Monday, July 25, 2011

So we beat on, boats against the current

Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.

And I plagiarize, of course, but the saying brings to mind the importance of an ending, and a chance to blab about my personal preference.

I typically do not like an overly polished ending. I want a story or a novel to keep playing in my mind long after its over. I want to let my brain try and figure out, based on what I know about the character and experiences, how they will handle future challenges and conflicts. This is not always easy to do, as some sort of cathartic release typically needs to happen, and to keep some things dangling is to risk irritating an invested reader or viewer.

The closing lines of a novel can often dangle this out there. This line is from the novel,

The Beach:
"I carry a lot of scars. I like the way that sounds. I carry a LOT of scars."  A line that keeps my brain wandering.
The Great Gasby with the Great ending.....

"So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past."

In both of them, I, as a reader, can't help but think of my own scars, and can't help but think even as we try to move forward, we are against the current and constantly being bombarded, and perhaps are even doomed to repeat the same mistakes we have made in our past.  The ending is just the beginning of another novel, perhaps a similar set of internal psychological warfare to be waged, but the players and drama have been changed.  And some of our new baggage and scars weighing us down as we face it.

Okay, that paragraph was for my U of M English prof.  Let me get back to mass media.

There's The Killing, a "cool as the other side of the pillow" TV series on  AMC . Loved the cliffhanger ending (besides the 'out of character' actions of the male detective, which I assume will be explained later.) And now I am faced with a summer of deciding what happened, both using my knowledge of the characters and the pattern of the writers.
Of course, this is a series that will be continuing so it is perhaps not a fair example. So, there is one more example.  The Sopranos. A perfect ending.

I ran into Michael Imeperioli at an arcade one day. We were both there with our kids. He was in Detroit filming Detroit 1-8-7 and I approached him and told him I loved his work in Life on Mars, and added "you know the whole world is waiting on a Sopranos movie."

He is such his character I expected him to shoot me in the foot, but instead he just answered in his nasal voice "Well I don't think there's going to be one." He had a very concerned look on his face that I read he took expectations of his fans very seriously.
And I thanked him for his time, but I should have also thanked him for not ruining a perfect ending.

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