When you leave loose threads of fabric around you’re bound to run into problems. I was reminded of this during a recent work trip when I noticed a long green thread dangling from the end of the front of my shirt. Seeking to present the most professional appearance possible I tugged on the thread. This did not go as planned.
It came loose and kept going, leaving a longer thread than I first started with. I remember cursing myself in the mirror for not just taking the time and cutting it out properly. I’m nothing if not impulsive, which admittedly hasn’t always worked in my advantage. After finding some scissors I got the thread corrected and smoothed out the rest of my day.
This feels like an allegory for my writing life the past two weeks. I had to write one of the hardest chapters I’ve ever written this past week. I can’t get over how difficult it was, and this was after avoiding it for at least a month. I had to dial back my perception of the character arc it was a part of and then rework the writing I’d already done. The scene wasn’t any help either – because it had to be in the story. This is what I get for trying to turn my back on a chapter, and I won’t make that mistake again.
And this is how my creative process goes this time. I’m generally an A to B writer who follows his outline and keeps it on the rails. This story has to be different because of the method I’m using to create it. I’m glad I’ve given myself the opportunity to learn these lessons. If you aren’t learning in your chosen passion then what’s the point?
Moving forward I need to keep my eye out for points of closure. This becomes a critical lesson for every writer – knowing when to start something and when it needs to be finished. I’m not the only writer who’s been accused of going on and on, but I won’t the last who’s learned that lesson and moved beyond it.
All things end. From characters to chapters, and even story lines. What makes closure important in our own lives is knowing when something has come to an end and then following through on it using our scissors, whether those be emotional or mental. Life imitates art, no more so than recently in our lives when it comes to preparing the house for sale. It means boxing up what we have, pitching out what we don’t want to keep, before moving on to the next chapter of our lives.
It won’t be an easy process either. Memories cling to inanimate objects with an iron grip. This house is filled with so many different milestones. Voices and images from a decade lived under a single roof, many of which I count as happy ones. Reaching the closure point for the house requires a lot of organization, something my wife is very good at. I am beyond lucky to have her in my life.
Addendum: Hurricane Harvey has soaked the south Texas coast over the past few days and it doesn’t look like the deluge is going to end any time soon. I checked in with my friends who live down there and they are safe, but there’s tons of people who going to struggle just like New Orleans did after Katrina. When disaster strikes our shores we have to be more than Americans, we must remember to be the best example of humanity we can be.
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