happiness, part two

College applications and the stress of senior year has kept me busy for the past few weeks, so I’m sorry for the lack of quality blog posts. Even though the grueling process that is college apps isn’t over, I found a little bit of time yesterday (or rather, forced myself to stay up for thirty minutes past when I usually sleep), and redid the exercise I wrote about in this May. The initial prompt is as follows:

You want to be happy? You want to be at peace? You want to be healthy? As any good writer would tell you: unpack ‘happy’. What does it look like? How can you demonstrate happiness on the page – that vague, abstract concept. Show, don’t tell. Show me ‘happiness’ … [Learning to write means learning to look at yourself and the world in extreme close-up” (Stranger Than Fiction 37-38).

Accept Palahniuk’s challenge: Give us “happy.” Tell the truth. Be specific and concrete. Show.

I thought it was important to remember the small moments in life, especially when life becomes very hectic and crazy. So this is what came out of my sleep-deprived brain from yesterday:

“Nights like this we would take walks after dark, talk about the many things in life that made us feel small, and lonely, made us think about people before. Sitting on the bleachers in the soccer field, I pressed my fingers into his shoulders and he asked me whether I was using my elbow. Ouch. Sorry. No haha it’s good. Nights like this there would be long stretches of silence, when he leaned back, and I pressed my chin against his head, then my face, neither of us saying a word. It didn’t matter then if we were thinking about the same thing, because secretly I knew we weren’t. Nights like this it only mattered that our bodies were there, layered against each other, that the clouds were moving just a little bit too fast, that I closed my eyes, and tried to hold on a little bit tighter.”

Again, I encourage you to do this exercise. Reflect on a moment (or many) of happiness in your life. See what comes out of it.

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