I read a lot, and I listen to a lot of music, and I was pondering today how it is the sad things that move me the most. I read plenty of jolly stories of happy days, but it is the tales of heartache, life’s struggles and it’s cruelties that result in the most evocative and elegant laments.
I am happy.
Therefore I cannot write a tragic masterwork. I am not even sure I can write an imagined one. I have days where I feel a little blue. But that is hardly going to unleash a tortured but talented wail from my inner soul.
Why is it that we are drawn to the dark side? Or is it just me? I wish I could create a song of wonder encompassing the delights of my life. But my joys are quiet ones. I am blessed to live with the love of my life, a man who makes me incredibly happy, in quiet and personal ways. I am not good at romantic outbursts so am unlikely to write a treatise to the flawed wonder that is him. The same can be said of my adored offspring, I do not have the words to convey the things they bring to my life- the highs and lows of my parenting journey, the way I feel when I look at them.
And even if I could find the words to adequately describe my happiness, it would be hard to understand for others anyway, for my happiness is not made up of perfection, rather the imperfections are what adds the charm.
Is it more difficult to describe happiness in words? Or is it that when we are content we feel less need to vent that, whereas a negative emotion screams to be let loose from our heads and onto the page, as if by writing it we can rid ourselves of it. Is that the fear? If I were to encapsulate my happiness in words would it at that point be jinxed out of existence?
Perhaps despite my happiness I am maudlin by nature, which is why I am so admiring of the wretched writings of those who are suffering. Perhaps it is human nature to be drawn to the light of pain like weeping moths? Or is it that in our darkest hours we are at our most honest, our most open, our most human and it is that brute honesty itself that is appealing? Or perhaps it is our empathy that drags us in, our desire to listen, to understand, to help, to heal? For while I may admire the skill of the harrowed wordsmith, I do not wish for their pain, and I am sure many would gladly swap their exquisite verbosity for my own bland platitudes.
Or perhaps I am wrong, perhaps the tortured artist is a myth, perhaps the joyous ones abound in equal balance and I am just a miserable old goth who should start reading something a little more upbeat. Are you the same? Do sad songs touch you a little bit more than the happy ones?