How does an artist know they have finished a work of art? How does a painter know a brushstroke will be his last? How does a musician know to end on that final note or lyric? How does the film maker know when to say, “that’s a wrap” or “cut!” or “finé”? How does the writer know when to write, “they lived (or died) happily ever after” or the words, “The End.”?
We just do. It’s with the same understanding that tells us we have a story inside us to share that also tells us when our story has finally been told. For an artist, each new body of art becomes a pursuit for answers, a soul-searching endeavor, and a quest for resolution. And as we spiral into a meaning, all is revealed, and finally it just, makes, sense. The whole reason why we do this thing that we do. Because there is nowhere else to go on from here. The “ah hah!” moment that we seek.
I would compare it to some orgasmic experience, but even that seems like a shallow comparison. Birth is the only experience that comes close to the fulfillment of creating something from nothing. To pluck out an idea or a feeling from the infinite vault of our imaginations, to nurture it, and to have it inspire us again and again, then to bring it to fruition and see the fruits of our labor in full, blossomed splendor. That is the reward. That is the addiction of choice.
I recently found myself saying, The End, and so soon begins a new chapter. I have about 8 months of revisions and rewrites, but the story is now complete, and sooner than I can imagine, I will be working on the next one. I look forward to using this new voice I have discovered along the way. I also hope to keep sharing it with you. Period.