A recent Facebook conversation got my neurons firing towards what happens when the story is about to end. One of the big issues with serialization is extending the narrative via additional installments so that the story can keep going. The problem emerges once pretty much all the storylines have run their course and the series just seems to drag on. There’s a sweet spot between ending with a bang and leaving the fans waiting for more or just dragging things out until everyone is alienated and disappointed that is a rarity in serialization. The next few posts will discuss some of my favorite finales but today’s post is going to focus on something a bit more personal.
As it is painfully obvious, the post every day challenge has been a let-down and a failure on my writing part. No one to blame but myself on that one. Still, while I would never ascribe the title of blogger, writer, or dare I say author to what I do here on this blog but it is an outlet for ideas and such that I feel are worth putting out there. Some posts are academic while others I playfully categorize as “stalker friendly”. This one is the latter as I express my own ending of sorts. Get ready for a gamechanger folks.
For the better part of four years I have called Rhode Island my home and the University of Rhode Island my campus as I took on the daunting task of a PhD in English. I’ve had good times and bad with classes, comps, and now dissertation writing with some pretty amazing people along the way. I have worked with a lot of great professors, colleagues, students, and most importantly friends on graduate conferences and gaming cons. And so it is with mixed feelings that I officially declare that within a week or so the Rhode Island chapter of my life will be coming to an end. I will be returning to my homeland of Puerto Rico to keep writing from there. A job prospect in teaching (which I can’t give specifics on just yet) is looking good so don’t worry about me. There are a lot of people I care about that I hesitate to say that I leave behind but it sometimes feels that way.
Many good friends are graduating or at least ending the school year so transitions are in the air. But for me, well let’s just say that Gabe sightings will now be a rare sighting in New England. It reminds a lot of the first time I said goodbye to URI after a year as an exchange student. Facebook wasn’t as big a thing back then as it is now so the concept of staying contact via social media was only slightly above phone calls and being pen pals. The dent of my identity here is more pronounced compared to back then as there are people who have never seen an important get together without one of my cheesecakes, a con where I wasn’t on booth duty, or a corner of Crayola Manor without me living in it. I like to think that people will tell stories about me, some flattering ones and others not as much, so that my essence lives on and gets passed on. Maybe that’s selfish or prideful but if there’s one thing I’ve learned about narratives it’s that if a story is good enough then it’s worth sharing. Maybe this is how I validate my existence, with the notion that friends will look back with fondness and reminisce about my way too convoluted plans to get a girl to like me (not successfully), some epic feat of academia, an interesting pedagogical approach, the wackiness of a Dungeons & Dragons adventure with an oddly voiced character, or some other memory and then chuckle a bit before saying “good times.” It’s quite the bizarre version of the shy kid who years ago would have rather been unperceived and just blend into the background.
In a lot of ways, my going away/my return is a finale of sorts but I like to take a different perspective on this. I’ve never really seen myself as the main character of my story, just a cool secondary character in other people’s stories. When I travel, I become the guest star for one episode or two. In Rhode Island, I have been lucky enough to be a recurring character for a few seasons for a lot of people for whom I have made their stories at least a little more interesting. The fact that some of my closest friends are about to graduate, some of whom I met as freshmen when I first arrived here, shows just how much time and growth can happen as this current chapter comes to a close and a new one is just a few pages away. Stories never end, not yours or mine, they just keep going and changing. I’m going to miss a lot of people that I don’t know if I’ll physically ever see again, except for maybe during a special episode on sweeps week when I return to defend the dissertation, but that is part of life. You just have to keep going, and for me that means a return to “mi patria” for the foreseeable future. I have no idea if I’m going to stay there for forever or what but for now I know that this rhody chapter has been a memorable one for me, and I hope for you as well.
Onwards, for a new chapter is about to begin.