I recently finished off two pieces of media that I started strong on, then set aside for one reason or another. The first was Stranglehold, an Xbox 360 game that acts as a sequel to John Woo movie called Hard-Boiled staring Chow Yun-fat which I’ve never actually seen, and the other was “Wyrd Sisters”, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett.
I picked up Stranglehold back when I worked at GameStop, mostly because there was a lot of hype about how this game had a bullet time mechanic that would let you zoom in and fire at particular points of your enemies’… ahem… anatomy. I fired the game up to play on Twitch intended to get a few immature jokes out of that mechanic, and ended up finishing the game! It turns out I was only two levels away from completing the story mode when I last played it about 10 years ago. Now, this is a game that is a sequel to a movie I never saw, and that I took a decade-long break in the middle of, so I clearly wasn’t invested in the story, but it still felt good to finish it. There’s a sense of satisfaction that comes with beating a video game that’s kind of rare for me, even with how much time I spend on video games, because I’ll often feel “done” with a game way before I finish the story, and back on the shelf it will go.
“Wyrd Sisters” was a different circumstance. I started reading Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels a few months ago and worked through several of them at breakneck speed. For the unfamiliar, Discworld is less one series of novels than it is several interconnected series, all taking place in the same universe (akin to how Netflix’s Daredevil and Thor Ragnarok and Agents of Shield are all *technically* the same universe, even though they occupy wildly different spaces). I got up to Wyrd Sisters pretty quickly, part of a mini-series focused on three witches, but then about halfway through I lost interest in the story, and set the book down. That was about a month ago, maybe more, and I ended up reading about 100 pages in a week to finish it off. I’m not sure what caused me to lose interest, because as soon as I dove back into it I really enjoyed the conclusion to the story, and even more enjoyed the moment when I closed the book and thought “ah, it’s done”.
What finishing these two things made me realize is that I think it’s important to be comfortable with diving back into stuff on the shelf, no matter how long it’s been. I have a tendency not to want to go back to something once I forget where I’m at in the story, and that makes it really hard to finish things, as I’ve always been very distractible in my media consumption. For example, I started watching Buffy eight years ago, and I still haven’t finished it, and now it’s been long enough since I watched that I don’t super remember what the overarching season plot is… But maybe the point of this is that it’s OK to allow yourself to forget things, too. It doesn’t mean that going back and seeing the end of the story is going to be a disappointing experience. Sure, I might’ve enjoyed “Wyrd Sisters” more if I had better remembered some of the foreshadowing from earlier in the book, but it was still nice to finish it, and I still feel a sense of relief knowing that I can take that off of my “to do” shelf and move it to my “done” shelf.