I bought a book called The 100 Simple Secrets of Happy People so I could crib from it for these Sunday posts. So far, not hugely impressed. It’s one hundred very short chapters explaining a concept from happiness research. For example, people who sleep more soundly are happier than people who don’t, so sleep soundly. Another indicator: being open to new ideas, which is probably why people who oppose Trump are happier than people who support his vice-like grip on the good old days when people were white and male, damn it.
But I do like this one: “If you’re not sure, guess positively.” I’m not sure what’s going to happen to my country, but I’m guessing the good guys will win, and we’ll come out of this more vigilant about what we’ve taken for granted. I’m not sure what’s going to happen with the heart failure thing, but I’m guessing that I’m going to be just fine and I know that I’m the happiest I’ve ever been right now so I’m already just fine. I’m not sure how my editor is going to react to this book–one of my agents, Meg, is freaking a little bit because it’s so weird–but I’m guessing as long as its a Crusie she’ll roll with it, and Meg says it’s definitely a Crusie (well some of you who’ve read some of it will know about that, too). I like the “Guess positively’ idea.
I’ve decided that the end of summer is a good time to drink Diet Coke, sit in front of the air conditioner, and read. I went through all the Gilberts I had on Kindle and went to get more only to find out that they’re no longer on Kindle at all, which was annoying, so I switched to Heyer mysteries. Currently reading Stella and Randall, the amiable snake. Stella could use some work, she’s a little weak at the knees, but Randall is a classic Heyer mystery hero, very much akin to Steven in Envious Casca and the guy in A Blunt Instrument. Enjoying myself immensely.
Eudaemonia is the Aristotelian concept of happiness, not based on hedonism or laughter but on the achievement of a satisfying existence, the idea that living a focused life in the pure pursuit of what fulfills your soul will inevitably lead to happiness. There’s some scientific support for this, but I prefer to go with anecdotal, the idea that when we’re working on something that fills us with purpose, it also fills us with exhilaration, no matter what the task. It’s akin to Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s idea of flow, a transformative state of consciousness when the worker becomes one with the work. I get that from writing and from art, I know many here get it from gardening, I’ve known people who’ve gotten it from the beauty of math problems and the elegance of writing code. It doesn’t matter what the task is, it’s that melding of avocation and vocation, doing satisfying, valuable, honest work that also in some way serves a greater purpose within us, that creates eudaemonia.
August is Romance Awareness Month, so I read a lot of Georgette Heyer and Anne Stuart. And then I moved on to romance comics because I’m fascinated by them. I want to write them. You know, in my spare time. Google for “romance comics” and look at the images. So. Much. Fun. And so much less stressful than real romance.
But before I start my new career writing romance comics, I must get back to the romance between the cop and the dead guy, which one of my agents describes as “weird, but great dialogue . . . ” I don’t think that bodes well.
I’ve been reading a lot of Georgette Heyer lately. When she was good–The Grand Sophy, The Talisman Ring, Cotillion–she was phenomenal. When she was mediocre–Bath Tangle, anyone?–she was still damn readable. What’s more, she’s re-readable. I must have read The Grand Sophy a dozen times and I still love it. I learned a lot from that book, especially what a great supporting cast can do for a great romance. I still love that bit of dialogue when Charlsbury–kidnapped and shot by Sophy for his own good–says “I am devoted to Sophy . . . but heaven preserve me from marriage with her,” and Vincent says, “If heaven did not, I fancy Rivenhall would.” It’s such a lovely throwaway line that says that the community already knows what’s coming in the next scene when Charles Rivenhall puts his hands around Sophy’s throat and says, “Will you marry me, vile and abominable girl?” and Sophy says, “Yes, but only to save my neck from being wrung.” Sigh. That’s my kind of romance.
It’s probably the god of irony at work here, but not only did I publish Kelly’s post about her magnificent book too soon, after it had been up for a couple of weeks, I managed to delete it. So much for this woman and technology. But the comments are still here! Also here’s the stuff I managed to save:
Our own Kelly S co-edits a book about women in library technology (two of my favorite things):
Does gender play a role in library information technology (I.T.)? For the last several decades, libraries have primarily employed women, whereas I.T. jobs have been held by men. What happens when the two collide? What is it like for women who are working for I.T. within the library? Has it changed over time? Through personal narratives, we explore these questions and seek to provide guidance and encouragement for women and men in library I.T., those pursuing a career in library I.T., and library management. The collection includes themes concerning “Imposter Syndrome,” career trajectory, experiences of sexism and biases. Contributors also offer advice and encouragement to those entering or already in the field. Examples of positions held by the contributors include managers, web developers, system librarians, programmers, and consultants. This collection provides a voice for women in library I.T., bringing their experiences from the margins to the center, and encouraging conversation for positive change.