Thursday, July 28, 2011

5 things to be happy about


Good morning, and welcome to Thursday Morning Coffee!

In no particular order, here are 5 things to be happy about:

1) The sun is shining

I live in a place that has an average of 77 sunny days per year. Forks, WA, the home of Twilight, gets more than we do! Prime climate for vampires. Sunshine makes me smile.

2) I have employer-subsidized health insurance

Sometimes my day job is difficult and exhausting. I hate the fact that work interrupts my anti-social life. But being able to go to the doctor without having to file for bankruptcy is a good thing. I only work for healthcare (it's practically a barter system at this point), so I am also happy that my husband works his ass off to keep me living in the style that I am accustomed to.

3) Purring cats

Just because. The rumble of a cat purring (no, this isn’t my cat) is one of the most contented sounds in the world. Better than a meditative "Ommmmm." Maybe I like it because the cat loves me best.Being loved best makes me happy, too. Just for fun, here’s a cheetah purring.

4) Music

I bow to the power of music. Mike Rayburn created my wedding song, Train saved my life, and P!nk brings out the rebel in me. I sang Katy Perry under my breath for over a year. Linkin Park speeds up my pulse. In This Moment makes me cry, and Sia reminds me to forgive myself. There are more artists and songs that give me solace than I can name in a blog post, unless I decide someday to blog my play list. But that is not today. We'll save that idea for when I've got absolutely nothing else.

I love my iPod (um, iPhone now), but if I tolerate the junk on pop radio, I know I might be blindsided at any moment by something wonderful. Something I might not have otherwise discovered. The possibility that I have not yet heard my new favorite song is stunning.

5) Living the dream… (or at least part of it)

I am writing. I am self-publishing short stories and small-press publishing novels. People can read them, if they want to. I can't tell you, darlings, how much I longed to be a published author. I sent query packets off with hugs and kisses and cries of, "Godspeed on your journey, baby." I tried to accept with grace the rejection letters I received in return. Some rejections were kind, one or two rejecting angels offered real feedback. And the majority of them were blessedly generic form letters. At times I felt a hopeless frustration that made me wonder what the heck drove me to write novels in the first place. I cried. I railed against an impossible system. I cussed and seethed when I read books that were poorly written. How did THEY get published?

Those days are behind me. And while writing has not yet paid me a living wage, I have held in my hands a paperback with my name on the cover. I have survived rejection, and rewrites, and the years of practicing my craft helped me grow in ways immeasurable.

The paperback edition of DeVante's Children will be released any day now by Queer Mojo, an imprint of Rebel Satori Press. This release comes after yet another rewrite, and includes some never-before-available scenes. Also to be released (in e-format only) is a related short story, DeVante's Curse. It is a blessing.

A book release is always happy news for an author, and I am tickled. With both DeVante's Children and DeVante's Coven available from the same publisher, I can more easily encourage people to read them in my preferred order.

Another reason this release makes me happy: the notion that I might never have to do another rewrite of this particular story. (Seasoned authors are probably laughing at me right about now).

But seriously. DeVante's Children is the very first novel I wrote, and for that reason alone it has had its flaws. It was originally written entirely in passive voice. This was the book where far better writers than I kept hounding me to "show, not tell." The first several chapters have changed order and POV characters multiple times. I have memorized nearly every word of every passage, and if I change a sentence, I'm changing it back to some version that I've already decided against. I'm telling you, rewrites can be an absolute bitch.
But you know what? This version is bright and shiny, and I love it.

And I get to hold it, this baby that incubated in my heart and my brain for all of my adult life. That is amazing. No, not just amazing but KICK ASS. Frustration and hopelessness be damned. The dream is real.

So I guess the rest of what I want to say about happiness is this:

Know your dream. Visualize it. Break the task of reaching for the dream into tiny steps, things you can do today that will bring you closer to reaching your goal.

Challenge yourself to find happiness in the journey. Then take a step.

I dare you.

Happy Thursday, darlings, have a kick ass weekend!

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