Ever notice how most “serious” films, “important” books, and “hard-hitting” media tend to be depressing in nature? They either feature terrible people doing rotten things, or awful things happening to good people for no good reason. I have to wonder why? Why is senseless death so much more “keepin’ it real” than, say, the triumph of finding a job?
I have to confess–I avoid those tear-jerker Oscar-bait stories like the plague. I know, I know–“But the storytelling! And the pathos! And the tragedy!” And yes, I understand I should study them, if only for the value they bring to my craft. But you know what? If I want tragedy, I open up the news. I look at unemployment reports, and poverty numbers, and read friends’ posts about why they can’t drink the water that comes out of their taps anymore. That’s tragedies for me. I don’t need them fictionalized in order to affect me more. “But what about the metaphor?”
Know what? I can pull a metaphor out of my ass from a fictionalized tragedy. Give me a comedy. Give me joy in my fiction. Give me happy goddamn endings that are really just beginnings, because I am in Act Two right now, and the Stage of Life is more than happy to fling real tragedies onstage to share the limelight with me. The performance I give is going to take that limelight and shine it on the hope that is our birthright as thinking beings.
Art imitates Life. Art also shapes Life, provides the template for the things we dream about, work for, turn our energies towards achieving. That iThing you’re reading this on? Its DNA is in the imaginations of a hundred different Sci-Fi stories. I can’t help but prefer the stories that focus on all the things we could be and do, rather than all the things that could happen to us.
Now is the time to create. Creation moves us forward. It’s up to us to pick the direction we want our energies to flow.