What is “Happy?”

A picture came across my Reader this morning that stuck with me the entire day. It took me back to that commitment I made on January 1st to just be myself. Up to today, all I’ve figured out this year is Pottermore was correct when it put me in Slytherin rather than Ravenclaw. A close friend told me, “Imma drag yo’ ass to church and you’re going to sit at the alter for the whole service and pray,” after I made some (*ahem* questionable) comments about an acquaintance’s predicament. Twice.

Right, the picture.

(Can we really appreciate for the moment that she said she was going to drag my ass to church, though? I sat at my desk and cackled. That sentence was easily the most appropriate thing we (including one of my new hires) said all morning. If I needed to sit at the alter and pray, my dear friend needed to be right there with me, along with a bottle of soap, some holy water, and whatever else can be used for cleansing.)

So the picture.

The message itself is relatively succinct:

Be happy
Be yourself
If others don’t like it, then let them be.
Happiness is a choice.
Life isn’t about pleasing everybody.
Do what is right for you.

(original post here)

I can’t get the words out of my head, which is okay. It’s a powerful message. I sat for a few minutes and thought about what that could mean for me. The first thing that floated into my consciousness surprised me: be happy/be yourself = find a job as an editor.

This notion has been tickling the back of my mind for quite some time now. I’m proficient with technology to the point that a degree in Computer Engineering and a job in IT is my obvious path. My family background even supports that: granddad was a self-taught civil engineer; mom & uncle are/were self-taught software developers; cousin worked for Apple at one point. By comparison, my little sister is the “technologically-challenged” one, and she can still talk circles around some of our IT guys. I come from a family of mathematically-minded nerds. Hell, my first degree path was Mathematics, and I can rapidly learn anything with a logical pattern. My genetics predestined me for engineering or IT or architecture, all of which I love.

And then there’s writing.

I don’t like to write on a deadline. It stresses me out. Deadlines are great, except that I’m a procrastinator and I will develop an ulcer at some point. Writing on a deadline is out of the question for me. As a novelist, I’m going to be like Patrick Rothfuss — you waited 20 years for the first book, you can wait 20 years for the third.

I will need an extremely patient agent/publisher.

(The book linked above, by the way, is on my list of “I can’t date you if ___”: you haven’t read that book. Thank you, Twitter, for helping me define what I want in my relationships. #icantdateyouif #relationshipgoals)(#kylorenshair)

[2 hours later–had to visit Twitter for a play-by-play of the Cards/Panthers game. Dear Carson, you will recover, I promise.]

Where was I?

Writing. Right.

I love writing, but I love reading as much or more. I avidly read blogs about character development, world-building, grammar & word usage, etc. I’m a terrible snob when it comes to reading emails at work. I’d like a full-time job as an email copy-editor in my department: all emails come through me before they go anywhere else. Seriously, there is no space before the period. There is never a space before the period EXCEPT when using ellipses. Also, spell check is a beneficial habit if one prefers to avoid looking like a complete bonehead.

(#petpeeves)

(I have no idea how or why I started thinking in hashtags again; I thought I broke that habit when I ditched Facebook last year. To Twitter’s credit, hashtags are the closest thing humankind has to a sarcasm font.)

Horrendous emails aside, I love reading diamond-in-the-rough novels. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read a novel and thought, “Oh, but if she’d just fleshed out this character a little more,” or “How exactly was that supposed to fit into the plot?” or “Who allowed this sentence to be published?”

I am a terrible beta reader because I go in-depth with every aspect of a novel. Give me a character and I will ask you questions you can’t answer. Taylor just had this experience a week ago. He showed me a drawing of a character whose hairstyle didn’t fit with her culture. I asked why. He said “because,” and then really thought about it. Once he realized why her hair was different, the plot started coming together. Even a haircut can add dimensions to the world itself.

Editing. Critiquing. These make me happy.  Maybe this is what “be yourself” means for me in the grand scheme of things.

tl;dr: Just read the bolded stuff.

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