It seems like the right time of year to talk about endings.
I hate endings.
Can’t stand them.
I don’t like the endings in most stories and movies. I really don’t like them in life.
The problem I find in fictional endings is that they aren’t at all like real life. We all know there is no happily ever after. All our problems aren’t ever resolved at one specific point. Even if we get the girl (or guy), land the awesome job, and repel the dimensional invaders – we then have to keep and live with the girl (or guy), work the awesome job, and at least clean up after our battles with the dimensional invaders.
We don’t reach “Happily Ever After” in real life, it just turns to a new chapter.
Until one day, it’s “The End”.
And that isn’t accompanied by resolution and the calm peace of mind that everything is now right with the world. Or even right with the people we care about. Instead it’s just another chapter of your life that suddenly stops midway through. Like you’re a character in Game of Thrones.
Our lives are chaotic, messy, colourful, brilliant, frayed, meandering things and the endings are even less organized.
So, it just sort of bugs me that we cling to the idea that our stories all end with nice little bow tied ribbon endings.
Ever watch a series that was cancelled abruptly? (Hello Firefly!)
That’s more realistic.
No, it’s not comforting or fulfilling. But neither is death. Or any ending I can think about. Goodbyes? That’s like knowing there are more episodes or books but not being able to see them. Oh they’re out there, but you’ve said goodbye – so, you’re not getting any more of that. (And we all are curious about the rest of the story. That’s why we reminisce about old acquaintances and say, “Oh, I wonder what ever happened to them…” and try to look them up on The Facebooks to see how fat they’ve gotten).
I think that’s why some of my favourite films are those that don’t have a firm resolution. Lost in Translation – Yes, they say goodbye – or do they? What does he whisper? How is this friendship going to change what each of them does next? Casablanca – He refuses to say the word “goodbye”, opting for “Here’s lookin at you, kid”. And the last line of the movie? “Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”
Endings that tie everything up feel incredibly forced. (Hello Lost).
The truth is that people don’t know when the ending will strike. Because that’s what it does – it randomly strikes. Just last week we pulled a basically dead woman out of a caravan. DOA. Fully coded. Then, after much work, we brought her back. One minute, it was end of the line. The End. Fin. Five minutes later, “and now the rest of the story“. Endings happen (and luckily unhappen) in just moments. And they don’t resolve anything.
No, if something is important enough that you need to resolve it – get it done before it’s too late. Before the end just happens. Endings are inevitable. Resolving the third act? Not necessarily.
Because if you want to get the girl (or guy), land the awesome job and repel the dimensional invaders before the end of the story just happens, then you have to keep