writing is like happiness.There is a hit or miss quality when writing a book. Of course, writers only focus on the “hit” part of this equation, because it would be rather silly to purposely write a book that would miss.

Or would it? I think focusing one’s writing energies on a “miss” book helps the writer recognize the winning combination for their next endeavor. It also serves to free up some suppressed emotions.

That is the case with the book I’m working on now. It would probably be a complete bomb. Why? Because the subject matter is very narrow and relates only to a specific set of people.

Then, again, maybe the broader aspect of my latest book is that more people can relate to the subject than I’m aware of. My latest effort deals with petty and not so petty revenge. The only difference between my book and thousands like it is the fiction is loosely based on fact.

In fact (pun intended), some of the “letters” in the book are taken almost verbatim from actual letters. The names have been changed, but the intent has not.

Does writing this type of book make me happy? Honestly, yes, it does. While I’m not foolhardy enough to try some of the things my protagonist does, I have thought of them. If I had actually pursued some vengeful acts, fur would fly and lives would spin apart more rapidly than centrifugal force in a vacuum.

This is how I can get away with murder and keep my hands clean. Well, not murder, but vengeance for a debt long overdue.

I broached the topic with a friend the other day. When I told her a few more details, she immediately knew who the real antagonist was.

“Seriously, do you think that’s such a good idea?” she asked. “You’ll be opening a nasty can of worms.”

“It won’t hurt me,” I replied. “In fact, I feel pretty good about it.”

Yep, it feels damn good and, yes, I am happy. I compare it to the heated rush the assassin feels right after he pulls the trigger, like warm maple syrup on hot french toast.

Morally, my book should not be published because certain people, like the friend I just mentioned, would see right through the murky glass I’ve created and instantly know the real names behind the characters. Sheets would hit fans as some “righteous” people were exposed for drug-addicted charlatans.

WWSCD? Yes, what would Samuel Clemens do?

Publish the loaded weapon, baby. Publish.


J J Dare is the author of two published books, several short stories and about thirty works-in-progress.

Current enthusiasm is sharpening intangible knives and co-authoring at Rubicon Ranch


Filed under books, fiction, life, writing

4 responses to “Are You Happy? by J J Dare

  1. There really is happiness in writing a non-publishable book. I started one of those for fun, but life got away from me (or pulled me in) and I no longer know what fun is. I hope someday to finish the book for the sheer joy of writing an implausible, unpublishable tale. Of course, that means I’d have to write again, and I’m not sure I’m ready to recommit myself to writing.

  2. I agree about writing a non-publishable book and that is what I did. It provided great happiness and gives you freedom to write as you please without fear of reproach.

    The issue that stopped me from finishing the sequels were my attempts with agents and publishers. Once I made that distinct move, it transposed my novel writing from happy hobby to the sale of a commodity. I hope I too can return to a time when I can write an entire book for happiness alone.

  3. Pingback: Another Great Blog to Bookmark! « Bertram's Blog

  4. sarahbutland

    Love this idea as stories need to be told, deserve to be written, if they can even put one smile on a face and this one has. Writing and living your passion shouldn’t be a popularity contest nor a get rich quick scheme (although get rich sounds mighty fine), we write for ourselves and to reach one person I think.

    Happy writing and releasing!

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