When Things End
Another semester is in the books, as our university will host graduation ceremonies this Thursday. My grades are just about closed out, and the sun is shining outside, marking the beginning of summer for those of us professors in higher education.
I love teaching and being in the classroom—for me, it’s all about that. Waking up in the morning knowing I will see the faces of my students is all I need to get me going in the morning. I’m passionate about my job and about working with students.
However, I do look forward to summer, and I’m passionate about writing as well. When people ask me when I have time to sit and write, my answer is that it happens mostly when I’m not teaching. The summer and winter breaks provide me that opportunity to work on my novels, and so this morning, I opened up my current work in progress and began to comb through it. It’s not done, and I still have to write the ending.
Which brings me to some thoughts on the ending of Game of Thrones. I invested so much time in that show, and I wanted a different ending for the season and series finale. And then I sat back and rethought my criticism, especially after listening to my favorite GoT podcasters, Darren and James from Entertainment Weekly. As someone who creates her own stories, and therefore has to create endings to those stories, the creativity comes from within me as to how my creations should end. So here I was, being judgmental about how someone else ended his story, but the truth is, it’s not really up to the audience to have the ending they want. It’s up to the writer and/or creator to figure out how their story ends. All we can do is like it, not like it, and/or try to appreciate the art of it all. Storytelling is an art form, and art is so subjective.
So today, as I began rereading what I’ve written of my own novel so far, I’m keeping in mind my audience, but I’m also going to stay true to what I hope will happen in the story. As J.K. Rowling has said, “I write for myself.” I think if we constantly remind ourselves that our narratives have meaning because we are invested in the authenticity of our storytelling, then we’ll produce something that will make at least a segment of the population happy with what we produce.
Similarly, as I looked around last night at Baccalaureate at Stevenson University and got teary-eyed as two of our students sang For Good, a fitting song from the musical Wicked, I realized that we are faced with many types of endings in life…the end of a career, the end of a relationship, the end of a friendship, the end of a residence or place we called home, the end of our educational journey, and so on. These ends lead us to some other journey, something else to discover. Something new to write or create.
When the writing of a story or a television show comes to an end, we can become emotional because of the time and investment we put into it. Perhaps that’s why our expectations are so high for them. And perhaps that’s also why we have the saying, when one door closes another door opens. Because we are ready for something new to capture our hearts and allow us to plunge ahead again.