Happiness is just about the only emotion which leaves me lost for words.
Last night, was the Belfast launch of Malcolm Orange Disappears at the Ulster Hall. I think I might have been happier than I’ve been in about five years. Almost everyone I love locally was squished into one very sweaty room with wine and cupcakes, Bob Dylan, (sadly not in person), and a tremendous amount of positive energy. Someone, I can’t recall who exactly, said, “it feels like the Hall is smiling” and it really did. Some members of the Hall family were also crying but I suspect they were crying in a happy way, rather than an “oh dear goodness would Jan ever shut up” kind of way. I was given flowers, a tea set, champagne, a fancy writing pen, two Terry’s chocolate oranges and every imaginable variation of orange accessory offered by Belfast, (including Mary Hegarty’s fantastic orange-themed launch survival kit, pictured below). I am more than ready for the Twelfth this year.
Almost everyone who came up to chat with me for their allotted ninety seconds- book signing, it transpires, is like speed dating with people you already know – said, “you must be really happy.” I was extremely happy and also intent on making sure I didn’t accidentally dedicate any books to myself. I was so blindingly happy that I couldn’t think of anything clever or nuanced to say except, “yes, I am really happy.” Even tonight, twenty four hours later, my happiness hasn’t quite found the right words yet. It’s definitely grateful and more than a little overwhelmed. It’s giddy and expectant, somewhat exhausted and a tiny bit terrified to lean to far into the excitement in case it evaporates all of a sudden, with no warning. My happiness is, for once, genuinely content to hold its tongue and savour the moment.
So for now I’ll just say, I am terribly, enormously happy in a vague and all-consuming kind of way. Don’t expect anything too wise or witty from me in the next few days. Words are my default position. They’re easy come by and even easier to hand out. Silence is hard won and worth relishing. So I might be quieter than normal for a few days. I might wonder around the city centre grinning inanely and humming Belle and Sebastian songs under my breath. I might just let the great world spin and enjoy being a little bit overwhelmed.
(Here are some of my favourite pictures from last night, including some sketchy bloke they found to pour the wine and a mountain of miniature Malcolm cupcakes).