Friday, January 06, 2006

Happy people are boring

Happiness and contentment do not mingle well with creativity.  Well, they sometimes mingle, but hardly ever hit it off, and never end up having more than a one-night-stand.

Case in point - Country singer Clint Black's lyrics before meeting Lisa Hartmann:

I still comb my hair the same,
Still like the same cologne...
And I still drive that pickup truck
That the same old bank still owns.
But since you left, everybody says
I'm not the guy they've known...
Lights are on, but nobody's home.

Now, lyrics after their wedding, inspired by happiness, and security and ... oh shit, make it stop:

When I said I do, I meant that I will
'til the end of all time,
Be faithful and true, devoted to you,
That's what I had in mind when I said I do.

What. The. Hell. Jesus, look at yourself Clint. What happened, man? Where's your grit? Where's the heart?

Point is, good creative stuff seems to come from disharmony, discontent, and all those other disses. When people get all happy and soft, they get unbearably boring.

Munch's "The Scream".  Need I say more?

Bloggers are particularly susceptible to the effect. I've been totally hooked on blogs that were very creative and deep. Then the writer gets into a relationship, and the creativity and depth goes right out the window. Why should I lose my reading material because suddenly their lives have meaning?

The examples are endless.  Was JD Salinger an outgoing, happy sort?  Hell no, he was an edgy loner in love with an underage girl, and wanted to be alone in his misery.  Holden Caulfield was Salinger's
young self.

And Hemmingway?  Miserable.  Married and divorced four times, finally he shot himself.  The general themes of his work included war, wilderness and loss.  "I love sleep," he once said.  "My life has a tendency to fall apart when I'm awake."

I have friends who love to have fun. Then they get married, or into a relationship, and I don't hear from them for weeks or months at a time.  Shit, people.  Must you lose your edge just because you have found a steady lay, or someone to be gooshy over?

We should all, each of us, preserve a little corner of our hearts and minds to being totally unhappy. Allow that bitterness to sit there in the corner and fester. It will build character and keep you sharp. It makes the happy times seem even more happy.

Gah!  The sun just came out. There goes my inspiration for this piece.  Laters.


Dave Morris is a part-time bitter dude who resides in the midwest, where winters are cold, gray and lifeless. He's not always unhappy, just sometimes. Especially after a country music and Jack Daniels bender.


OldHorsetailSnake said...

You're spot on. When I get too happy I remember seeing grandma get run over by some reindeer, and it settles me right down.

Spinning Girl said...

So true. Some of my best writing comes from resentment and bitterness.

p.s. notice how good my blog has been lately.

p.s.s. But of course I am kidding!

p.s.s.s. And by kidding, I mean dead serious.

p.s.s.s.s. Do they make non-alcoholic Jack Daniels?

Bottle Rocket Fire Alarm said...

Awesome post. I'm gonna go chop off a finger and wave the bloody stump at people, just to show them how unhappy and fucked up I am. Then I'll go on a big drug bender, and when I leave intensive care, I'll write a motherfucking whopper of a great entry. Thanks for the inspiration!

Kerouaced said...

Yeah, I think you're right on with this one. Misery makes for great creativity...

Russ said...

My life is so fucked up right now I could probably write "War and Peace." But... I don't blog so, there goes more wasted creativity.

Used Hack said...

I agree. A lot of singer/songwriters are like that. Billy Joel's early songs when he was struggling were great. Once he made it, especially when he started banging Christy Brinkley, his subject-matter started to slip. He lost touch. It happens to a lot of people.

Personally, I've been happily married for almost 21 years now, so I've kind of grown into the person I am now. Luckily, my wife has grown with me and it's been great.

Our marriage is rare, and I'm more appreciative about that than anything in this world. Some of my friends have been through hell, but that's about as close as I can get.

I totally agree with your point, but some relationships do actually work.

Trinette said...

I agree with you and with Old Hack when he says some relationships do work.

I, personally, haven't been able to write a decent poem...haven't even wanted to write one...since I met Clay. Good trade, IMO.

On the same bent, I once dated a "published poet". Like the "published" part made him a big deal or something. He dumped me for a chick he had just met who had a terminal illness, and I KNOW it was because she was better fodder for the poem mill. Well, at least that was one of the reasons...

Like I said, people are "happier"...more productive, more driven, edgier, or whatever...when they are working toward a goal. Even if that goal is just trying to find a steady lay.

heidi said...

I'll always be here for you Dave...I can't even get a date, let alone a relationship!

I may not be as genius as the rest but I'll be bitter for a long time to come. SO stop on over dude.

Lee Ann said...

I like the way you said that Allow that bitterness to sit there, in the corner, and fester. It's good for you! It keeps you sharp.
*sneeze* ok, off to bed now! Nite!

Anonymous Shannon said...

I don't know, Dave. Disharmony can lead to whining. I know it did on my blog while I was in a wheelchair. I love it when people go on rants! Just like the one talking about country music. I like satrical blogs! Those are my favorite. Blogs that are depressing aren't much fun to read. Blogs are supposed to be fun and a hobby.

Lee Ann said...


lilly05 said...

No worries Dave, I wasn't much of a writer BEFORE I met and married Rob. What you're left with is the same 'ol boring me!! Of course I like to think that I'm really a brilliant writer and that I only need discovering! Hahahahahahahahahah...*sniff* Ok seriously now. You should try to steer clear of the Jack Daniels and the Country music...bad combination. We wouldn't want to see you get hurt. ;p

Trinette said...

Yeah...what Lee Ann said!

~The Goofy Ass Chick said...

Holy shit! I'm one of those happy people... *sniff sniff*... I'll do my best to be less happy just for you!

Amandarama said...

I prefer the wisdom of Robby Roadsteamer to Clint Black:

"I put a baby in you,
'cuz you kep talkin' 'bout going to college..."

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

Yeah, you can really see a change.

Lightning Bug's Butt said...

But I don't know, Dave. I think happy, stable people can write interesting stuff. But they're not as likely to post half-naked pics of themselves on the Internet.

Raynwomaan said...

Ah yes, the most moving and creative works often come from angst... or boredom. So maybe we need the boredom inspired by happy people to give the rest of us something to write about.

spiseris said...

couldnt agree more!


I was just about to write the same exact post ... Great satire.