So many of the projects and hopes and dreams I’ve had these past six years are unfinished. A senior retirement community for elderly dogs. Heading up the pet insurance division at a local agency. Writing a dystopian trilogy. “Read and Run,” a combination running-and-bookstore. A novella written in weekly tweets.
And if I’m repeating my mother’s creative frenzy of a life with all its unfinished projects—her half-written manuscripts typed on onionskin paper; sketches stashed in a rusty file cabinet; index cards and notebooks filled with ideas—then, so what? I’m okay with it all.
Because I find comfort in not finishing, having something to work on, reflect upon, dream about.
Because finishing a project would move my chess piece closer to finishing another project.
“There is something about finishing that our culture is obsessed about, writes Devin Kelly in his article Out There: On Not Finishing. “Finish what you are doing so that you might find joy…So you might find something new to finish before you finish your life.”
My life is not finished yet, and neither are the dozens of writing projects I’m actively unfinishing. A Momoir of microessays. An article on lost dogs and unknown neighbors. Flash essays writing contests and dozens of short stories involving lakes and ghosts, mirrors and islands, dementia and death.
I have no writing legacy, no children to entrust with my projects, unfinished or not. No one to leave my legacy to but the ghost of my future self who prowls the stacks of my mother’s artwork and my unfinished stories.
We are, all of us, works-in-progress, our unfinished selves a measure of success. Sure, closure can provide gratification, but it often brings me sorrow as I bid farewell to another piece of my writer’s heart.
So, reader, I leave you with this: what if not finishing is simply enough?