Unhappy Endings and the Never-Read

In The Daily Drool on August 4, 2009 at 4:13 pm

Well, here it is… the end of the book.  I devoured it!  Begun but days ago and swallowed so swiftly…  But before I finish it, knowing the sad end it surely has, I ponder abandoning its tears in favor of perpetual suspension into the Not-Yet-Read therefore Not-Yet-Heartbreaking shelf of my, well, bookshelf. For if I don’t finish it, isn’t that akin to kindness for these characters forced to trod the lonely road of completion?  Or is this just a touch of ennui over too many hours immersed in story…

I know the hero dies at the end of this book.  And I don’t want him to.  Whatever lesson the author wants to teach by his demise seems grossly unimportant… and I am behaving as if by my refusal to read it, it doesn’t happen, both hero and heroine able to go merrily on in their present…

But life isn’t like that, is it?  Even as doom settles over our own lives, we cower before it wanting to freeze time or at the very least fast forward to a time when we can once again imagine happy.  Maybe I’m putting too much thought into things.  It is, after all, just a book.  Yet, there is something so intimate about spending an afternon, days, a week with the people pressed between the covers… it’s hard to let go of them, hard to remind yourself that they are just the fabrication of someone inspired.

I imagine this is less common in people less prone to fancy than myself.  I’ve always been quick to trust in the unseen or unexplained – and I probably will continue to relish every good book not just for the places it took me, but for the life it breathed with the going.

Hmm, all of this pondering as I make dinner and prepare myself for the finishing.  My adorable cat is perched in my lap as I sniffle and slurp over the final chapters of this book I’ve adopted.  And although it’s nice to imagine the story frozen, it’s characters finally free of their arc, I know that I must find out the how’s and the why’s of this particular tale’s end – that I crave the catharsis even though I know it involves puffy eyes and mucus.  And I wonder if mayhaps it is that way with life… Someone watching all of our triumphs and travails with the tissue box nearby, hoping beyond hope for a happy ending but knowing that they’ll stick it out to the end regardless of which way the tide wants to turn…

  1. Dearie — You have yet lived through another demonstration of how we, as a species, are hard-wired for story. Scientists currently say that it is because this is how we pass on culture — whatever — but we all are at the very base of our survival instinct in need of telling stories and listening to stories. Of course we need to know the end even if we already know the end — it is one of the gloriously tantalizing things about being human and alive. How brilliantly you describe the feeing and process –no great shock since you are one of the most gifted people in this arena around today. Thanks!

  2. Wow! Katherine, I will take that compliment, put it in my pocket, and pull it out for smiles when I am feeling blue. Thank you 🙂

  3. How is it that you’re single? The person who wrote this blog is the person I want to marry…

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