A movie date, to be precise. I had been hard at work on my current manuscript (the second in my new paranormal series) and by early afternoon I was feeling restless and more than a little brain dead. “Cabin fever,” my husband said and he was right.
And we both knew the cure.
I jumped in the car, rattled over the back roads between our house and the new movie theater in town, and got there just in time to buy myself a Diet Coke and a small popcorn before the previews started. I settled down in an aisle seat, feeling that delicious shiver of anticipation I always get when the lights dim and the candy bars on the screen start dancing. (Okay, so I’m easily entertained. What can I say? I’m a writer. I don’t get out much.)
The funny thing is I wouldn’t recognize a Manolo Blahnik if I tripped over one. My favorite sweater is almost twenty years old and I’m fifty-seven. I’d rather spend my money on yarn and books.
And I married the first boy I ever dated.
I am far from being the demographic movie producers were aiming for but what can I tell you? I love SEX AND THE CITY and I was delighted to be there on opening weekend to see what Carrie, Charlotte, Miranda, and Samantha had been up to.
I wasn’t alone. The theater was packed with females of all ages. There were a number of mother/daughter pairings and a few three generational groups that made me smile. And, like Carrie Bradshaw, I found myself wondering what exactly had brought them there.
Was it for the Sex? The City? The raunchy humor? The clothes? The shoes?
That might be part of the fun but it wasn’t the reason. The women in that theater with me were there because they wanted a happy ending. Yes, a happy ending! The very thing romance writers have been criticized for delivering for at least the twenty-five years I’ve been in this business. They laughed at the jokes and giggled at the naked men but it was the love stories that made them cry.
The same emotion we write about every day and savor in the books we read. Proposals. Weddings. Break-ups. Broken hearts. Second chances. Babies. Miracles. And even a Cinderella moment that made an audience sigh loudly in unison.
I was watching a classic romance novel being played out on the screen and I wanted to jump up and say, “If you like this, you’ll love our books!” but—well, you know. I was too busy sniffling into my Kleenex during the Auld Lang Syne montage to say much of anything.
I remember one of the episodes from the TV series where the girls trek down to Atlantic City for a weekend that doesn’t go quite as planned. Carrie is feeling jaded and cynical about men, about love, and she’s ready to give up the search for a soul mate. “Who needs the drama?” she says with a shrug. “I do!” Charlotte shoots back. “That’s life, that’s everything! Love and babies and family, I want all of that.”
Apparently there’s a little Charlotte in a lot of us.
We want our happy endings.
We deserve them.
They’re what we write about. They’re what we’re shooting for when we sit down at the computer and wait for those voices to start chattering inside our heads.
Times are tough. The world we live in is a dangerous place. Sometimes we need to slip away for a few hours with a book or a movie and (yes!) escape.
Escape isn’t a dirty word. Sometimes that’s all that keeps you sane in a crazy world.
Yesterday I watched as a few hundred women rose to their feet and gave happily-ever-after a standing ovation.
Not to mention a $55 million opening weekend.
Maybe happy endings are finally back in style.
It’s enough to warm a romance writer’s heart.
CASTING SPELLS – November 2008