The Finish Line: The Paradox Series

The finish line. It’s just out of reach. I can see the end. I’ve come so far. It’s right there waiting for me to cross over. It sounds so sweet. It’s everything I’ve been working toward, right? It’s the satisfaction of completing a piece. It’s getting to stand next to something and call it mine. It’s a whole thing. It’s not just an idea anymore. It’s a sweet space where everything is possible. 

Sometimes my imagination goes wild at this point. This is when I could win an Oscar. I could work with my idols. I could sit on a Hollywood Reporter roundtable as a colleague of the tip top, cream of the industry. I could be asked to do an in-depth interview with Terry Gross. It’s blissful to imagine. And yet, with the realization that everything is possible, right on the other side is the realization and the reality that nothing is possible unless I actually finish. 

I struggle with this paradox every time I work on something. I recently completed a feature length screenplay. I crossed the finish line but guess what? There’s another finish line. Now to revise it and make it better. I still exist in that purgatory of between.

The feels are big and they’re real. I feel exhilarated that I finished something I adore. I am so proud of the story and proud of my work. I want my characters to have their place in the sun and get a chance to shine. I fully believe they deserve to be seen and celebrated.

And existing right with all those positive feelings is a deep sadness. I’m so sad that it is time for me to set my characters free. I also worry. Have I done them justice? Have I told their story in the most effective way? Will their beauty and strength shine through or have I screwed it up somehow? I am equal parts thrilled and bereft.

Despite all this inner tug-of-war, I cannot imagine pursuing any other life than this creative one. Nothing has brought such joy. I have never felt more myself. I have never felt more connected—even if it’s to fictional people. 

So, a toast to the finish line! May we cross it and allow ourselves all the feelings! This is how I know I’m alive! This is how I express myself and make myself seen. This is how I explore the lives of others and find common ground and compassion. May we keep crossing the finish line and realizing our creative dreams! May we all, in whatever form that takes!