Had a wonderful dinner with my spouse last night. Our waitress couldn’t believe how long we’ve been married. I like to think that was because we look so young but I’m afraid that’s not it. It brings up an interesting question.
As a writer of fiction, should I portray the exceptional relationships? The ones that everybody marvels about? Or should I draw instead on reality – the sort that more people are able to resonate with? The easy cop-out is to say, “It depends on the story.” But listen, authors, we all know that the story is whatever we want to tell drawn from whichever idea we want to run with. Even Friday when I couldn’t get a story together it wasn’t from a lack of ideas. I just didn’t like how it landed on the page.
The reality side has some good points but fiction isn’t reality, it’s escape from reality. The exceptional relationship is a dream for some people. But others feel judged, or that their choices aren’t being respected. Looking at my own body of work I’ve got a mixture in those cases where it needs to be something. And none of it models my own domestic situation.
There’s a lot of popular and funny TV based on a married couple with more than the national average of children. But there’s also alternative couples, alternative parenthood, and even everything all mixed together. (I’m thinking of Everybody Loves Raymond, Will and Grace, Last Man Standing, How I Met Your Mother, Arrested Development, and 2.5 Men.)
In my current script project the domestic situations that get screen time feature a single mother, a newly married couple, an older couple that hasn’t started on children yet, a bachelor, and two couples that just live together.
I’m thinking this is something I’m over thinking. Trouble is, I’m not over thinking it yet.