endings

Summers illuminate endings more than winters.  Perhaps due to how much the British cherish a fine season, maybe it’s those drawn out dusks which encourage reflection, or how the clearly divided school holiday period always seems marked in the calendar – however far you pull away from schooldays and regardless of whether or not you have children.  Early to mid September: Back To School, the killer ending, Sunday nights cranked up to Ten.

Summers are also more liable to the punctuation of momentous public events: those of a government change or a major sporting competition.  While being public, communal events, they’re personal journeys too.  They rubberstamp memory however far away you are from the precise happenings: you remember where you were when..

In sport, these events inevitably end in disappointment, mournful reflection and navelgazing as you sit back bitterly watching a compilation of the tournament’s glossy highlights: the exciting opening match that feels like years ago, the foul that NEVER fucking was.

Over the course of a winter, during Christmases and New Years, there’s a willful persistence to push on and get through with the parade, the veil of good cheer.  Sure there’s reflection too, but it’s media forced, less romantic.  Fuck off with your Top 100s and 2007/8/9/10’s Bests.

This summer has the makings of the above.  As well as the whole government thing, a number of personal endings.  If I haven’t moved some miles back West by the end of August, rather than bleating on about it, I will have disappointed myself.  Again.  Honest, God.  I will.  I’ll get my arse out and do something about it soon.  Unless I don’t, or if..   No, I will.

A big football competition which I’ll promise myself I won’t get too emotionally involved with, and fail because there’s embarrassingly little which matters to me.

And there’s this thing I’ve been idiotically writing, pouring hour upon hour into for the last eighteen months or so.  The box.  Finally I’ve reached the end of it, interpreted my own shoddy handwritten notes, deleted and added, scrapped and changed.  I’m reaching a point where I don’t hate its totality.  Reaching the final page feels as endingy as anything, the physical end of a long and arduous road you’ve constructed and laid yourself.

It’s a fractious, erratic relationship.  One section you think is an ok road, smooth tarmac anyone could travel down with a modicum of amusement, it could have merit.  The next you think it’s potholed to fuck.  In fact it’s all utter bollocks which should be destroyed immediately and you’re a complete mug for wasting your life like this.

You read Ian McEwan’s latest.  Even just a paragraph and your brain is elevated to a different untouchable level.  There is no comparison and you feel, by pressing a single finger to the keyboard with such an intention, it’s like you’re trying to chat up Scarlett Johansson.

You read a niche industry blog by a trade magazine editor you like and respect.  It’s brilliant: extremely funny, informed, well written.  If you can’t aspire to that level what the hell are you doing..?  He probably had similar pretensions at such an age.  You know of other trade magazine editors and reporters who did.  Every other young journalist, marketing, advertising or publicity exec wants to write in this way.

You have neither the discipline or the talent.  (No fishing line cast).  You struggle with forms of address, (don’t I?) and tense, (or you did), as well as plot, structure, pace and characterisation.  You have only one voice and maddeningly overuse certain words.

But still you persist and you have now built, created.  Isn’t that worth something?

You might send it off to a few publishers’ slush piles, embarrassed and coy, never telling a soul and trying to forget all about it. Or you might not.  It’s a lot of printing and a lot of effort.  You might let it rest on a hard drive, a USB stick, in an inauspicious cardboard box.  Recover it in a few years when you browse, flick, scroll or swipe through it, smiling weakly at your younger self, bless him.

Bless him and his hours of squinting and writing and rewriting, the reams of shit he wrote.  Shit he eventually put a lid on, last clicked Save As back in that memorable Summer of 2010.

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