After my previous post about beginnings, this just sort of seemed the natural way to go.
There is a curious feeling that envelops me every Sunday evening as the sun goes down, a sort of mixture of dread, melancholy and listlessness that presents itself physically through an inability to do anything other than watch godawful Sunday night TV whilst emitting the kind of sighs that are so long I begin to think they actually won’t end and I’ll just deflate.
It’s been the same for years, and no amount of cake and crumpet scoffing can make me feel any lighter about the Sunday night hours, (believe me, I’ve tried). I just can’t deal with endings: both the weekend and the week is dying, and I mourn its passing every Sunday with the kind of soul-searching that should be reserved for Scrubs monologues or Baz Luhrmann songs. I mull over the week’s events, I question my feelings, and I switch the nostalgic whimsy up to an eleven. It’s sickening, I know.
The same happens when I finish a book. I can’t help but take every book or play I read as a direct impact on my own life: I search within the pages for the bits that resonate with me, and I drink them in until I am reduced to the same state of deep thought and contemplation of my very existence that Sunday nights bring. There is just something about finishing a book that makes my mind whir.
The last page of a book is the hardest. I have to exert real self-control to stop my eyes skipping to the end, to take in those last lines and let the impact hit me. Those last lines are so important to me; they’re like a legal high. I get a rush from endings. The feeling of everything slotting into place and of the message of the book being complete just gives me goosebumps.The last line can not only affect the way you perceive every other word of the piece, but can also stir your very soul. I like that power.
Endings are absolutely key in my own writing: I sometimes start with endings, they’re so crucial to my work. I want the reader to leave my work with the same chill that reduces them to thoughts they wouldn’t necessarily have otherwise, thoughts that send shock-waves through their entire perception of what they’ve just read, so that the effect of the work as a whole resonates more strongly within them. I’m not for a minute saying I achieve this – I’m saying it’s the goal, and one I get a thrill from trying to reach.
There’s something about that limbo between the book’s world and your own, between the week’s end on Sunday and the birth of the next on early Mondays. Maybe it’s not the ending that gives me the rush, but rather the beginning to which endings inevitably lead. Either way, the power that endings have over my life is both rather magical and pretty terrifying. Returning to my analogy of endings as like a drug to me, I suppose that it’s more accurate to describe them as a medicine rather than just a high: I’m not sure I like them, but I’m pretty sure they do me good.