Yesterday I had a meeting at the Gilgamesh Restaurant at Camden Lock Market. The Head Chef, Ian Pengelley, provided food that somehow gets at pleasure centres in your brain that have never been awoken before:
There’s good food that is satisfying, and good food that’s satisfying but also brings a sense of well-being. I felt happy, healthy and energised by the time I left the restaurant.
I can’t imagine what alchemy Ian brings to his food to make it so amazing, but if there’s a writing equivalent, I’d guess at these ingredients:
1. Freshness: the writer is going from direct, honest observation
2. Authenticity: the writer is being true to themself
3. Depth: the writer is talking about something that matters to them
4. Hope: an ending that’s right for the story but is also hopeful
Because there’s no doubt that people feel better with a happy ending. That doesn’t mean something cheap or that makes a mockery of the story and characters. It also doesn’t mean the protagonist has to be successful in love. In Gone With the Wind, Scarlett has destroyed Rhett’s love for her – but at last understands something that gives her a chance for a happy life (and a chance to be less spoiled and annoying). In Casablanca, Rick sends Ilse away to support her husband, but re-joins human society as a man who is no longer an emotional cripple.