Beginnings

ernest-hemingway

This is how it began: He took out his sword and began to cut the strings that had so violently inhibited him for the last 25 years. He slashed at the string of fear, then he went for the string of anger, and followed by slitting through the strings of financial burden, anxiety, failure, resentment, and jealousy, and he kept slashing until the last and thickest string was finally unbound, the string of temptation. Now he spread his arms as wide as the world would let them go, surrendering himself in an honorable act of faith, an act of faith that would allow him to reap the most marvelous of blessings, and only if he submitted himself completely would he have the freedom to conquer the world and achieve great feats. He no longer resisted the flow of the current. This moment of liberation marked the beginning.

There are many ways to think about beginnings. There are many great quotes, epigrams, poems, tales, and great stories.   I love to write and I find it fascinating that each book begins with one simple sentence, and from there a journey begins. The above paragraph is the first paragraph of one my works. As my eyes scan the shelves of my library I begin to pluck out some of my favorite books. I close my eyes and imagine these celebrated authors, pacing back and forth in front of a fireplace, perhaps smoking tobacco from a pipe with their arms crossed as they are deep in thought. Their minds travel to fantasy worlds, working deliberately into the lonely and quiet hours of the night where and morning and evening begin to blend. Then it hits them, and for no particular reason they sit down at their typewriter and create the first line, and it is this first line that sparks the fire, the fire that burns until a great masterpiece has been created. Lets look at some of these.

“In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I’ve been turning over in my mind ever since.”-  The Great Gatsby, F Scott Fitzgerald

“In the beginning God created the Heavans and the Earth”- The Bible

“The studio was filled with the rich odor of roses, and when the light summer wind stirred amid the trees of the garden there came through the open door the heavy scent of the lilac, or the more delicate perfume of the pink-flowering thorn.”- The Picture of Dorian Gray, Oscar Wilde

“Robert Cohn was once middleweight boxing champion of Princeton.”- The Sun Also Rises, Ernest Hemingway

We are in a constant, intimate dance with contradiction. It’s about going up while gravity is trying to hold you down. It’s a march through time in which we must remember to keep one foot in reality and the other in an abyss. It’s about learning practicality while allowing our minds to dream the impossible. Because if we burrowed our minds too deeply into the shortcomings of mechanistic existence then perhaps we would discontinue evolution, remising back towards an undomesticated mankind in which thought, theory, and thereafter were held in contempt.  It is a rather morbid thought to imagine a world in which the seeds of dreams were repressed in a concrete jungle rather than the fertile soils of creation. Plant your seeds and allow new beginnings to grow.

“A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu

The big bang.  – Scientific theory on beginning of the universe. (So incredibly unromantic)

Some of history’s greatest painters will never be known due to the simple reason that so many people never pick up a brush.

What was the first thing you did that brought you to your career today? How did you meet your best friend? Are you married? Deeply in love? Think of the first thing you said to your lover. Think of how everything….. began.

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4 thoughts on “Beginnings

  1. Thank you for this! A good bit of inspiration for my Thursday evening – I especially love the anonymous quote at the end. We can look at the Renaissance period and see some truly wonderful artists; but it’s not that there were suddenly geniuses, as that there was a world in which they might operate. It’s a sad thought when it comes to wasted talent, but uplifting for those of us still alive!

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