I saw someone post something about how doing something made her cry and this was some deeply great emotional thing. That’s all well and good. What this got me thinking about was how sadness is held up as the pinnacle of emotions. Listen to people talk about books, movies, music, whatever. The way you know something is meaningful and important is if it made them feel. What they mean by that is they felt sad. They talk about these big gut wrenching scenes and the impact they had on them. I get it. I’m not writing anything that wants to devalue those experiences. I’m writing to say that I just don’t get it.
It is all entirely lost on me. I missed that part of adulthood education that said you didn’t have a meaningful emotional reaction if you smiled. I just don’t live in a world where the highest praise you can give to a work of art is that it ripped your heart out. Well, actually I do, and it bothers me. It actually upsets me that there isn’t a language for validating the emotional reactions that aren’t just sadness and anger.
I just finished reading a book “Redemption In Indigo” and it’s a wonderfully touching book that is super well written. It’s not a fluff book, but all the words that I would use to describe my enjoyment of it are words that would be shared with trivial books. Redemption in Indigo is FUN. Redemption in Indigo takes itself with the appropriate amount of seriousness. The pace of the novel keeps it from doing any one thing for too long. I like all of the characters. Nothing in this book was designed to make me cry.There was some harsh material, but the way it was laid out to me let me feel comfortable in the situation.
What I want to say is that this is an excellent book that is full of emotional depth and will make you feel things. The things it will make you feel are pleasant, and that doesn’t make this book less of a literary value. Just because nothing life destroyingly awful happens to the hero doesn’t mean she isn’t someone worth getting behind emotionally. I am filled with happiness every time we meet her family. Her mother and father are supportive of her and her sister is a pain without being antagonistic or malevolent. The villain of the piece is remarkably well done. The way his story line plays out will provide great pleasure to you, I promise. I laughed so often through this book and that was a good thing. I felt embarrassed (which honestly, is much harder for me to read than being afraid that someone will die or having to sit through their entire village being slaughtered endlessly) a few times, but even those moments were tempered with good times. We got to see our hero act heroically in those moments and it does so much for the growth of the character.
There really isn’t much more to say other than it is awesome that this book exists, and other things that just make you happy exists. Not something that we excuse as purely escapism, but things that are of high quality that make us feel something other than sadness, angst, and upset. I like being intellectually and emotionally engaged with my media, but that doesn’t mean I want to be sad about it. You can do emotional stuff that’s fun. Happiness is an emotion. A song doesn’t have more depth to it because you cried after hearing it. That song that gets into your bones and vibrates excitement and urges your face to produce a smile or your foot to tap along has just as much if not more value and emotional weight.
So really, fuck your sadness. You can keep that shit. I’m going to go emotionally engage with some good fake people that make me feel good about stuff.