Thinking of Endings

Most of my work ends up frozen forever in the limbo just before the final draft. I never seem to take that step of polishing a piece until it shines, all its complications in place for the reader’s pleasure. I have a fear of commitment. If the story is done, the time has come to send it out to people who are not my friends, from whom honesty is not so easy to accept.

I have several writing goals this year. Among them is actually submitting my work. I don’t actually have a problem hearing no. I have a problem making myself available to hear no. I have managed to meet multiple goals already this year, but submission for publication has not happened yet. Nor has a finishing a piece to the point that it feels “done.”

What I have checked off my list is drafting the syllabus for the course I’d like to teach, putting feelers out for that course, entering a writing competition, and working regularly on multiple pieces of writing on a schedule. These are great strides in my world of diapers and timeouts, drop-offs and pick-ups, homework and extra-curriculars. It’s difficult to eke out time for what I’ve dreamed of as my career, but naps have proven friendly for such work, and I am far more motivated than I have ever been.

I feel as though my writer brain is back online. It is a constant background hum so that I am dreaming again, every night, vividly; something I have not done in several years. In every possibility, I see the germ of a story, and I am anxious to return to the page.

My boys have had a wonderful two week Spring break. We have been enriching the life of the trees on our property and building a clubhouse for their future confidences and magical growth. Despite gray days, this time has been pleasurable and well-spent. But I look forward to Monday with intense hope that I can return to the comfort of my own schedule, tending to words as I have my children, and finishing what I have begun.

Shawna Ayoub

Shawna Ayoub is an essayist, fiction writer, poet and instructor with an MFA in creative writing from Indiana University. Some of her work has been published in The Manifest-Station, Role Reboot, [wherever], The Huffington Post, The Oxford Review and Exit 7. Her writing explores the intersections of race, place and survivorship. She writes with honesty about her own experience in order to transform pain.

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