The first semester of my senior year has just finished. I will never have another first day of high school, I will never be scared of my school’s mascot -a hideous puffin- at orientation, or be forced to take another Douglas Anderson-style mid-term again. I will also never have another poetry class with Mrs. Melanson, never hear “So, my children…” with a flourish of her hand as she explains just how synesthesia reflects on life as a whole. It’s bittersweet.
I’ve just started Senior Fiction, it is day three and I’m already waiting to see my prose grow the way my poetry did in the semester prior. Writing story starts, reading flash fiction- it feels weird. So far, what I’ve realized is that the most interesting part to every beginning, is the ending it leaves behind.
I first realized just how true this was when I began “Casual Vacancy,” by J.K. Rowling. The story starts when a man dies, and the entire town learns about his death. They feel things about it, their lives are changed by it and new things happen to them through it. The end of a man’s life became the beginning for so many other things. After this realization, I started thinking about other stories I’d read, other myths and parables I’d been taught. Adam and Eve begin life on Earth after their lives as angels end; monarchies are squished to bring forth republics, if Hester Prynne is going to raise her child, her good reputation and even her infatuation with the baby’s father has to be over. Sometimes good endings lead to bad beginnings, and sometimes it takes a little tragedy to bring the dawn in.
I’ve often thought about being a history teacher after school, and with that idea in mind, it’s really hard for me to “leave the past in the past.” We, of course, shouldn’t hold onto the past, we should grow from where we’ve come. But at the same time, as we start a new year, a new semester or job or relationship or short story, I think it’s important to reflect on where we -or the character’s we’re writing about- have come from. It’s important to know how all of the things that are constantly ending, relate with what’s to come.
-Savannah Thanscheidt, Web Editor