I like a tidy end. The messy made right. With my essay work especially, I want the last paragraph to tell me everything turns out okay. A year ago, an editor I work with encouraged me to resist tidying too much.
Readers don’t need a didactic summary after I’ve just unloaded all my junk. I need it. I want that conclusion to tell me why I went through a year or two of ___.
I’ve referenced my unpretty lust, envy and pride here before. There are certain experiences and relationships I want to write a tidy end for. Like looking at ___ from another distance, in a different light might reveal its purpose. I write ___ again, hoping this time I’ll understand something new. I wish composting would yield not only the right way to say what I want to say, but also a conclusion that makes sense of the sorrow, shame or anger. More often, an experience or relationship remains just that, waiting for time or heart to change the perspective.
This is my tenth year of marriage. The seven-year itch started early and ended late, unscratched. Finally, I looked at lust. I wrote about it in my notebooks, in essay and fiction. I didn’t find a tidy end to my experience. I’m still embarrassed. A little mad. Marriage and monogamy are work, boring sometimes, even when comfortable. I could have answered that without a long run of unsatisfied want.
Here’s an unfun prompt: Write what isn’t finished. Write the junk you want made into a mosaic. You might only find sharp edges and weird colors. Fine. Write it anyway. You’ll still see a bit of art.
I need to be okay with untidy ends. They reflect living in the middle. Which is where I am. You too.
(That wasn’t too tidy was it?)