Deb Susan Reconsiders the Ending

As I mentioned in a comment on Deb Kerry’s fantastic Monday post, I have trouble with endings, written or otherwise.

When I come to the end of a novel, or anything else, I have trouble explaining things in simple ways. It’s a lifelong problem, and one I never Cherry blossomconsidered all that much until this topic came around. I’d previously dismissed my trouble with endings as “overattachment” or “trouble tying up the threads,” but, on reflection, I think the waters run deeper than that.

I cannot bear to end the things I love.

As Wil Wheaton said in his recent advice to an audience member’s infant daughter (and I STRONGLY recommend you click that link and watch the video if you haven’t seen it yet) being a nerd means finding what you love and loving it as much as you possibly can. In life, as in writing, I am blessed to be surrounded by things I love, and the thought of one of them ending rips my heart.

Ironically, this is true of my novels as well as everything else that I hold dear. Even though I know another novel will come along (and in most cases, I’ve already started the outline) the one in process seizes hold of my heart and won’t let go. I love my time with Hiro and Father Mateo, and when the mystery’s all wrapped up, I loathe the thought of saying goodbye–even when I know it’s only temporary.

This year has held many endings for me.

My only son graduated from high school–he’s heading to college in two short months. My law partner (and one of my closest friends) decided Booksto retire, ending our ten-year legal partnership. We remain close friends, but I no longer get to talk with him every day. I lost a beloved seahorse (which may sound minor, but when you feed an animal twice a day for several years, you develop a bond) and I watched my debut novel go from dream to ARC to real book on a shelf. Soon, my time at the Debutante Ball will have its ending too.

Every ending also contains a beginning, of course. I am proud of the man my son is becoming, excited about my new solo practice, and thrilled beyond words that CLAWS OF THE CAT is finally real. I love adventures and cannot wait to see how these play out.

But at the end of the day, I’m a simple creature who likes her comforts–a desk, a cup of coffee, a sleeping cat, and a reef. I like adventure, but only when I know I have strong roots to bring me home. Important things should not be transitory, and I’ve lived my life attempting to make that so. My family, my friends, and my writing are three of the anchors that keep me safe and happy. Simultaneous endings in each of these made me realize, at last, why I find the fictitious endings hard to write.

It’s because the stories are real to me, and because I grow to love them.

That realization won’t make future endings any easier, but it helps me to appreciate the importance of all the endings in my life, and makes me even more determined to enjoy and appreciate the things I love while I have them in my life.

And that, I suppose, is as good a place as any to end this post.

How do you feel about endings? Have you had important ones in your life recently too?

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6 thoughts on “Deb Susan Reconsiders the Ending

  1. Susan, you speak for me, much more eloquently than I could say it myself. Here’s to new beginnings, and to feeling free to take the time to mourn the endings.

    • I thought you might agree with this one. And yes, here’s to both the joy of the new and the sorrow that comes from loving something and, ultimately, having to see it go. It may hurt a little, but it really is better to love things deeply and appreciate them while you can.

  2. Beautiful post, Sherry, and I can so relate! I’ve always had a hard time with endings, with the parts of life we have to let go, whether it’s an apartment, a friend, an era of life that comes to a close. All we can do is take it all in while we have it.

    • Thanks Natalia! And you’re so right. We can’t waste the time we have with beloved things worrying about losing them – we just have to love them as much as we can while we have the time.

  3. You’ve had a big year, Susan–but, wow, what a grand beginning to your literary career! I’ve enjoyed watching it unfold.

    These days, the endings that I experience have more to do with a shift in my thinking or feeling about something, which can cause some grieving as I leave a previous stage behind. Even if the change is positive, I still find change a stressor. So, I guess that says a lot about me and endings.

    Also, I’m living with a chronic state of ending: my mom has dementia.

    I couldn’t leave my first novel, KILMOON, entirely either. I had written it as a standalone, but I loved the characters too much. So, now I’m working on the second. 🙂

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your mom. I’ve had family members with dementia (some now departed, and one still with us) and I know that’s not an easy road. I’m glad to see you seem to be staying strong as much as possible.

      It’s been great to connect with you this year. We seem to have similar feelings about endings – grieving over separation even as we look forward to new beginnings.

      I’m delighted to hear you’re writing a sequel to KILMOON, too. Beloved characters are so much fun, and it’s great to be able to share more than one adventure with them.

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