out of the ashes

Sunday, September 23, 2012


      As stories go, as life sometimes allows, the loose ends of the journey unraveled and then wove themselves into a tapestry that was marvelous to look upon, although not entirely beautiful.
      Gerald’s addiction was in the end his downfall.  His marksmanship was sure, even though ripples in the air between the barrel of his rifle and the body of John Delilah spelled the final failed outcome of his assignment...

      Marvin looked down the path, down the hill a hundred paces.  Another young woman stood, smiling, expectant, radiant.  Her hair was blonde, her eyes were diamonds, and she wore a golden key on a golden chain that rested over her heart.
      He went to her.

                                                          THE END

I wrote the Epilogue to Marvin (The Dance of the Spiral Virgins) a year ago this summer. I think I had just finished rereading A.S. Byatt's powerful and Mann/Booker winning novel Possession. Her Postscript 1868 sums up the fate of Matthew Ash years after having met Christabel. Having in Postscript come across the daughter he knew, but could never know. The circumstances, the short scene, is moving in such a profound way that I go back to it regularly, just for the magnificence and sadness of it.

Ms. Byatt did not write "The End" following the last line. I did in Dance. In a way I wish this were the only dissimilarity between the two books. I wish, for instance, that I had the power and courage to describe a field, using ten pages to do it. Okay, several pages. When you leave that field you KNOW every flower, every blade of grass, every breeze that courses across it, every rock that lies hidden, or looming like a tower in front of you. And you are weary of commas, lol.

I am moved and inspired by the force of words, the images they are able to convey in the hands of a master of the language. They infect me, sometimes for days on end. Many books have done that to me, but none with such force as Possession.

I must admit, too, that I was thinking of the ending credits scene from the brilliant movie, A Fish Called Wanda. The fates of the variously remarkable characters--Kevin Kline covered in cement hanging onto the window of the jet. In that summation, everything turned out for the best and brought a huge smile to my face. It hit me back then as I was considering my book's ending that perhaps I would take Marvin to Washington D.C. to straighten out the quagmire of politics there in some outrageous way...

But Marvin's story was different, although the wrapping up of the story was upbeat in an ironic way. Much different than the original draft's conclusion. It was my emotional response to Postscript 1868. The entire summation might be the best I've ever done, or will ever do. At any rate, the last two words I wrote were THE END, and I am proud of what I accomplished preceding it.

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