I can’t write sad stories
Some of my favourite children’s stories over the years have been sad. Whether it’s crying buckets or just feeling a deep melancholy, stories with sad endings make me… happy. Isn’t that strange!
I get chills reading anything written by Hans Christian Andersen, especially the original story of The Little Mermaid.
I have read Seven Little Australians by Ethel Turner countless times, and George Eliot’s The Mill on the Floss, while perhaps not quite your average children’s book, has made me cry every time I’ve read it, which doesn’t happen often due largely to the strength of my emotional reaction to it.
The magic of books is that you can be so swiftly transported to a world that is not your own, experiencing things that, on your own, you could not even imagine. Part of that magic includes introducing us to emotions and the expression of those emotions.
So in a way, I guess sad stories have been a release for me when I feel down and am unable to express myself adequately in real life. Instead, I can escape into a sad book and feel emotion through the veil of the characters.
Whether that’s healthy or not, I can’t say.
But, for all that sad stories capture me and offer a release, I cannot seem to write a story that has a sad ending.
I’m certainly not suggesting that a story must be sad in order to be good, there are plenty of great stories with happy endings, but I suppose for me I see it as a challenge, something I would like to someday accomplish.
Perhaps I am just waiting for the right idea to walk into my head, or maybe sad stories are something that come with age and experience – Hans Christian Andersen, for example, had a lot of experience with sadness at a young age. There is no doubt his experiences shaped his stories, many of which are haunting in their tales of human cruelty. I do not envy him that.
But another thought that crosses my mind from time to time is that maybe, just maybe, I will never write a sad story. Maybe it just isn’t in my nature.
I am naturally optimistic, to the point where a particularly cynical co-worker told me I was too nice and needed to hate more. Yep, those were his words!
So maybe it just isn’t in me to look to life’s darker side and capture it in a story. And if that is the case then I guess I’m ok with that. I love my life as it is, and if that means I am unable to write one particular type of story then so be it.
Still, I will always have that quiet yearning to someday write a truly sad story.