Look at Van Gogh. A genius, of the tortured variety. What if his paintings had sold like proverbial hotcakes back in his day? What if he’d known the love of a good woman (or man, whichever he preferred)? Would “Starry Night” exist? Maybe. But he’d probably have two ears (instead of one) with which to listen to my blasphemy as he rolled about in his grave.

So what’s a girl to do? Wallow in misery so I can pop out the Great American Novel? My muse wants to flirt with “maybe,” but a swift-but-metaphoric sock to the kisser puts her in her place.  To reject happiness is to reject God. Good times ought to be embraced with joy. So why do I feel a lingering sense of having disappointed God somehow, just because (for me) writing and joy don’t mix?

You know, it really is sort of unbearably hot outside. And my asthma has been just abysmally bad. And we need a new roof. Why don’t we ever have any money? Why, why, why?

I feel a new poem coming on.

When night stretches endless,
I call out for You.
When day turns gray and lonely
I long for You.
When I am sick,
my breath growing ragged and painful,
I cling to You.
But when I am immersed in joy,
I forget You.
I am sorry.

-Lori Strawn

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