Good Endings

Not all love stories have happy endings, and not all frogs are princes. Well, perhaps deep inside, but it would require divine intervention in some cases!

It has gradually become clearer to me that my JulNoWriMo novel is in fact like a single play-through of a ren-ai game (dating sim or visual novel of romantic nature).

When playing such a game, you get to know a number of imaginary people of the preferred gender, and based on your choices, their relationship with you will rise or fall. At some point you will need to show preference for one of them over the other – and it needs to be realistic in terms of your personal statistics –  in order to get a “good ending”.  Depending on the maturity of the game, the depiction of a good outcome may vary, but that is somewhat beyond today’s lesson.

What I want to achieve is to write a novel that may or may not lead to a “good ending”, but that at least conveys the personalities of the girls so well that the reader in his or her imagination is able to go down the other paths to reach a “good ending” for their favorite girl without compromising her personality. It is a safe bet that I won’t get anywhere near a completion in July. Probably not ever, if I know myself, which I increasingly do.  But there is always a small chance.

One of the most unlikely inspirations for my writing is the book The Laws of Courage by Ryuho Okawa, the would be world savior from Japan. (Or Atlantis, or Venus, depending on your time horizon.) Despite the occasional (well meant?) blasphemy, he is a really interesting person. And he truly writes like a god – more exactly Hermes, the god of speed. A couple years older than me, he has already written over 500 books!  Only about 15 of these are available in English from though. This is the latest of them, though a new one is supposed to be released later this year.

The Laws of Courage is written mostly for the young reader, although there is also a chapter about how to keep the good part of being young – a “hungry” spirit – later in life. Even simpler than some of his other books, it speaks directly to the concerns of young people in the midst of making choices for their lives. As such, it gives me some good idea for my own writing.

His ultimate advice for living life like a roaring fire of courage, is to imagine your death.  What do you want to have achieved when you die? How do you want to be remembered? What kind of person do you want to be when you lay down the workbook of your life? In its naked essence, courage means to be ready to die.

(Needless to say, I don’t have a lot of courage.  Although a couple weeks ago I was lying on my bed, thinking about how the floor of this old house might collapse under the weight of my double bed, and suddenly I realized that unexpectedly I was not afraid of death. I am sure this is not permanent. When I get severely ill, I will probably feel fear again. To some degree I think this is biological. What I no longer felt was the deep conviction that upon leaving this world, I would surely go to Hell.  Maybe I will and have only been deluded by the writings of the Antichrist.  But then again, something has begun to change deep inside me.  I am more consciously thinking of how I can actually be a blessing, rather than how I can rig things so I won’t be punished.)

Perhaps the nature of love, even divine love, is  to go down the path to the Good Ending for the other person. Which, with pleasant irony, is the one that does not end.