Today I Will be . . . Habromaniacal

Most days, I post a resolution on Facebook. I need to post something, and since I don’t have cute cat videos, dear dog photos, or pithy thoughts that can be posted in the few words that most FB perusers can absorb in the few seconds they allow per post, I’ve been posting resolutions. Even if no one reads them, it’s a way of concentrating my thoughts on a particular area I need to work on that day, and it helps. Yesterday, for example, I knew I would have to be conciliatory and kind to someone I wasn’t feeling kindly toward, so I posted, “Today I will be . . . humanitary.” I couple of days ago, I needed to be firm and steadfast in a decision, and so I chose “staunch.”

Today I will be . . .At the beginning, I just chose one of the words from the word art I use as my cover photo for my profile — words such as playful, daring, intense, bold, whimsical, mysterious, legendary. But when I stumbled on the book, The Highly Selective Dictionary for the Extraordinarily Literate by Eugene Ehrlich, I started using words that few people knew, words such as alcatory (depending on luck or chance), magniloquent (lofty in expression), veridical (truthful), cachinnate (laugh loudly). The odd thing is that most of the adjectives in those 192 pages were not exactly uplifting. As interesting as the words look, dysphoria, fractious, louche, purulent are not states to which I aspire.

It’s become something of a treasure hunt to discover hidden gems such as eupathy, which means a happy condition of the soul. Don’t we all strive to be eupathic? It gave me great pleasure to bring this jewel to light.

Today I discovered another wonderful word. Habromania — a kind of insanity in which there are delusions of a cheerful character or gaiety. [It comes from the Greek words habros meaning graceful or delicate and mainesthai to be mad] I don’t imagine that it’s a comfortable state since it is a form of insanity after all, and yet, those who have it would, by definition, be happy. David E. Kelley, the man responsible for Ally McBeal, seemed to like habromaniacs since he used them occasionally in the series. In one show, an old man was wonderfully happy, giving away his fortune to the dismay of his children. It wasn’t until the man’s wife died and he found himself unable to cry or even be sad at her passing that he allowed himself to be treated.

It seems to me our world could use a few more habromaniacs — people who are happy even though sanity seems to dictate misery.

So, today I will be . . . habromaniacal.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Follow Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Today I Will Be . . .

I’ve gotten in the habit of posting a daily resolution on Facebook, which has been a good discipline for me. I spend a minute or so thinking about what challenges I will be facing that day, and then I post the appropriate resolution. For example, today I will need to have more generosity of spirit to get through a trying situation, so the resolution I just posted says: Today I will be . . . munificent. Yesterday I had to write a chapter for Rubicon Ranch, the online collaborative serial I’m writing with other Second Wind authors, so I posted the resolution: Today I will be . . . creative. Other days I have resolved to be bold or diligent or grateful or (just for fun) enigmatic.

In fact, I even use an all-purpose resolution, a bit of word art I created, for my Facebook profile:

Today I will be . . .

I don’t know if these public daily resolutions make a difference because obviously I don’t know what my day would have been like without them, but I like posting the resolutions. It makes me appreciative of the day despite any challenges or hardships that I am facing, Makes it seem as if with a bit of a boost, I can surmount all problems or at least accept them. So although I already posted a resolution for today on Facebook, I am posting a special one here:

Today I will be . . . appreciative.

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+. Like Pat on Facebook.

Today I will be . . . seeing red

XI’ve been posting daily resolutions on my Facebook status as a way of focusing my attention on something positive rather than the truth. For example, if I have a hard time putting one foot in front of the other, I will write, “Today I will be . . . energetic.” Or if I know I’m going to have to rise to a challenge, such as coming to an agreement with someone who refuses to see my side of the situation, I will write, “Today I will be . . . flexible.” Or forgiving, or whatever the situation calls for.

Today I discovered a great new word: apolaustic, which means “seeking enjoyment,” and that seemed an appropriate resolution for the day since fun hasn’t been part of my life much lately.

