Inspiration on ‘beginnings’

Beginnings are often considered straightforward. They are where one starts; from the beginning of a journey or thought, to the start of an escape or adventure. Everything must begin somewhere. 

But what makes a beginning what it is? Where do beginnings come from? Is there a beginning before something has begun? How is the act of writing a narrative into existence an act of ‘beginning’ something? I find myself constantly surrounded and puzzled by beginnings. 

A fitting exercise might be to think about how other writers approach beginnings.I often find solace in poetry – in both its form and content. By looking at nature and love, Leah Goldberg’s poem ‘Remembrances of Beginnings of Things’ (1958) reminisces about how beginnings and pasts are all tied together in a reverie of fondness. So, according to Goldberg, beginnings are intrinsically linked to endings.  

Where does the beginning begin? Where does the beginning end? There seems to be no definitive answer to these questions, but I have managed to find solace in May Swenson’s poem ‘Beginning Ended’ (1993):

The day is perfect. There is only one. It lasts 

A thousand years. Years are thinnest pages 

In a book, vast as a continent, heavy, sunk in sand. 

Now is the perfect opportunity to reminisce on the mysterious nature of beginnings by writing a short story or poem for the upcoming 2023 USYD Anthology. Submissions close on 31 July.  

Submit your work here.