November 18, 2009

Closure

I love the feeling just after the house is clean and of just finishing a book. If I feel like I’ve offended someone, I can’t rest until I’ve made it right. When I start a task or promise to do something, it weighs on my mind until I complete it. If I tell the kids I’m going to do something tomorrow, I try my best to follow through.

I’m not saying this to make it sound like I’m particularly honest or conscientious. No, it’s all because I have an inordinate need for closure. I guess I don’t know if it’s an inordinate need. Maybe there’s a lot of other people out there who feel just the same. But for me, I feel tension until I reach that closure.

Funny how that doesn’t apply to starting books, though. I taste them but don’t feel compelled to finish them until I’m in the right mood. Maybe I don’t feel like I’m committed, or feel that hollowness to where I must bring about closure, until I’m farther along into the book.

Anyway, it’s something to keep in mind when ending a story. Does a story need closure? Or are some stories better ended with resolution but no closure. I guess, here, I’m defining closure as a tidy bow, wrapping everything up. In this way, I’d have to say that I like the latter more ~ resolution without closure. Because it’s more like real life. Because that’s often what literary fiction does.

So I’m always thinking about how to end a story with resolution but not closure. How do you make it feel like a story, make it satisfying, without wrapping it up in a nice little bow? The perennial question.

What I’m Reading Today: Laura van den Berg’s What the World Will Look Like When All the Water Leaves Us. How tough and tender.

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