As a child, I spent as much time getting lost in a good book as I did getting lost in the woods. Whether leading an expedition against the greatest odds with my creatively imagined friends along the Patapsco River, or reading about the many actual fearless warriors within my books, my dreams were derived from the imagination that the woods and my books cloaked me in. Time would prove to diminish the frequency with which I ventured into the woods. School, studies and competing interests made my epic sagas intermittent at best. But every time I found myself back there – every time I find myself back there, no time has elapsed at all. It is as though I am a boy reunited with my first love. Books however, have grown from the vehicle for my dreams, to the method by which I’d like to express my own. Authorship is the milestone I’ve set for myself while striving to live for me; to live for now. This goal was not hatched out of a desire to find something to measure my progress; it was something I’ve wanted for myself since the first time someone ever asked me what I wanted to work of my life to be.
I was with my parents and my siblings on the Metro, travelling into DC for the day to watch a Georgetown basketball game and see a museum or two. My father likes to throw out questions that require thought prior to response. I’m not sure how my brother, sister and mother feel about the game but I always loved it. When he asked the question, I didn’t need to think about it. Writing a novel had been a goal on my heart for as long as I could remember. Realistically, reading books for school like Johnny Tremain or Enders Game or Catcher in the Rye always made me question the method of the writer just as much as the tale of the plot, or the character’s challenge or triumph. I always envisioned F. Scott Fitzgerald coming to his “A-Hah!” moment or Hemingway massaging his scenery as part of the journey I was on. I wanted to be like them.
I want to be like them. In so many ways, my happiness project is about creating processes, habits and content that will guide me to the place I need to be to write that book. I want my book to speak for my generation, or a block of us, much like Hillbilly Elegy recently has for so many. I want my book to move people, to break something open in the world of others. I want my book to make some people’s’ lives richer – while for others more of a call to action. I want my book to represent the woods and the adventures I went on through streams and pages. I want my book to discuss the trepidation I felt as I was coming into my own, and then the false sense of self I encountered in my teens and early twenties, before finally moving back into my soul to find the greatest journey I’ve encountered thus far – starting a family. I want to cover all of these journeys through a unique adventure that could only be travelled and then written by myself. Knowing all of this, I feel I’ve started down my road in earnest. While I continue to discover the soul of my content I intend to keep writing about what makes me happy, and writing about that process and those feelings are excellent ways for me to convey What Happiness Means to Me!
I’ve recently focused more frequently on my goal, which is the only major difference in the level of my production. There are days I know what I want to write when I wake up. For some reason the topic was on my heart, or greeted me with my morning coffee. Others have to be crafted during the day between tasks, while others still are penned after my kids go to bed and I’ve waded through a few brainstorming sessions. While work and family occupy the A slot of my brain, I’m working toward sneaking writing into that space. When I’m writing, I am the most natural version of me; creatively shaping my thoughts and feelings into a single page of text. There is nothing that has ever been more innate within me. I hope to transform that feeling into real progress in the weeks, months and years to follow.
Yours in the Pursuit of Happiness,