Ever since my school days, I’ve always felt that the year begins in September rather than January. It was many moons ago I finished school, but this feeling lingers on and now follows my own kids’ academic year. There’s something exciting about the beginning of term as the start of something new. I was one of those kids who loved school and while the summer holiday was a welcome break, by the end of August I was always looking forward to going back to friends and the routines of school.
I don’t mourn the end of summer but welcome the autumn as turning a new leaf (pun intended!) and moving forward into a fresh year of learning, growing, excitement, and whatever else life might bring. Endings mean new beginnings. The wheels of life keep turning whether we like it or not so we might as well enjoy the ride.
One of my favourite writing exercises uses beginnings and endings as prompts to dig deeper into a particular emotion or issue. The writing becomes a pattern of repetitive sentences that takes you on a journey into whatever issue you feel like writing about. For example, the sentences can start in Because.., I love.., I hate.., I wish.., Happiness is.., Love is.. and so on.
An example below:
Because I am alive, I will fill my days with life.
Because I’ve been to hell and back, I am stronger and wiser.
Because I am strong, I will let others lean on me.
Because I am wise I will not allow them to lean too hard.
Because I am a positive person, I will get through whatever life throws at me.
Because I am happy, I will share with others what I have learnt on my journey.
Because I am grateful to be alive and well, I will make my life count.
Because life is short, time is precious.
Focusing on an ending will create the same kind of patterned writing. For example:
…but I won’t break.
…but I still love you.
…because I am awesome.
Or find inspiration from one of my favourite authors, Maya Angelou, and end your sentence in:
…but still I rise.
Both beginnings and endings serve a purpose of moving us forward in life so embrace them both with equal appreciation and gratitude.
Still I rise- by Maya Angelou
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.
Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
’Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.
Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.
Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?
Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
’Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.
You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.
Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?
Out of the huts of history’s shame
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.
Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.