Thursday, January 17, 2008

What it Really is

Okay. I have been here for THREE HOURS trying to come up with something to write about. I have drank tea, paced the room, cleaned the kitchen and even bugged my roommate for a topic. As a writer you would think he could easily tell me what to write about, but instead he was equally stumped and told me to read old poetry books or write about meat. Right. I have read the news, read old blogs, and browsed through old pictures of friends. I have played with the dogs, pestered the cat and checked to see if maybe my writer's block is the result of a full moon. And, by the way, it's not--the moon is exactly half way through it's cycle tonight. Go figure.

I have searched my soul, searched old files and searched google. I've looked out the window and watched the neighbors, took pictures of the snow and added logs to the fire. I've checked my email, checked the weather and checked the time. I've taken a break for the bathroom, a break to answer the phone and a break to eat dinner. Since beginning this process, I've rightly switched from tea to wine.

I have stopped and started. This white, still, blank box on the screen has probably seen a thousand words so far, all of which have been deleted or transferred to other files to work on later. The great ideas, thoughts that were too deep, or poems that are destined to be presents for friends have all been started here, but not finished and certainly not published.

I have pouted, I have ranted, I have whined. I have tossed out ideas only to see them bounce off the wall and hit the floor with a resounding thud of disappointment. The voice of a Chinese creative writing teacher I had my freshman year of college still cuts through my memory. "Ashk yoseff--why bodther wit dis? Why shud I bodther my time wit dis?" And I do. I ask why should anyone care to read it? Why should I bother to write it? And then the page is blank again and I sip my wine in disgust.

"Sometimes, nothing is something," my roommate says, peeking over the latest issue of Esquire magazine. Sure. Right. I know! Ugh...but this page is still blank. Exactly where is my nothing?

And so I do what I do. I speak with my hands, only this time with my mouth closed and fingers on the keyboard instead of gesturing into the air in front of me. I write a few words, go back and change them; hit the backspace key as frequently as the space bar. I craft and play and spit words onto the screen and before I know it there's enough for a post. There are words and sentences and paragraphs and they all add up to a something, to a nothing, that stands in place of what's really on my mind; what has really kept me here dodging and fighting and avoiding through daylight, into sunset, and finally into forgiving night. And suddenly my real something becomes a true nothing.


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