Look no farther than the Princeton Alumni Weekly for the answer to all the big questions in life. Browsing through the class notes in the October 8 issue, I happened upon a sidebar on the work of Martin Seligman '64. Unlike most psychologists, Seligman doesn't study what makes up miserable, he researches what makes us happy.
In summary, if you want to be happy you: "Put aside the toys. Figure out what you're good at. And then apply your strengths to a greater purpose." Seligman has written a bestseller called Authentic Happiness in which he describes three levels of happiness. Pleasure is the first, the delight you get from good food and sex. Engagement is the second, the feeling of flow when you're doing something you're good at (like writing, perchance?). Most evolved is meaning, the fulfillment you get from being engaged in an effort greater than yourself.
Sounds good to me. Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I have to say all the effort I've put into promoting Amorous Woman has made me very happy because I feel I'm in it for something greater than myself--namely, I hope to connect with readers to present a more nuanced view of Japan to the Western world and show that our erotic lives can be celebrated and treated thoughtfully in fiction. That made my New York book tour pretty meaningful. Then again, there was a whole lot of good food and sexy doings and just all around pleasure involved as well.
As soon as I get my photos uploaded, I'll fill you in on all the juicy details!