The trouble is, I think the goblins out there got things confused, and they’ve been having a bit of enjoyment at my expense. When I opened the pantry this morning, I noticed there were two boxes of cherry Jello-O where yesterday there were three. Unless I walk in my sleep (or unless my father does, since he’s been spending most of his time sleeping lately), that box of red gelatin powder simply disappeared. (And since he doesn’t know how to make it and I don’t eat it, it couldn’t have been consumed by either of us in a wild bout of sleepeating.)

I wouldn’t have thought anything more of the missing red gelatin (well, that’s not true at all — I’ve spent hours searching for the ridiculous thing because something cannot disappear for no reason and the puzzle puzzles me) but an hour or so later, a red vehicle went missing. (No, not mine — whew! And anyway, I’m not exactly a red car sort of person, though that might be something to think about in the future as I’m trying to decide who I want to be.)

I was out walking in the desert when I saw, about a tenth of mile in front of me, a bright shiny new red pickup truck parked on a rise. I hesitated about going forward because vehicles parked in the middle of the desert take away from the enjoyment (ah! My apolaustic moment!) of my solitary walk, and besides, they make me nervous. Maybe I’ve spent too much time in my fictional community of Rubicon Ranch where my character has a penchant for finding dead bodies in the desert, or maybe I’m just careful. Either way, after the moment of hesitancy, I went forward.

I lost sight of the vehicle for a minute or two as I went around a bend, and when again I looked for the red pickup, it was gone. From where I was standing, I had a panoramic view of the desert, and no red truck was in sight though it wouldn’t have been able to drive out of sight in the brief time it was out of my view. About a quarter of a mile away, a white pickup, a much older model, was slowly making its way along a rutted desert road, but no red truck. I climbed to higher ground, and still couldn’t catch a glimpse of red, and in that stark beige world, even a touch of crimson would have been readily apparent.

So, who is stealing red from my life, and why? Are goblins or other tricksters playing games at my expense? Usually, when I get back from my walk, my cheeks are red from the cold, but today, they were barely pink. Had the goblins also taken the color from my blood? If I had pricked a finger, would I have bled blue or green?

Maybe a better status update on Facebook would have been, “Today I will be . . . seeing red.”

***

Pat Bertram is the author of the suspense novels Light Bringer, More Deaths Than One, A Spark of Heavenly Fire, and Daughter Am I. Bertram is also the author of Grief: The Great Yearning, “an exquisite book, wrenching to read, and at the same time full of profound truths.” Connect with Pat on Google+

New Year, New Beginning?

I’ve never put emphasis on the new year because it’s a relatively arbitrary date. The calendar numbers change, but that’s all. It’s not a universal new beginning. The Chinese New Year this year is on February 3, the Jewish New Year is on September 28, and various communities in the Hindu religion have different dates — January 15, March 22, April 14, April 15, August 17, October 27. January 1 is not even the beginning of a new seasonal cycle. Nor is there any personal demarcation — no black line separates the old from the new. You carry the old year with you because you have the same problems, sadnesses, hopes, fears. In other words, you are still you. 

There is a newness to January 1, though, and that is the newness of a new day.  Unlike the year, each day is a new beginning. You wake up, and for a second everything is untouched — like new fallen snow — and you almost believe you can be anyone you want to be, do anything you want to do. Then the truth hits you.

Still, there’s hope, so I make daily resolutions instead of yearly ones. I have a list of a dozen do’s and don’ts that I would follow in a perfect world. I’m lucky to do about half of them each day, but it varies. Two days ago I did only a couple. Yesterday I did all but two. Today, of course, I resolve to follow everything on my list. The list includes such things as weight lifting and stretching, walking, writing, blogging, promoting, eating a big salad, drinking lots of water, staying away from sugar and wheat. As I said, in a perfect world . . .

Despite that, I did toast this new year, more as a symbol of newness than the reality of it. I’ve learned that since nothing seems important any more, I have to make something important every day. And toasting the new year seemed as good as anything to importantize.  (Yeah, I know — there’s no such word as importantize, but just for today —  this new day — there is.)