Please welcome Seré Prince Halverson author of The Underside of Joy. Today she is guest posting.
What does the underside of joy mean to you?
The narrator of The Underside of Joy, Ella Beene, begins the book talking about a recent study on happiness. That was the first thing I wrote, and I wrote it before I knew the rest of the story. As I wrote, and rewrote, that idea of happiness—in all its different forms—kept presenting itself. Meanwhile, Ella was in the thickest part of grieving.
Really, the longer answer to what the underside of joy means to me is the novel itself. But the shorter answer can be found in one line in the book: The most genuine happiness is kept afloat by an underlying sorrow.
This is true for Ella and it’s true for most of us, I believe. And I don’t mean that to be a downer. It’s just that we all have sadness in our lives. It’s what makes the happiness so sweet. Some of us get stuck in that sadness. Some of us are so busy striving to be happy, happy, happy that we don’t look at the hard stuff. But that hard stuff can get demanding and start throwing a fit if we don’t give it its due attention.
The underside of joy is even present in those golden shining moments when life feels almost perfect. The sun warms our faces; the children are getting along; we’re connecting with people we care about. But if we’re honest, we also feel the shadow beneath, whether it be the aching absence of a loved one or the understanding that this moment is fleeting, that we can’t hold it, that it cannot hold us.
Seré Prince Halverson is from a lot of places, but she now lives in Northern California and it feels like home. She worked for 20 years as a freelance copywriter while writing fiction and raising kids. She and her husband and have four grown children. She is also a mom and a stepmom, and has a mom and a stepmom. The Underside of Joy her my debut novel.
Visit her blog at: http://whomovedmybuddha.blogspot.com/ and her Facebook page.