Growing up, my favorite fairytales were, of course, the ones that ended with, “and they lived Happily Ever After.” Happy stories, ones where the prince and the princess got married after defeating the evil villain and birds and mice cheered, and everything was perfect. The older I get, however, the more I prefer a bittersweet ending, an ending that leaves you a little sad; mournful for those who died, or fell away, and a little happy for those who survived and did get happy endings. A satisfying ending, but one we can relate to. In real life – even if I’m reading a fairytale – complete happy endings where justice is served to everyone we dislike and everyone we love gets to live out the rest of their days without trouble don’t happen. The only true Happy Ending hasn’t come yet, and so until then, we all have our own endings (or beginnings, however you want to look at it) and not all of them are happy.
‘The point, gentlemen, is that they lived.’
I like to call myself a poptimist because- a pessimist + an optimist = a poptimist. I love to show things for how they are; the shadows for their darkness and the light for its brightness, the brokenness for what it is and the joy for all it can be. I began to think about all this about half an hour ago, because I was writing in Acceso and I realized that, while Acceso’s main character has the most struggles, the most personal demons, the most difficult personality to deal with, Acceso also probably has the happiest ending of any of my novels. I knew it would from the time I began to write it. A difficult book needs a happier ending. Contrariwise, my happier novels – The Meaning of Always, The Care and Keeping of Jupiter – have very bittersweet endings. I’ve discovered through my years of writing that people’s souls connect with truth more than they do with an idealized ending, my own soul included. It’s easier to believe in a poptimist ending than a happily ever after – for now. But we can never forget that at the end of time, the world will have such a Happily Ever After that even the mountains will sing of it. Until then, we give people hope, we help them feel, and we create broken, beautiful things because we live in a broken, beautiful world and we should give people a glimpse of heaven amid the fragments.