The creator’s dilemma or the end is not nigh
I’ve been having trouble with endings.
The screenplay I’ve rewritten four times keeps changing its ending and each time I need to rethink the characters and their actions, relationships, interactions, and motivations leading up to the new ending to figure out if I’ve got it this time. And inevitably it changes again.
I haven’t figured out how to nail it down, how to bring it to a close, what the conclusion or final message is. My writing books tell me that having trouble with an ending means either you haven’t thought your narrative through enough or you don’t want the writing process to end.
I don’t think it’s either (creator’s probably never do) at least not consciously. I want to finish the screenplay, not because I want the writing process to be over, but because I want to finish something that I’ve been building and rebuilding on and off for five years.
When I probe into the reasons for why I want to finish this project underlying this desire to bring it to a close is the slip of a feeling that I can’t move on to “the next thing” until I’ve wrapped up “this thing.”
Somewhere deep inside a narrow shade is lurking that one thing must be finished before another can be formally invested in; that there is a sequence that Should be ascribed to, a proper order to things.
Unfortunately this twinge is in conflict to reality on two fronts: 1) there is no forcing an ending when it isn’t there, when it isn’t good and ready and 2) the belief that fulfillment comes from cleanly finishing one thing before starting another is an illusion.
The sense of an ending
I can’t make up or source an ending for the screenplay. I rework and I think and I wait for the ending to come. I feel like I’m close this time: I know I want some sort of switching of the roles between created and creator, a reversal of power and roles. It’s natural. It’s coming. It’s brewing in my sub-consciousness.
Twisted balls of yarn
The ending for the screenplay is related to other things, other projects, other endings.
I also don’t have an ending for the book I’m writing but that is a little different because the book is about real life and real life is about the book.
I’ve been thinking about the end of the book in a different way than the end of the screenplay because the end of the book is about a culmination of something that’s very real for me and for many people on a personal and daily basis.
There are weird things going on inside and around this state of prolonged anticipation. I’ve not only observed but participated in what in many cases is a paralysis of life and even self evolution outside of the haze of waiting for and prepping for and planning for this event.
It’s bizarre and fascinating that so many people are suspended in a persistent state of anticipation at once exhilarating and exhausting.
And so what, what what
What I’ve realized pondering all these different angles of endings is that none of these situations is anyone effectively driving toward and architecting the ending, because endings can’t be decided on and executed just like that.
Endings are, as I’ve observed with my screenplay, not a decision but a culmination of the actions, relationships, interactions, and motivations of the players in a dynamic interplay with one another.
The very fact that all of these people are thinking about and planning their lives around an ending gives the ending and the build up to the ending (all things occurring before the ending ascribed to the build up) an enhanced drama and theatricality that makes it more than itself.
The build up has become a cycle, fueled by and feeding on itself, growing in power and strength as the ending grows as so paramount, so singular in the lives of so many.
I don’t believe there is an Oz behind a curtain because I have not experienced the act of creation and the act of culmination as so simple to tie together.
People want to believe in wizards and magic, and so the power to construct an ending is ascribed as a personal force, a decision to architect things in a certain way at a certain time, when really it is an ability to see and harness and influence complex dynamics beyond the personal until the resting point.
Which often leads to the rewrite, far more genuine for the true creator than the conclusion. And yet the ending will emerge, its hour come, slouching forward to be born. As it will, not as we will.
Credit will be ascribed and claimed. And the gyre turns.