Ladylike

I’m reading a nice book, anthology of short stories all written by women, all written by women not well known, all written by women who are contemporary, all written by women with superb command of language and style and substance.

Round about page 300 of its 320 pages, it hit me that not a single story had a happy ending. Why, I wonder.

The structure of short story depends on hitting en emotional chord promptly and the easiest way to do that is shock, so I suppose a happy ending isn’t very shocking.

If women ARE the emotional creatures we are supposed to be, it’s expected we write about the BIG emotions, like longing and betrayal and deceit, so I suppose happy emotion is small at best and suspect at worst.

Contemporary women writers have a lot of barriers to overcome, since the deluge of entertainment is dominated by sitcom values, gossip, and sappiness; so I suppose a happy ending gets lost in the mix.

Since the writers aren’t famous, in the sense that their names are not branded on our collective brain, it makes sense to write something that sticks in the brain, like girl robots who kill bad guys, sisters who devour meat, couples who die on airplanes. I suppose nobody will remember you if your story ends well. I suppose nobody will remember the story, either.

There. How’s that for an unhappy ending?

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About Mrs. Fitz

Hello! I'm Michele Fitzpatrick, a Chicago writer. Like our town, a work in progress. As a journalist, teacher and writing coach I think all of us live our stories and sharing them creates moments that remind us we're connected. And that is enough.
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