Paula Damon

“If you want a happy ending, that depends on where you stop your story.” -- Orson Welles, American actor, director, writer and producer

When writing, there are at least a half-dozen ways to establish an ending.

The Perfect Loop ties closing to opening scenes, offering readers deeper understanding and perspective.

Surprise endings are fun and catch readers off guard.

Occasionally, the last line spells out a lesson or key message to the narrative. This ending is called Moral to the Story.

Cliff Hangers are common in movie with sequels. Left open-ended with resolutions dangling, these are common in television and theatre dramas.

In the Happily Ever After ending, writers spell out what happens to characters in the future.

Some writers like to conclude with vague closings with much left unsaid, leaving readers to discern endings on their own.

Most of us don’t like murky endings.

We want to get it straight with absolute clarity and have a chance to say goodbye.

By leaving the ending up in the air, writers deny a rewarding closure.

While hopefully this ending – my last column – will not be a Cliff Hanger, it may be a Surprise ending to some of you. A Perfect Loop and/or happily ever after to others.

Seems like yesterday when I took on writing a weekly column, but it was more than 15 years ago, while adding publications here and there along the way.

Combined with eight previous years as a columnist for the Sioux City Journal, I have a total of 23 years under my belt.

I owe a lot to editors who took a leap of faith by signing me on to their freelance staff and never looking back.

And to readers who faithfully picked up the paper or clicked on my online page and could see their stories in my stories.

One of many hymns I first learned to sing in Latin, “O Sacred Head…” has in its second verse, “What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend…?”

That’s what I’m wondering. Where and how do I begin to show my gratitude for this space?

Over the course of more than 900 columns, I was free to explore the universe of stories, articulate the treasures I found and share them with you, dear friends.

What language puts into words the calculation of hours spent sweating deadlines, the math of making them relevant or the emotional toll of connecting beginnings to middles to endings.

So much to say in so little time.

Isn’t that the truth.

It is here in this space I have decided to stop writing a weekly column, not because I’m bored. Heavens, no!

As most of you know, I retired from a long career of writing, editing, publications management and strategic planning in 2014.

Since then, I’ve taken on numerous volunteer and professional assignments as a writing consultant, newsletter developer, writing tutor, program director, secretary, substitute teacher and non-profit board member.

I’ve also published two books of poetry and am working on several other collections.

You know what this all means, don’t you? It means I am not retired.

At any rate, as new projects beckon me, including songwriting and missionary work, signing off here will enable me to say yes to others.

Until we meet again, please stay in touch via email at If you don’t have email, submit your name and contact information to this paper for me to correspond with you.

What language shall I borrow to thank Thee, dearest friend?

Gracias. Danke schön. Xièxiè. Je vous remercie. Grazie.

Thank you, all!

Paula Bosco Damon is a national award-winning writer whose columns appear weekly in regional newspapers in the Upper Midwest. Over the years, the author’s works have garnered top honors, including her creative non-fiction chapbook “Look. Don’t Look.” – garnering First Place in the National Federation of Press Women’s 2017 writing competition. For more information, email


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