It was he that told me I’d begun all wrong, that I should have begun differently. He must be right. I began at the beginning, like an old ballocks, can you imagine that? Here’s my beginning. Because they’re keeping it apparently. I took a lot of trouble with it. Here it is. It gave me a lot of trouble. It was the beginning, do you understand? Whereas now it’s nearly the end. Is what I do now any better? I don’t know. That’s beside the point. Here’s my beginning. It must mean something, or they wouldn’t keep it. Here it is...
& also with non-beginnings in that whenever I want to emphasize a beginning I begin with an ampersand, partly as a nod to the decorated initials of illuminated manuscripts but mostly as way to stress the idea that every beginning is only provisional, imaginary, mythological, because everything, always is part of, subject to, the great continuity.
I am meditating on beginnings here, now, at the end of the day, in the bleeding of night into day, because I find myself slowly making my way into yet another. Another new life that will hopefully be a refined continuation of the old life—better, always better, a little bit anyways, if we are willing to work for it.
& of course beginning again, and doing something over again, or reading something over again, can yield attention to new things. In the case transcribed below (taken from Karl Young’s essay “Notation and the Art of Reading.” Reprinted in A Book of the Book: Some Works & Projections about the Book and Writing, Steven Clay and Jerome Rothenberg, eds. (New York: Granary Books, 2000), 47-8.) I can once again see how this new beginning is another link in the great and vibrant history that we are all a part of:
[…] A large portion of the audience for contemporary poetry gets involved in publishing the work of other poets at some time in their lives, and this becomes a further means of participation. They may act only as a magazine’s assistant editor for a short time, or they may edit their own magazines, or run their own presses. For some, this becomes a way of life. Poet-publishers tend to read manuscripts carefully and critically in determining whether or not to publish them, and they put a great deal of effort into the means of producing those they decide to publish. This type of activity tightens the bonds between poets, opens channels of communication with a larger audience, gives the editors a sense of proportion in terms of nature, size, and scope of their audience, and, again, can encourage the intimacy with the text latent in copying. Publishing requires commitment and encourages the poet-publisher to be textual analyst, literary critic, and graphic designer. Working with layout, type, perhaps presswork and binding, has suggested new kinds of notation and presentation and has inspired work that would otherwise not have been done. The method of production a poet-publisher uses often effects or reflects her or his work: offset publishers often write differently from letterpress printers. The mimeo format of d.a. levy publications continues to be an integral part of the outlaw urgency of the work, even though levy’s been dead for many years. The austere design and impeccable typography of Elizabeth Press Books underscores the restrained precision of the poets published in that series. The limited press runs and personalized distribution of most poetry publishers creates a sense of intimacy and fellowship not unlike that created by the circulation of manuscripts in Donne’s time. […]
& in the section after that he actually goes on to talk about artists’ books, but let’s hold back a little, but let’s save a little, maybe for tomorrow, maybe for our next false beginning, true & brilliant in the brilliant light.