#99: It Sucks When There’s No Resolution

Sometimes I argue with my poems.
Sometimes, I write things I don’t believe, just to try them on.
I just published a poem that claimed that good fiction sometimes
has no resolution–and in that way–good fiction mirrors
this same aspect of living–that often, more often than we’d like,
issues, problems, and conflicts go unresolved.

Certainly, that last part is true.
I’ve experienced this many times, and recently,
within the last month, I’ve found myself
in the throes of a conflict for which there was
no resolution.  That’s not true.  I’d put it this way:
there was no satisfactory resolution.
That’s life for you all up and down.
It sucks.  It hurts.  It bugs.
It nags.  The wisdom says, let it go,
and the wisdom would be correct,
but this is difficult work,
some of the most difficult work we do,
and sometimes we fail.  

But in fiction, an ending must be
satisfying–even if it does not resolve–
and in this way, yes, a resolution can
be that there is no resolution–but it still
has to satisfy, satisfy someone,
particularly and most importantly,
the writer.  And in my own fiction,
I realize, probably as a hedge against
(and not a reflection of) the realities of living,
I have penned the resolution that I found
most satisfying.  Call it wish fulfillment,
if you like, but I prefer the idea that in
the imagination we can solve problems
or envision the world in a way that might
embody itself in reality some long night
into the future, or because we have imagined
the opposite scenario, we’ve told an ugly
truth about the way things are and not
the way we’d like them to be,
we’ve created a potential
for change in the universe.


Published by michaeljarmer

I'm a public high school English teacher, fiction writer, poet, and musician in Portland, Oregon

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