Milking the maggots


Not to milk the maggots — although what a gift they were — but I did get some interesting responses to my post.

Some readers were kind enough to comment on the post right here on the blog, and that’s always good for the soul of a blogger. I am grateful to you all.

Others chose to comment to me privately. If any of you are reading this, don’t worry, I will always respect your privacy. But I wish I could share your comments. Some people are grappling with situations that are extreme, confronting a variety of demons of varying ferocity. Yet these people were kind enough to say that what I wrote gave them some light relief. It’s what I dream of, of course.

Their comments did make me really feel what I already knew which is that maggots are not a problem. Not when they’re gift-wrapped,  dead and come with Christmas wishes. I felt a bit embarrassed for even mentioning them, although I know that wasn’t how these people intended me to feel.

The comments did make me think though. I wanted to offer some kind of comfort. But I know I can’t. Words aren’t always enough and they can seem hollow.

But I did reach an end-of-year conclusion for this blog.

It is that we always have tomorrow.

No, I’m not being brisk. It’s just a fact. Tomorrow is coming up as fast as the planet turns.

Of course, I’m not the only one who has noticed.

In the immortal words of Scarlett O’Hara, heroine, or perhaps anti-heroine, of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The Wind: “I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get him back. After all, tomorrow is another day.”

This is a fantastic ending because it concludes everything, but leaves enough open to let our imaginations play out our own final conclusion. In this it has something in common with Ian McEwan’s Atonement. He famously ends his novel with a choice of endings, although he is clearly more invested in one ending than the other. It’s interesting to me that Mitchell leaves this implicit. Half a century or so later McEwan wants to talk about it, it seems to me. He’s challenging us to think about the way in which we use stories with happy endings to comfort ourselves even when we know the truth is grim, is not happy.

These days a rollicking good story isn’t enough for literary writers. It’s all got to be meta.

McEwan also narrows our choices. One ending is unbearably sad, the other artificially cheery. Mitchell leaves us with the whole world of tomorrows to arrange as we please.

And tomorrow can be the beginning of a new story or at least a new plot development. New characters can arrive and established ones leave. Sometimes we get to try new settings. Things can change. Or our view of things can change.

Even when tomorrow is all we have, it’s a lot it seems to me. It’s opportunity. Tomorrow our tomorrow is a whole new year.

It’s maggot-free so far.

Happy 2013.

Cathy x

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Posted in characters, creativity, ethics, feedback, friendship, life writing, Writing
5 comments on “Milking the maggots
  1. Emily says:

    A vision of you milking maggots is a wonderful start to 2013. Thank you. And happy new year! xx

  2. Pseu says:

    Tomorrow is indeed a a whole new year. But, as my ma always said,
    ‘tomorrow never comes’ in the sense that as we reach ‘tomorrow’ is becomes ‘today’ again. A bit negative huh?

    Well, we never know what tomorrow may bring…
    ‘Never forget yesterday, but always live for today…Because you never know what tomorrow can bring, or what it can take away’… (Unknown quotes)

    Or indeed, on the other side of the coin we have the White Queen, who says,
    “The rule is, jam to-morrow and jam yesterday – but never jam to-day.”

    “It MUST come sometimes to ‘jam to-day’,” Alice objected.
    “No, it can’t,” said the Queen. “It’s jam every OTHER day: to-day isn’t any OTHER day, you know.”

    Happy new Year to you and Yours.

    “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
    And next year’s words await another voice.”
    ― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets

  3. Cathy Dreyer says:

    But that’s why tomorrow is so glittery and wonderful. Tomorrow is what we think it might be, it’s not real, it’s a gauntlet laid before our imaginations. I like the Eliot the best. That seems hopeful. 🙂

    A very happy new year to you too.
    Cathy x

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