Life Advice



Single File: Joy and Sorrow

Susan Dietz on

DEAR SUSAN: I've been thinking too much lately, so I have very few laughs in my life. It's work, work and more of the same, with a few nanoseconds of senseless joy sprinkled on top -- to keep me from going mad with my sorrow. I bet Doctor Deitz has a remedy for the blahs. Do you?

DEAR BLOGGER: In my medicine bag, thinking is the best path to a solution. Rarely are the little gray cells responsible for a humdrum life. True, one can overthink a problem and allow fear to range free; but in the final analysis, our mind has all the answers. (So, I doubt your connection between thinking and a paltry amount of joy.) But consider the words of the ancient Lebanese American poet Kahlil Gibran, who says it best: "Your joy is your sorrow unmasked/ ... The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain/ ... Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy/ ... Together they come, and when one sits alone with you at your board, remember that the other is asleep upon your bed/ ... Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced." Joy and sorrow are inseparable. Those words can make or break your mood, your joy of living. Think about them.

DEAR SUSAN: I agree with Monica's second point in her letter. I've seen some terrible relationships in which (I later learned) the sex was incredible. It is often the key reason people stay in a bad relationship as long as they do.

DEAR BLOGGER: The sex may have been incredible in the telling of it, after the fact, after the negative coloration of their relationship finally ended things. It's tempting (and so easy) to paint a rosy picture of their bedroom life. Oh, so easy to look back wistfully and salvage the good times, with or without regrets. But in my world, the vertical energy of a relationship always has the upper hand; the bedroom doings are always secondary. As I think more about your words, in the final analysis, it all depends on whether you consider senseless, faceless rutting to be your version of sex, or whether (I hope this fits you) after a few meaningless sexual events, you come down on the side of sex as love in action. Think about it.



We've uncovered another treasure trove of "Single File" paperbacks -- in perfect condition, signed by Susan, ready to enjoy. Send $15 and your address: Susan Deitz, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 Third St., Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. Have a question for Susan? You can reach her directly at




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