Friday Freewrite: The Life of a Story


When I write, the start and the end are the hardest. A blank screen sits before me, a clean white canvas, a stretch of space not yet scribbled on, covered up, created. My brain is searching, flitting from corner to corner, seeking a spark that will light a flame if I could just pull together words that would be the matches. My hands are hovering, ready, waiting, knowing the words can't just come from my finger tips. They have to come from somewhere deeper, somewhere harder to reach, somewhere I can't see like I can see my hands on the keys, my fingers gripping the pen. But then I start. One word starts it. One word is the gunshot that releases the masses of people from behind that starting line ribbon. One word is the last Jenga piece before the shaky tower tumbles down and my mess of an idea pours down the page.

The middle flows. The middle comes more easily. I'm on a roll now, I've started somewhere, and it moves onward, sometimes fluidly and gracefully, sometimes choppy and rough, but it goes on. Often, I end up far from where I thought I would. The current took me down a different river, the breeze carried me off to a different city.

And then I have to end it. I've said what I wanted to say, the words are there, the page is full, brimming with some sort of stuff that I haven't reviewed or come to any judgment about. And now the package needs the bow on top. Those words are often the most illusive. What will sum this up? What will be meaningful? What will be remembered, powerful, impactful, solid? 

Maybe our lives are like this. The start isn't our own to control. We came from something we cannot see. From the joining of cells, from an unseen Creator. It's months of preparing, and then we come into this world and breathe our first shaky breath, and we're off. We're alive. We've been born, we've started life, we start running the race ahead of us. Sometimes graceful, sometimes choppy, sometimes ending up in very different places than we ever imagined or intended. Life happens fast in the middle. And then someday, life comes to an end. What will sum this up? What was meaningful? What will be remembered? What was powerful, impactful, solid?

Will this story matter once it's done?