Happier Than a Pig in Slop

pig in slop

I’ve been riding a natural high for some time now when it comes to my writing life.

After a slow start the first couple weeks in December, my blog has steadily picked up in traffic: visits, views, comments, and followers.  I won’t mention many specific numbers, but I will say each week’s summary has indicated a percentage increase and I was particular thrilled when it showed 1,541.18% growth one week.

I am finding personal satisfaction in the awareness that my writing is improving – particularly in fiction and poetry.  I give a lot of credit to the collaborative blog Today’s Author for inspiring me with helpful writing prompts and words of encouragement.  Before I stumbled across their site, my creative writing muscles had not been exercised in over 25 years.  I am learning that it is a lot like riding a bike – only now with this great laptop my bike has a really fast motor on it.

Yes, as my cousin Cam would say, “I’m happier than a pig in slop.”  And let me share a little about why.

Responding to a Today’s Author prompt on January 9, I wrote a post called “The Pursuit of Happiness (scene one)“.  I had a hunch it was only the beginning of a larger story.  Two days later I composed a piece called “Leaving for Good (part of “The Pursuit of Happiness” project)“.  Then, I took a trip to New York to visit my children.

I had a lay-over in Cleveland on my way to Rochester.  The plane was having mechanical problems and the representatives couldn’t guarantee me a flight out that night.  I was scheduled to see my children the next day and only see them once every 4-6 weeks, so I decided to rent a car in Cleveland and drive the six hours to the Rochester area.  Then, on Sunday, I would I drive back to Cleveland for the flight home.

This afforded me 12 hours to think about various things.  My mind kept moving toward this story – “The Pursuit of Happiness”.  By the time I returned home Sunday afternoon, I had sketched out the plot in my mind, created the characters, even imagined an ending.

I set a goal to write 2 chapters a day, so as not to overwhelm myself.  Since my two posts made up nearly all of chapter 1, I had time on Monday to finish the first chapter, write chapter 2 and give titles to all 34 chapters I envision the book will have as well as write out 1 sentence summaries for each.  I was able to meet my goal of writing two chapters on Tuesday, Wednesday, and today as well.  So now I have 8 chapters.  With 26 to go, I’m projecting a completed working draft in two weeks.

Since I’m hoping to publish conventionally, I don’t want to give away too much of the story until I understand copyright laws better, but I will give you a one paragraph summary to peak your interest and give me some practice writing a query to potential literary agents…

Steven Johnson is a modern-day Puritan who believes it is best to accept the good with the bad that God provides.  His wife, Rachel, wants to be happy and runs off with a lottery winner.  Steven then faces a barrage of positive-thinkers, artistic athiests, belly-dancing yoga instructors, well-meaning believers, and psychotropic-prescribing psychiatrists who simply want him to pursue happiness (like the rest of the world).  Steven struggles to maintain his faith in the God who is in control while attempting to live in peace, as far as he possibly can.  Will he find true happiness?  Will it find him?

What do you think?  Would you buy a copy?  If so, how many can I sign you up for?

(image “I just fell asleep in my food…” from Chewonki Semester School, some rights reserved)

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