Catchy, right?  I think if LMFAO can get away with it, so can I.  I read an article in Forbes today that got me thinking about happiness.  Because we all say we want to be happy, but so many of us say it as if it’s a future project, a “someday” prospect, rather than a present-day reality.  Hence the appeal of this article: it promises that happiness is just five simple daily steps, and in twenty-one days, voilĂ , you will be visibly, noticeably, actually happy.  This I have to see.  I started yesterday.

Gratitude.   What are two or three things you are grateful for today?  No cheating, they can't be the same things every day.  A friend says that she thinks of what she is grateful for that day “before she puts her feet on the floor.”  More wisdom here and here.    

Journal.  Take two minutes and write down a happy experience you’ve had.  I’ve read that writing with a pen/pencil and paper actually implants information more deeply and well in the brain for recall later than any sort of typing.  This makes sense to me, given the hand/eye/brain connection and the actual effort involved in forming the letters and applying pressure and control to writing.

Exercise.  Everyone knows about endorphins by now, I have to think.  They’re that lift, that thrill, if you will, that getting the blood pumping quickly through the heart with even fifteen minutes of exertion a day brings.  That’s less time than we all spend waiting in line daily.

Meditation.  The article asks for two minutes of deep breathing (no list-making!).  Anyone can spare two minutes.  My other favorite two-minute deal is that if you can accomplish whatever the task is—say sorting the junk mail from the bills—then do it right now so you don’t have to spare another thought for it.  But that’s not meditating; no fair double-tasking (and studies say we’re not nearly as good at that as we think anyway, that timed studies show it’s best to do one thing at a time).

Kindness.  AKA Pay It Forward.  Take another two minutes and do a kindness for another soul on this planet today.  Your karma will thank you.

And that’s it—simple!  Happiness, solved.  I’ll let you know in twenty-one days, give or take a few.  I may be smiling too much to remember to post ;)



Wherever life allows

What a season, what a day, what an hour!  Carpe diem has certainly been overused in recently years, but the fact remains, though these are the longest days of the year, they too will pass, and we should seize them!  I've made a list of plans for my summer days, big and small:

  • Get my newest YA book On the Way to Everywhere out there in the world
  • Visit as many beaches as many days as possible
  • Read a few dozen books, find a new favorite or two, beachside
  • Eat seafood whenever that is an option 
  • "See some old friends, good for the soul" (thank you, Bob Seger)
  • Listen to live music, preferably outdoors
  • Have an outdoor experience that's new to me
  • Wear small clothing and be happy about my particular body in it
  • Go barefoot wherever life allows
  • Submerge myself in every body of water in my radius
  • Breathe in.  Breathe out.  Again.
  • Smile.

And you?  Happy Summer 2014!

Summer Love
Image from Goodreads


Fathers, real and imagined

Many people will have recognized some father in their lives yesterday, whether that was a "real" father or an adopted one.  Fathers come in many sizes and shapes, from the hands-on to the so hands-off that it's hard to believe they have hands!  Some of my favorite fathers are fictional, but don't tell them (or me) that, since their influence has been felt by millions:
  • Atticus Finch, To Kill A Mockingbird
  • Horton, Horton Hatches the Egg
  • Prospero, The Tempest
  • Mr. Murry, A Wrinkle in Time
  • The Man, The Road
And the winner of the worst father in literature award?  I'm going to go with Jack Torrance in The Shining, because you know, you shouldn't actually try to kill you kid, even if somedays you want to.

Happy Father's Day, a day late, just like many a dad out there!

Warner Brothers / Everett Collection


The Great Amazon Debate

Amazon has been good to me.  As an independent author, Amazon helped me easily, seamlessly, and inexpensively get my work out into the world for others to read.  For that I am eternally grateful.

What I don't like is the predatory impulse seemingly in play in the game of publishing.  (If you haven't heard the uproar about Amazon and Hachette facing off on e-book proceeds, then this may not be a subject of interest to you.  But maybe it should be.)  Some will say this is the way of business not only in America but throughout the world, that the bigger, stronger, richer, perhaps wilier company prevails, and in prevailing, feels the need to stomp and stomp hard on every company in its wide wake on its way to dominance.  Our history is rife with examples.  However, the fact that the examples are plentiful does not make them good.  Random House was no better in its squishing of many smaller, historic, and notable publishing houses and by extension literary agencies and perhaps ultimately authors in its rise to hugeness.

Me, though, I prefer diversity: diversity of ecosystems, diversity of species, diversity of business structures, and diversity of thought.  I am getting my next book ready for publication.  This is exciting but now also troubling, for now I feel the need to explore other options, which may in some small way help to make sure that other options continue to exist.



Planting season

The time of death is finally over.  Mother Nature has said so.  And so it is time to stick a finger in the ground and feel the life there, the passing of the frost, the coming of the warmth and the growth.  Every year I plant tomatoes and basil and parsley in order to make pesto and tomato sauce.  That is the obvious reason.  The less obvious reason is to grow something, to be part of the larger cycle, beyond the one that taunts us minute by minute in traffic or at work in a difficult meeting or in line at the grocery store.  This cycle says that we are just a tiny part of life on this planet, life that has gone on for millions of years before us and will go on millions of years after us--provided that we don't actually succeed in ruining the conditions for life here.  Join me in making something grow.  Here's to life!