A tingling rush begins in my belly and swirls out like the arms of a tropical storm, spinning and churning, building in force and power until I am consumed. The heart flutters. The mind reels. With the end so near, I’m as giddy as a seventh-grade boy about to get his first real kiss, trying to somehow keep my cool and not blow it.
What is the object of desire that affects me so? Two beautiful words, Fade Out -- or gussied up in a different outfit, The End.
There is no other feeling like it. Months, in some cases years, have been spent in the courtship of those two sexy words. Plotting and scheming took place. False starts and do-overs litter the way. Passion for what could be but isn’t led to long periods of separation, and that same passion fostered reconciliation and fresh beginnings. Then, after all that time and toil, I am ready to add those delicious words. Like a master painter’s signature, they don’t go on any manuscript until it is completed — until I’m satisfied. The final words, literally.
It doesn’t matter whether the work is a one thousand word short story or an eighty thousand word novel, if it’s a five page short or a feature length movie; the point is it’s done and I, gosh darn it, I done it! That sense of creation-elation is there each and every time. Even well crafted e-mails can send the thrill pulsating down to my toes and back again.
“When did you know you are a writer?” is a favorite question when I’m at conferences, or signings, or public speaking events.
The fluff answer is, “I’ve always known.”
The truth is, “When I had to get up and pace my room after completing some stupid grade school assignment because the excitement that built up between the opening line and concluding sentence just couldn’t be contained any longer, that’s when I knew.”
Some talk of retirement as the years start growing a bit long in the tooth. After a quarter of a century totting that millstone, I get it. Take your rest, good and faithful servant, but I’ve no millstone. There will always be that next horizon, that new project, those great and brilliant writers to collaborate and commiserate with. And there will always be those two luscious words forever beckoning to me like siren-song …