"I might just as well consider the illusion complete."

As I explained in my Pipeline post, I recently started focusing upon clearing out my backlog of nearly finished pieces. I consequently posted nothing new yesterday because I was inhabiting last winter instead, sorting through the nearly one hundred small chapters, performing my final edit. I read almost as slowly as I write, and I seem to find myself easily distracted when editing, perhaps because it doesn't feel like real work to me. I'm neither creating nor recreating then, but cleaning up. I should dress in a janitor's coveralls and wear rubber gloves. The work feels just that glamorous. It requires genuine dedication to get to the end of it. It requires real dedication just to get started, so when I discovered that printing it off erased some psychological barrier, I jumped right in.

I finished the scrubbing today. A little picky piece work remains around the edges, but it feels done enough to supply a shot of closure.
It has been ages since I experienced closure of this magnitude. I feel a small jolt when I finish each essay, but they're nothing when compared with completing the final edit on a book-length hunk of work. Three hundred and twenty five pages, appropriately double-spaced for easy correcting, an encyclopedic volume of paper. I carried that appendage around with me, working in the library or in coffee shops, finding the bounded solitude there more conducive to the effort than working from home. I could zone in there, juggling my editor's pen, dog-earing the pages with changes before slipping them to the bottom of the pile. The effort appeared infinite until it wasn't infinite anymore.

I carry a curious dread within me. I rarely take pictures. I possess no album of family photos. I prefer to leave my past behind me without planning any revisiting excursions back. Completed writing seems more a threat than a promising asset. The Muse knows that I have boxes filled with unreviewed "completed" work, which I almost never review, re-read, or eventually even remember having written. It seems as though some embarrassing or otherwise compromising elements reside there, so I avoid encountering them. This latest review and re-edit reassured me. I'd for months crossed the street whenever contemplating closure on these chapters. I'd buck up and dig in, only to quickly discourage myself and set to distracting myself again. The pile of printed papers were not so easily avoided.

I found the read, separated nearly a year from creation, reassuring. I could read as if I hadn't written the stories, though I knew that I had written them. I found reason to feel satisfied. I found myself nodding in recognition rather than nodding or wandering off. At times, I felt genuine pride of authorship, a sensation largely foreign to me until now. Now, having experienced not merely the promise of eventual closure but actual closure, I feel confident that I captured something important in the work. Not to go too awfully self-promotive on myself, but the work is well-written and satisfies even the nit-picky critic within me. Almost time to release it to some real critics to see what their reaction might be.

Closure seems a curious property. Of course nothing in this world is ever completely done, but times do appear when the undoneness itself seems undone. Sure, not all the lines are drawn, but the brain completes the missing segments and an apparently completed figure appears, often without the slightest hint that the brain has been filling in what was never actually there. I suppose that I can rightfully claim to have completed something. Between my fingers finishing the final editing and my brain filling in the few missing lines, a completed figure stands before me. I might just as well consider the illusion complete. Ahhh! Sweet closure at last.

©2019 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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