I’m a bit struck.
After excitedly informing a good friend of mine that I had completed two brand new short stories (seriously, this is a feat. For quite some time, I’ve accumulated a lot of half-finished work, which, yeah), she asked me if they were “happy stories.” I chuckled and conceded that one had a “happy ending,” which is a loaded term, based on the story’s context. Anyway, later, as I thought about it…
All my stories are downers.
Not even just the stories. The few poems I write are, too.
Logically (yeah, let’s deal with the logic first), I can’t expect myself to come up with stories about sunshine and birds and roses. Why? Because I think most writers work from pathos. (Writing is easy. Just open a vein.) Good times don’t inspire me to take to the pen and work it all out by way of poetry and prose. When life points its heel towards my rear end and I fall to the floor, I write from that pain and confusion and darkness. That’s just the kind of writer I am, and I hate to generalize, but based on the gazillion books and stories I’ve read, I think a lot of writers are that way, as well. And quite honestly, if a story were about sunshine and birds and roses…well, those aren’t the bestsellers, are they? Drama fuels story.
Emotionally (here we go), as I mentioned before, I was certainly struck by her question. Which led to a mental rundown of most of my work, which led me to the conclusion that…her question was quite valid. I should aim for variety in my work, right? Versatility? To not be so easily categorized? Am I depressing my poor readers? Is it all too Debbie Downer and miserable and good God, is this ANOTHER poem about a boy who didn’t love her?
In the end, her question left its mark, for sure.
I don’t imagine a huge turnaround in my work, where sunshine and birds and roses prevail. To me, when my fiction people are able to understand and figure out and kind of rise above whatever muck I’ve put them through–there’s the happy ending. It’s relative.
However, on variety–we’ll see…
We’ll just see.