Week two, day four of the A to Z Challenge: Joy. By this I mean a feeling deeper than happiness or surface pleasure, just so we’re clear before I begin. And really, though Joy is the word that corresponds with the letter, it’s the depth part that’s important, because it’s time you faced it:
Nobody wants to read your superficial bullshit. Nobody wants to read mine, either. We can all bump up against that kind of crap for free and with no extra effort whatsoever as we move about our daily lives. So, if we’re going to spend the time and money to buy and then sit down and read a poem, story, novel, it had better offer something more. You, writer, had better be willing to dig down, feel the gut-churning disgust, the leg-shaking fear, the heart-clenching loss, the wide-open joy. Yes, you. How do you think you’re going to imbue your characters with any of that stuff if you are wading around in superficial bullshit in your own life?
In an interview with Helena de Bertodano for The Telegraph (17th Sept., 2012), Brene Brown (Daring Greatly), said, “I think our capacity for wholeheartedness can never be greater than our willingness to be brokenhearted. It’s about being all in, saying, ‘I’m here and I’m going to love you fully and it you cheat on me you’re going to devastate me and break my heart but I’m not holding back because this is short.'”
This is how I’m striving to live. Sometimes it hurts so much I feel my physical body might break, but that’s because I’m in one of those times that I’ve lost something or someone I loved deeply, fully, an experience imbued with incredible moments of joy. Worth it, in my opinion, for its own sake. Critical for writers. All of our characters don’t have to live in this way, but we should have felt the parameters. Not just read about them, lived them.
So, open up and dive in. Love yourself and your work fully. Feel the joy (it helps balance the other stuff). And consider this:
When you are unafraid to share your love with others, you ennoble the world. Your inner stillness and joy cause people to listen, and then every time you speak, you have the opportunity to change the world. – Max Strom