Friday, February 13, 2015


Endings are hard. I've read some that are disappointingly too brief, stopping short, a real let down. Some where confusing and needed more work. Some wrapped things up, but didn't leave a message.

My ending is still evolving. I want to get a message across. Two actually: preservation and forgiveness.

Back when I lived in Bishop Hill, I was walking past the columns of the 1854 Steeple building’s wood and stucco porch, past the hand made bricks of the 1851 Carpenter and Paint shop, and past the 1857 Blacksmith shop thinking about writing a book. I knew that preservation had to be a main theme.

There are so many ways to handle the preservation of buildings: precise, methodical, and by-the-book; caring, but limited by a budget; fast with modern materials; or doing nothing at all, letting it “go back to nature.” Saving wood and metal artifacts have a similar range of possibilities. Paper and fabric are the most fragile and need the most care. Paper documentation has the added dimensions of translation, interpretation, and censorship.

Forgiveness has been on my mind ever since I read about a Forgiveness Day in a Dear Abby column. I thought it was a wonderful idea and used it to help get some family members to talk to each other, get along, and move past the old hurts. It worked—for awhile. Whenever Forgiveness Day shows up again, I pay attention.

As I close in on a “good” ending for my novel, I've expanded my view of preservation to include personal relationships: between friends, between parents and children, within communities. 

I've likewise enlarged my scope of forgiveness to include actions from the distant past. They can set off chains of events that go far beyond any one person’s knowledge or control.

Preservation and forgiveness—important themes for me to explore.

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