It makes my scalp itch. My lips chap. My bowels growl.
I feel like I suddenly need to pee or drive to Canada or eat onion rings.
There is no getting around the blank page. It’s like standing at the opening of Plato’s cave – you have to decide, do I go in and get chained to the wall? Do I face the shadows and create a reality from them? Or do I stay out here in the sun and do the dishes? The blank page is a frenemy. It acts all fun and cool and like, I really think you’re great, let’s do stuff together, and then it makes you feel stupid and uncouth and lazy because you never took Latin or you make peanut butter cookies from a mix or your kid is going to the local community college and not Dartmouth or your bathroom is the size of a closet and your closet is the size of a cupboard, or you wear pants with elastic waistbands, or your house is full of dog hair, or you watch Scandal, or you’ve never been to Europe, or you can’t roller blade/wind sail/rock climb/run a 10K/do a single push up/get a personal trainer. You are totally wary of the blank page but you keep going back.
But here’s the thing. If you face it down, if you start hitting it hard with letters and words and sentences, if you let your mind go and your heart expand and your eyes stay clear, focused, open, then the miracle happens. It is no longer blank. For better or worse, it is yours. It says something you wanted to say. Maybe not perfectly, or with the right simile or the richest vocabulary or the exact rhythm, but it’s there, in black and white. You were there.
And you feel, well you feel ok. Not happy exactly, although you may feel that sometimes, or satisfied, although that can happen too, but you feel ok. You feel like you’re alright. Like everything’s all right.
That’s what I’m shooting for. What about you?