The water in the lake was perfect and I had stayed in too long, but finally surrendered and began the long, sad task of closing the summer house. It was supposed to take a hour or so but took so much longer; all of the furniture had to be put back into place, animals shooed away and there were weeds growing up through the oven into the kitchen. All the while I read over two essays, both of which lost focus in the middle, and kept my eye on the TV and The Beatles reunion where Lennon played on despite being crushed beneath his piano. It was a melancholy song, one I had never heard before, and got back to what had to be done, until everything was in the boat and we set sail, back for the city.
I’ve come to the end. My novel, My Bad Side is done. Ending is hard. I’ve worked toward this moment for over four years. I’ve read through some 40 books for research – on everything from zoos and fire fighters to sex work and Newfoundland. And I’ve written lots of words – over160,000 – some of them too often (suddenly, everything, turned) and edited those down through four drafts to 99,065. And here I am, not as exhilarated as I would have liked – when is it ever like that? It’s almost the opposite actually, like I don’t want to be at this point, finished, like it’s a death. I have the ending down to one of three final scenes: a walk with Apollo, a night of music or an ocean swim. I have vacillated between each. Each has something, some essence, but then I wonder if it is too much. Is it melodramatic or too damn trite? Then again, I can’t avoid the guts of moment – like The Beatles did in their final album Abbey Road, ending not with The End, but with the lousiest Beatles song ever recorded, Her Majesty’s. It’s been a struggle, all of these endings in the mix, and then wondering if there might be another. I’ve considered just throwing it all away and using the Debbie Does Dallas finale where all the characters gather naked and say in chorus, ‘If it feels good, do it!’ Something like that. Or I could go with the ocean swim. It’s a tough call to make.