"Are you happy?"

I should probably talk about all the advertising and sleepless nights contacting influential people to get more exposure to Seraph's Hymn. However, for now, I have another matter I want to reflect on.

I keep getting asked what is essentially the same question about personal happiness and creative fulfilment.

That's amazing; you released a novel. Are you happy?

The question, while simple enough, has been knocking against the inside of my skull for the last couple of weeks. It's a question I hadn't expected. Should I be happy? There's a certain relief about releasing your thoughts unto the world, to be sure, but happiness seems like such a stretch. I do feel an itching desire to reach out and scream at people until they read my work. Could that be the type of happiness they are asking about? No, it seems simpler than that and far more subdued.

I wonder if my whole endeavour to write is perceived as yet another 'activity' to banter about in the office kitchen between insincere nods of toleration towards each other's choices.

This pervasive idea of happiness; that we all must have it and hold on to it like it will never expire, is exhausting and too simplistic. With that said, the somewhat unexplainable feeling I have when people read my work and empathise with the content (which could rarely be categorised as happy) brings forth terribly convoluted, yet beautiful emotions. The idea that the creations in my head—the tumbling thoughts that landed close enough to a page to be arranged like metal shavings under a magnet—could somehow evoke a response from another human being. That is the real feeling I live through my writing for. That's what makes me glad I have it out there in a public space, even if the process feels unbearably slow.

Hopefully social decorum allows for me to articulate this thought between teaspoon clinks and idle office gossip the next time someone asks. Maybe I'll just say "no," and leave it at that.