Sad Happens

Books

Brandon Stosuy is a master of pulling together the inspiring words of artists: He has gifted us with the stellar online magazine of interviews The Creative Independent, and three elegantly designed creativity guides. Now he returns with Sad Happens: A Celebration of Tears, a book of reflections, illustrated by Rose Lazar, about the experience and catharsis of sadness and weeping, a “collective, multifaceted archive of tears.” As in his previous books, Stosuy sources from his vast artist network: Many contributors here are music-biz folks, including The National’s Matt Berninger and the ultimate #sadgirl Phoebe Bridgers. “The shared emotion of Sad Happens has real power,” writes Stosuy. “It gives us permission to open up, let down our guard, embrace those things that make us feel vulnerable. By sharing, we see that crying is universal, and that tears should, in fact, be celebrated.” Tears come when they will, like it or not: during the “emotional exorcism” of massage for writer Nada Alic, while singing for Gelsey Bell, and while flying for Hanif Abdurraqib. The effect of reading these candid takes on sadness may elicit your own, and maybe that’s a good thing. While paging through the book, I remembered once texting my teenage daughter to see what she was doing, and she said, “Listening to the boygenius album and crying. Don’t worry, I’m making the conscious choice to cry.” And I felt a little sad, then, that I rarely cry. I used to, a lot; but now an SSRI suppresses the tears. There should be a word, I think, for “feeling like crying, but thanks to medication, you can’t.”

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