Day 107

5.06: Getting to the end of the draft last week got me thinking about endings.

On his brilliant website, What Is Stephen Harper Reading Yann Martel sums up the rainbow’s-end goldpot of an ideal ending. Speaking of Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red, he says:

“And the story ends with an astonishing image that will stay with you. I won’t ruin it by quoting it out of context. You must earn the image by reading your way to it. Then it will have its emotional impact on you. And you will perhaps be left thinking.”

Scarce as hen’s teeth, rarer than mosquitoes in the Gobi desert. An astonishing image that a reader feels they’ve earned by reading, and which subtely recasts everything that went before it in a new light.

But where do we get it from. I’ve got a nice image to end my story, but it’s a bit contrived, perhaps a shading on the laboured side, may fringing into cliched.

It’s better than having some Deus ex Machina gun down the baddies with a Quasar rifle, or have some wizard turn them into straw, boil them with magic vapours into steam and giblets.

And now, all I can think about is the closing image. Stars uncrossed, the lovers gambol hand in hand into the twilight. Or shoot up a whole super soaker full of heroin, rev up their harleys ’til they howl like crazed horses, and ride Icarus-like into the very heart of the sun, singing “Non je ne’regrette rien.”

As a matter of principle, I’m not going to read Anne Carson’s Autobiography of Red for fear of trying unsuccessfully to emulate her brilliant closing image. But it does mean I might never finish this story satisfactorily, and so continue having to get up at 5am for the rest of my life. And you’ll have to keep on reading this each morning until we’re all dead.

And even then no one will have a trenchant and poignant image to sum up and redefine our lives.

It’s the curse of the modern age…

6.50: So far so good. New draft underway, and a few kinks ironed out. Stuart behaving. Eidur Gudjohnsen signed for Stoke. Things could be very much worse.

~ by David Thorley on August 25, 2010.

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