The Art of Mirriam Neal

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reluctant for the end

For several weeks, The Eigengrau has been sitting at almost 160,000 words. The title ‘Chapter 63’ has been perched atop page 217, waiting for me to put something underneath it. It’s not that I don’t know how the story continues; that isn’t the problem. I don’t have writer’s block. I simply don’t want to finish it. Not because I don’t love it, but because I do. I haven’t loved a book like this, I haven’t poured this much of myself into a book like this, since The Fading of the Light. I was able to zip right through the ending for The Fading of the Light, though, and I realized the distinct difference: The Fading of the Light was the first in a series. The Eigengrau is a standalone. Once I finish it, that’s the end. It’s over. I’ll never write these characters again, I’ll never spend more time in Cedar Grove, I won’t try to come back and ruin it with a sequel. Once I write ‘the end,’ it’s done. And I’ve never felt that feeling before. I tend to leave open endings ripe for sequels or spin-offs. I tend to write series of novels, not standalones.

Is this an excuse? Maybe. Maybe I’m writing this to reassure myself that it’s fine, I don’t have to end it immediately, it’s okay. I can wait. Except I do have to end it at some point. I have to free myself up so I can write something else. I have to wrap it up and take a deep breath or twelve and let it go. In some ways, it’s appropos of my life right now. I’m moving across the country, again, with my parents and my sister. We’re going back to Georgia in July. I’m leaving the state I love, I’m leaving the friends I’ve made, I’m leaving the things I do. My favorite coffee places. My favorite roller rink. My favorite Dungeons & Dragons group. Of course there will be new things, new friends, new places. But I don’t know them. I haven’t met those people or been those places or seen those things.

There’s a lot of leaving about to take place, and while I know that endings are necessary for new beginnings, that doesn’t mean I’m excited about it. That doesn’t mean I want to go.

I don’t want to end The Eigengrau. I don’t want to drive away from Cedar Grove, Washington. I don’t want to walk away from Gavin and Alexis or Travis or Daryl. But what I want doesn’t have anything to do with it. They need me to finish their story, and so maybe this post isn’t an excuse. Maybe it’s a way of squaring my shoulders and pulling the door shut behind me. A way of looking forward to loving something else, something new.

After all, there’s always the future. Even if the future starts with The End.

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