Recently a Twitter buddy wrote an amusing and insightful blog post entitled “Screw Your Ever After.” This is a sort of rebuttal to that post.
In recent memory, a stone’s throw from where I live, a woman threw her young granddaughter off of a bridge. No one knows why. The girl, 2 years old, died. Another woman accidentally ran over her two children with her own car. The youngest was killed. A man forgot his sleeping infant son in their vehicle carseat, and that child died from hyperthermia. Because the boy was adopted and because of the nature of the child’s death, this couple may never get to have another child. We just passed the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and I was not far from where the plane struck the Pentagon on the tenth anniversary of that ugly day, which was quite a stunning reminder of the hateful attacks that occurred. And as I write this, we are a day away from the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard, a beautiful young man whose murder was so horrific and heartbreaking I can hardly stand to think about it.
What’s my point here? Life can be beautiful, but it can be terrible and ugly and tragic, and unpredictable. It can be depressing as hell. If I allow them to, things around me can begin to look very bleak–something I can’t afford, as my day job is raising two children who haven’t yet been touched by all that ugliness to go out into the world and be good citizens.
The thing is, when I read, I read to escape. To find that proverbial happy place. I read to be taken on a journey, to feel that “good ache,” and to experience the highs and lows along with my protagonists–I don’t want to read a story that’s nothing but 300 pages of my characters skipping through daisies. I do want that happy ending to be earned. I want them to have to battle bad guys or demons or maybe even each other. But at the end of the day I want them to kiss and make or up make love and I want to close the book (or turn off my Kindle, more likely) and know that things are probably going to work out okay. Is it realistic? Maybe not, but hell, that’s why we call it fiction.
In a couple of days I’ll be leaving for the GayRomLit retreat. Could. Not. Be. More. Psyched. And I owe a huge thank you to the M/M Romance group on Goodreads for holding a contest to give away the plane ticket that’s allowing me to attend this shindig. I’m a survivor of abuse and assault, and M/M romance is my escape from all the ugliness that I mentioned, not to mention the stuff that’s in my own head. The opportunity to meet with the writers who have created those stories and other readers who love M/M as much as I do, is such a thrill. THAT is how much the Happy Ever After means to me. I once wrote a 1300 word flash fiction story, and still made sure it ended happily. THAT is how much the ever after means to me.
I grok that not every writer wants to write romance or happy endings and not every reader wants to read it, and that’s totally fine. Diversity, it’s what makes the world go ’round. But in an uncertain world, some of us need to know once in awhile that things turn out okay. We need the romance.
So…where’s my ever after, bitch? 😉