Posted by: Ariel | September 10, 2009

Mostly I’m silent

Beginnings are funny – not as mundane as a typical middle but often not as poignant as an end.  Usually they seem to happen without any notice, mentioned only when one wants to complain about the sad decline from the good old days to the current crap.  But a beginning represents something significant: the will to create, the exertion of an effort, the quitting of some sort of same-old routine.  In that last sense beginnings are kinda like endings, I guess, but instead of nostalgia they have a sense of hope.  There is a certain enthusiasm and excitement at the beginning that you can’t get back once it fades – not necessarily because reality brings your dreams back to earth, but because the wonder of newness slowly fades into subtler appreciations, more nuanced but also more subdued.

Musicals start with an opening number, TV shows start with a teaser, Operas start with an overture.  And it is an overture, isn’t it?  Dictionary.com says an overture is “an opening or initiating move toward negotiations, a new relationship, an agreement, etc.; a formal or informal proposal or offer.”  I would argue that in many cases, beginnings are negotiations for that ever-closer guarded commodity of your time and attention.  Without an audience, the effort can’t even be judged as good or bad, it isn’t even noticed.

Beginnings are the first impressions, the orientations, the job interviews, the introductions, the handshakes.  And there’s a reason people judge so readily based on first impressions: because often they’re a good indicator of how the whole experience is going to unfold.  Despite this huge import, you also can’t forget the middle which comes right after – if you focus exclusively on an extravagant beginning, you end up with what seems like a lot of show but no substance.  As in all things, it’s a delicate balancing act.  And as in all delicate balancing acts, I tend to think that overthinking is one of the easiest mistakes to make.  And so we’re left with one of those modest beginnings, unassuming and unsuggesting, hinting at what could be lying in the future but leaving it mostly up to the imagination, conveying not just a proposal but sharing the pure wonder of newness without pretense.  After all,

It’s only the beginning
Only just the start

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