Friday, 7 September 2012

Beginning



Rilke, Diaries of a Young Poet, p. 90:

"Why am i suddenly writing so much? Because I once again: begin. Today,suddenly - "Today" is a beginning, a one. Beginning of what?"

We speak of a 'beginning of..', of something beginning, as if the thing were already there, like a geographical destination, and we are just setting out. But of course, the something does not exist.

And in retrospect beginnings are defined in relation to what they lead up to and in relation to which they seem less substantial - a version, a draft, an outline.. secondary and incomplete.


But perhaps beginnings, when they first break away from what comes before, when they first recognise themselves as something new, actually contain more than was finally embodied in the work - the poem, the painting, the novel. The work, as Walter Benjamin once said, is the death mask of its conception.

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