All endings are difficult

Jor liked beginnings of any sort: new beginnings, old beginnings, even in-between beginnings. He was definitely a Cat who liked beginnings. And that was one of the things that set him apart, right from the start, from all the other Cats in The Park.—Chapter One, Humble Beginnings

As you might suspect, The Park’s first leader and the founder of modern zoocracy was my alter ego in that respect. I’ve never liked endings. To me, they hold no promise, despite that silly cliché about one door closing and another opening.

Monday was Jor’s favourite day, as it is mine. Next Monday, I’ll awaken to a different month and a different set of goals, some of which have been on my list for more than three decades. I’m not kidding. One day, a few months ago, I unearthed a list dated 9 August 1987 that scared the heck out of me. It wasn’t that so much of it was never accomplished; it was that so much of it resembled the list I’d made the day before I found it. That 1987 list convinced me that it was time to get on with these things before the final ending took care of them all.

That’s not to say that I’ve done nothing. But when I look at that 1987 list, I see how much of what I wanted to do couldn’t have been done at all in those days. Some fantastic advances in technology had to take place before I could even attempt many of the things on that list, and I feel so lucky to have lived long enough to take advantage of that. That 1987 list was handwritten on lined paper, but so many of my notes for various projects were printed with a dot matrix printer. Before that, I used an IBM Selectric. And before that, I used a manual typewriter. The first word processing software on my first computer was called Volkswriter and it had embedded commands. WYSIWYG was still only a glimmer in the eyes of software engineers.

When I was seventeen, my boss on my second-ever summer job told me that we were all cogs in a wheel. I went home feeling more hopeless than I ever had, even though I knew he was dead wrong. Yes, our reach often does exceed our grasp, but our history—and our story—lies in that reach.

And that’s the reason I decided to use this web site to write about writing The Mammalian Daily. Even though I dislike the idea of writers writing about writing, it’s the history—not the process— that I want to document. I started the story when the world was a different place and the possibilities were by no means endless. I invite you to join me on my journey looking back.

In the meantime, as ever, I have writing to do and people to thank and, in a few days, cookies to eat at the celebration of my one thousandth original article. And, yes, it’s likely there’ll be tears, if for no other reason than that I hate endings.