I do not fear silence, but I do fear being misunderstood. Hence the verbosity. I need to explain myself-- again and again, if necessary-- to make absolutely sure I've gotten my point across. I want no mistakes or misunderstandings, I don't want anyone to wonder what I meant by that. I will take a statement and reword it as many times as I have to until I'm sure there is no ambiguity to my meaning. Having said that, I just realized I must be the most boring person in the world to talk to and I'm not sure my reading my fiction is much better. Eek.
Maybe I'm not quite that bad, but it feels like it. When I scroll through an email exchange and see long blocks of text (by me) followed by one or two lines (by someone else) again and again... I wonder: do I say too much-- or do other people simply not say enough? I have my opinion, of course. You can guess what it is.
I love words. I love the turn of a good phrase. I love the perfect parting shot, the last lingering whisper before sleep, the memorable ending to a heated debate. I love conclusions-- I just rarely do them right. I want to, don't get me wrong. I want to make sure the last thing I say on the page or at the door is remembered forever after. But my mind is as messy as my emotions and my life, and so I take that tangled mess and try to fashion it into a pretty braid of words and phrases designed to hold your interest. In my insecurity, I don't know when to stop braiding and just walk away. It's a curse, really.
I am a fan of the romantic comedy-- and yet, I loathe them. They always end with the perfect last scene, the perfect last words. In fact, each and every scene of a romantic comedy ends like that-- with the characters saying exactly what they're supposed to say at exactly the right moment. Would that life were like that, eh? Maybe there are other people who can throw out that great punchline or cutdown or heartfelt romanticism and just... let... the... words... lay. Not me. I admire people like that, the strong and silent type, the quiet reflectors who only pipe up when they really have something meaningful to say. Me? I will beat the horse until it's dead, resurrect it and beat it to death again. In my writing and in my conversations.
I wish that my life operated like a film. Where the devoted lover always says the perfect romantic thing, where the betrayer always confesses with little more than the prompt, "Just tell me the truth!", where people don't wait until you're dead to let you know how they feel about you, where there is closure in every relationship. I can't even get closure when I deliberately set out to get it and actually use the words, "I just wanted some closure on this situation." Before I know it, I'm all tangled up in a new set of issues that had nothing to do with the old set of issues and closure is something I only get with a door.
Last words, last lines, stay with us long after the story or novel is finished, perhaps because they offer the closure most of us never really get in life. There is no wondering what happens tomorrow or next month or if there will be a text message addendum to that goodbye email or if you'll have second thoughts and change your mind a year from now. There is no changing your mind in fiction, there is no changing anything. The end is the end in a story or novel-- unless, of course, there is a sequel.