It isn’t often you get to watch real life heroism in action, but as I sat mesmerized on Wednesday and watched the rescued Chilean miners reach the surface one by one, I was conscious of doing exactly that.
And it wasn’t only the miners who qualified as heroes.
There was the president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, who laid his political career on the line to do what he considered it his duty. There were experts from all over the globe who offered their expertise and their wisdom and their equipment to help people who were not exactly next door.
There are not that many really feel-good news stories theses days (or maybe ever) where you can have an unqualified happy ending. The story was, I heard one newscaster say, watched by over 1.2 billion people – twice as many as watched the moon landing 41 years ago. It was, he said, a drama that had captured almost as much attention as the last US presidential election, the Wimbledon final and the World Cup.
The difference, as I see it, is that each of these other events had a winner and a loser. Close to half the people watching any of those events would have gone away disappointed.
I didn’t see disappointment Wednesday night.
I saw elation, I saw jubilation, I saw tears of joy and warm embraces. I saw people all over Chile and, indeed, all over the world celebrating heroism and perseverance and competence and the absolute determination in the face of awful daunting odds, not to give up.
Those are the people we write about. They are the people we fantasize about. They are the epitome of what we hope for – examples of what we want life to be like.
And sometimes, glory be, it is.
I have to go write my own book’s happy ending tomorrow. I will – and, as always, I will be glad to do so. At the end I will feel satisfaction and the knowledge that I have created a world which celebrates honor and compassion and duty and love.
But in the light of what I saw on in real-life heroism on Wednesday --and during the sixty-nine days previous -- I’m afraid that for once a fictional happy ending may feel like an anti-climax.
Anne's book about George Savas, sexy physicist who some years and several books ago was locked in his laboratory and not coming out, has finally come out! It's called Hired By Her Husband and is out in UK now and will be out in US as a Harlequin Presents in January.