June 18, 2015 in Dag

I’m a writer – but I’m actually pretty happy

Okay, time to buckle down and churn out another deeply riveting blog post. I have to admit it’s always a bit of a challenge coming up with something fresh to say. Makes the old brain strain a little and puts a bit of sweat on my brow. Makes my face frown and grimace with the stress of it all.

Mind you, you’d expect that to be pretty much par for the course for we writers. After all, we’re a pretty grim bunch aren’t we. Dressed in gloomy black, we huddle in cafes, sipping black coffee and taking on all the ills of the world.

Except here’s the surprising thing. I’m not. Well at least not usually. I’m actually a pretty happy sort of fellow. I hardly ever dress in black – and living here in Melbourne where pretty much everybody dresses in black, that’s a statement in itself. Okay, so occasionally I might be spotted in a cafe, but you can be pretty sure that’s not a cup of coffee I’m sipping from. It’s more likely going to be a simple glass of water (or maybe a hot chocolate if I’m feeling like living on the edge).

And as for the ills of the world, I don’t shy away from them. I have written stories that deal with aspects such as war (Magnus Opum) and death (A Fate Worse than Death), as well as politics and the manipulation of language (Scrawling). But I try not to let them get me down too much, and I definitely don’t deal with them in a downbeat or heavy-handed kind of way. Instead, I try to deal with things in a lighter-handed way, not trivialising or making fun of things, but twisting them around to illustrate the absurdity of it all.

And when I’m not sitting down, furiously trying to nut out the details of my latest story, you’ll probably find me being pretty cheerful. I’ll be making jokes (usually particularly bad ones) and just generally having a laugh about things. I’m not sure if that means I shouldn’t be taken seriously as a writer, and to be honest I don’t really care. I just want to live my life the way I want to live it (preferably with a lot of laughter and good cheer) and write the stories I want to write (which are largely the sort of stories I like to read).

And now I better sign off. I’ve got a busy day of being happy.

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Jim Murdoch June 20, 2015 at 3:25 pm

Am I a happy person? I have reasons to be happy—some people call them blessings and go round counting them—but I’m not sure I exude happiness any more than I exude goodness or kindness. I have reasons to be unhappy to—I suppose they must count as curses then and who goes round keeping a tally of them?—but I can’t pretend they don’t pull me down. And at times I get depressed—properly depressed—but I wouldn’t say I’m unhappy when I’m depressed; it’s something different. I think we sometimes confuse happiness and optimism. Optimists don’t always have a reason to be happy but they don’t let things drag them down as much as the pessimists (and even the realists) do. I’m certainly not an optimist but I am a (and I’m stretching the definition here to suit my ends) a humourist. Even in my deepest depressions I can still see the funny side of life. I actually think my sense of humour improves which is downright perverse and I am that too.

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Jonathan Gould June 21, 2015 at 1:17 am

Hi Jim. I’m always happy to have you here.

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