A review in the New York Times Book Review this weekend mentioned a “newly popular genre” that author Hugo Lindgren called “stunt nonfiction”–when the writer reads the whole encyclopedia or says yes to every date for a year.
Reading this threw me into a panic. Oh no, I’m part of a genre–and a “stunt genre” at that! It took me such a long time to decide how to write the Happiness Project, and now I discover that I’m part of a movement. How depressing.
And on top of that, I can’t even count the number of books on happiness that have hit the bookstores in the last year.
I felt defensive and anxious; I started imagining how imaginary future reviewers would attack the Happiness Project.
Then I remembered—this is not the way to happiness! I know better. Laugh out loud, make fun of myself, act the way I want to feel, re-frame.
So I said to myself, “How funny, I’m part of a movement without knowing it. I missed the dot-com boom, I don’t have an iPod, I don’t watch American Idol, but for once I’m tapped right into the zeitgeist. People are interested in happiness, they’re interested in other people’s experiences.”
I immediately felt a surge of relief.