Being an author is like being in charge of your own personal insane asylum.

- Graycie Harmon

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gives Me Hope

My flatmate rocks the Casbah. I was feeling very down yesterday, and to cheer myself up, I decided to jump on You see, I really am one of those very bitter people who will sometimes laugh at other's misfortune. Sometimes, other people's problems make me happy.

Now here's the kicker. I realised yesterday that they don't really make me happy. Stories about break-ups for idiotic reasons (he's not Edward from Twilight, seriously?), of men who cheat, and women who cheat, and idiots who complain about the dumbest things, when really they should take note of how lucky they are, just serve to reinforce my current world view. They're safe and comforting because idiocy is precisely what I expect of most people, and what can be expected is safe, and what is safe is comforting.

The reason my flatmate rocks the Casbah is because she turned me onto the website These are stories of generosity, bravery and kindness perpetrated everyday by everyday people. There are tales of the shy girl who stood up for the bullied autistic boy. There are tales of school captains asking the bullied learning-impaired girl to the dance after his popular girlfriend makes a mockery out of her. There was one tale of a young man, just 16 years old who was shot to death when he rescued a young girl from a raping at the hands of three men. She escaped.

Needless to say, I didn't write a damned thing yesterday. I sat in front of the computer screen reading story after story, with tears streaming down my face (at work, mind) truly uplifted by these stories of compassion and courage.

Now I feel better - there is good in the world! Go check out this site, and cry like a babe, just as I did, then feel better because everyday people do good things every day. Have a wonderful Thursday!


Kendra said...

Beautiful site. Had to stop reading, couldn't see past the tears.

whqttt said...

It's quite common for comedians to be quite depressed by nature; I certainly find that I'm less capable of writing when I'm happy - but maybe this isn't because of my state of mind, but because I'm happy due to doing other stuff?

On a related note, I remember swearing a solemn oath to myself as a child that when I became a writer, I'd never allow a good character to have an unhappy ending - roll it forward 30 years, and I wish I could talk to my younger self and explain, the problem is, people...and stories need to have their downs as well as their ups.

Happiness isn't a destination (as fairytales would indicate they should be), it's more an occasional, unpredictable stop on the journey through life (or the plot).

Having said that, I used to know a writer who wrote stuff which would have made Tarentino shudder. I've occasionally wondered just what was going on in his real life, as he seemed almost unnaturally jolly in person.

S.M. Carrière said...

Kendra, I know, right?

Whqttt (did I put enough 't's that time?), I have heard that many comedians are quite depressed usually, and in truth it doesn't surprise me much. There has been a study done (forget the exact name, but it was with Australian and German neuroscientists) that suggests there is a link between depression and intelligence/talent. Like we couldn't see that for ourselves. In any case, it was something to do with the neurotransmitter and the shape of the brain. I don't really remember the particulars.

I'm much like you, I think. If I'm over the moon about something, I cannot write either. I wouldn't call it depression when I get into my writing mood, but it comes close, so I understand what you mean.

All of my best characters seem to have unfortunate lives. I remember whilst writing 'The Great Man,' I would get extremely depressed just because of all the things the main character goes through! My poor, poor Julian!

I have a friend who insists that happiness is a choice. While I don't agree that it's a choice that most people can make, there are instances where one can choose which way to go.

As for Tarentino, he really did seem quite jolly, but I suppose he got some sort of personal therapy through his films, much like I get through my writing.