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.