Are happy artists as productive as sad ones?

It’s always seemed to me like the myth of the miserable artiste producing art through times of great trouble was…overstated…exaggerated…maybe even untrue.

When I am happy, though, it doesn’t seem like there is much to write about. Because I am doing other things? Perhaps. Making more silver rings than I will ever wear. Roaming around with 13. Trying to read books that I never finish. Going to football games. Poking around Pinterest for new recipes.

Am I happy?

Mostly, very.

There are some things that are still mashing down my angst button pretty hard. Work, mostly. Actually, work period. The tenuousness of my position at work is still not resolved. I have an interview scheduled for a “permanent” spot on the team that’s replacing mine this Friday. That should make me feel a bit better…but…then the rumor mill started reporting that the positions have already been filled and would be announced this week. News to me, the one who hasn’t had her interview yet.

And it just sort of keeps going on like this.

“Everyone” tells me that the company will keep me. “Everyone” says that I am too valuable to the company to lose. But I know that “everyone” is often wrong about such things. Especially this year. So I try to focus on all of the great stuff going on in my life, and not worry about work. Mindfulness, y’all. I’ve got alternatives. I don’t need to worry. Worrying won’t help.

Still. Like the scorpion that stings the raccoon saving his life by swimming him across the river on his back…it’s my nature.

I’m not sure that’s a good analogy, but let’s just stick to it. After all, I’m only stinging myself and I won’t drown.

Anyway, to round back to my original point, I must be pretty happy because I am not writing. I’ve always written more when I’m either unhappy or dissatisfied in some way, even back in my letter writing days.

Does it follow that if I’m not writing I must be happy and satisfied?

I’m not sure the logic really works here, but I’m pretty happy and satisfied right now and I am not a logician. My creative life is fulfilling, and certainly my romantic life is going wonderfully well. I’ve only cried in the car on my way home from work once or twice in the last 3 months. I’m apparently not having night terrors. I don’t even mind going to a pub and not being able to have a beer. Much.

So what’s with the lack of writing if I can’t blame it on happiness?

Time, partly.

Shiny new stuff like 13 and making things. The jewelry is literally shiny, but 13 is only metaphorically so.

But…it’s not like I have more or less time than I did when I was less happy. I just have to prioritize, and I haven’t prioritized this for some reason.

Maybe you just get to have so many good things going on at a time. For..balance. It’s like that saying about food. Quick, cheap, good: pick 2.  You don’t get overflowing  with awesome romance, creativity, intellect, plenty of exercise, home cooked meals, time to do nothing AND an awesome work life–something’s got to give.

Right?

I mean, can you have it all?

No, I don’t think you can, and I don’t even want to. I don’t want one of those oversized lives, running everywhere to jam as much activity in as I can. I don’t want to be oversubscribed and under-relaxed. I need time to putter around and figure things out.

I need to have time to drink my fucking coffee. Time to read. Time to watch the Bette Davis marathon on TCM. The essential joys of life.

This isn’t a contest or a race. The one who dies with the most toys, friends, clothes, work certifications, jewelry, or WHATEVER still dies. Who wants to win the race to *that* finish line?

Hint: it’s OK, we all die. Life is 100% fatal.

Seriously. It’s OK. We go to Heaven, or we just die and cease to be or whatever it is that happens to us and it’s OK. It always has been.

As usual, I have deviated somewhat from my point. Which appears to be that I have no idea if being angst-ridden and depressed makes a person more creatively productive. I’m pretty happy and I made 5 silver rings and a bracelet last month.

What does that mean?

Not much, really.

It means I’m happy.

So maybe it actually means a lot.

What’s up?

My mood.

The sky.

Treetops.

The ceiling.

Me. I get out of bed in the morning with only the usual amount of good natured complaining about the necessity of the existence of 5:30am.

My creativity level.

The temperature, intermittently.

The level of anticipation of what is going to happen at work now that they have hired a manager for the new application support team.

My level of post-op healing. If anyone has ever had a better recovery, I can’t even imagine. I feel great, am losing weight, walking a lot, enjoying my time with 13, and have nary a surgical complaint. My surgeon wishes he could have me talk to his other patients because I am apparently the poster child of doing great after surgery, and had a realistic idea about what having surgery feels like.

My weight is down, which means it is a net up.

So what about lifestyle changes?

