Perception is a funny thing. Just as one person can look at the glass of water and see it as half full, another can perceive it as being half empty. The same is true for stories. One person might watch the movie Titanic and see a beautiful love story with a tragic ending, while another sees a disaster movie with a romance thrown in. It’s all in the eye of the beholder.
When I wrote my first short story Lucky Lucy, I was pretty sure that the story fit squarely into the magical realism genre.
Faced with the death of her beloved husband Jim, Lucy’s mind creates a world in which he is still alive. While the world outside carries on without Jim, inside their house is still filled with the smell of fresh scones and flowers. Jim still does the crossword puzzle at the breakfast table every morning. Throughout the course of the story Lucy’s alternate reality slowly crumbles as she forced to take a trip into the real world.
When I let some people test read the story I was surprised at the reaction. Some people saw it for what it was: A magical realism story about the power of love. Yet others read the story and upon returning it, told me how sad they felt for Lucy , who had clearly lost her mind. .
Despite, or maybe because of this mixed reaction, Lucky Lucy became a finalist in the local writing contest. So I guess, no matter the perception, as long as the story is written well, that’s all that matters.