First, we want to confirm that we love technology. Honestly, we don’t know how people can live without access to the internet. We’re insatiably curious about a wide range of things and being connected to a ready reference and resource outlet helps to momentarily sate that hunger for knowledge. It allows us to expand on common interests and discover new ones.
Secondly, we are both big believers in science. Reaching out; touching and exploring the unknown; examining the possibilities; and reshaping our lives through discovery is simply amazing. Colleen has an abiding need to know how things work. She is forever dazzling me with information about that most remarkable machine, the human body. If it’s not that, then it’s the weather, or how quantum physics makes sense out of the nonsensical. Her guiding question in life is – why?
My focus tends to be on the broader application of science for good or ill in the historical context. I cannot help but wonder what would have happened if da Vinci or Babbage could have crowd funded their ideas. Would YouTube videos have formed the basis of a Kickstarter campaign to allow mass production of Jaquet Droz’s mechanical wonders?
Yet, against this techno-scientific background, we have chosen to become romance writers. Why? Simply stated, we believe in an intangible ‘something’ that is magical, indefinable, and irresistible which makes two people ‘click’. We believe in sappy things like that line from Hitch where he says, “Life is not the amount of breaths you take, it’s the moments that take your breath away.” We believe that life is imperfect and unpredictable and, how you meet adversity and work together to overcome it is an integral part of the process of living. Love can make us stronger, happier, better people if we let it.
Now to the point of this rant. Lately, we’ve been hearing about devices which tell you how much longer you have to live; how much money you have left; how many friends you have (or don’t have); how likely you are to be obliterated as the result of a massive asteroid impacting the Earth; how left handedness is likely to become epidemic by 2028 (okay, we made that one up but it’s possible!); and a host of other equally dire scourges which are supposed to compel you to live a fuller life. Now you can wake up to a ‘reality based’ alarm clock that fills you with dread. Throughout the day, you can carry around your own little black cloud in the form of a smart watch or a phone app that reminds you, throughout the day, of just how sucky things are here on Planet Earth. Somehow, all this is supposed to compel you to positive action.
REALLY?? When did hopelessness and depression became powerful forces for self improvement? Clearly we have misunderstood the purpose behind Winnie the Pooh. We thought Milne was encouraging us to emulate Pooh’s boundless faith that ‘everything would turn out alright in the end’ and Piglet’s persistent kindness and goodwill. We never realized that Eeyore was the guiding light of the tales. Huh! Shows you how wrong you can be.
Having worked in the mental health and medical fields, we discovered that, as Gen. Colin Powell (USA Ret) said, a positive attitude (or as he described it, “perpetual optimism”) truly is, “a force multiplier.” Recent studies have shown that people who are depressed have a very clear assessment of reality. In fact, it’s too clear. What they need is a little hope that reality can be changed for the better. Once that hope takes root, their depression begins to lift.
Who among us has not bemoaned our state of affairs at one time or another only to see someone far worse off than ourselves? And how often does that shock us out of our self imposed malaise and compel us to look at the things that are right in our lives?
It’s only our mutually held opinion but, constantly being reminded of how the clock is ticking down probably compels people toward a life of angst fueled self-serving behavior, greed, and insensitivity. Oh wait, in a world that equates wealth and power with success; maybe that is positive.
For us, we prefer to confront each day as a new wonder. Sure, yesterday may have been terrible, but that was yesterday. It’s over. Today is filled with the promise of hope and betterment, if only we are willing to embrace it with starry eyed optimism and kindness.
We think you ought to work on your happiness quotient this week. Sit down with a bowl of popcorn and a beverage and watch Jennifer Eely and Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice or Eva Mendes and Will Smith in Hitch. You’ll see how opposites attract and how people discovered that overcoming adversity is not only possible but worthwhile.
Part II of THE HAPPINESS ALGORITH next week. As romance writers, we want to share some thoughts about computer dating services and why speed dating may actually be a good idea.