Yesterday I postulated on Facebook whether there is room for happiness in literature. Some people answered that indeed there was enough tragedy in the world and that they wanted to skip that in their literature. Others answered that indeed there is no happiness without sadness. And while I agree in an absolute sense, I am still puzzling over the implications.
As I struggle with my own project, balance must be the key. I am not writing a tragic book — that just isn’t the story. There’s intrigue and mischief and the kind of pain that normal teens and adults feel in their lives (sorrow, loss, death) but there is no abuse or rape or murder. And I wonder if my original postulation should have included a delineation of pain.
I am left with this, though. It is sobering to think about how happy I am and how generally dissatisfied people seem to be on the whole. To believe that happiness is somehow must be only a temporary state of existence… After personally working so hard to be in a constant state of happiness where problems no longer have the ability to derail me, it’s downright terrifying. It’s not that I don’t think that life has the capacity to completely suck or take terrible turns, I just think that going forward, I’ll choose to face it instead of to hide. But only time will tell.
I have to laugh though, as I write this, because once a very long time ago I was written a letter in response to telling someone how unhappy I was. He wrote that if I was indeed that unhappy then no one (including him) was safe. At first, I couldn’t get my head around the statement. How could he have been so satisfied? Wasn’t everyone miserable? And though it took years for me to right myself mentally and that friend is a great distance away from me and my life now, I credit that as being the point that I learned that one didn’t have to accept unhappiness as the status quo.
Maybe it’s for that reason that I want to write about people who aren’t sunk in the miasma. Because I don’t think it has to be that way.