Careful What You Wish For

I'm a lawyer at a company that employs a LOT of creative people, so it was no surprise to me that one of our employees writes novels. He writes "adult" novels (by which I means, books for adults, not dirty books), and he's got an agent and had a couple published, and gotten some good reviews, and rumor has it that they made a movie of one of his books a while back, although I can neither confirm or deny that rumor.

And, according to friends of friends, he's unhappy. He doesn't like the way his writing career is going. He was hoping for more. I don't know what more, because that's not something that you can really ask someone, like--"hey, so describe the ways in which you're unhappy with your writing career"--but I imagine it's the typical writer stuff: fame, fortune, the respect of people of letters.

But it's funny, because, um...he HAS the things I dream about. An agent. More than one book published. Books you can buy in, like, Borders, or on Amazon. Good reviews! And it's a disappointment for him.

I guess this is just a reminder that, no matter where you are, someone will envy you. In the event that I do get an agent and a book deal and good reviews (dream a little dream, right?), I will try to remember that there are people out there who wish they were in my shoes.


So true. Unless you're at the very bottom, there's almost always somebody looking up at you wishing they were in your position.

I suppose there are any number of reasons why a person like the fellow you describe might not be happy with his writing career. Perhaps he expected more money, more fame, more recognition, who knows? Perhaps he expected that he would write better books! Perhaps he's out of ideas; it certainly is hard work writing books, no doubt about it.

We'll remember this post when you start whining about your latest book tour and how you have to figure out a way to keep track of all your money. Poor Jay.

My wife's grandmother said that the key to happiness is to "want less." Sounds kind of simple and stupid but there's some truth to that. Happiness is all about what you want. Some people want way too much and no amount of fame or fortune would make them happy. Over the years, I've also come to realize, some people just aren't happy. It's like they're missing the happiness gene or something. You could give them everything they want and they would still find something to whine about.

How about you, are you happy? Sure, your life has taken its share of detours and maybe you're not exactly where you want to be at this very moment, but when you really get down to it, are you happy? Inquiring minds want to know.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008 at 9:18:00 AM EDT  

Am I happy? Almost always, actually. Sure, there are things that annoy me (drivers who don't use their turn signals, people who email thank you notes a week later, FRANK), but in general, life is good. I was just saying to a friend of mine, actually, that I'm glad I didn't peak in high school, because it's my theory that people who peaked in high school only have a life of memories and regrets (glory days...they'll pass you by), but people who don't peak in high school understand that good things can come at any time.

Perhaps I'm generalizing on a grand scale--I don't know--but I'm happy, and that's what counts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008 at 1:19:00 AM EDT  

I'm glad to hear it. I have known many people who thought happiness was just around the corner. For them, it's always around the corner. There's some thing or some person who's going to make them happy. Those people never learn. If you can't find a way to be happy NOW, it's unlikely you'll be happy LATER.

Are you quoting Springsteen at me? That sounds a bit mainstream for you, hee hee.

Friday, August 29, 2008 at 10:00:00 AM EDT  

I can see that happening, 100%. There are happy moments and, if you are careful, you can feel a steady sort of behind-the-scenes pride about your accomplishments. But the truth is that wherever you go, there you are.

I believe with all my heart that f you can't be happy not published, you won't be happy published.

Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 2:17:00 PM EDT  

Yeah, I think that's exactly right, Katie--if you can't be happy unpublished, you can't be happy published. It's like dating, in that way: if you can't be happy single, then you can't be happy with a partner.

Writing: just like dating, except getting paid for it doesn't make you a felon. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008 at 11:12:00 PM EDT  

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