"Why should the readers hold their breath in dread for the other shoe to drop ?"
Was it necessary to smother the sensational story of Rose and Jack with the unfortunate
sinking of the Titanic? Why did Elio have to satisfy himself by calling Oliver by his name for
merely a summer? Was it so outrageous that April and Frank dared dream of an
adventurous life in Paris away from the stagnancy of the Revolutionary Road? Cruel is it not
that even the promise of love couldn't convince Will to continue living in Me Before You? Is
it justified to assault the reader with the depressive emotional turmoil that clutches at the
heart as Never Let Me Go unfolds? Why must one fervently fume as Dexter and Emma lose
the short-lived happily-ever-after in One Day? Why must Quentin, with his endearing
mediocrity, be killed in Season-4 of the Magicians?
Why should the reader forever hold their breath in dread for the other shoe to drop? Why
must we commit to falling in love with Dobby, Snape, Fred, and Sirius if their fates do not
outlast the books? Why must it all climax in tragedy?
I have wondered if it is the failure of creativity that everything succumbs to reality. And so,
for the longest time, I dreamt of being the poetic rebel, rewriting all the stories that felt
broken. I have desired to rewrite everything that skirted around and concluded in tragedy. I
have wanted to eliminate the possibility of sadness from every story that touched me. And
today, as the opportunity for a rewrite presents itself, I hesitate.
Can writers in their rebellion shun the reality of death, agony, and loss? Would it be okay to
create a happy immaculate tale? Can perfection exist in the imbalance the absence of chaos
creates? Do we aspire to make happiness so mundane it loses its worth? Should one be
blinded by a fantasy so well-written they dread existing with the raw reality of hurt? Would
it be justified to take away from the characters the ending they have gotten accustomed to,
the trials that define them, the losses that transform them?
Would the stories make sense if all tragedy gets ripped off their fabric? How far removed
should the story be from reality for the readers to not feel cheated in the tempest of their
journeys? Should the pen be mighty enough to erase the truth?
After a lifetime of scorning the realists who gathered accolades writing tragic stories, I
realized how blinded I was in my bias. Failing to recognize the burdens they have carried,
the moral dilemmas they have battled.
Writing a story requires discovering beauty in the ordinary. A writer drowns in multiple
emotional abysses, desperately searching for a fresh outlook, a new character, a new
experience. From the spontaneous creation of a character to the piercing realization of their
impending death, many a journey the writer travels alone. In blending the truths,
inspirations, and humor, the writer attempts to wrestle sense into tragedy. With every
rewrite, the writer reconciles with the deaths he could not prevent. The sacrifices he must
make for the story to come alive.
Should not I honor and savor the possibility so beautifully presented? Is it not unfair to
rewrite something another person has spent much energy creating? Must I pick up the pen
to attempt a rewrite? Even if I did, what would I write?
Fred, Snape, Lupin, and Tonks in death represent the inevitable losses of war, the price of
victory. Dobby's death immortalizes the promise of greatness in every living creature. Call
Me by Your Name gives Elio a blissful summer and a heartache, the bitter taste of betrayal
served with the sweet love. Me Before You presents Will with days of love and laughter he
had long given up on, while One Day brings to light how impulsivity can rob us of a lifetime
of happiness. Each story with its unique tragedy and the meaningful silence that follows.
Would the stories even be memorable if they were not for their tragedy?
A caterpillar would never transform into a butterfly if it were not for the cocoon. Tragedy in
its crude undertone carries the seed of evolution, the hope for a better possibility. Dare I
rob the reader of all these lessons and opportunities with a rewrite?
I will not claim that there is any sense in any tragedy at all. These supposed lessons make
reconciliation of tragedy in stories less heart-breaking. Tragedy gives one a new outlook, an
awakening, and a reason to cry. If I rewrite all that saddens me, I would merely get lost in
the illusion of happiness, an illusion.
Enemies do not scurry away if ostriches turn a blind eye. Similarly, the tragedy continues to
be an undeniable truth irrespective of my handling of it. And so, I choose to embrace it in
moderation, too much some days, too little on another. I continuously learn to live with it
on good days and bad. Occasionally, I take refuge in the what-ifs, but I have yet to attempt a
Must I still attempt a rewrite?