True and Total Happiness is a short story I wrote in the fall of 2007. At the time I’d been reading a lot of short stories by Donald Barthelme and thinking about things, which is what writers seem to do with large portions of their time. I make reference to Barthelme not in an attempt to compare myself with himâ€”he wrote at a level few will ever achieve, and I will doubtfully be among their midstâ€”but rather to give a little context for what was going on in my mind when I composed it.
The story deals with the deification and commodification of personal effervescence in our society, which is just a fancy way of saying that in writing it I was attempting to address why so many of us think personal happiness is not only the utmost goal of life, but also that itâ€™s something that can be purchased, like dish-soap or shoe-laces.
My only wish for this story now is that in reading it you find yourself made happy…
The story is available to download here.