Some of the Feeling Found in Good Writing

By Jack Limpert

While working as a magazine editor, I had a sentence typed on a small square of paper and tacked up on the bulletin board near my desk:

Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship, which struggles on in the survivor’s mind toward some resolution, some clear meaning, which it perhaps never finds.

It’s spoken at the beginning of the play, I Never Sang for My Father. A middle-aged son is returning home to see his father, a difficult man nearing the end of his life, and the son is giving the audience a sense of what’s coming.

The sentence captured how I felt about losing my father when I was young, and I loved how it flowed, how it seemed to have some of the poetry that magazine writing should have:

Death ends a life, but it does not end a relationship,

which struggles on in the survivor’s mind

toward some final resolution,

some clear meaning,

which it perhaps never finds.

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