About not rushing the ending
I got a gift from a graduating student last year, which was a painting that said: “Don’t rush the ending (be patient)”. She was referring to my eternal existential crisis about finishing one of a million projects that I always have going on. I put it in my office because honestly it was one of the best pieces of advice anyone has ever given me, especially when it comes to my writing.
One of the main things I’ve learned in this past year is that first drafts are always, inevitably, without a doubt, absolute shit. I mean, for me anyways. But, what I also have to come to terms with is that sometimes, so are second, third, fourth, drafts. I’ve noticed that each time, as I work, all these small little changes that I missed out the first time around have really added up to pieces of the story or changes in the ending that become vital.
When meditating last week, out of nowhere, an image came up about the doors inside my childhood house. They were the kind of doorknobs that had the little circles next to them with the straight line across them, so if you accidentally locked yourself out you could use a flat head screwdriver, or better yet a key that came with the knob, which was this tiny little L shaped thing, to get the door unlocked. As a kid, my mother always put them above the door frames just in case, the little edge of it poking over so I always knew that they were there. It was a very random thing that I probably haven’t thought about in decades, so I sat with it until I figured out how I could decode it.
For years I’ve heard myself say over and over that it feels like I’m constantly pushing up against locked doors (metaphorically or course) and guess what… impatience has always been one of my many virtues. Common life themes included: not being able to “advance” in my career in libraries by not being able to find a full time job, rejection after rejection in writing submission attempts, failed attempt after failed attempt at using dating apps or just dating in general. I’ve stressed over and over about it, wondering...Am I trying the right doors? Won’t the right one just open? What is a door even? Do you just keep on trying and hoping something else happens or fucking give up and decide to move to Hawaii and clean hotel rooms? For the last year it felt like I had stopped trying doors at all, and just sat cross legged in the middle of the hallway sulking by myself about how I was never trying another door again.
A second thought occurred to me, that when I was a child I was too short to reach the key, so it didn’t do me any good anyways. Only when I had grown was I able to reach up and grab it so that I could unlock the door. What if, instead of advancing in a linear forward motion, as we all expect, my growth was upwards, not outwards, and all this time I just had to wait until I could reach that damn key and open whatever door I wanted to?
I don’t know. Maybe it’s dangerous to live in metaphors, but they help me make sense of things. I had a person in the library today that was so frustrated that their life wasn’t moving, that they weren’t secure, and they expected to be a certain place at a certain age. It sounded mighty familiar. So, I shared the picture I took this morning of the painting in my office for this blog post and told her.. Don’t rush the ending…. I can only hope it helped.