My brother and his partner Hayley have been doing the 100 happy days photo challenge. I love the idea of it: a reminder to look for the good, to seek out and record the things that delight or amaze you. They’re past day 70 now, and I’m already sad to think about it ending — to stop getting my daily insight into what the people I love most are doing and feeling.
I was tempted to sign up, but I know myself — this year was the second year in a row I ran the Round the Bays course on the right day but at the wrong time, and the second year in a row I’d signed up for it myself. Ain’t no one gonna tell me what to do — including me. I’m so contrary I can barely get myself to do the things I want to do.
My solution is 100×100: a picture and a hundred words, loosely related. Bits of things I’m writing, bloglets, maybe some poetry. MAYBE. We’ll see how it goes. I’m not promising to do this every day, because I’m bound to break that by tomorrow, but I need a kick in the pants — not to get creating, but to get what I’m creating out there.
A few years ago, I submitted the first paragraph of my first novel to a competition run by a literary agent in the US. I made the final 15, from over 2500 entries. Being me, I thought, “well, it’s not like you won”, and promptly forgot all about it.
I went back and found the list of names today. Turns out, nearly everyone else on that shortlist is published now. I never even tried to query that book — I filed it under “not good enough” (with everything else I’ve ever written) and never looked at it again.
I’m calling myself out, here and now: we’re done doing that, self. Time’s up. You’ll never be good enough, because you’ll never stop getting better — put things out there anyway. Open yourself up. Fall down. Fail. Do.
First leaves, fresh starts, open hearts:
an “everything will be okay” moment.
Here’s that first paragraph. Sparks, 2009:
I don’t believe in love.
It’s like magic tricks for adults, this idea that you can be completed or fixed or solved by someone. Like we’re all negative equations, and we have to pair up to do anything positive. It’s bullshit, and I don’t care how cynical that makes me. The world is full of people making each other miserable because they think they can substitute a boyfriend or a wife for purpose or self-respect. Love is a water-colored, Santa Claus view of a biological urge, and I haven’t met anyone yet who’s made on the deal.