You know you’re having a bad day when you feel like hurling shoes at the lucky, small footed ladies at the shoe store, all the clothes you try on look like they’re from the kids’ section and the pharmacist discreetly hands you stomach flab reducing cream samples. It’s just one of those days filled with multiple paper cuts, streams of red traffic lights and broken heels. However, I often stop to wonder if my foul day could have anything to do with my foul mood. I wake up just knowing it's going to be one of those days that if something actually goes right, it would be a mere taunt from the universe. Did I jinx the day with my sunrise frown? Does a day seem worse than it is because of a bad mood?
So are moods just a chemical reaction or do our surroundings have some influence on how we feel? I tend to be more on both extremes than ever in the middle (I truly envy those down-to-earth earthlings who seldom fall into crankiness). If I’m happy, the whole world gets to know about it and if it’s one of those days where I wish I really could perform magic and turn someone into a gnat, well let’s just say my friends have learnt to recognize the twitch and the bulging vein. Everyone has a bad day, but everyone also has equally good days, so despite being a pain, moods do colour our lives (my disclaimer for those who think that I'm dissing a part of nature).
What I’m interested in is exactly how vital moods are in a novel. When you think about it, the mood is everything. Character dialog, language, the way the sun hits the horizon at exactly the right angle—it all boils down to the Mood. Before creating a set, we need to set the mood. So is it possible to create convincing happy scenes in a novel if you feel like shoving the slow-poke cashier aside and scanning your stuff on your own at the supermarket? Can you put your soul into a heartbreaking moment when you’re personally nibbling grapes on lover’s cloud nine? I find it hard to sometimes. Theoretically, writers need to be able to leave their personal lives at the door when entering their made up world but I haven’t yet mastered the art of emotional stripping. I now leave happy scenes for a better day if I don’t feel good because I’ve found my supposedly happy chapters floating on sarcastic undercurrents at times.
Writing is basically wishful thinking: creating a world in which you would like to be, even if it’s just for a day. So it is possible that if you’re suffering from say IBS (Irritable Boyfriend Syndrome) to quote author Kathy Lette, you’d be able to create a lovely story about a couple who get it right. Or you may just learn something when your characters turn around and say, “No one’s perfect, so get a grip and quit nagging us to do your dirty work, Woman!” It could go either way. Whatever it is, I think the Mood is the most important thing in a novel. It’s the deciding factor of whether you lure your audience in with the dangling carrot of goose bumps or scare them away yawning with monotony. We don’t want our readers feeling like they’ve gone to bed with only a paper cut out of Brad Pitt, do we?