I’ve been watching the series Once Upon A Time—obsessively, actually. For those who don’t know, it’s all about fairy tales—the heroes, the villains, and everyone in between, often modernizing and complicating the simplicity that Disney gave to many of these stories and blurring the lines between good and evil.
In the past three weeks I’ve completed all of Season Three and caught up with the first three episodes of Season 4. For me, that represents a massive amount of time in front of the TV—thank you Netflix for sucking away my life!
As I watched the most recent episode, realizing it’d be days before I could find out what happens next and almost itching with the desire to know, I wondered what it is that draws me so intensely to this show. The writers have mastered the art of the cliff-hanger, that’s for sure. But there’s more than that.
Part of the draw is that the heroine goes through the same experience so many of us go through: believing in magic, in princes and princesses, in good conquering over evil and love conquering over all, and then learning through the trials of life when good doesn’t conquer, when love fails, and how, often, there is no prince charming coming to save the day. Only this heroine goes through that experience in reverse. She starts out thinking fairytales are just that, tales. But her belief grows.
Her story wouldn’t be enough to keep me though. It’s the people supporting her that bring me back episode after episode.
They just keep fighting. They don’t give up.
They have no happy endings because evil keeps following them, but they live their happy moments in between the trials and tribulations. As a community of people, a family, they have unwavering faith that together anything is possible and no foe can overcome the power of love. People may die, pain may come near to breaking them, but only near.
In life we don’t always have happy endings—in fact, there’s a good chance we won’t. But, as the characters continually try to impress upon the heroine, we can have happy in-betweens … and isn’t that far better? Because we never know when the end will find us but we can always hope for the next happy moment and enjoy it when it comes rather than living in fear of the next bad thing.
I think I find in these episodes the thing I search for in my own writing. Hope. Belief. The courage to be better and do better and never give up.
Now, I’m not writing fairytales—yet. And so far, the demons my heroines have to slay are generally their own. But, like Once Upon A Time, underneath my stories is an enduring belief that hope and love, when coupled, have an incredible power and new beginnings are always possible.
That’s basically the underlying theme of my A New Start series
So, dear reader. I won’t promise that my books will always end happy … but they’ll always end with hope. And if you haven’t learned it yet I sincerely hope you do—sometimes hope is enough to get us through the day.
For your watching enjoyment … I will not accept blame if your life suddenly gets sucked up in the vortex that is Once Upon A Time!