A few weeks ago, I read a story in the Boston Globe that inspired a piece of short fiction, which I am working on. It was a review of Happy Place, one of those pop-up Instagrammable art exhibits that encourages people to do things like snap cell phone shots of themselves in a giant vat of candy. I’d gone to Candytopia in NYC because my kids wanted to do just that, and it had left a bad taste in my mouth. So I was curious to read what the Boston Globe had to say.
The review was titled “Happy Place” comes to Boston and it’s Hell.”
I suggest clicking on the link. Author Murray Whyte explains in hilarious fashion exactly what is wrong with creating places where people can manufacture the appearance of happiness for strangers on Instagram and the worrying aspects of an American culture that fosters demand for such spaces.
The BEST part of the article, for me, was it totally gave me the opening scene of a murder mystery. Can’t you just see someone being found dead in the shield-your-eyes sunshine rubber duck bathroom? Drowned in tennis balls perhaps?
Just me? What about in the room of graduated disco ball hearts and lipstick kisses? Lovers quarrel gone wrong and the bad guy stages the photo…
My imagined storyline progresses sort of Seven style (remember that movie with Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman where Brad Pitt plays the brash cop and Morgan Freeman plays the more stoic profiler type).
In my head, a serial killer is staging all these gruesome photos in Instagram shops to make a point about manufactured happiness and consumerism vs. what should actually make people happy.
Anyway, I like the idea. Writing it makes me happy.