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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

At The End: The Last Chapter

By the time every vacation draws to a close, I'm ready to go home. I'm ready for my own bed and my own stuff and my regular routine. I'm a creature of habit. And I don't have the darndest what to do with myself when I'm not writing something. That last day is all about Let's-hit-the-road-already.

Up until that last moment. That last glance back at where you've been. The day I left Wyoming, I had this grand pause-and-turn. I looked at the Tetons one last time. I smiled at the dark dots of the bison moving through the fields. I breathed in that cold mountain air one last time before walking into the airport. The last morning, the last drive through town, the last photo, felt like trying to cram the entire week into ten minutes. What if I don't ever go back? What if this is the last time to remember this place? I tried to capture so much in such a short amount of time, to store away in my mind for however long I needed to keep it.

That's what it feels like writing the last chapter of a novel. It feels like sitting back and passing my eyes over the landscape one last time; taking one more deep breath. Hugging each character and absorbing the feel of them. As I wrote Remains, I couldn't wait to get to the end...but now the end is here, and I'm a little sad. And more than a little stressed about capturing that last perfect photo for the readers. The end of a book should be that melancholy moment on the tarmac, casting one more look over your shoulder at the mountains, thinking, "If I never come back, I'm glad for the week I had."

It's stressing me out, guys.

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