I’ve often heard that a story’s ending should change the way the reader sees everything that has led to that point. It’s the moment when the story’s pieces snap into place, when all the seemingly unrelated scenes become unified in the climactic light.
I used to sit in the kitchen and draw when Jean visited my mother. I loved to show my completed drawings to Jean. She made me feel as if I’d discovered an elemental truth, or shown her something vital. Once, when I handed her a picture I’d done of a yellow lion with spindly legs and huge round eyes, she looked at it with consideration and said, “You know, it doesn’t look like a real lion. But I think you’ve caught the spirit of a lion here, and that’s a lot more important. This lion has lion-ness.”
I met Jean Taylor when I was five years old. She was the tallest woman I had ever seen, and she walked slowly, with her head up and her shoulders back, her hips moving like the hips of a slender cat. She wore black slacks and she had big feet which seemed to me very graceful, especially when she wore her straw sandals with the artificial cherries on them.