You’re floating away on a cloud of nostalgia so soft and snug, yet sharp and stinging. It’s like the perfect pillow that forms to your head and envelopes you in its comfort, but somehow you don’t notice that there are nettles inside. They prick you and you bleed, but you don’t want to leave the cushion of comfort and something more – that something your life is lacking now, something you once had but can never regain, can never even grasp, not even just once more for a brief moment. So you let yourself sting and bleed and you don’t cry out – no, the crying is on the inside. You let yourself drift and be carried away by the pleasantness of it all at the same time as you are pierced and pulled down, dragged across the earth through the rocks and dirt. Because while a part of you sinks, another part flies. It’s a strange and paradoxical state of mind, nostalgia.
While reading a PDF selection titled “How to Read a Poem” for my English 340 / Studies in Poetry course, I came across something that caused me to have an epiphany of sorts.
Walt Whitman’s poem “Beginning My Studies” was one of twenty-six he wrote to introduce his major work, a single book he had been working on his whole life.
The feeling he describes in this poem, the feeling of loving the idea of just starting out so much that he does not want to move forward, is exactly how I feel when I start working on a new story. Perhaps this is why I have difficulty completing what I hope would become novels. When inspiration strikes, I absolutely love sitting down with my laptop to begin typing out a new idea. It’s moving past that beginning I have trouble with, and this must be because I “linger with pleasure over the ecstatic beginning.”