I only learned this word, denouement, a couple of years ago. And it is a great word.
In a novel, the denouement is the tying together of all plot aspects; the solving, the resolving of the intricate thing that is a story.
I have been re-reading some novels by Elizabeth Peters because, even though she is writing in a different genre than I am, I am astounded at her ability to create an ending. About 50 pages or so from the end, this writer begins to gather up her details. If you imagine that you have been floating down the wide river of story, Peters comes to a point where she begins narrowing the banks of the river. The story flows faster and faster until I am breathlessly turning the pages because I have to get to the end. I am compelled.
I want so badly to be able to craft a satisfying denouement. I want the novel Sally Nava and I are writing to have a real ending with an honest denouement. Well, you say,that makes sense. Who wouldn't want to write a great ending?
Just now, just a minute or two ago, I got a glimpse of another kind of denouement. My own. I have long been trying to figure out why life goes by faster the older you get. It would seem that it would pass more slowly as we have more time, less of a hectic life. But every year goes by more quickly. And I think I finally get why.
We have all been living this story, this interweaving of relationships and details, events and lessons learned. We have been given insight into what is really important, what is worth living for. So perhaps, a few years out from the end, we can't help but be swept along in the ever-swifter resolution of the story that is our lives. My story. My loves, my hopes, my dreams, my lessons learned. I notice that I long for clarity, for peace and for resolution. It is not that the mind gets more narrow; if anything the narrowing is the awareness of the temporal nature of life. We were never promised long life. Only this day.
I feel an urgency to finish some things. Not morbid, not fearful, not depressed. Just purposeful. I want published books. I want them out there. If I live another 30 years and write another 30 books, great. I am taking the chance now, putting them out there. So that my denouement has more denouement.