Friday, June 08, 2007

HEA... Oh Yeah...

“I am confident that, in the end, common sense and justice will prevail. I'm an optimist, brought up on the belief that if you wait to the end of the story, you get to see the good people live happily ever after.” - Yusuf Islam

“At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. And it's not so important happy ever after, just that its happy right now. See once in a while, once in a blue moon, people will surprise you , and once in a while people may even take your breath away.” - Meredith Grey, Fictional character, played by actress Ellen Pompeo on the TV series Grey's Anatomy

Someone at the AAR message board posed the question -- why does romance have to have a HEA? Why can't they end in tragedy now and then?

Teach Me Tonight addresses the issue here.

Many folks at the AAR board have also tried to explain that a happy ending is one of the things that makes a story a romance. And, a HEA doesn't need to be marriage -- just the sure knowledge that the H/H are going to make a go of it.

IMHO, if it doesn't end happily, it isn't romance. It's general fiction, or women's fiction or whatever. When I read something outside of the romance genre, I always, ALWAYS read the last page first. I have no desire to get invested in a character, care about a character, and then have them die or something equally tragic. That's not the kind of story that appeals to me. Clearly, it appeals to many people, judging by the popularity of Nicholas Sparks, but not me.

Also, IMHO, genre fiction is labeled as such for a reason. For instance, a mystery includes a mystery AND the solution. Period. How would you feel reading through a genre mystery, getting to the end and the investigator scratches his or her head, shrugs and says, "I give up. I can't figure this thing out." and then goes on his/her merry way? Yes, this often happens in real life. There are a gazillion unsolved mysteries... just as there are a gazillion unhappy relationships. But when I read a particular genre, I expect the fulfillment of a promise made by the label.

I'm not adverse to people writing, publishing or reading sad stories. I just want to know ahead of time if they're sad. I love the movie "Beaches" and cry every blasted time I see it... but I know it's sad. It's also not a romance, and somehow that makes it okay to my strange story needs.

So... I know I've harped on this before, but I felt the need to do so again. I imagine, at some point in the future, you'll hear about it another time or twelve. I'm all about the HEA.


So... yesterday. Hmmm... What an interesting day for me. The stars were aligned to throw everything in my path to keep me from writing.

I got up at 4:30 a.m. which should have given me two blessedly quiet hours alone to write. DH got up at 5 a.m., followed closely by the dog (who demanded breakfast immediately) and the DD (who did not).

DH was up and down the stairs to the basement (where I work), in his boots, thump, thump, thump. DD was upstairs painting and kicking the breakfast bar, thump, thump, thump.

Finally DH left at 6:30, DD and I had breakfast and did school. We were done by 8:30 a.m., but no writing for me until she heads into quiet time to do her seatwork.

Fast forward ahead to the afternoon: DD goes into quiet time. I settle in to work. Fifteen minutes later, the oven timer goes off. I bring the brownies up to my mom (she lives in an apartment over my garage, and doesn't have a proper oven). Threw the chicken I was making DD and DH for dinner into the oven since it was warm. Settled in to write. Ten minutes later, dog barks like a maniac -- there's a squirrel on my bird feeder (apparently the squirrel feeder isn't nearly as much fun for them). I go outside and terrorize the squirrel -- shake him out of the tree and chase him into the woods like a crazy woman, hoping this will keep him off the feeder for at least a couple hours. Settle in to write. Twenty minutes later, the oven timer goes off. Nope, chicken's not quite done, set it for ten more minutes. Beep, beep. Took it out. Settled down to write. Someone pulls up in the driveway, dog barks like a maniac. Mormon missionaries. I gab with them for awhile (they're always so sweet and polite), then go inside and settle down to write. Bzzzz, bzzzz, a huge fly is dive bombing me. I hope it will go away. Bzzz... no luck. I grab a notebook, but the blasted thing won't settle anywhere. I swat at it a few times in the air. Now it's panicked and buzzes and flies even more maniacally. Finally, it lands on the screen of the open window. I close the window.

Ahhh.... quiet. I settle down to write, certain I'm good this time. Five minutes later, the cat sits at my feet, crying. I look at the clock. It's just after 4 p.m. -- the time the dog gets her pill with canned food, and the cat gets a teaspoon of soft food so she'll keep reminding me to medicate the dog. I go upstairs, feed the pets, then settle down to write.

DD is now finished with her seatwork and hungry. I sigh, go upstairs and fix her dinner. After we're done eating, I decide to make DH's dinner (yes, we don't eat as a family -- DH's work hours stink). I put on a pot of water and a bit of milk to boil for fake potatoes (DH prefers them over the real thing, go figure). We hear Gram outside, and peek out to say hi. I realize I haven't fed the rodents out back, so fill the squirrel feeder and put a bit of food out for our "pet" chipmunk. DD runs around the house with Gram's dog, slips on a spot where the sprinkler is dribbling and takes a beautiful tumble. I comfort her, return Gram's dog and notice that there are red beetles on my Asiatic lilies. DD and I pick beetles and scrape the larvae off the leaves.

Then the smoke alarm goes off. Oh. No. I forgot about my pan of water and a bit of milk. I rush inside, the dog is berserk from the sound of the alarm and tries to run away. DD tackles her, but the dog out weighs her, so I pull the pan off the stove, turn on the fan (the house is FULL of smoke... I can't see anything) and grab the leash. I toss it at the DD and tell her to go across the street where the dog can't hear the alarm. Gram goes with her.

I go back inside (cough, cough) and open all the windows, turn on all the bathroom fans, grab box fans and flip them backwards so they're blowing outside, get a drink because my throat is burning and head back out.

DH shows up about this time. I advise him that dinner will be delayed.

And that was my day. How was yours? I don't even have the energy to think of a Question of the Day... maybe you could share something amusing with me that has happened to you?

Happy Friday.


Allie Boniface said...

Oh, that is too funny...well, not funny really, unless you're reading it and not living it, I suppose. But this is my fave sentence:

DH was up and down the stairs to the basement (where I work), in his boots, thump, thump, thump. DD was upstairs painting and kicking the breakfast bar, thump, thump, thump.

I"m trying to picture your daughter doing this...


Ceri said...

That was rather like the day I had once I got home. And when I did sit down to write (my novella) I got about 4 words done and I had to do some research. Oy. I gave up around 9pm.

And as far as HEA, yeh, I want it in romance. I hate sad endings unless I'm reading something other than a romance.

Melissa said...

What a day! Love your dinner would be delayed comment.

Not sure it's amusing, but it was a bit strange for me last night when I was picking up our house guest at the airport. We met via the Internet so this was our first time meeting face-to-face. I stood in the airport waiting for them, hoping I would recognize them. I did, but it was a little weird knowing them so well from emails, phone and chat and then meeting them in person. I was nervous!

Tori Lennox said...

First, *hugs* for the Very Bad Day. But I'm also giggling because you make it sound so funny!

And I agree about the HEA thing. No HEA, it ain't romance, people.

Dru said...

Sorry you had a bad day and sorry to laugh but it was funny.

HEA is a must in any romance book that I read.

I hope today was better for you.

MaryF said...

WOW, what a day!!! I won't complain anymore ;)