The Ambivalence of Completion

I recently discovered that I had been using the word “ambivalent” incorrectly.  I was using it as “having no opinion or strong feeling one way or the other,” which is an interesting (albeit wrong) definition.  Now that I know it really means “having simultaneous and conflicting emotions” I’ve been using it even more!

A common time for ambivalence is when you finish something.

I both love and hate when I read the last page of a book.  There is a deep satisfaction that comes at the conclusion of a story.  Things are resolved, characters’ lives are once again calm and quiet (hopefully!) and there is nothing left to say.  There is also a strange void that arrives at the end of a novel.  I get very attached to characters, and it feels like I’ve lost a friend when I leave their world.  I typically fill that void by jumping into another novel, but that is only a small comfort.

The same ambivalence happens when I finish a project of any kind.  Yesterday I finished knitting a little monster chunk.  He’s super cute and I’m glad he’s done (his first foot gave me fits) but now I have the challenge of finding another project to knit.

Writing is like that, as well.  I’m so glad that Dragon is done, and there is a great deal of satisfaction that comes from knowing that I am capable of writing more than one novel.  Truth be told, I’m also enjoying a few days of not having story growing in my head.  I do enjoy the guaranteed mental activity of working on a novel, though, and I kind of miss it.  And that challenge of picking a new project?  That applies here, too.

Ah, ambivalence.  Such an interesting place to be.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: Words with Multiple Meanings « Butterflies and Dragons

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