Delight Springs

Monday, August 19, 2013

True happiness

Shelby Foote was right about "true happiness in this world": it's all about finishing each day's work and already looking forward in eager anticipation to the next. I'd rather not be anchored to a single desk, myself. I have several, at home and at school; and I try to think of every walkable spot of ground as part of a big rolling unbounded work station. I even regard my hammocks (which are also mobile) that way, when I want to. But then I've not published 3 million words between covers yet, so maybe I'm not quite the authority on this topic that he is.

In any case, I really love the way Shelby perked up near the end of that 3-hour C-SPAN session with the stony-faced and humorless Mr. Lamb to offer his vibrant observation about the connection between happiness and meaningful work. He'd clearly given the matter some thought, it's exactly what he told the Paris Review in 1999:
"People say, My God, I can’t believe that you really worked that hard for twenty years. How in God’s name did you do it? Well, obviously I did it because I enjoyed it. I don’t deserve any credit for working hard. I was doing what I wanted to do. Shakespeare said it best: “The labor we delight in physics pain.” There’s no better feeling in the world than to lay your head on the pillow at night looking forward to getting up in the morning and returning to that desk. That’s real happiness."
Just put figurative wheels on that desk and I'll be right there with him.

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