I bought Ben the first two books in a series for Christmas that were sitting on some intriguing shelf-talkers in Powell's and after watching him devour them over his Christmas break, dove in myself. The series, by Sergei Lukyanenko, is a fantasy series about good and evil in Moscow that was translated into English about 8 years ago and was very popular in Russia. I haven't read a book in a little while (embarrassing, but such is life), pausing after reading Wild and starting A History of Love a few months ago, so it was a welcome change of pace from Candy Crush Soda Saga.
The first few pages of Night Watch introduce the idea that people have curses thrown upon them every single day - from comments like "I hope you die" or "I hope she has a terrible day" - that begin to affect their aura. Someone with a curse gives off a dark color and it starts to affect their mood. They feel a bit more down, are more predisposed for misfortune, are unhappier. In the book, curses range from those thrown by ordinary people and wear off in a day, to those thrown by magicians that can actually harm or kill someone. If you subtract a bit of the magician element, the idea of a little curse, or a little bit of negative energy, makes a lot of sense.
I went to work today in a bad mood. I knew it was going to be a tough day and I walked in ready to have my bad day - effectively cursing myself. I felt like a black cloud was hanging over my head all morning. Nothing particularly bad happened, but my mood kept souring. I took a quick trip home at lunch to just lay down by my cat and felt better, but by the time I was back at work, the black cloud was back. As the day went on, I felt like little things kept going wrong. I started to worry that our wedding invitations hadn't made it to their destination. I worried about a work event. I worried about text messages. I took some comments from a friend the wrong way. The little black cloud I'd welcomed in in the morning was coloring everything around me darker than it should have been.
By the time I was in my pajamas, I had gone through a full spectrum of emotion - from a near breakdown about wedding invitations (only to discover that they'd reached their destination just fine and were sitting in mailboxes across the U.S.), to an argument with a friend (that actually ended up resolving a many-month long awkwardness), and to a complete reversal of my mood. By the end of the day, it seemed, my curse upon myself had worn off. The little black cloud gone from my head.
A good reminder that we often cause our own bad moods and create little self-fulfilling prophecies that are entirely unnecessary!