Authentic Happiness

What is authentic happiness? I’m passing up the opportunity to see the Dalai Lama this afternoon, who is in town to open the Dalai Lama Center for Peace and Education. One dear friend of mine, currently visiting from Miami, was suspicious about the claim to authenticity, and in fact, I notice that the PR people have changed some of the original publicity for the talk from “Authentic Happiness” to “Cultivating Happiness.” Another friend, while cheerfully mixing a mid-afternoon strawberry daiquiri, said all you need is to be in the presence of the Dalai Lama, and you feel happy. Where does happiness belong? In the head? The body? The heart? Or like the name “Montague” not in any part belonging to a man (or woman)… More at www.dalailama.com.

I think instead I’ll go to hear Sabine Bitter and Adriana Kuiper speak as part of the show Architecture and Disaster, now on in the gallery at the Western Front. The show looks at the fetishization of fear and disaster through the built environment.

You see the dilemma though? What if critical practice leads altogether in the wrong direction? Not because it is incorrect, illogical or unethical, but because it engages the wrong parts of the person? Or the wrong conception of how the person is organized? (What if it isn’t discrete?)

In other news, a few publications have appeared in the last bit: My short story “I Love Liver: A Romance” just came in The Year’s Best Science Fiction. A little slice of “Sybil Unrest” (from the section Rita Wong and I have affectionately, though temporarily, been dubbing “The Empire Strikes Back” or “The Two Towers”) came out in The Golden Handcuffs Review, in a poetry section edited by Jacqueline Turner, and in the company of such luminaries as Meredith Quartermain, Peter Quartermain, Jeff Derksen and Steve Collis. Finally, it seems the New York Review of Science Fiction has published a review of When Fox Is a Thousand, which I have yet to see, having let my subscription lapse over the course of the summer’s mayhem. Jennifer Stevenson is kindly sending me her copy.

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