Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Write Way to Happiness

My love for all things Stephen King is well documented. His works are an early influence, and to this day, I look forward to his new titles. I've read many of his books several times, and I continue to recommend On Writing to anyone and everyone. What, you haven't read that yet? Well, do it now. I'll wait.

That was good, wasn't it.

One of the things I take away from his book is that he's a real guy. He is admittedly not perfect, but he is willing to take the lesson and move on. As is the case for most of us, this has happened in his life more than once.

In his memoir, he recounts the first time he got drunk during a school trip.He then describes his intoxicated state during his mother's funeral, with a fast-forward to his complete inability to remember writing at least one of his novels. The madness only ended with his family staging an intervention, complete with coke vials and half-drunk bottles of mouthwash ("I preferred Scope...").

For one of his shorter books, there is a ton of stuff: autobiography, writing advice, etc. What I got out of it after several readings is this: Do not expect any activity, be it writing, making music, anything, with the expectation that it will magically fix your life. It won't make your parents love you. It won't make you rich overnight (if ever). Journaling is great as part of therapy, but it isn't the same as publishing a novel.

It's not the external thing, but the internal process that heals. One day may be better than another, but if telling a story makes you happy, then tell your stories, and be happy.

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