10 January 2009

Is there something "unpoetic" about being happy?

I feel almost unqualified to ask this question, since I spend 58% of my time sulking, but in the remainder of my time I am happy. And I wondered if you are more inspired by your happy times or by your sulky or sad or pouty times. If you have those, of course.

Lately I think that I'm most inspired when the happy intersects with the sulky. I've even tried to write about it. For this reason, I am glad that I am not happy all of the time.

In unrelated news...

Take a peek at John Gallaher's new book cover. Its official release date is in April, but we'll be debuting the book at AWP Chicago, so you can get your signed copy before everyone else does. And then you can gloat.

Speaking of new covers, here's the sunny new issue of Barn Owl Review, which will also make its debut at AWP. One of the unique features of this issue is that it contains a crossword puzzle based on all of the writing inside. Read the issue, and then do the puzzle. What could be better?

14 comments:

Adam Deutsch said...

I'm not sure if happy or sad have anything to do with the process (in my case). When I'm concentrating, I don't think I'm in the same head that considers and judges the situation in those terms.

This is what we start with on a Saturday morning.
And now, coffee.

Radish King said...

I write through it either way. It just doesn't matter.

John Gallaher said...

With a wonderful book cover like that, how could I ever get sad enough to write again?

WV: mingste

(Which sounds a bit angsty to me.)

Isaac said...

Gallaher's book cover looks a little Katamari-Damacy to me, which is (I think) a good thing.

As for happy/sad, I think that might be the wrong pair of dipoles. Maybe content/discontent? I know I write more when I'm discontent, but I can be pretty happy and still want to change things for the better,

Penultimatina said...

Isaac--there's something called "content"? Oh my! ;)

Good point.

Amy said...

Miss Mary--I'm the happiest I've been in a long, long while, but I'm writing the darkest work I've ever written. In other words, dunno!

Maya Ganesan said...

I think it's the sad times for me. At eleven, I am sad 89% of the time.

I'm feeling rebellious right now, and I can't write a single darn thing for the life of me. Go figure.

Anyway, I think "sad, sulky, pouty" can go to a really intense level -- a sort of "I'll never be happy again...what does it mean to be happy?" kind of level. Which is sort of how I feel now. But I still can't write anything, since writing feels definitely way too happy and calm and peaceful for me.

So I don't really know. I think I push through the most when I'm feeling fine -- not happy, not sad.

S_Allen said...

I write best when I am in a foul mood.

Talia said...

It's much easier to write with the negative emotions flowing around, but I'm from the "grunge" generation. Or maybe, I'm just not thankful enough to realize all of the happiness I have in my life.

I love the crossword thing!

J.D. said...

To be honest, if I'm writing--or, I should say, if I have written-- I can't be unhappy. I get such a buzz from making something that didn't exist before, even if I secretly know that it might suck, that it carries me through all of the cruddy stuff. As long as there are words on a page somewhere that came out of me, I feel hopeful.

Margaret Bashaar said...

I never write anything I'm pleased with later when I am unhappy. Of late, all my best writing comes when I'm doing well. Writing is much healthier than it was when I was angsty and in high school, that's for sure.

Oliver de la Paz said...

Love the book cover! And I remember seeing that piece on John's blog. Very very cool.

Hmmm . . . unpoetic about being happy? I'm happiest when I've written something. And when I'm in the "guts" of a project, I'm happy. Maybe, the content's not happy, but I'm in some kind of blissful state.

John Gallaher said...

Oliver, you are not supposed to remember things from blogs! Shame on you.

Happy sad emotional. Ever since you posted this question, Mary, I've been wandering around asking myself how I'm feling.

I prefer mostly to be neutral while writing. I think the mood of no moods or the mood of all moods would be the best way to describe my desire. When I write, I like to feel like a curator organizing things for display. Being in a mood disrupts that.

That said, I very much like to work with language that is emotional, so I have to have emotional thoughts to come up with that language. It's always best when I can find it in People magazine.

That, and how much I like the listen to jazz atthe office.

Brent Michael Canle said...

Happy or sad, it is possible to draw inspiration from both.

But for me. It is almost impossible to write while depressed. Maybe its a sort of self-deprivation. "I dont deserve to write beautiful words. I am not capable of beauty. Blah blah blah." Only a few random words or sentences will make it.

Then again, when I'm happy, I get estatic. "EVERYTHING IS BEAUTIFUL!!" So I write everything I perceive. Which is horrible writing the next day when I'm depressed.

So I suppose inspiration is always out there. But the interpetation of such inspiration is subjective to mood.