Happy Talk

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By Oscar Hammerstein II (1895-1960)
As featured in the 1950s series of This I Believe

“I have an unusual statement to make. I am a man who believes he is happy. What makes it unusual is that a man who is happy seldom tells anyone. The unhappy man is more communicative. He is eager to recite what is wrong with the world, and he seems to have a talent for gathering a large audience. It is a modern tragedy that despair has so many spokesmen, and hope so few.

“I believe, therefore, that it is important for a man to announce that he is happy even though such an announcement is less dramatic and less entertaining than the cries of his pessimistic opposite. Why do I believe I am happy? Death has deprived me of many whom I loved. Dismal failure has followed many of my most earnest efforts. People have disappointed me. I have disappointed them. I have disappointed myself.

“Further than this, I am aware that I live under a cloud of international hysteria. The cloud could burst, and a rain of atom bombs could destroy millions of lives, including my own. From all this evidence, could I not build up a strong case to prove why I am not happy at all? I could, but it would be a false picture, as false as if I were to describe a tree only as it looks in winter. I would be leaving out a list of people I love, who have not died. I would be leaving out an acknowledgement of the many successes that have sprouted among my many failures. I would be leaving out the blessing of good health, the joy of walking in the sunshine. I would be leaving out my faith that the goodness in man will triumph eventually over the evil that causes war.

“All these things are as much a part of my world as the darker worries that shade them. The conflict of good and bad merges in thick entanglement. You cannot isolate virtue and beauty and success and laughter, and keep them from all contact with wickedness, and ugliness and failure and weeping. The man who strives for such isolated joy is riding for a fall. He will wind up in isolated gloom.

“I don’t believe anyone can enjoy living in this world unless he can accept its imperfection. He must know and admit that he is imperfect, that all other mortals are imperfect, that it is childish to allow these imperfections to destroy all his hope and all his desire to live. Nature is older than man, and she is still far from perfect. Her summers do not always start promptly on June 21. Her bugs and beetles and other insects often go beyond her obvious intentions, devouring the leaves and buds with which she has adorned her countryside. After the land has remained too dry for too long, she sends relieving rains. But frequently they come in torrents so violent that they do more harm than good. Over the years, however, nature keeps going on in her imperfect way, and the result – in spite of her many mistakes – is a continuing miracle. It would be folly for an individual to seek to do better – to do better than to go on in his own imperfect way, making his mistakes, riding out the rough and bewildering, exciting and beautiful storm of life until the day he dies.”

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Sonnet the Third

Your shine compares to Perseus above
My head, and while I ponder everything
You make appear minute, I can’t but love
The small existence of my lone being.
This myriad of scattered thought’s so quick
To coarse through knots of synapse, just to leave
Me stumped once more, irrelevant as tick
Of yesterday… His games… They come to tease
My solo essence. Why do I yet cling
To anxious frailty? You, sweet sky, are still.
I fret. Among my trouble, where this peace
Abounds with patience, come alter my will.

May all that binds me tight, rope taught and strained,
Be as a harmony, be as the rain.

– B. Rider, 2014

 

Alone.

When you
are alone,
the world’s left you
behind, don’t you fight me.
Lonely

ain’t kind.
You’ve got your
freedom you want
to hold on to. Don’t you
know… don’t

you know
someone should
hold on to you?
Hold on to you… Hold on
to you.

I can’t
see what’s been
keeping you from
me. You got kicked around,
found a

lonely
sound. Darling,
Please pick yourself
up off the ground, so I
can hold

on to
you, hold on
to you, hold on
to you, darling, when you’re
Alone.

Lyrics by B. Wolff,
Arrangement by B. Rider

09.06.17

And on Wednesdays with dates containing strobogrammatic numbers, we write.

While out with a friend of mine this past holiday, the topic of blogging came up within conversation. Though our shared brunch proved to be a worthy distraction, I came to a realization that is about to change one of my oldest defining characteristics as a person. Some years ago, I began blogging for several reasons, some reasons a mere variation of others… Today marks the first day that I choose to say that I blog for very different reasons than the ones that originally set me down this path.

Perhaps the most cliché blogging excuse is my oldest one (naturally). As a one-and-twenty female who had been through more than her share of learning experiences, I felt driven to see if journaling was as therapeutic as therapists say. It’s my fear and anticipation of disruption and confrontation that keeps me from being the strong communicator that I once was; when I first began to write, I basked in the idea of being able to spit anonymously, having control over who could be affected by the things that I thought. Waverly At Dawn has since become a little less anonymous (don’t worry, entries have been changed to protect the innocent), but I’m not so desperate to “spit” as often.

As a self-proclaimed non-writer, I also wondered if I could actually write. While in grade school, I discovered quite the disdain for creative writing assignments – not because I didn’t want to write, but because I could never figure out what to write about. In another sense, as a musician with some extremely talented songwriters as role models, I have zero confidence in my lyricism, and for the same reason. I not only never know what to write about, but I also have the worst of times trying to put any thought into the right combination of words (unless there’s rules, like the fun ones that helped me write Repeat.). I’ve since learned that this is something that exactly 100% of the other writers in this world struggle with, at least once. So much for THAT excuse.

While running around as a newly active member within the arts community in the city in which I was living, I began to recognize the impact that a good write-up can have on an artist’s renown and potential opportunities. I am an INTJ with a personality profile of a “Companion,” and I am most fulfilled when I find myself in a position to help somebody else reach their goals. This passion was almost immediately manifested into my sister blog, a bookish blog that I use to help authors market their writing (ironically enough). I am also currently working on my inaugural music review entry for my new arts review blog – stay tuned for that one. If I haven’t been one for opinionating, I’ve been forced to move closer to it.

All this to say, I no longer can honestly state, “I can’t write, I’m no good with words,” like I’m so used to saying. Writing is therapeutic, and writer’s block is a real thing. But, I can write. I know some great words, and I like to use them. I am a writer.

A mere personal challenge born from a desire to change a state of being is all it takes to inspire kinetic movement.

writer