Perhaps it’s because I’m in the middle (deep, deep in the middle) of my current book, that I’m thinking about endings and beginnings (anything but the present moment is far more appealing!)
Perhaps – and even more likely – it’s because my oldest grandson is getting his AA degree this week (I was a child grandmother), two more grandsons are ‘graduating’ from pre-school and a granddaughter is graduating from 8th grade.
They are celebrating endings. They’re looking back and remembering good things (even a rather recently turned five year old can say, “Remember when …” ) – and they’re looking forward to new beginnings.
They will no doubt leave part of themselves behind as they end this phase of their lives. But a part of who they were before their graduations will be with them always. What they did then will make a difference to who they become.
The oldest one, of course, knows this better than the others. He’s a baseball player as well as a good student. He’s worked hard both academically and in his chosen sport. I could say that his sport chose him, because I think that that’s more likely the case. He’s always been a baseball player, as was his father before him, and his brothers coming along behind.
But given the predilection and the talent, he’s added plenty of hard work, so that now he has been given a very good scholarship for his final two years to a school he wouldn’t have dared think about without having made that effort. One beginning leads to another.
The past leads to the future, informs the future. It isn’t just a matter of unrelated stepping stones. These beginnings and endings build on each other.
I had an email from one of my daughters-in-law the other night talking about the same experience in her life – how she wanted to get back to the important personal reasons she had begun her medical career, how touching base with her beginning was, she hoped, going to help her make the right decisions about future work.
It seems that way in writing, too (and not only because I’m in the middle). I’ve always written – and it wasn’t the writing that mattered. Like my grandson and baseball, it found me rather than the other way around. But while the interest was there, like him, I had to hone my skills. And then I had to find out, like my daughter-in-law, what I was doing the writing for.
Going back to my own beginnings has helped me do it. What has always mattered to me is the notion of relationship. What connects people, what they find in each other that makes them each more fully who they really are – that’s always been a major fascination for me. When I get side-tracked by the middle or feel depleted at the end, it only takes thinking about the beginning to give me that desire to start all over.
Maybe it’s the leitmotif that gets me from one beginning to the next. It’s been around for a long time. It is a thread that runs through all my beginnings and endings. It runs through my books, too.
Watch for Last Year’s Bride, coming soon from Montana Born Brides at Tule Publishing!
1) Pre-school graduation: By Gideon Tsang (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons