I’ll admit I wasn’t too sure what to write about today, but since I resolved to update my blog at least once every weekend, I told myself I would just start writing and hope that something coherent (and if I was lucky, interesting) would come out of it.

And then I remembered this discussion we had last week in my English class about happiness, and it got me thinking.

Here’s what the dictionary has to say about happiness: the quality or state of being happy.

And since that’s not exceedingly helpful, here’s how it defines happy:

characterized by or indicative of pleasure, contentment, or joy: a happy mood; a happy frame of mind.

But what does that even mean? And – and how can you take something so beautiful, so thrilling, and put such a boring label on it?

You know that feeling you get after doing something nice for someone and watching that person smile?

The feeling of waking up in the morning, yawning and rubbing your eyes and feeling like crap, and then finding out it’s a snow day?

Clicking “print” after spending hours and hours on an essay?

Crossing something off on a list of things to do?

And (although this is probably just me) making tea at 3:27 pm?

Okay, well that’s happiness. It’s not some dictionary definition, and it’s certainly not a goal you’re trying to reach.

If you have a goal, a dream, a passion, there is no reason you can’t aim for it and be happy at the same time.

I agree that surrounding yourself with positivity is important, and motivational speakers are great, and yes, you can choose what you want your outlook on life to be – whether you want to dwell on the positive or negative – and it’s true that you don’t ever have to compromise your happiness.

But in the end, happiness is something that fills your heart, that isn’t artificial, and that can’t be measured or defined.

You can tell me about dopamine levels and all that, and the whole scientific side of it. I don’t care. I’d still like to think it’s something more. So here’s to happiness: the simplest, most complicated, and most beautiful feeling in the world.

Wishing you all a happy day… er, week… ah! Life! A happy life to all.

The Romance of Writing

I swear one of my new year’s resolutions is to update my blog more. It’s just that these past two weeks I’ve been on winter break, and sometimes, the most wonderful feeling in the world is the feeling of doing nothing at all.

I will admit, however, that I have spent (at least the last half of) winter break struggling to plot my manuscript. It seems that everything I think of is too cliché, or it doesn’t make sense, or no one would ever want to read it.

I did write two new poems though, which you can read here. One of them describes my situation as “the tortured writer.”

I wish I could say that writing is just soft pretty flakes of inspiration fluttering onto the page, the romantic unleashing of all that lies in one’s heart. But it’s not, although the very best authors do make it seem that way.

But you know something? Tonight, we dimmed the lights in the family room and played Frank Sinatra songs on my dad’s old record player. And I sat by the fireplace with my notebook and wrote my story as the flickering flames warmed my face. And that was pretty darn romantic. Sometimes I feel as though I were born in the wrong time period! It’s like that movie, Midnight in Paris.

There’s also something more romantic about physically writing on a sheet of paper in a notebook as opposed to typing on a computer. I read somewhere that writing on paper accesses the creative part of your brain and so the writing flows better. It seems to be true, at least for me. I think a sheet of notebook paper is also less intimidating than a blank white page on Microsoft Word.

I don’t know if I’ll actually end up writing my entire manuscript longhand. One advantage of using a computer is being able to edit so easily. Also, if I do end up writing out my manuscript, I’ll have a whole lot of typing to do by the end of it.

As I was struggling to write over break (and also after I watched Midnight in Paris), I wondered what famous authors would tell me if I asked them for advice. I googled it, and I found this very helpful page:


It’s called Words of Wisdom: 101 Tips From the World’s Most Famous Authors, and it’s really nice. I enjoyed reading the quotes, and I also felt much more motivated and inspired to write my own story.

I would definitely recommend checking it out. You may find yourself inspired, if not to write, than at least in some other aspect of your life. Because that’s what’s beautiful about writing; it inspires you in more than one way.