Monday, May 28, 2012

Happily Ever After

Recently I came across this quote that I absolutely love. It exactly how I feel about what I write. It goes something like:

"Let other pens dwell on pain and misery." -Jane Austen

I don't know about you, but I don't like sad things. And I definitely don't like being sad. I know life is sometimes full of sad things, however. I mean, I'm a social work major and every day in class I listened to my professor list off depressing statistics about the word we live in. The number of children abused, the percentage of single mothers living below the poverty line, the amount of homelessness around us. Even though I sometimes thought my professor was much too pessimistic, I'm not going to pretend the world is just full of sunshine and daisies, laughter and smiles, unicorns and rainbows. I've seen burning hatred directed at others. I noticed the dirty, old man lugging his only possessions on his back. I cried for the children whose father shot himself.

What I don't understand is why people make/enjoy depressing movies and books. I get that we shouldn't ignore the problems around us. I understand that we can't just barricade ourselves in our rooms and forget whats out there. I know stories must reflect reality. But lately I've realized more and more books and movies that don't end up "happily ever after".

Don't get me wrong; I don't mind crying whilst reading or watching a movie. One of my favorite movies is "The Titanic". But despite the fact that over a thousand people died, including the wonderful Jack Dawson, in the movie it doesn't leave you with the image of Jack's body slowly sinking to the bottom of the ocean. Instead, it ends with Rose dying an old woman and reuniting with Jack once more on the glorious Grand Staircase of the beautiful ship, surrounded by all its passengers--radiantly happy. What I don't like is getting up when its over and feeling sick to my stomach. Feeling like the world around me is a dark and sinister place. And too often lately, I've had that unpleasant feeling.

That's why, like Jane Austen said, I don't write those depressing stories. Yes, I'll admit that my characters' hardest challenge isn't eating their weight in cotton candy while prancing around a meadow filled with fluffy bunnies. They have many real life challenges.  But in the end everything always works out for them. I know life doesn't always end with a disembodied voice, deeply proclaiming "and they all lived happily ever after" but we can hope it will.

-Amy

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