Friday, December 3, 2010

The Happiness Project

and Old Friend from Far Away

I picked this book up from the library and found it to be a good resource for those of us teaching memoir writing (attention Beth Finke http://bethfinke.com/). The subtitle is The Practice of Memoir Writing by Natalie Goldberg best known for writing Writing Down the Bones. With this new book about writing she helps us strip away the barriers preventing us from remembering by providing chapters full of prompts--some as simple as Coffee--now GO, write for 10 minutes.

For those not familiar with Goldberg she is a Buddhist and many of her prompts come from a Zen-like center. One lesson she provides early on in the book is that sometimes it isn't about remembering but what is it that we are trying to forget. A great concept, and powerful. Fear can be a huge block as well as a motivator. For a writer to harness it can mean lots and lots of material.

Then somewhere along the way in this day I stumbled upon the http://www.happiness-project.com/
From Gretchen Rubin:
A few years ago, I had an epiphany on the cross-town bus. I asked myself, “What do I want from life, anyway?” and I thought, “I want to be happy”—but I never spent any time thinking about happiness. “I should do a happiness project!” I realized. And so I have.
My book, THE HAPPINESS PROJECT, is a memoir of the year I spent test-driving the wisdom of the ages, the current scientific studies, and the lessons from popular culture about how to be happy--from Aristotle to Martin Seligman to Thoreau to Oprah. (Oprah--now there's a happiness factor times pi).
Anyway--just another way to do memoir. I have the book on hold at the library and will report on it as soon as I can. In the meanwhile let me say that the new library hold system has radicalized my life and raised my specter of happiness. Now I can manage my holds like a Netflix queue and get just about everything I want. Life is good.

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