On Writing: Wedded Bliss, or, Happily Ever After
I recently read a post by a writer friend of mine, who is into romance. “Happily ever after is still the dream,” she wrote, as part of an explanation of why so many readers gobble up romance novels. I’m all for romance, and the feelings of newness, anticipation, and pure joy romance can bring. But happily ever after has never been part of my world. Seems to me it’s a delusion, passed on to countless children in Walt Disney-ish retelling of stories like Cinderella and The Sleeping Beauty, and mass-market ‘Romance’ novels. Original fairy-tales (The Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Anderson, even Mother Goose) made no such promises. In my view, the ‘happily ever after’ theme sets children (and adults) up for huge disappointment, if not worse.
Humor, learning, good times, tough times, warmth, cold, happiness, sadness, excitement, drudgery, courage, fear, wisdom, slow-wit, innovation stemming from necessity—or creativity—and perhaps most of all, endurance—those things have all been part of my long-wedded world. And, to my mind, are part of every good book I read, story I hear, or movie I watch.