Sometimes I think people consider joy to be overrated – something trite and unattainable. But today, I am having a joyful day, a day where that feeling that everything will be alright, even good for moments, comes dancing forth. Here’s why:

First, I need to congratulate two dear friends who have gotten great publication news in the last 24 hours. One sold her new Young Adult novel, and one got an essay picked up by Gettysburg Review. I won’t “out” them here, but I did want to say a public congrats. There’s something so wonderful about people being published. I take such joy in it.

I’ve also been taking great joy in my writing this week. I have written more than twenty pages, which is a huge amount for me. And while those pages are rough (I haven’t, in fact, re-read them for reasons I’ll explain in a moment), I feel like they might be something good, not great, but good. I haven’t re-read them or begun to revise them because right now my writing process is very organic; I’m writing whatever comes up each day. All of the stories are connected in terms of larger story, but I haven’t been fooling with them in terms of more overt connections. I’m hoping that when I come to the end I’ll see those connections bubbling out on their own. What do you guys do when you write? Do you write through and then revise? Do you revise as you go? What’s your process?

I’m also really excited about the Read-A-Thon tomorrow. I have a huge slew of poems and short stories to read for a project I’m working on with my colleagues, so that will be a great start. I’m also putting a big pile of books together. I don’t know what I”ll get to, but here’s the list:
Lucky by Alice Sebold
The Old Country by Mordicai Gerstein (don’t you love the name Mordicai?)
A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
Gilead by Marilynne Robinson
A Natural History of the Senses by Diane Ackerman
Body of Evidence by Patricia Cornwell
Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Between Panic and Desire by Dinty Moore
We Need to Talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
Field of Blood by Denise Mina
The High Flyer by Susan Howatch
Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
A Family Concern by Anthea Fraser
M is for Magic by Neil Gaiman (caution about it not being great is heeded, but it’s the only Gaiman the library has right now)
The Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves

My plan is to post every time I finish a book or every three hours, whichever comes first, throughout the day tomorrow. I’m going to be starting a bit earlier than the technical read-a-thon start time of Noon eastern (I’m starting at 10am eastern) because I want to finish by 10am on Sunday so that I can head to church. So if you’re bored before noon tomorrow, stop by a bit early. I’ll try to read something short first so that I have a post up early. Joy in reading . . . . how great!! (If you’d like to pledge to Reading is Fundamental in honor of the Read-A-Thon, please do. I’ve had several great sponsors, and I’ve probably reached my $100 goal – but reading can always use more friends.)

I have to credit the kick-off to my joyful spirit to qgrainne at So Many Books, So Little Time, who posted this great video last night. I am a dancing fool today, even boogeying in my seat as I write this. Take a minute – really – and watch the video. It’ll make your day.

And finally, I’m of course joyful because I pick up Emily and Charlotte today at 6:30pm eastern. My friend Sarah is coming up to go with me to get them; she helped me pick Oscar, so it seems fitting that she’s on this kitty acquisition trip. More on them as the days pass.

Have a joyful day, and enjoy these images that came up when I searched “joy” in Flickr.
Joy on a hot summer day.
by Therese Flanagan

Deep Joy
by Dave Schreier