Fluid and Unpredictable

Long ago, I read that it was important to stay fluid and unpredictable, and I was so charmed by those two words together that I took them as life theme. I already knew that rigidity led to nothing but grief. Rigid belief systems break at the first serious challenge, rigid social systems disintegrate and fall to rebellion, rigid lives end up bleak and unfulfilled. “Rigid” so often means “brittle,” a word that’s only attractive when it’s paired with “peanut,” but a fluid approach to the world that accepts its unpredictability with open arms and a firm conviction that chaos is, at the very least, interesting often leads to joy. Someone close to me once said, in exasperation, “You’re such a Pollyanna!” but I don’t think I’m unrealistic. I just look at change as something with huge potential, sure to make me look at the world in a new light, learn something new, become someone new. Things don’t always (or even often) turn out as I planned, but my life has never been boring. I chalk that up to fluid and unpredictable.

Or as Berkeley Breathed and Opus would say:

How did you meet joy with open arms this week?

(Also, if you’re on Daylight Savings Time and you haven’t reset your clocks, today is the day to Fall Back.)

Cherry Saturday, November 2, 2019

Today is Author’s Day.

Which means it’s a great day to tell us who your favorite authors are (not me, this is not me trolling for compliments, it’s me trying to find new authors).

Some days mine is Terry Pratchett, and some days it’s Georgette Heyer or Dorothy Parker. But my favorite sentence in all of literature is from Mark Twain, not my fave author ever, when Huckleberry Finn writes a letter to tell the owner of his friend Jim, a runaway slave, where he is because it’s the god-fearing thing to do. But when he has the letter in his hand:

It was a close place. I took it up, and held it in my hand. I was a trembling, because I’d got to decide, forever, betwixt two things, and I knowed it. I studied a minute, sort of holding my breath, and then says to myself:

“All right, then, I’ll go to hell”- and tore it up.

Every time I read that line, I think it’s the best encapsulation of the great possibilities of the human spirit, to reject everything we’ve been taught as right and wrong and go with what we know is right. “All right then, I’ll go to hell.” There’s the Great American Novel right there.

So thank an author today. (Thank you, Samuel Clemens.) Or if you are an author, write something.

Also, how the hell did it get to be November already?

The Importance of Happiness

I was thinking the other day that the most valuable and important posts I make here are these Sunday happiness posts. They’re valuable because they make us think about the good stuff that so easily gets drowned out by the bad, and they’re important because sharing them spreads the peace and joy as we read about others’ happiness, like a contact high. I would also defend Good Book Thursdays to the end, and I think Working Wednesday is good because we get to stop and say, “Hey, wait a minute, I ACCOMPLISHED this,” but the ones we really need are the happiness posts.

So please tell us what made you happy this week. It’s important to us.

Your Moment of Happiness

I was sitting in bed the other afternoon reading a good book, and I looked up because a cloud moved away from the sun, and the light poured through the trees outside my window and through my window, and Veronica sighed in the warmth and snuggled into my pink-flowered quilt, and I thought, “Right now, in this moment, I am happy.” It’s a mantra for me now; the rowboat of my life is currently besieged on so many sides by so many alligators, my country is beseiged on many sides by so many alligators, it’s too easy to get caught up in feeling helpless. But my life is also made up of many small things that add up to a good existence, and as long as I take the time to notice them, consciously, I won’t forget that overall, I have a very good life, a life worth noticing in its detail, a life worth defending from alligators. It’s a little Marie Kondo, a kind of thanking that aspect of your life for its service–I’m thankful I have a bedroom with windows on treetops so it’s like sleeping in a treehouse, I’m thankful I have a great mattress and squooshy pillows and blankets and a pink flowered quilt, I’m thankful I have a good book to read, I’m thankful I have three snoozing dogs who make me laugh, I’m thankful I have a daughter who writes me e-mails about Bloom County and a Krissie who writes me e-mails about rewriting being a pain in the ass, I’m thankful that my car Agnes did not run her battery down even though I accidentally left the ceiling light on–but mostly, right now, in this moment, I am happy.

How were you happy in the moment this week?

Cherry Saturday, October 19, 2019

Today, I have decided, is Choose Your Own Holiday. Today’s possibilities are:

Evaluate Your Life Day
I Love Yarn Day
Bridge Day
Sweetest Day
Repair Day

But since this is Argh, I think we can make up our own days from now on. And my day today is inspired by Mark Bradford. There’s a great article about Bradford–massively successful artist and philanthropist–in the Washington Post, but what really got me was the last paragraph of his interview:

“Some days, it ain’t great,’ he says. “Some days, it feels like wallpaper. Literally. I can show up and turn on the lights and start dipping that paper in water. But if you’re not in the room when stuff is not going well, you’re going to miss it when it is going well. I can work with incredible doubt, I can work with incredible insecurity, I can work with flashes of confidence where I understand what this work is when it unfolds to me. But I can always work.”

Everything about that rings so true to me. So my day today is “I Can Always Work Day.” And thank god for it.

Working Wednesday, October 16, 2019

I wrote 2500 new words for Nita today. Yes, I already had too many words, but if you’re going to refocus a book, you’re going to have to do some new writing. The big thing is, it was a wonderful feeling to create something new instead of trying to fix something old. Maybe I haven’t lost it after all.

What did you make this week?

Happiness is Waking Up in the Middle of the Night and Not Caring Because You Can Sleep Late

So I had an idea for a happiness post, but it was grouchy. And then I got distracted by other things (like reading a novel that was kind of annoying but finishing it anyway) and fell asleep, only to wake up at 5AM and remember that I hadn’t put up a happiness post. And that made me happy because (a) I still had plenty of time to get it up and (b) I could sleep in as late as I wanted. It’s a feeling so luxurious that it’s almost obscene: I don’t have to get up tomorrow. Aside from having three dogs looking at me anxiously if I sleep til noon*, nobody cares. Ahhhh. Happiness.

What made you happy this week?

*I believe in Britain they call this a “lie-in.” Who says I’m not bi-lingual.

Cherry Saturday, October 12, 2019

You know, sometimes I look up the holidays and there’s just nothing there I want to talk about. Like today is Old Farmers Day. I have nothing against old farmers, I come from farm country and one of the best men I’ve ever known was my father-in-law who farmed part time with his mail route. Lovely man who died way too young. It’s also arthritis day, but I don’t feel like dwelling on something that keeps my friends in so much pain (and I know I’m due any time). There were good days we missed. Friday the 11th was Egg Day. I could sing songs to the beauty of eggs. It was also Coming Out Day, which I am also all for; nobody should be in the closet about anything. And the day before that was Cake Decorating Day and Handbag Day, both of which would have had wonderful visuals. (It was also Porridge Day and Hug a Drummer Day, and in my experience, both of these are Bad Idea Days.).

We’re just going to have to go with Old Farmers. Hug one if you can find one.