Double D

Supa Large
Supa Large

About a month ago, a long time coworker had left the company, and it sparked the idea of happiness. Not that I was happy he left, nor did I really care. His initials were D. D. At first, I wanted to call him Dee Squared, but as the name sounded, it was two square. It matched up well, though, because he was Asian and very good at math. So, there was depth in the name. However, many people have called my humor dry, so I guess I need to spit more when I joke, and here his name Double D was born.

"Hey, Double D," I called out. My fellow coworkers turned around and started giggling. As you can see, my professionalism at the office is top notch.

At first, he didn't respond, then stated he didn't like being called Double D, but I persisted. Then it caught on as others started to use his monicker. And, like a knee jerk reaction, he started to respond as if he was born with the name.

My then girlfriend and I took him skiing many years ago, he was hitting on her because he didn't know I was dating her. Well, he hit on her because he liked her, but he wouldn't have if he knew. I think. Afterward, we went to dinner at a steakhouse, nothing better than meat after a hard day of snowboarding in the warm California sun.

The conversation swerved to happiness and the cause of happiness. He was unhappy. He didn't own a house. According to him, he should have at his age. He didn't have a wife, a nice car, high enough income, the list rolled on and on. I told him none of that stuff would cause happiness. You either are, or you decide not to be.

Before I found writing, I went on a soul searching venture. I knew I wanted to do something creative, so I tried everything. I drew, painted, wrote poetry and stories, taught martial arts, acted for several years, worked on opening my own school, but nothing made me happy. Then I came up with the brilliant idea to write the one story that has been tugging at me for over twenty years. And bam! My soulmate, or who I thought was my soulmate, and I ended it.

Doubo Happeeness
Doubo Happeeness

Gawd...it was soul-wrenching painful. I cried for nearly a year. Well, not constantly. But it provided the muse I needed to put into words, plot, and emotional state to write Nightfall. You see, my main character, Talon, loses a child, and the only thing I could come close to was the intense body-numbing pain of a broken relationship. Still no happiness in the sense of finally finding and writing the story that had haunted me.

What the hell?

Was I fulfilled? Yes. Was I purposeful? Fuck yeah. And those haunting voices slowly subsided, in a good way. I was on destiny's road. But was I happy? Not really.

Then it smacked me in the face. Hard! Like a punch that you don't see cause you're not lookin'. Happiness was a choice! Sort of.

I'd been on the spiritual path of enlightenment for some time, trying to decipher the cryptic language of oneness, all for one, one for all, the source, the higher intelligence, inner intelligence, inner wisdom, living in the moment, the present, the Buddhaness, the perseverance of the Hesus story.

And I realized, happiness is born with us, innate. You see it with babies, that joy, that connection they have with their parents. You see happiness when kids play, pretending, not yet tarnished by the limitations of adulthood. You see this with geniuses, who don't let others' limiting thoughts hinder them. Happiness, after all, is not a choice, but part of our being. We are born with the ability to think and feel, just as we are born to be happy, and lather it with sadness. We choose to be sad, otherwise we are just happy, content.

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Double D had bought a nice car and had moved out of the room he rented and into his new home in the suburbs. He had found a job with more pay, maybe a better title. But he wasn't happy. I know this, even though I hadn't spoken to him since that dinner because in the years since he's bought his home, none of his friends have ever seen it. They know what city it's in and were promised an invite to a house warming party that never came. What was going on? He was afraid of being judged. For what, I do not know. But maybe somehow he thought that he wasn't enough, the car wasn't impressive, or that his house was in some way representative of who he was (too small?). In essence, I assume, his happiness was linked to others' perceptions of him. If that is the case, then he will never be happy. Even if people revere him, he knows, as we all do, that opinions can change with a drop of a hat.

That doesn't mean we shouldn't be unhappy, because life has its ups and downs, but that happiness is our natural state. If you think about it, it takes a lot of work and effort to be unhappy. That's why meditation is often the solution to this. To quiet your mind is to quiet the crap that stresses us out.

Inner Story

When I first started pitching my book to various literary agents, the most common question they asked was why is my main character so against unification, the joining of the seven provinces in my story. Like many things in life, I didn’t know the real answer. The actual story, however, did know it.

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I watched a documentary on Netflix called AI WEIWEI: NEVER SORRY. Ai Weiwei is a Chinese artist who helped design the Bird's Nest featured in the Beijing Olympics. He uses social media and art to inspire protests against the Chinese government. The thing about China is that freedom of speech is not a basic freedom like it is here. And to inspire any level of protest there would only result in one end.

An interviewer asked him why he’s so fearless compared to other people. His response: I’m so fearful that’s not fearless. I’m more fearful than other people maybe…then because I act more brave because I know the danger’s really there. If you don’t act, the danger becomes stronger.

That hit me like a brick wall that swung through the humid jungles of South China. That’s an absurd sentence, but Weiwei's answer completely encompasses why my main character fights against totalitarianism than just rolling over and joining an enemy that seemed too strong.

Your claws woman!

Your claws woman!

And the actual story, the character, knew this without me consciously having to know. I can see the words, sentences and dialogue where he states this, just not in those exact words. Otherwise I’d know how to answer the question.

Now, I’m not here proclaiming my genius, nor am I proclaiming anything about me. There are two things going on here that I can see. One; stories choose us, the storytellers. Somehow we become the experts to those stories because we were chosen, and two; if we don’t tell it, if we do not follow that path given to us, we will in some way suffer.

We become the experts. What the hell does that mean? That doesn’t mean we as writers don’t need to do the research. We do when needed. We are the experts because somehow in some divine way we were given insights or the true meaning behind the stories we tell. In NIGHTFALL, if a person wanted to read for pure fun without wanting to know anything more than just the superficial stuff—the rollercoaster ride, the adventure—that’s fine. But if that person was curious enough, the hidden meaning behind the whole story and what drives every character in NIGHTFALL could be revealed to him or her, and they may learn something about themselves. In that sense, there are two basic layers to NIGHTFALL. Obviously, I can’t control whether the reader delves deeper or not. It’s their choice, and I wouldn’t want that control anyways.

I think you need a Tic Tac

I think you need a Tic Tac

I do believe, as people, we have gifts that we were given to give to the world. Huh? I do think we were put here for that reason. Every scientist and philosopher is trying to answer that question, and they can’t because the answer is different for every one of us. As far as I can tell at this moment, I was supposed to write the 7th Province series. Others were put here to teach lessons to their children, students, sections of society, the world. But if we don’t follow our paths, then what happens? Suffering. Whether it’s within that person who didn’t follow their path, or the people the gift wasn’t given to, I’m not sure. Something goes missing, then maybe it’ll fall onto another human to give that gift.

I was asked what my main character’s passion was. I didn’t know. For a long time I didn’t know. A few years after completing the first draft of NIGHTFALL, I figured it out. And the amazing thing was it was in the writing. I just didn’t see it.