How does one write something nice?

My husband wants me to write a “nice” short story. I suppose I can see why he wants this. He’s so far volunteered to read the short stories I have produced; the first one was about a prostitute who dies while showing off her jewellery to her children, in an accident involving a pet goat. It was supposed to be amusing, but I can sort of see how it comes under the heading of dark humour. The second story was significantly worse, as it’s about a nine year old girl who is beaten to death by her drunk father.

I don’t know why I write these grim tales. I’m generally quite a happy person, although I was very disappointed to discover that my fifteen year old self was not only annoying and morose, but completely unoriginal: in 1993, I wrote myself a letter that was all sealed up with wax, and said “do not open until 31st January 2003”. My mother found it in a box recently, and posted it to me. I was hoping for some sort of interesting descriptions of what 1993 was like, what sort of music I liked, the clothes – something historical, basically. But no, I only wrote things like “I think I’m pretty, but my friend is much prettier and all the boys like her, not me. I must get thinner”. Great.

So I have what I think is a nice idea for a short story. It’s about a life after death. Something tells me it wasn’t quite what my husband had in mind.

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