A while ago I said that ‘that’ is the worst word in the English language. The best word, on the other hand, is ‘end’. No other word gives me such pleasure to write. In bold. Underlined. At the end of a script, article or story.
Finishing a thing is an exhilarating feeling. I wouldn’t say there was actual adrenaline involved but I do get the urge to walk around the house for a bit and have a cup of tea to calm down. It’s the lifting of a huge weight off your shoulders – you did the thing, you can hand it in, it’s not going to be late and now you can move onto worrying about not being able to finish the next thing.
There’s a certain sense of satisfaction. Of having ascended the vertiginous summit – writing is a bit like climbing, and if you wish you can imagine me extending that metaphor further, but I won’t because I’d sound pretentious. But writing ‘The end’ is like sticking in your flag. From now on, it’s downhill ski-ing all the way.
It never is the end, though. Even before something is handed in it has to be wordcounted, spellchecked, formatted. I have to remember to number the pages and stick in headers and footers and titles. It has to be re-read, and re-read again, twiddled and tweaked. It has to go through the ‘that’ check.
And then it comes back with notes, for a second draft, a third draft, however many drafts. It ain’t over ‘til the editor is one hundred percent happy. Or dead.
As Winston Churchill once said; ‘This is not the end. It’s not even the beginning of the end. But it’s the end of the beginning. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to get pissed.’