Yeah. Getting used to how to eat is a challenge, but it’s supposed to be. It’s weird to only be able to eat a few bites before being full. It’s weird not being able to guzzle 16 ounces of water at a time. Not bad, just different. I have to make sure I always have water with me, and something small to eat. Compared to most people, I am breezing through it, and have only run into one food that disagrees with me vehemently. No more ham for a while. I’m getting enough fluid and protein, and have a normal level of energy. Maybe a little more than before surgery. My skin looks great, probably because of all the water. I still can’t do much in the way of abdominal-focused exercise, but the surgeon says I can do whatever I want as long as I stop if it hurts.

It’s really odd to never be hungry. Apparently that will wear off.

It hasn’t really been hard to go out to pubs with 13. I thought it might be. He has beer, I have water or iced tea. He has pub food, I have nothing or maybe some soup. I smell his beer and don’t miss not having one myself much. It would probably take me 3 hours to drink a pint at this point. I can start eating fairly normal food now, so I would guess I’ll generally find something appropriate on any menu. 13 is not a big eater, so we can split things.

Stats? Isn’t that like asking me my age? Oh, right. I have no trouble telling anyone that I’m 54. Maybe because it always results in “but I thought you were in your early 40’s” and it satisfies my vanity. Anyway. Yeah. I’m losing weight. Over 38 pounds since Thanksgiving, 18 pounds since my surgery on 6/4. My face looks a lot thinner, and only my really old jeans still fit.

Things are good!

Father’s Day

Mother, mother

There’s too many of you crying

Brother, brother, brother

There’s far too many of you dying

You know we’ve got to find a way

To bring some lovin’ here today

–Marvin Gaye

While I have had the gift of not one but two fathers in my life, and still have the world’s best stepfather to look out for me, today I can’t help thinking about other people.

The fathers and mothers who have been separated from their children by our own government or by some other regime’s political or military hell storms. Children forever damaged without any reason but dogma. Religious, social or political whims. To meet a warped  agenda put in place by the ruling class to appease the biases of their followers. Or to attract new followers.

I think of all of the parents who have lost their children to prison or substance abuse. The children who have been abandoned either physically or emotionally by their addicted parents.

I think of the parents of children who have been killed in our nation’s epidemic of gun violence. Or the children who lose their parents to that same violence. To the parents of the children guilty of perpetrating those monstrosities.

I think of the parents of military men and women who lose their children in the defense of our country of of their own countries. Or the children who lose their fathers and mothers to that same violence.

Or, the parents and children who lose their loved ones as victims of those same wars.

We are–all of us–children, parents, or both. We all lose people we love in some way. Today, I think of all of my friends and family who have lost either parents or children.

I’m saying this badly, I know. But right now, when babies are being taken away from their mothers who are just trying to cross a border into a better life, when a father was so devastated by the loss of his children that he ended his own life…it’s hard to celebrate a Hallmark holiday.

At the park today, I walked and watched all the happy fathers teaching their kids how to ride bikes. The happy kids yelling “watch me, Daddy” while they did handstands. The tired dads carrying their hot, cranky babies back to the car. It was all wonderful to see. Safe, happy people. Taking care of their families. Making memories.

And it could become an entirely different life in the blink of an eye.

Be good to each other.

Be kind to people who have less than you do.

Show empathy to people who’ve suffered losses.

There is a phrase that’s been mocked. It has become something of a joke. But in times like these, I think of what Rodney King said during the riots sparked by the lack of justice in his court case against the officers who’d beaten him: “..can we all get along? Can we, can we get along? Can we stop making it horrible for the older people and the kids?”

Can we? Can we all get along? Can we stop killing each other? Can we stop making life worse for each other? There are enough inevitable reasons for sorrow in life without inflicting more of it in the name of, ultimately, having more stuff. Can we work on making things better instead of making poor people’s lives worse?

We should celebrate every day that we have each other, because life is short and fragile. Those of us who have people do love need to make sure they know it.

Now.

Not just on their designated calendar day.

Still. It *is* Father’s Day, so I can’t forget to mention the stepfather I am lucky enough to still have in my life. It isn’t all gloom and doom. We have people here and now who we love!

Larry is the tough guy from Burns who cries at weddings. Who always made sure I had a working flashlight in my car in case of emergencies. Who has been wonderful to my mother, and to both me and my brother. Who has traveled the whole world. Who loves to talk about marijuana growing with my friends even though he doesn’t smoke it himself. Who love the Ducks.  Who makes sure the sprinkler system is perfect. Who talks to cats, and misses his two cats terribly. Who makes sure that I have a safe car to drive. Who loves his family.

We love him back.

Little L wants you to have a Bloody Mary