Let's Start Here
I started thinking about the joyful project a little over a year ago. The idea began while teaching a philosophy class. The thought of re-reading Camus’ Myth of Sysyphus cast gloom across my horizon. I knew I needed something else, something more uplifting.
After poking around for a while, I found The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler. I absolutely loved the book and incorporated it into the class. More than that, it started me down this path of thinking about happiness and joy. It led me to ponder the Joyful Project, though I didn’t know what it would look like back then.
Following The Art of Happiness, I read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. This is another wonderful book. If you aren’t familiar with The Happiness Project, it’s Rubin’s chronicle of a year-long plan to become happier. It’s funny and thoughtful and worth reading.
Unlike Rubin, I never intended to lay out a plan to become happier. I don’t think such a structured approach to happiness could work for me. In fact, I’m sure that structured joy would drive me miserable!
What I Began to Realize
I continued reading books about happiness. Sometimes I read fiction with central themes pertaining to joy; sometimes, I read non-fiction about theories on happiness. What I started to realize was that reading about happiness made me feel happier. Not just while I was reading, either. These books uplifted my outlook on work, relationships, and life.
I believe that we are – or become – the things we think about. It only makes sense that what we dwell on impacts our lives profoundly. Logically, it made sense to me that reading about happiness made me happier. And so, being a writer, I wanted to write about happiness, too.
And that’s what the Joyful Project has become.
It is a collection of things I read and write that make me happy and hopefully will also bring you joy. At the center of the project is a novel I’ve wanted to pen for a long time. After toying with different ideas for about a year, I have finally worked out most of the details. Here is my working blurb:
Joyful! A Novel
No one ever told Paul that he would become useless.
Paul Fletcher is an aging teacher. He is rude and quick to judge others. Nothing is particularly wrong with his life of predictability, including binge-eating fast food, whiskey, and one-sided conversations with his wife.
But everything changes when Paul meets Jayce, the new non-binary history teacher across his hall. When they work together to help a student having a seizure, they also rescue each other from their own lives of loneliness. Ultimately, Jayce’s kindness can help Paul find relevance in his life. If Paul truly accepts their friendship, he may find life can still be full of joy.
Heart-warming, uplifting, and smart, Joyful is the story of an unlikely hero whose idiosyncrasies and dry humor make for an irresistible journey as he finds that he can still be relevant in an anti-colonial world by opening his heart.
But wait, there's more!
I’ll be posting the novel in sections as I write it, but there is so much more I want to share. Let’s talk about finding happiness and joy, especially in everyday things. Let’s share stories about finding joy and happiness in the mundane because I still want to read everyone else’s words about joy.
I want to talk about the oddities of everyday life that bring me happiness, the things that I see and think and reflect on that I love. And finally, let’s look a bit at the psychology and science of joy and happiness. There is so much exciting work on the topic, and it is fascinating.
Hopefully, I can keep this beast organized! This page will include a table of contents. My goal is to make it easy for you to find new posts. Please, bookmark this page or subscribe to the Joyful Newsletter below to get updates as they are available.
Lastly, if you have a story to share, please use the contact form at the bottom of the page to send it in! I will follow up with any submissions to ensure that you are okay with me posting your story.
I hope you enjoy the contents of the project.
D. A. Callens