Thursday, June 5, 2008

Some People Want Happy

“Jesus Christ, you must have had an awful time in New York.”


“I read your blog. Coney Island and the bum and the police and all that.”

“Nope. I had a really swell time. But swell times don’t make very good stories.”

It is hard to write about being happy. It is good to be happy. I want to be happy. But nobody learns anything from it. So the danger is the temptation to write about misery. Read “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun if you want to feel misery. He won a Nobel Prize for it. But not many people do it that well. Writers like Hemingway and Faulkner and Steinbeck transformed trouble. T.C. Boyle wallows in it and it is funny good fun.

“I’m just telling stories,” I say. “I’ll give you something happy tomorrow.”

So. . . here goes.

Blue skies. Song birds. A slant of yellow sunshine explodes through the shutters. Shadow and light. I think of that Sunday in Central Park with no work on Monday.


  1. "Read “Hunger” by Knut Hamsun if you want to feel misery."

    I did. It was grim.

    If you like (if that's the word the use) such things, check out Elia Kazan's movie, "America, America"

    "But swell times don’t make very good stories"

    Too true. I've got a well off friend who's descriptions of his travels are usually described with a sentence like: Everything was lovely and we had a great time.

  2. ha! landed on happy.
    horny as hell. geesh. stoned -- cocktail a repeat of gin and juice. we were listening to music. i came next door for a minute of aloneness to write.

    “Said the lion to the lioness - "when you are amber dust -
    No more a raging fire like the heat of the sun
    (no liking but all lust) -
    Remember still the flowering of the amber blood
    and bone,
    the rippling of bright muscles like
    a sea,
    Remember the rose-prickles of
    bright paws
    Though we shall mate no more
    Till the fire of that sun
    and the moon -
    Cold bone are one.”

    Edith Sitwell

    There are three things that walk with stately stride–no, four that strut about: the lion, king of animals, who won’t turn aside for anything.
    Proverbs 30:29-30

    To you, who roams
    your own Serengeti,
    by day

    and I,
    left to pant
    in the hot areola
    of mine -

    a song.

    We share
    the same sun
    and had we been young -

    I would meet the deep rumble
    of your desire – hard, strong
    a sand-papered tongue

    Come damp night
    our wet breath,
    our bodies, loosed

    We exhale
    make small stars
    in wild grass

    These thoughts bruise

    I lick your fur
    for I understand your kind.