Last week, rainy weather in San Francisco kept Delta 1505 on the ground for three extra hours in Minneapolis, and my husband and I found ourselves once more walking “the loop” in Lindbergh terminal to kill time and to get some exercise between flights. As we passed the same newsstands, bars, and boutiques over and over, we complained about politics, fantasized about a world that didn’t always market to us, and tossed around ideas for films and books that we’d never have time to create. Rife with snazzy gadget stores, pyramids of high-end carry-on luggage, and designer scents wafting out of duty-free shops, airports tend to bring out our more materialistic leanings, so the chat migrated to our investments and the futility of the stock market casino. Somehow Ray worked “You’ve been ‘Taken to Task’” into the conversation—the tagline from Aaron Task’s video series on The Daily Ticker. My airport mall delirium dissolved into hysterical giggles over this play on Task’s name—I hadn’t heard it before—and I wondered what might be a clever wordplay on my own name.
I’ve always like my married name, Sundstrom. Happy sounding and—no surprise—reminiscent of sunshine, light, brightness. Cheerful stuff. I’d wanted to start writing a blog for some time, so what about a blog that focused on the ‘sunny side of life’, on positive material, looking-on-the-bright side kinds of topics? I’m into something different every time I wake up and I constantly run into blog-worthy events, places, and people, so compiling accounts of all of it in my own corner of the Internet seemed like the next project to take up. I’ve lacked a focus for such a space, however, and I didn’t want to just toss items out there at random, with no unifying premise.
While we waited for our flight, I did a domain search on Go Daddy, and guess what? Every contortion of ‘sunny side’, ‘sunny side up’, or ‘sunny side of life’ is taken or only available at auction for way more money that I’m going to invest on my Internet presence. Not wanting to give up (and not having anything else I felt like doing), I nudged my domain search toward wordplays on my last name, and ‘SundSideUp.com’ began to grow on me. On a totally impulse buy—and since GoDaddy had .com domains on sale that evening for $2.95—I purchased ‘SundSideUp” for the next ten years. So that I don’t waste the $29.50, I hereby commit to blogging on this site until at least 2022—an eternity in internet years, but maybe enough time to get good at it!
The focus? Positive, positive, positive. ‘Exploring the upside of life’, as my banner declares above. I challenge myself to emphasize the positive in whatever I include. I admit, it’s a broad focus, but one that lets me really just write about whatever I want, as long as I keep it positive. I have to ask myself, though:
Can one create a positive website that’s interesting? Can I talk about negatives while keeping it positive? (Think Carrie Bradshaw voice here.)
I don’t know if everyone else is as weary as I am of the negativity that seems to envelop every aspect of our lives, but I am sick of whining and complaining, snarky feedback, and nasty commentary and reviews masquerading as sharp and witty—as ‘edgy’ writing. Why do we find it so delicious to revel in the misery of others? And even worse, find it so irresistible to dole out the punishment ourselves, especially as faceless internet identities?
I’m writing a novel at the moment, and it’s been a long moment, off and on since the summer of 2008. For it to be good fiction, I’ll need well-placed conflict—lots of it—from beginning to end. I wrestle with it every day, writing juicy, but sometimes horrifying plot twists, and I wonder if my readers will ultimately have a positive read. In my novel and in my blog, I’ll challenge myself to keep the prose upbeat, yet funny, thought-provoking, exciting (we’ll see!), but not with unreasonably optimistic Pollyanna notions. It’ll be a timely, but tricky goal in a presidential election year, trying to maintain a positive stance when talking about both of the major candidates. Still, maybe I’m off to a good start. This blog and the website exist because of a delayed flight. It could have been such a negative.