Books in general make me happy. I love reading books, I love writing books, and I even love the smell of books. I have embraced e-books, but still have overflowing bookshelves at home. I really couldn't imagine my life without books in one form or another.
Because I have embraced the age of the Kindle though, a bit of guilt has started to settle in. I am afraid for the indie book shops. After all, if a giant corporation can fall to their knees because they couldn't keep up, how is the little guy supposed to compete? So, I've been making a special effort to pop into my favorite local indie bookshop lately to make any purchases that I otherwise couldn't get as an e-book. This has consisted of magazines, and lit mags, journals, and non-fiction books that I just simply prefer not to read as an e-book. This special effort to use any excuse to support the indie bookstore has resulted in a renewed love for buying journals and blank books.
My love for blank books started when I was in middle school and I still have the set of three that my mom bought for me when I was somewhere around the age of 11. Back then though, I was afraid to use them, wanting only completed stories and poems that were worthy of such a fine home as those beautiful books with their pages so full of promise. To this day, all three of them remain only partially full. I continued to buy blank books well into my adulthood with this fear of mucking them up. It was only within the last few years that I finally realized that the act of writing is in itself beautiful and even when messy, incomplete, and full of errors, any form of self-expression deserves to be house in a book with a beautiful cover. I have begun to fill all the blank books I've collected over the years quite zealously. I relish their worn, well-loved looks and enjoy flipping through the pages, remembering where I was or what frame of mind I was in when I wrote a certain story or jotted down a new idea. They are more beautiful when being used.
Because of this relatively new idea for me, I have become especially interested in journals that are made to be messy -- journals that contain some sort of theme that mandates you use it and abuse it. I found one such journal last weekend, hiding out on a shelf that was inaccurately labeled "Young Adult Fiction". When I purchased it, I assumed it was intended for a YA audience, but as I have dived into it, I recognize the authors actually expected adults to make use of their book. The Happy Book is intended to celebrate what makes you happy. This struck a very special chord with me because for so many years of my life, I had no idea what it really felt like to be happy. The last three years of my life have been about cultivating happiness, not just in me, but in those around me. I was enchanted by many of the prompts after just a few seconds of flipping through it. I decided it would be $15 well spent, and not just because I was supporting the little bookstore either.
I officially started my happy book today and I can't tell you how excited I am! I have decided to give myself a full year to complete the book. A lot of the pages require interaction with other people and there may be times I share parts of it here on my blog or even ask for help from anyone who may be following along.
The first exercise in the book is to make a list of things that make you happy. I have decided to save this and add one thing every day for the next year. That way I will have 365 things by next April 13. The first item on my list, the one for today: Writing.
My first therapist once told me, "Pursue what you love, and everything else will fall into place." I believe that wholeheartedly, and I have found her words to be true time and again. I pursue writing because I love it. It makes me happy. And I am looking forward to finding and remembering all kinds of other happy things over the next year.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.