play, story

Hello! The End. Restart?

He wanted to end on something interesting, so he began to write the beginning. Not knowing exactly where he was going with the story though, he put some words on the page. It was as he entered the third sentence that he began to craft how it was going to play out. “Ha! I know where this will end up now,” he wrote, thinking of how the story would close.

He really thought there would be a character by this point. Someone on which to hang a stylistic perspective and a way of seeing the world. “Maybe I could write in second person again? That turned out pretty neat. One person said they liked it!” But he soon dismisses that idea and instead tries something new and different.

No, he decides. It has to be a story. Something with momentum. It needs a beginning, a middle, and an end. There needs to a journey through time and space. The reader must come away with something, even if that same something  is nothing but confusion.

(He was going to write a quick story that began with a woman on a cliff, but for some reason the woman jumped — don’t worry, she didn’t die or anything. She could fly. This was going to be a flying story about a woman. Well, a woman’s story about flying. If nothing else, there was going to be flying. And a woman. Probably both. The end.)

He then got distracted and realized the story was going completely wrong. He wanted dinosaurs. Spaceships. Lasers. Action! Adventure! More lasers! For some reason, he was stuck on thinking about lasers. That’s probably weird.

Yet, thinking is like a straight line, he decides after a few minutes of writing. It runs from one end to another. Passing through certain lens, it refracts and splits in to different directions. All it takes is the right word and the reader’s mind will spiral out of control to understand the juxtaposition of the previous word and elephant. “That’s the key,” he thought. “All I need to do is be rather surreal.”

But that was not the best way, he knew. You needed humor too. Right when it was getting too serious, a quick laugh was the cure. On the roller coaster of a story, a quick catharsis was a great way to clear the mental cobwebs before the next climb. Best to get all that puking good and done with before proceeding to the next moment.

[Did he mention the idea about thinking being a straight line? Yeah, I wasn’t thrilled with that either. It’s not clever enough. And he likes to think he likes being clever. Often, he’s not. It’s all just him being self indulgent of his own impulses. His is a writing ship driven by the whims. –Ed]

He stared the page and shook his head. “This has gotten out of control. There was a plot here at some point. I just need to find it again.”

He, of course, doesn’t know how this will end yet, but wanted to write that he was thinking about how to write a story again. “It’s hard to make something coherent,” he said out loud. That was about 45 minutes ago.

Now, nearly at the end, he’s begun to understand that stories don’t always need endings. It’s never about how you get where you are going, merely that you try in the first place. “The journey is the key,” he writes. “Wait, there was another key too. Can this story have two keys? Like, maybe a red and then a blue one?”

He edits the beginning again. Since he now knows how and when the story will end, he adds that he knew all along when the end would come. That way, the whole thing is circular — and self-referential.