Beginnings and endings are necessary parts of life. Some would go so far as to consider them necessary evils. After all, ends can be painful and beginnings can be awkward. So I’m going to start this post off with some song lyrics:
“Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.”
-Semisonic, “Closing Time”
That’s an iconic high school graduation song (that is unfortunately overplayed on the radio), but that line is truthful no matter how you look at it. In order to have a beginning, something had to end, and in order to have an ending, you must have had a beginning.
“Let’s go back
Back to the beginning.”
-Hilary Duff, “Come Clean”
Yes, I will quote Hilary Duff. I don’t care that it’s vapid Top 40 pop music (and it’s embarrassingly old). The song is about starting over, and changing parts of yourself that you thought you never could change. It’s about going back to your roots, to your own beginning.
“There’s no more need to pretend
‘Cause now I can begin again.”
– The Smashing Pumpkins, “The Beginning is the End is the Beginning”
Perhaps certain beginnings in life don’t come from defined life events, like graduations, births, new jobs, etc., but from choices you make. You can make the choice to begin again at any time. You can choose to drop your former pretenses and start over. And that, I think, is what that lyric refers to.
Maybe you don’t remember the exact beginning of your writing life. For me, it might have been that time in fourth grade when I wrote a poem that my teacher said was outstanding. Or it might have been that time in eleventh grade when I began a story that eventually turned into CAIN. Or it could have been that day in community college when I decided I was going to always write and not give up.
You don’t have to have just one beginning. In writing, there are many beginnings and many endings. Each new story is obviously a beginning. But you really can “begin” at any point. In a way, beginnings in writing are infinite. You can always reinvent yourself as writer, your work, your characters, whatever. You can rip old stories into shreds, burn them in a bonfire, and start all over again the next day.
And that’s the best part about beginnings; you can make your own.