Coping with Endings
Stories are like romances, and I’ve been going through a lot of break ups.
A story, good or bad, comes into your life and creates a new experience. Sometimes it’s dramatic and memorable, sometimes it’s fun and thrilling, sometimes it’s hard and hurtful, sometimes it’s bland and quickly forgotten, but each one teaches you a little bit about who you are. The good ones change you, or at least your perception of your self and when they end they leave you a little empty and broken.
That experience you were having, that learning and discovering, and being something more than you were is over. The words and images, the characters and the setting, that… presence that for a short while became such a bright important facet of your life, once you reach that final page, is just… gone. There’s no more. It’s over. Time to move on. But picking yourself up after falling off the cliff of that final episode is easier said than done.
So many people get depressed when a good story is over. Which shouldn’t be surprising for anyone who has gone through a break up where you still love the person who’s now absent in your life. It’s hard having that wrenched out from under you.
Oh, you can go back and reread a story, like sometimes you can hook back up with an old flame, but it’s never the same. Sometimes the second viewing is better. Sometimes it’s a richer experience, knowing the steps, being familiar with the plot turns lets you experience the finer details you missed in your madcap rush of the first romance with the text. Sometimes revisiting a beloved story just highlights the flaws you overlooked during the excitement of “what comes next?” But better or worse, you can never recapture the magic of discovering a story for the first time.
It’s why I seldom re-read books, or re-play games, or re-watch tv shows. I make exceptions for movies, especially when I’m sharing a movie I love with friends. Don’t read too much into the metaphor here.
People often ask where I get my inspiration. I’ll tell you. I read muchly. I devour shows. I scour Netflix. I play all the games I can. I lose myself in the delight of other worlds until I return to this one time and again with a broken heart and a hole inside where once a story lived. And I try to fill that hole with a new world, a new story, one that will hopefully grow up to be a real heartbreaker.
Stories are like romances. The important ones break our hearts and we all could use another great one.