When I read people’s Facebook posts about their pets or look at pictures of dogs and cats, I understand why, in 1962, Charles M. Schulz published a book with the title, Happiness is a Warm Puppy. Simply reading those five words make me happy.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to happiness. Next week, my fourth Sarah Blair mystery, Four Cuts Too Many, will be published. As an author, holding a final copy of any of my books evokes that warm puppy feeling. There are also lots of other happy things already happening related to Four Cuts – it is going to be on the back cover of the Woman’s World Summer Reading Edition, the editor of Modern Cat picked it as one of her recommended five summer reads, and most of the pre-reviews have been favorable. I’m also excitedly anticipating several virtual bookstore and library appearances alone and with other writer friends.
On another note, last week, I turned in the manuscript for Five Belles Too Many, the fifth Sarah Blair book, which will be released in 2022. Finishing it ahead of deadline was exhilarating. From an author’s perspective, writing “The End” is grounds for a happy dance.
Before I became a writer, I was an avid reader. Sadly, my schedule doesn’t allow me to read as many books as I did in the past, but I still find joy when I take the time to read for fun. Reading makes me forget the many pressures and tensions I now feel in my life. The feeling of happiness I get from a reader’s perspective is different than how I react to that concept as a writer. It’s hard to put the warm puppy distinction between being a reader and a writer into words, but loosely borrowing my favorite statement in Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart’s Jacobellis vs. Ohio opinion addressing pornography, “I know it when I see it.”
Tell me: what makes you happy as a reader or a writer? More importantly, what makes you happy in life?