Who doesn’t like a tidy conclusion? Life is random. Does our art have to be? Isn’t a great part of the joy of creating and consuming art based on the possibility of finding a closure that our daily lives never offer?
Of course it is. If nobody liked neat finishes, then mystery novels would not be a thing.
But it does not always have to be that way.
In Iris Murdoch’s novel The Sea, The Sea, her playwright character has the following observation:
Then I felt too that I might take this opportunity to tie up a few loose ends, only of course loose ends can never be properly tied, one is always producing new ones. Time, like the sea, unties all knots. Judgements on people are never final, they emerge from summings up which at once suggest the need of a reconsideration. Human arrangements are nothing but loose ends and hazy reckoning, whatever art may otherwise pretend in order to console us…
Some stories lend themselves to a snappy finish. But for others, your efforts to wrestle the elements of life into something sensical and satisfying could ruin what you are trying to build. Don’t force the conclusion.
In art, as in life, things can sometimes just end.
(h/t The Marginalian)