The pursuit of happiness hasn't so much seemed like a pursuit for me, lately, as a long slow drag up a steep cliff on a rusty donkey while carrying a cement mixer. Filled with heavy, heavy cement. And maybe there's, like, a massive dude behind me with a big chain, pulling on my donkey as though I stole it from him only yesterday.
But the thing is, I didn't steal his donkey, ok? I never actually steal the donkey. Someone just comes up to me and says I have, or tells me that I don't deserve the donkey, and then I'm on my knees crawling up Mount Doom with seven cement mixers and a small Jeep stuffed in my rucksack.
In other, saner words: it's a hard thing, being happy. I love Lisbet's point about deciding to be happy, but it is a long, hard slog. And sometimes you can't see the wood for the trees, and the trees are all pointed and jagged, and everyone's saying to you that you have it orsum - you have all these books published and all these stories, don't you - but there are times when those things feel like nothing.
If you've never truly believed that you're talented - if you're sure that most of your success has just been down to luck or some fluke - it's almost impossible to lean on your successes in times of need. They turn to snow and melt away, leaving you stranded and unsure and without a donkey.
Even worse than that, it's hard to lean on the very thing you've turned to all your life, when times get rough like this. When you've received one too many rejections, or one too many bad reviews, and it seems you'll never be the erotic romance writer you always hoped to be. The very thing I've relied on since the age of thirteen - writing - disappears on me as a method of happiness-making, and I'm left with The Simpsons or chocolate eating as a way of patching up my battered soul.
And unfortunately, they're just not up to the task. Because the thing about writing - the thing that heals me so effectively - is the ability to control a world and make everyone happy. I too am probably guilty of the old "I'm too kind to my characters", because by the time I actually get to a bit of writing, I don't want things to be as bad for them as things often are for me.
I want them to eventually get up the impossible cliff of neverending misery. I want them to get some sort of revenge on the people who've wronged them - even though revenge is never achieved in real life - and I want bad people to be sorry to them - because people are never sorry in real life - and most of all, I want them to love. Because sometimes, love seems so mundane, in real life.
Love in real life is "see you Saturday". Love is "oh, I got you that magazine you wanted". Love is someone who picks up their socks or holds your hand occasionally. It isn't Ralph Fiennes carrying Kristin Scott-Thomas up a mountain while crying, and there's something so misery-inducing about that as much as there's something misery-inducing about having no money or someone being mean to you or getting a rejection.
Or at least, there is for me. I want there to be love. I want someone to carry another person up that misery cliff, and cry while doing it. Just once, I'd like to see someone carried.