Happy Endings

I have always been ambitious, which means I have spent a lot of time peering into the future to determine whether I am headed where I think I ought to be going. This is not unusual for writers. Though we love our time alone at the desk, though if pressed every writer easily admits there is no greater pleasure than immediate immersion in whatever story we are telling, curiosity alone can pull our attention to that dim horizon where the harvest of our labor waits.

Unfortunately, while curiosity is the tireless engine of creativity, the future, at least as I have tried to know it, is an ambition killer. My life sometimes feels like one of those stories I love to tell. When I love a story, I want to know how it’s going to end. I confess, I prefer happy endings. When it comes to my life, I require them. This is why I get so curious about the future. That’s where the ending waits for me, where I get the girl or win the race or die trying.

While my curiosity is fantastic at telling me what I’m interested in right now, it’s lousy at predicting the future. Every single time I ask myself, “What’s going to happen?” I’m met with shadows of uncertainty and specters of failure. Do this often enough and life hardly seems worth living. After all, I’ve now seen where I’m headed, and I don’t like it.

Until, of course, I find myself back at my desk, back in front of a blank page, back where my curiosity can do what it was meant to do. Asking myself to see the future is like asking a fish to climb a tree. But throw me into the water and say, “Find the current of what interests you most,” and I start swimming and swimming, happy to be where I am.

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Write Within Yourself: An Author’s Companion.

A book to keep nearby whenever your writer’s spirit needs feeding.” Deb Caletti.

You can find William at: williamkenower.com

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