Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Looking for the HEA

I have a writer friend who refuses to watch any movie or read any book that does not have a happy ending. Her reason? Enough sadness happens in real life, and she reads and writes to escape. She will take the HEA over a cathartic reading or viewing experience anytime. Usually, I tease her and tell her she’s missing out on some great works: Of Mice and Men, The Great Gatsby, Bridge to Terabithia, anything by Nicholas Sparks.

But today, I understand. After watching the new reports of the Virginia Tech shootings, I completely get her justification. Brilliant minds snuffed out. Lives scarred forever. All this on a college campus, the very place we send our bright young adults, with all their enthusiasm and power and potential, to build a better world.

There are few answers and little anyone can say to explain what happened or soothe those left behind. We can pray, of course. We can reach out a hand to someone in need. We can post a message on a chat group or hold our own loved ones a little tighter. We can take action by lobbying for stronger gun control laws or for better censorship of violent movies and TV shows and video games. We can show more goodwill to those who are “different” or “loners” in our society.

And we can read and write happy endings. We can create worlds for people to escape the sadness of real life. We can remind people that there is still much to celebrate, like moments of connection between two souls. How wonderful to belong to a group of writers like those at TWRP, to be contracted in a genre that is characterized by its insistence on the HEA. Sometimes, it’s all we really have.

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See what I'm blogging about today at Allie's Musings...

11 comments:

Tricia said...

I completely understand...when I was a teenager it drove me nuts that my mother only wanted to watch light, romantic comedies. I wanted deep, coming of age dramas.

Now that I've experienced some of the drama that comes with real life - and doesn't always have a poetic ending for the scruffy, diamond-in-the rough hero - I understand her better. Life is hard and many of us have enough pain and tension and stress in real life...we don't need it in our entertainment! What we do need is a brief release from reality, a reminder that true love and happy endings do exist.

I honestly believe that HEA endings aren't "fluff" but rather an essential ingredient for sanity. They give us hope and the ability to dream - which gives us the courage to face the drama of reality.

Ok, gotta go load the dishwasher. Back to your regularly scheduled reality.

Tricia

Rachelle said...

I didn't know about the Virginia shooting until my father told me. I'm from the Philippines and we hardly get enough updated info about the rest of the world coz we already have enough news/chaos within the country. I pray that the parents who have children that attend at Virginia Tech find solace in His love.

marylin said...

I only read HEA, too! I'm a softie so hard-to-deal endings really make me cry and eventually ruin my day.

Anicz said...

Sometimes God allows these things to happen to remind us...of His presence.

Leif D. said...

Reality is bitter but we all have to deal with it.


LEIF

g.i. george said...

I was saddened to hear the news, too! Some people are just too evil to do such a thing!

Marianne Arkins said...

Hey... You talkin' 'bout me?? LOL...

I grabbed the latest Mr. Sparks novel, opened to the end, discovered that (surprise) it ended IMHO unhappily (i.e. H/H don't end up together), dropped it back onto the library shelf and grabbed a single title romance.

And, Leif... reality is bitter, and we do have to deal with it -- BUT, we don't have to "entertain" ourselves with sadness. I read and watch movies/TV for a feel good ending to a story -- the kind of ending we don't always get in real life.

Good post, Allie.

Lyn said...

First of all I'd like to say my heart goes out to everyone who was in any way involved in the awful slaughter of those innocent live - and I am sure every one who saw the horrific reports on television will have been affected in some way.

I sometimes read stories by writers on-line and I can't believe how violent they are - with no hope for anything better happening to their protagonists.If we can't have happy endings in our fiction, what hope is there for real life?

Yes, let's write happy endings - good oveercoming evil and hope for the future. Perhaps if enough people read about romantic, loving characters who try to make the world a better place, it may result in future generations seeing that love is, in the end, a greater force than evil.

Allie Boniface said...

Everyone left such terrific, heartfelt comments today. Thank you!!

robynl said...

It for sure is nice to read a book with a HEA and to escape the everyday drama and unkindness that exists. We all cope with this is different ways but whatever works for you is good.

franz said...

The scumbag's out of his mind. Let's just pray for him and not curse him or feel bitter about him. I don't think he knew what he did.