Why do we place intellectual importance on sadness?

As usual, I’m not sure if I will make any kind of sense with this thought trail, but let’s give it a go.

I’ve been working on a new writing project recently (borne from all that boring free time that opened up when I finished uni) and its rather uncharacteristically romantic and happy for me. All my past pieces have been so focused on trauma, loss, sadness, all that incredibly fun stuff. And trust, I do like those pieces of work, they’re written well and they mean something. That’s all you can ask for, really.

But my current romance project has me thinking, why did I lean so heavily into my stories of grief and loss? Of pain and trials? Certainly, it makes for a good story simply because of the conflict that comes of that, but it was something more. I was working under the assumption that a sad story is a good story.

And that assumption didn’t come from nowhere. Take a look at popular music, movies, TVs, books. The drama, the painful, the hard stories, those are the ones we think are so terribly well crafted. So intense that they are magnificent. But I’m starting to realise that its a fallicy.

We put so much importance on sadness in this creative sphere, respecting the artist that trains their trauma to work for them, that its starting to effect just how I approach my own creativity. Lawdy knows that I’ve had my fair share of traumatic experiences, and there are times that channelling the feelings from those into something creative is a sort of therapy.

I’m realising now that the happy things, they’re harder to engage with, to believe in. Maybe that’s why we lean so far to the other side. We can just relate to heartbreak and grief so much more than a love story. But when I look at all my work over the past few years I see a lighter side of me trying to break through, but feeling as though it would be somehow disingenuous to my craft.

Now I’m learning to embrace the two sides, but lemme tell ya, it makes writing a novel no easier.

Until next time x


Published by Shell Spotted

Art, Insight, Travel

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