The problem with straight faced is it then appears unhappy. The mad or sad look of a non-smiling face on an older person might be a product of age. Have you noticed how younger people have mouths that naturally turn up. The older people get, the more the natural mouth ends up down. I don't think this is because young people are happier than old people but more likely a result of the aging body-- gravity, dropping muscles, wrinkles, and lines. But it does not look as satisfied-- even if it is.
In my life, I am satisfied. It's not that I go around singing jolly songs all day, but I am doing what I want where I want. The changes I might like are ones I could make if I so chose. I like writing. I like where I live. I like the people in my life, my pets. Currently I have an outdoor reason for feeling good as each day is getting a little longer.
Once in awhile I come across an article or someone asking questions about how to be happy. I don't spend time thinking about whether I am. I don't think about it mostly at all. I am what I am. There are certainly happy moments that make me aware-- yes I am happy about that.
Writing makes me feel good. When I finished the rough draft for the second novella (which is nearly long enough to be a short novel but I want it to stay a novella), I did a fist bump into the air. That feeling when writing does not last particularly long as there is editing waiting, a few rough places to consider-- and then aspects of the next novella are already running around in my imagination.
In researching for it, I wanted to know more about the demonic world. My daughter suggested I try a series of books called the Iron Druid. Kevin Hearne writes them and the first ones are set in Arizona. Well I bought the first.
With my own writing temporarily finished, I started reading the first Iron Druid... Uh oh. One was not enough. I ended up buying the first four. I might be addicted. These books are in a genre called Urban Fantasy; something I haven't ever read-- knowingly anyway. Hearne did a lot of obvious research as he brings to life the world's gods, goddesses, demons, werewolves, vampires and pretty much any sort of mythic monster you can imagine in his stories of a 2000 year old Druid who is always fighting the bad guys. The reads are fun, lightweight, and especially enjoyable for anyone with a little knowledge (too knowledgeable and they might find fault) of world magical systems and mythologies.
His monsters, etc. aren't the direction I intend for my third novella but they have let me see the benefit of developing personalities for the 'other' side. Since I want it to be a battle of good against evil encompassing the human and spirit world, I am beginning to firm up what mine might be. As to the heroine, that's still undecided, but the hero enters the trilogy in the second book.
Because I am an agnostic, not sure what exists beyond the human plane, I am always cautious how I treat the subject of evil. Yes, I know some think it doesn't exist. I think though in writing fantasy, it must if there is to be a real conflict. I wish there was a category of Urban Fantasy not in Urban areas ;). Rural Fantasy... Ranch Fantasy.. nah it'd sound like erotica. And my new novellas won't have the sex scenes in them that I have written for my other books. When you are keeping a book short, you can't afford scenes you don't need. The action has to move fast and derailing it for long ends up writing a novel.
Finally on this subject of what might or might not be-- I've mentioned other places that our new cat, Raven, watches certain types of television. She not only watches but she assimilates what's happening-- at least from a cat perspective. One day it was an old Errol Flynn movie. We saw her intently turned to it, ears reacting to the action until one of the secondary characters let out a cackle like a witch. It wasn't a witch but it might as well have been as Raven went all Halloween cat on us. I mean back up, tail bristly (wish I could get a photo of it; but when she did it, we were laughing too hard-- and the pose doesn't last long). She ran from the room, then came back around from the kitchen and peeked over the edge of the fireplace hearth to look back at the screen. That's when we decided to turn it off. Errol was cute but not worth a Halloween cat in case that cackle returned.
A few days later we thought the totally innocuous, Puss 'n Boots, a kids' animated film, should be safe. At one point the movie's feline heroine let out a yowl at the male and again Raven, who had been intently watching, leaped in the air and ran into the bedroom to hide. She came back after about five minutes. I am thinking she's like a little kid and TV for awhile will have to be monitored for what won't upset her. I've never seen a cat who literally seems to follow the stories. She not only sees it, but she's curious about it. Now we know she also can get scared by it.
Oh yeah and here are some of the photos I took to try and get a genuine smile for the camera ;)
Well it was first attempt...
not there yet...
it's harder than it looks