Beginnings are weird. They stare at you, straight in the eyes and say, “Yeah, I’m here,” and they either excite or frighten you. Recently I have been staring at a big beginning in my life: starting college. This beginning does not only mark the beginning of adulthood for me but also the end of high school, the place I have found myself as an artist. Beginnings are scary in that way. They are the start of something but the ending of another. I think that’s why I have such an odd feeling when I think about starting college. It’s beautifully bittersweet.
But every story has a beginning. Looking back on my writing, beginnings were never hard for me to write. If anything, the ending was hard. From the first day of freshman year I knew how to hook a reader with a quote or an interesting fact. I knew how to grab their attention with a character or scenario. I’m good at beginnings. Yet when I look at my future, I think of everything that is about to begin and I just turn into a big ball of anxiety. I can write the beginning of a poem or an article but I can’t write my own life.
It’s so frightening when you think about it, because in your life you have control over a certain amount of things but at the end of the day you are not the one in charge, you are at the mercy of the world around you. Recently I’ve started to think of my beginnings this way. When I sit down to write something I don’t want to follow that formula I’ve had for years. Frankly, that formula is boring and I only use it for English class.
Beginnings shouldn’t be generic, they should be interesting. In real life, beginnings happen all the time. High school doesn’t really happen until you meet the people that will shape your experience there for the next four years. The truth is, when I start college there will be a multitude of endings and a multitude of beginnings and I won’t even realize half of them are happening. So why should I write like I know when these things are happening?
Beginnings aren’t definitive. You can start something but it doesn’t begin there. There’s always something arbitrary in beginnings. So the best advice I can give you is to start writing from where the story really starts. The beginning is never simple. Let it be complex.
-Grace Green, Poetry Editor