The Ending That Already Was

One of my hobbies when not writing fiction or blogs is to write music. This morning I decided to wrap up once and for all a piano piece that I had been putting off finishing for several months. I seemed to remember leaving the thing hanging on an unresolved chord and not sure where to go next.  So I cracked my knuckles, sat down at the computer next to my 10 year-old son, and had a listen.

The piece was going along fine, and my son was listening with me and I was explaining how I’d been so annoyed that I didn’t know how to finish it, and maybe it wasn’t meant to be, when the song reached the end of what I had written with a tidy, happy little chord.

“It’s finished!” said my son.

He was right. It was finished and I hadn’t even realized it. I had been living with the idea for several months that the piece had lots of potential but had nowhere to go, while apparently it had already arrived.

It often seems that we are simply seeing and hearing what there is to see and hear. The tree is green, the siren is loud—these are the immutable qualities of the world around us that we dutifully perceive. Yet whenever I write I become more aware of what a constant filter for the world I actually am. It is not that nothing is at it seems, it is that nothing is anything until you say it is.

Translation is all. That a flower is alive in your hand one moment as you inhale its smell and then dead the next because it cannot speak. That your husband is rude one moment for ignoring your hello kiss and then distracted the next as you remember his impending deadline. That a song you call finished today was called incomplete yesterday because you wanted more from it than it could reasonably give.

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