ABC just canceled Roseanne after Roseanne Barr tweeted some truly despicable things, and I expect the free speech and censorship accusations to start shortly. So just to be clear, they didn’t quell her free speech, she can still say anything she wants. And they didn’t censor her show’s content, they canceled it because the show’s figurehead had become too toxic to support. They can do that. The idea that anybody can say anything and if there’s any blowback it’s censorship is not only ridiculous, it’s not even logical. You have the right to say anything you want. And then you have the responsibility to accept the consequences. The problem around here lately is that there hasn’t been much consequence to blatant racism and sexism since so much of it is coming from the White House. But they just arrested Weinstein and Barr lost her platform and I’m starting to feel better about my country.
ABC has done some dumb things in the past (they canceled The Middleman, the idiots) but this one is a smart thing.
I wouldn’t go so far as to say happiness is action-based, but I do think that what you do with your body has a huge impact on how you feel in your mind. I love stopping to cherish a moment, but making something also floods me with joy. As much as I complain about writing, when I finally get it right, it fills me with happiness, the same joy I get drawing, or watching crochet produce beautiful fabric, or even finally getting a room in this house cleaned out. There’s a lot to be said about the happiness of accomplishment, and it’s even happier if the process is joyful, too.
It’s so easy to look at my life and think, “This is not what I planned, this is not what I wanted,” and forget that in so many ways this is exactly what I wanted, more than I dreamed I could have, I just didn’t get it the way I thought I wanted it. It’s not just “count your blessings,” it’s “don’t define your blessings by what you wanted last year” or, god knows, twenty years ago.
Right now, in this moment, I am happy. That’s a blessing right there.
That John Lennon quote to the left is famous, but I’m on the teacher’s side. I think a goal to “be happy” is like a goal to be “well-fed.” It’s a goal, true, but it’s unattainable without action, so how are you going to get there? And “what do you want to be when you grow up?” is a perfectly good action goal, although a dumb question to ask children; that’s a question to ask adults, most of whom haven’t completely grown up (aka dropped dead) yet. (Also, he really did not understand the question.)
Sometimes happiness just happens–the sun breaks suddenly through the clouds and stops us in our tracks with the beauty of the world, somebody we love laughs in joy and delight, we’re transfixed by a moment of absolute peace–but more often, happiness comes about because of something we did, something we made, something we caused to happen. What I’m saying is that “I want to be happy when I grow up” is the equivalent of “I don’t want to be poked in the eye with a sharp stick when I grow up.” EVERYBODY wants to be happy. How are you going to get there?
So what did you do to be happy this week? And as long as we’re talking, what do you want to be when you grow up?
(Also, my mother is 92 today. Happy birthday, Jo, and thanks for those tough-as-an-old-boot genes!)
I think contentment gets a bum rap because it sounds boring, but I think it may be the true goal of life, to look about you and think, “I built this life for myself and I am happy with it, not exhilarated or excited or enthralled, but just bone deep content with who I am and where I am.” Or as Douglas Adams said, ” I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” This could be because I am old, since I do believe you have to grow into contentment because you have to learn what gives you peace before you can find it. If so, then growing old is a small price to pay for contentment.
Last week, Jennifer Weiner asked me how I’d tell the story of “Grace,” the twenty-two-year-old who went on the date from Hell with Aziz Ansari. I really did try, but the more I tried, the more confused I got.
The difference between fiction and reality is that fiction has to make sense. We tell each other stories about something that happened so that we can impose order on the event. That’s why the same event told by two different people can become two entirely different stories: the event was shaped by two different points of view. I should make it clear that I believe “Grace” was telling the truth in the way she related the events, and I believe Ansari’s apology and his explanation that he saw the events differently. I understand that real life comes at us fast and it’s hard to think straight under pressure; there have been any number of times when I’ve looked back at something and thought, Why didn’t I do something about that? Even so, I can’t take the events as listed and make them into a coherent narrative. Continue reading →
I tripped over Lee Thomson’s Dancing Crow Postcard-A-Day project in 2008, and loved both the postcards and the idea. I really loved the idea of making daily art, something I’ve let drop from my life (my first degree was in art, my first jobs were as an art teacher, now it’s all about the words), but I didn’t have the discipline, so I just enjoyed Lee’s work. I still don’t have the discipline to do one project every day for a year, but Lee has a new, easier idea: Make a Thing a Day for February, 2018. Here’s her comment: Continue reading →
So America is in the middle of a massive stomach churn of the body politic, heaving while half of it freezes and the other half burns (climate change is a myth, part of SoCal always slides into the ocean during January). The Evil Empire that Trump put into office is cancelling net neutrality, funding Big Coal, releasing the oceans to drilling, and trying to criminalize pot again. Also Trump is still President. So it’s bad.
But it’s not that bad, it may even be good, and I am not a glass-half-full kind of person. Why am I delusional about this? Here, have some random optimism: Continue reading →
Krissie had us post our word for the year over at ReFab, and I picked “change.” I have obvious reasons politically–vote in the 2018 midterms, people–but mostly for personal reasons. I had a rough time several years ago and it’s taken me until now to get centered again. Moving into the middle of nowhere was a HUGE help–you would not believe how peaceful and beautiful it is here–but now that I’m back on my feet, it’s time for change, big and little. Continue reading →
So it’s six more days to 2018, which promises to be a contentious year here in America, but also a chance for a fresh start, especially if we can do some governmental rearranging. Since January 1 is the traditional day for new beginnings (I like Sept. 1 because of spending most of my life in educational circles, but that’s just me), these are our last six days to clear away the deadwood of 2017 to start with a nice clean slate for the new year. For me, that means finishing a book and throwing out half the stuff in my house. I don’t do weight loss diets–they’re depressing and they don’t work and also, I like food–and any bad habits I have are now baked into my personality, so changing those is futile, but the book and the house are non-negotiable. Continue reading →