Thursday, May 6, 2010

The end is only the beginning

I'm better at hello. It's the goodbyes that lodge like a piece of moussaka (as in Disney's Hercules) in my throat leaving me voiceless. Or worse yet, teary-eyed as well as tongue tied.

Oh, those beginnings. They are but a dream. A time of joy and excitement when nearly anything is possible. And then, the bottom falls out and it is no longer the blossoming beginning, but somewhere in the murky middle sucking the life out of me with every wheezing breath taken.

I am speaking of writing, yet it is quite fitting for many facets of my life. Endings have always been difficult. But aren't they for everyone? Anyone who knows me can see a pattern here, though. Instead of goodbye, I've been known to walk away without a word, mute and unable to cope, rather than experience the pain and torture that go into actually letting go. Which leads me to my current status - ending a relationship with my latest manuscript.

How many unfinished masterpieces do I have in a drawer which have the first 50-100 pages done? So bright and full of life. The characters seem to leap off the page. Oh how I love them. They are strong and virile and beautiful and unique. They are the loves of my life. All of them. But that's before the saggy, flawed, angry, middle rears its head. The part that doesn't even seem to have any heart, much less soul. This is the scary part. The part that separates the short timers from the distance runners.

I read an essay the other day from Amy Tan called 'Angst and the Second Book' in which she said she started six books after the success of The Joy Luck Club. Nearly 1,000 pages churned out and tossed all because she was worried how people would react to her SECOND book. Now, I do not have a bestseller I am trying to say goodbye to, but I am trying to improve my craft with this next endeavor. So I enter into each day over analyzing each word that's placed on the page. Yet, somehow I'm plowing through, slowly but surely.

So, here I am with the words THE END looming yet I can't seem to take the leap and just be done with it. There's tweaking that still needs to be done. There's the life that I still need to breathe into my main character.

Walking away is never easy. Just one more draft and it might be the perfect piece of literary genius. HA!

Goodbyes are certainly not my forte. But to move on, I must...

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