How to feed that on and on? I really want to be reading Winnicott, even if I know Freud's the better place to start. So I've been reading The Interpretation of Dreams alongside Jeannette Winterson's memoir Why Be Happy When You Could Be Normal? I'm too much inside these other two books to report on them yet, but it feels huge to be reading them more or less simultaneously.
You can probably tell that school is out...
Here, a passage from the Winterson:
Still, I was excited about the Apocalypse because Mrs Winterson made it exciting, but I secretly hoped that life would go on until I could be grown up and find out more about it.
The one good thing about being shut in a coal-hole is that it prompts reflection.
Read on its own that is an absurd sentence. But as I try and understand how life works -- and why some people cope better than others with adversity -- I come back to something to do with saying yes to life, which is love of life, however inadequate, and love for the self, however found. Not in the me-first way that is the opposite of life and love, but with a salmon-like determination to swim upstream, however choppy upstream is, because this is your stream...
Which brings me back to happiness and a quick look at the word.
Our primary meaning now is the feeling of pleasure and contentment; a buzz, a zestiness, the tummy upwards feel of good and right and relaxed and alive...you know...
But earlier meanings build in the hap -- in the Middle English, that is 'happ', in Old English, 'gehapp' -- the chance or fortune, good or bad, that falls to you. Hap is your lot in life, the hand you are given to play.
How you meet your 'hap' will determine whether or not you can be 'happy.'
What the Americans, in their constitution, call 'the right to the pursuit of happiness' (please note, not 'the right to happiness'), is the right to swim upstream, salmon-wise.
Happy Mother's Day to all. Here's my mother, with my brothers and me out on one of those artificial islands along the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel. We miss her.