Why I Am Happy

This morning, like every morning, I awoke before the family. I sipped my coffee, scrawled in my journal, glanced at my smart phone, and scanned The Times’s headlines. I felt connected and happy.

I wondered, Why am I happy? I ask myself why I’m unhappy, because that needs fixing. But my happiness usually goes unquestioned.

I figured, My happiness is from my relationships. I have good relationships.

My weekends are usually an accumulation of pleasing others (the kids). Yesterday, there was enough in the day that pleased me too. I watched my son’s basketball game, sitting on the gym floor chatting with an old friend and making a new friend.

I went to Chelsea Piers for one of my daughter’s camp reunions. I ice skated and chatted with the Treetops Camp family. In the evening, I attended my friend’s art show and chatted with artists about deep things. (I see that in the day I chatted with a lot of other adults. Happy!)

Then I came home from the art event and watched Mike Leigh’s ‘Happy-Go-Lucky.’ (Usually the kids monopolize the television. But I had prepared them: “I’m going to watch a movie tonite.”) The film’s heroine is a happy, giggly, silly teacher who tries flamenco dancing, trampolining and learning to drive. (Sally Hawkins = brilliant.)

The day also was happy because not only was there a lot of chatting. But I had pockets of Me Time in it too. I walked in the rain to the St. Agnes library. For five minutes, I sat in a cozy chair and read a weekly news magazine. And the library is where I borrowed the movie, ‘Happy-Go-Lucky.’ New York Public libraries so rock.

My #1 rule is Pile on the People. And it’s working out.

I joined a Facebook group of bloggers who post every day, because at times I need a push to write these daily blog posts. I was reading one post http://peterweis.com/inspiration/what-should-you-really-be-doing/ because the title intrigued me. (It prompted this post.)

I think I am doing what I should be doing. Making others happy in a way that makes me happy too. Happy.  And happy-go-lucky.

Everyman News

This book is again overdue at the library. I’m returning it today.

The subtitle is “The Changing American Front Page.” This awesome book by Michele Weldon is chock-full of really interesting facts about trends in journalism. One trend? Feature-style writing is taking over the front page.

The casual tone of bloggers is seeping into the mainstream. Of course, I like that. I like that blogging, too, is seen as journalism. In 2008, seven out of eight presidential candidates attended the second annual YearlyKos convention for bloggers. Everyone was there except Joe Biden. Awww, Joe, you missed that party.

Another trend? Ever since Katrina and 9/11, journalists have paid more attention to “unofficial” sources. That is, if you only listened to You’re-doing-a-heckova-job-Brownie, “official” sources, you’d never know there were people sleeping in the Astrodome in New Orleans. The person on the street keeps us honest. And keeps us real.

The shared emotional experience of 9/11 made us want to talk about the news from a more personal POV. There was little in the way of facts at first, but there was lots in the way of feelings.

I have to say I struggle with this at work where I get the feeling that the old guard wants more detached journalism, more news, less personal voice, less narrative, less feature-style reporting. Features = my specialty.

See, I want to present stories in all their emotional rawness. I want to present the human angle. And I want to get the facts straight, research the quotes, remain objective.

No wonder this writer, dear reader, feels confused.

There’s lots of juicy bits in this book for journalists: in 2005, 73 percent of all the Pulitzer-prize winning stories had anecdotal or narrative leads. People dig narrative. It hits you in the heart AND the head.

I’m just sorry I have to return “Everyman News” before I’ve finished it. But that may be another trend. We read less. And then, we keep things out of the library too long and have to pay a fine.

Any way, if you’re looking for me, I’ll be at the New York Public library. http://www.nypl.org/locations/morningside-heights