Finally, I figured out why it is that I don’t like depressing fiction in any form. I thought about trying to explain this to some of the people that know me in person, but really, it’s a kind of weird, complicated answer and it would sound silly in person.
It might still sound silly written down, but at least here you all expect me to be strange 😀 So, blogging it is.
(You do expect strangeness, don’t you? If not, I’m not sure where you’ve been the last few years…….)
So, on to today’s randomness: why I don’t like depressing fiction.
For years, now, when people try to convince me to watch a sad or depressing film or read a sad or depressing book, I’ve resisted. When pressed for a reason why, the best I’ve been able to come up with is that my life is sad enough, why would I want to be sad in fiction too? And besides, I’m a writer, it’s my job to resonate with the feelings of characters, and when I read/watch depressing/sad fiction, my imagination goes crazy putting me in that situation, and it’s really depressing/sad.
Now, all of this is true, but in a way (I’ve discovered in Today’s Random Brainwave), it’s also the cop-out answer. Because the real answer is much… well, stranger, and more complicated.
You see, I realised this morning – or perhaps late last night, I can’t recall now and it doesn’t matter* – that it’s because deep down, I don’t really believe in it. Now, you can see why that would sound majorly strange in person: no, sorry, I won’t watch depressing movies, I don’t believe in them.
Um, yeeeeah. And I’ll bet you don’t believe in the lovely men in white coats who I’m just going to go call now to come visit you… Riiiight.
But this is why I like writing: it allows me to clarify, and no one can interrupt me until I’m done, bwa ha ha. >:) (control freak, much?) Because what I really mean is this: I don’t believe in it for me.
Now, don’t get me wrong: I’ve had my share of crap in life. Friends dying suddenly with no warning, family dying prolonged-ly after many many years when we thought it might all be all right; parents divorcing during my final year of high school, my husband having study-induced depression; me having depression; other friends having depression and attempting suicide. Pets dying, financial strain, life pressures – yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah. Been there done that.
I still don’t believe in sad/depressing fiction. Because I believe there’s more to life. It might be that I’m religious, or it might just be that my personality is this way, but deep down inside of me, I am never, ever convinced that the sad stuff, the bad stuff, is all there is – or even that it will win. There’s always a light at the end of the tunnel, and even if it’s a train, well, at least if you’re clinging to the tracks as the train barrels over you, desperately hoping that it’s not going to collect you as it whizzes past – at least you’re lying down. Things can always get worse.
And things can always get better.
And, I don’t know. My mind insists on the better. It’s like that story I heard once in high school (probably junior high to you USAians) about the man who’d somehow managed to break both legs falling from something (or something, yay fuzzy memories) and yet was smiling and laughing and joking when the ambulance people came to pick him up. They asked him how he could be so happy, and he told them, “In life, we have only one choice: to be happy with what we have, or to be sad. I choose to be happy.”
Now, y’all that know me will be shaking your heads and raising dubious eyebrows here, because HELLO, we all know I’m hardly Miss Queen of Peppiness, especially if it’s before 8 in the morning. I’m not claiming to be some kind of super-freak happy queen. All I’m saying is, I trust in my deepest of deeps that everything will work out okay in the end. I live by the saying, “Everything will be okay in the end. If it’s not okay, it’s not the end.”
So depressing fiction that says there’s no hope, that there is nothing in the world worth saving or living for, or even that there is nothing at-all-zero-zilch-absolutely to be grateful for, in even a tragic situation – well, it just doesn’t fit with my world view. It doesn’t resonate with me. I have to work to ‘get’ it.
And really, when there’s so much good fiction out there, why waste time on something I know I’m going to have to make an effort to get, and that the ‘getting’ thereof will make me sad?
Well, because it’s good for me and expands my horizons and reminds me how other people live and all that blah blah blah. I know that. Which is why, every now and then, I let myself be convinced and I watch/read something sad/depressing. And cry for the rest of the day 😛 😉
So there you go. My random piece of strangeness for the day, allowing you to see deeper into the inner workings of the mind of the Inkly One. You may now run away screaming; I promise not to chase you.
* Clearly evidenced by the fact that I spent not only a parenthetical comment on it, but also a footnote 😛