Saturday, February 27, 2010

Is Happiness the Death of Word Count?

As The Wife gets happier she finds she has more to say. Bully for fans of her blog and website, who get to hear about all the great dinners she's making and the pretty clothes she's sewing. Bully for me too, since I get to eat the food and look at the loveliness.

But I find that as I get happier, I have less to say. Perhaps I've just grown up as too much of a whiner, and as I run out of things to complain about, I fall into silence. Instead of writing anything, I eat my supper and practice the piano.

Is this a male versus female dynamic? Women are happy to chatter along when everything is running smoothly, comfortable to gossip and find ways to make them run even more smoothly, with the men more likely to settle down with a cigar and call enough, enough?

So much of writing is complaining, when you think about it. Fiction writing is driven by conflict, and all conflict starts with a complaint of some kind. Historic writing examines problems, injustices, and the sacrifices people made fighting them. Even science writing is a story of battle against the unknown, and the frustration of misunderstanding.

If it weren't for dwelling on the negative, I don't suppose written culture would amount to much more than volumes and volumes of "Five O'clock and All's Well!"

Too bad for me, as I find it harder and harder to get worked up about things. On the down side, I don't get a hell of a lot of words down. On the upside, well, there's the whole happiness thing.

How about the lot of you readers? Do you find yourselves more prolific in an up or a down spirit?


  1. Now this is strange, I've been having the exact thought process. What is the line between sharing your thoughts and just being a grumpy old man? I feel I've crossed it and need to hush for awhile.

  2. Nah, don't hush. I've no problem with the sharing of grumpy thoughts. Folks can take 'em or leave 'em, after all.

    But I do wonder if we've got some natural inclination to share unhappiness more than joy? And if so, is this something that men do more than women?

  3. Reminds me of an old joke:

    1st old guy "How ya doin'?"

    2nd old guy "Can't complain.......nobody listens"

    1st old guy 'Complain louder!"

  4. Hmm, both ups and downs, I think.

    I truly want my life to be much more dull. I don't know if I attract all these exciting events, but I don't do it on purpose. I really would love to feel the "unbearable ease of life" (or something like that, I'm Danish, remember).