Gen Xers and the Fairy Tale of Happy Endings
As stated before, I’m reading through Tricia Goyer’s book, Generation NeXt Marriage and it’s got me thinking about how Generation X is different from other generations, particularly the Boomers, and how that difference is transferred to our writing. Here’s another observation (note: this is my observation, it is not scientific in any way, it is a generality and my opinion, take it for what it’s worth):
Gen Xers know that happy endings where everything wraps up nice and neat is for fairy tales. One thing I’ve noticed from a new generation of writers is that our stories don’t always conclude with everyone happy and all the loose ends tying up nice and tidy. That’s not real life. Real life, especially if you’ve grown up as a latchkey kid with two sets of parents, four sets of grandparents, siblings, step-siblings, and parents who are never around, isn’t neat and tidy, things are not always easily explained and wrapped up. Questions abound. Doubts, fears, and worries are a part of life. Some things, like why your dad beat your mom or why he walked out on you before you were old enough to beg him to stay, never get a satisfactory explanation.
And that has transmitted to our writing.
This bothers some, and I’ve noticed it particularly bothers the Boomer readers because they’re used to the Cleavers and the Cramdens and the Ozzie and Harriets where every story ended with a smile and there were not questions left unanswered.
Real life doesn’t always fit into a box so why should our stories? Why should we feel pressured to make sure all the loose ends are tied up and questions answered. Sure, you’d like most issues to be resolved, or at least some, but to demand more than that is just unrealistic.