I am very firmly of the 'Romeo and Juliet was at least partly a parody' persuasion --- and I still hate it. Everyone knows I think Wuthering Heights is horrible. Generally accepted public opinion on these texts annoys the hell out of me, because it's wrong. They were never intended to be seen as great romances and yet people still refer to them as such. Once again, even though it doesn't always show in my fiction, I think angst is massively overrated and shouldn't be seen as art above fiction not intended to make you want to gouge your heart out with an ice cream scoop.
Look, I haven't been what anyone could ever call lucky in love. It's mostly always been two miles to the left of me, with a neon flashing sign saying 'NO VACANCIES'. But I still believe in the power love has. It can be destructive, I know some people do bad, bad things in the name of love (that they would do anything, but they wouldn't do that), but really? Most people? Most of the time? I'd like to think love is a force of good in their lives. That there's more than one kind of love, and that this should be explored more often in fiction. That happy endings can be just as touching and memorable and emotionally honest as the ones that seek to cut to the bone.
But that's not DRAMATIC! Apparently, that doesn't make a GREAT STORY.
Why the fuck not? Who decided?
I choose to believe it's a lazy and unimaginative writer that thinks the only way to hold an audience is to get them in a strangle-hold and punch their guts. That it's wrong to think your ending is more valid if it makes people cry and wail rather than jump around and give clappy hands. Fiction doesn't have to be depressing as fuck to be good. It can be, do not get me wrong, I am not saying angst doesn't have its place, or that all endings must necessarily make you want to smile, or that joy should always be expected from fiction --- I'm just saying that a story doesn't have to encompass misery in order to be great. That, every once in a while, it'd be nice if the feel-good narratives of the world were as highly valued as the ones that do the exact opposite of make you feel tingly in your tummy. That, uh, you know, love is kind of lovely.
Because Tragedy? Is a terrible, terrible Steps cover of a great Bee Gees song. And isn't any better than every other form fiction can take just by virtue of being tragedy.
This post brought to you by a comment Matthew Graham made about Alex/Gene --- Yes, I think Gene and Alex were in love. But it was never going to be - because in the great love stories it never is --- because even though I don't ship it, this is SUCH A CROCK OF SHIT, OMFG.