The Non-Existent Page, the Blank Page and the #$%^&*@! Page
Countless good stories are lost forever because of the non-existent page; they never get written. If not reduced to words right away, budding tales often blow away like swirled flights of dried leaves in a November wind, never to form the same pattern again. Without immediate attention, fleeting visions and vague concepts can recede beyond the reach of memory. Once released from consciousness, they float back up to the heavens like a reverse rainfall and dissipate into the ether, where they may or may not coalesce and fall back into someone else’s imagination. My “gravatar” is a blank notebook page because a recurring theme in my writing life is to lose great ideas if I don’t write them down while they are fresh in my mind. That little notebook could have saved those stories and given them a firm toehold from which to advance.
Whether ideas are fresh or captured in a notebook, a writer celebrates a story by facing the blank page with the intention of turning it into the written page. If a writer is the little engine that could, the result is a successful flow of words as stories grow into a rich creation. There are no guarantees, though. Even with notes, ideas that seemed so clever when jotted down can morph into nonsense during a second reading. What originally appeared to be inspiration turns out to be a chimera which evaporates from the heat applied to transform it into an understandable whole. Still, the writer sits down to face the blank page.
Sometimes words stall and headaches develop. A blank page that is not blooming becomes an enervation to the writer who confronts the #$%^&*@! page. Whether or not the writer merely feels stuck or is actually thinking blasphemy and crudeness, the reality is that the creative process has stopped. Thursday Night Write’s llandrigan characterized this phenomenon as “…fear or inertia or mental disorganization…” and Karen Whalen commented that the writer “…would rather have a root canal than write…” That’s where I am now, so I’m going to put this away for awhile. When I get back, hopefully I’ll bring the muses with me.