by Pam Hillman
Storyteller. Troubadour. Oral history. Author.
As my day to blog approached, I wanted to share something inspiring and up lifting. Something to make us all feel good about our chosen profession, and to take us away from the day-to-day stress that's permeated so much of our lives of late.
Even in the toughest times, we have the best "job" in the world, don't we? We can escape from our very real daily trials and immerse ourselves in a fictional world where we're completely in control of the story. Sure, I know we talk about how our characters sometimes take over the story, but in the end, we do have control. Mostly. :)
Sometimes we just need to go back to the reason we started writing in the first place. Because we love story. We love creating the characters, the plot, figuring out all the little things that will take our protagonist through a journey where readers close the book with a happy sigh and believe that everything is going to be all right for her from here to eternity.
I'm thinking about all the books I've read over the years and those I've written, and even though I know in real life that there are going to be trials and tribulations, heartache and traumatic experiences, I've never had any problem closing a book with a happy and contended sigh that two characters I've fallen in love with have found their happy-ever-after. I know it's unrealistic to think life's going to be perfect from there on out for them, but for some reason, I'm always able to suspend disbelief and leave those characters in that perfect place of wedded (or soon-to-be) bliss. Even better is when there's an epilogue that ties things up in a sweet, pretty little bow.
The only time that changes is if those main characters become secondary characters in a series and we get to see them in a few months or years, having children or dealing with other issues in their lives.
Otherwise, they just become frozen in time.
I suppose I have the heart of a romantic, so books and movies that end horribly drive me insane. I can appreciate an author or director taking an unpopular (to me) route, but I don't have to like it. I can also understand when a book or movie is based on a true story. But, again, I don't have to like it, or even spend my time reading/watching it.
Just recently, I started watching a docu-drama about Lady Jane Grey, but lost interest after I read what happened to the real Lady Jane. I never finished the movie. I doubt I will. Griffin and Phoenix. Same.
I won't offend fans of certain famous tragic works, but there are several that I have never read or watched the movie versions of because I just don't care for tragic love stories. I chose not to read one such famous work when I was about 13. I remember to this day where I was (the school library) when I realized how it ended and I put it back on the shelf. Never read it, and don't have a desire to to this day over 40 years later.
I can probably count on one hand the tragic "love" stories/movies that I've read/watched from the beginning to the end. That's not to say that there aren't extremely sad situations in the books I read and write. A favorite book that I read many years ago had a little boy (the heroine's nephew) to lose his life. I should have seen it coming. The author had planted many, many clues to what was coming, but I was so wrapped up in the sweet love story unfolding that the tragedy hit me like ton of bricks, and I just sobbed and sobbed. So I'm not saying that I prefer all my reading material to be unrealistic where no one dies and no one gets sick and no one suffers. If you've read any of my work, you'll know that's not the case.
But for my hero and heroine, after I've put them through the wringer, through many twists and turns, squeezed them out and hung them out to dry, then I want them to be happy.
Life's too short and there's too much sadness and loss in real life for me to freeze a tragic fictional love story in my mind. Instead, give me a happy-ever-after story, and that makes me happy-ever-after.
Since today is about happy ever after, I'd love for you to share a favorite feel-good book that you read over and over. Kudos if it's a Seeker novel. :) Then, spend the rest of the day or the weekend just enjoying a good story!