My Happiness Engineer

high angle photo of robot
Happiness Engineer aka HE

We wrote a book Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets. Now we need to tell the world. I volunteered to create a website. It sounded so easy. Sometimes you just have to jump into the deep end. Fortunately, I found a lifeguard to guide me safely through the turbulence.

This is my Happiness Engineer, whom I will call HE. HE was introduced in my first plea for help and stayed with me through days of online chatting. An employee of WordPress, HE was assigned to assist in building our website. HE could be a human but HE’s total availability and knowledge, not to mention patience, seemed superhuman as I chatted with him/her/it on a regular basis to set up this site. We have entered the universe of gender neutrality. In case I may have a bias regarding the male or female sex, HE maintained a non-committal, non-binary facade. In my quest to build this website, HE was my go-to first thing each morning when my mind was clear (?) and I had three or four (more or less) hours of sleep. HE became the one I said good night to when my bleary eyes could no longer focus on the screen. HE is available 24/7. I tested it all hours of day and night and on holidays. HE was patient and calm when my webby world went wobbly. HE answered every question without fail. What HE didn’t do was perceive the depth of my ignorance and the reason for my questions. HE could not advise me about things I may not know I do not know. I’m sure many of my queries like, “what is an IOS, SEO or CSS?”, created titters among the other Happiness Engineers in the office. (Imagine a whole room of Happiness Engineers – Wow). My being a total novice about internet design, led us down some frustratingly blind alleys. It generated several complete template changes for our website, trying to find the perfect fit for our needs. The learning curve was steep.

I know I can get snippy when confronted with Everest-type obstacles to overcome. I occasionally suggested we have a glass of wine together to smooth out the craters in our relationship. HE responded gently with “It might do you good.” I pondered the idea of suggesting we move in together since, over the period of a few weeks, I spent more time with HE than with my dear husband. Again, that could lead to another universe of problems. How would my Happiness Engineer respond to being a co-respondent in a divorce proceeding?

I had a feeling every time my name appeared on the call list, there was a collective “oh no, her again” as they flipped a coin to decide who would respond to the nitwit. Not sure how the coin flipping thing would happen but I’m sure they have a Happiness way to do it. I totally believed my HE claimed me every time and I was not shunted from HE to HE. If I missed a day working on the project (for mental health reasons), I received an email asking if everything had been resolved. Ahhh, HE really cared. I began to wonder if I created unnecessary issues with the website just so I could keep chatting with HE. Did I go over to the dark side? But all is well. The website is successfully launched for better or worse. The book is about to be published. My husband still speaks to me. I want to commend HE for HE’s total commitment to helping me navigate the unknown world of tech to get our site live. Many thanks, Happiness Engineer!

This week’s prompt

Write a “How to” from the second person point of view. Instead of first person “I”, talk to the reader and use “you”. Bring the reader into the story. It can be an essay, a story, or a poem. Give an explanation of something as if the reader was part of the conversation. An example of second person point of view is in Jay McInerney’s novel Bright Lights, Big City about a young man struggling with reality.

On a lighter note read page 65 of Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets to see how I wrote a humorous short short story of How to Bake Bread. Please feel free to share your creation with us. We would love to be part of your writers’ group.

and so it begins…

Welcome to our blog and thank you for stopping by. This is our dialogue with readers as well as writers.

Stories are as old as humankind. We all have them, we live stories. The oral tradition of storytelling is essentially extinct in modern cultures. Since the advent of alphabets, people have chosen to preserve their tales in writing.  As a writers’ group, we support and encourage individual flights of fantasy, rockets of remembrance, and paeans of poetry, that lead us on voyages of discovery into ourselves and the world at large. We writers thrive on words. We gobble them up, we inhale them, we cherish and revere them. They are the building blocks of our understanding. As an equation is to a mathematician, a word is to a writer. All the scribblers of the world understand why writers write. It is not necessary to earn your living by penning symbols on a page to be a WRITER. A very select few can do that. The rest of us use the written word as a pilot through our past, a magnifying glass in our present, and a crystal ball into our futures. Notes jotted on napkins, letters to friends, journals, and diaries are all ways of preserving stories. Life is Story. Write on.

Our book Telling Tales and Sharing Secrets is a memoir of our writers’ group over two decades and a guide for other groups to learn, write and stay together. With this blog, we will continue our story. We invite you to share your comments and experiences with us.