Read a book backwards. Some writers start at the end and work their way forward, so can you. A different perspective is just what people need when the happy ending seems far away. (J)
An idea keeps poking me in the back of my brain, no not the occipital lobe, let’s figuratively say the back…but then again, you need the “back” of your brain to look forward, how curious. “Once upon a time” is how many stories start and “…they lived happily ever after” is how they end – at least in the ideal world of fairy tales where the good are rewarded and the bad get their just desserts.
When you get beyond children’s stories, writers understand that the story does not end at the last page. The last line of Ernest Hemingway’s For Whom the Bell Tolls is “He could feel his heart beating against the pine needle floor of the forest.” Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert ends with “Let’s cross over”. The world does not stop once you reach the last punctuation mark - it may change into something else, but there are reasons you reached the conclusion in that final sentence.
The end is often the beginning of something new. The idea for this project came to me as something very important in my life was coming to an end and I was lost. A journal entry from July 2007 reads: Falling, falling, where does this rabbit hole end up? Where am I going? Thought I knew but someone has replaced all the signs with a language I don’t understand and dumped me in a foreign country with a guidebook from 1819 which does not apply anymore. So one step, one more, and yet another until I end up somewhere that will hopefully look vaguely familiar. Feel my way along the walls: rough, smooth, jagged; each surface changes. Touch like glass then sharp enough to break skin. Not sure if I would recognize my reflection but my face is different every time I catch a fleeting glimpse. Who am I today? Tip toe around the refuse looking for a refuge or another challenge? Grasp for a handhold, a foothold, a toehold. Here I am and I can make it back to a place I remember.
So you feel life the way you thought it should be is at an end – how did you get here? Sometimes reading your own story backwards is a good way to understand what choices and circumstance brought you here. 20/20 hindsight can be a great help in not making the same mistakes twice.