• johnschengber

02: Credit to Ms. Krauss

"If I had a camera, I said, I’d take a picture of you every day. That way I’d remember how you looked every single day of your life. I look the same. No, you don’t. You’re changing all the time. Every day a tiny bit. If I could, I’d keep a record of it all. If you’re so smart, how did I change today? You got a fraction of a millimeter taller, for one thing. Your hair grew a fraction of a millimeter longer. And your breasts grew a fraction of a— They did not! Yes, they did. What else, you big pig? You got a little happier and also a little sadder. How do you know? Think about it. Have you ever been happier than right now? I guess not. And have you ever been sadder than right now? No. It isn’t like that for everyone. Some people just get happier and happier. And some people ... get sadder and sadder. What about you? Are you the happiest and saddest right now that you’ve ever been? Of course I am. Why? Because nothing makes me happier and nothing makes me sadder than you."

This is a passage from The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, a work of fiction given to me by my ex-girlfriend. I don't think she knew that I would take this and run with it as I have. This quote describes the way I felt about her and our relationship, and though it specifically captures something about love, for me it captures something about life. This is how I feel about trees, too. It's how I feel about poems and pictures. A good beautiful thing, regardless of its objective level of cheer or melancholy, always make me happier and sadder. My favorite songs tend towards the slow and sad-sounding ones (shoutout to Leonard Cohen), but they make me so god-damn happy. Rapid onset depression hits me every time I wrap-up a fun-filled weekend. The two emotions are counterbalances, and today's focus on the pursuit of happiness dismisses one half of the equation.

I'm not sure if everyone feels this way. Per Krauss, maybe some people only get happier or sadder in one direction. But I know where I stand. So I named my blog Happier & Sadder as an ode to all the people and things that make me as such. If that resonates with you, then I suggest two additions to your likely-unending reading list: The History of Love by Nicole Krauss, and this blog, Happier & Sadder, written by a guy looking for beauty in the world.

In the coming weeks, I will be synthesizing my experiences here as a way to reflect upon and share what I'm feeling, seeing, thinking. You can expect more than words. Pictures, perhaps a video or two, and poems (which are more than words). If you'd like to also get a weekly email with a picture and a poem, sign up for my newsletter below. Forever feel free to reach out with any thoughts - feedback and correspondence is welcomed.

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© 2020 by John Schengber

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