The screen taunts me with its vast expanse of white space commanding me to type black letters in Arial 10 font to fill its empty heart. It stares at me with longing and disappointment and threatens to troll me on twitter. “Ha ha,” I think, “I haven’t been on twitter in ages. I don’t even recall my user name or password, or even why I ever got on Twitter in the first place.” Whitey assures she will find me, and it won’t be pretty. The white screen mocks me and insults me in a voice that sounds suspiciously like my mother’s. “You call yourself a writer? There are so many other more talented writers who never get published. Who wants to hear what you have to say anyway? A blog? Really?! Who the hell reads blogs?”
I understand this is something all writer’s feel from time to time, and maybe quite often. It’s in all the writing books. It’s discussed in every class and at every writer’s conference. There are a million self-help books, variations on the theme. Yet, when it’s happening to you – this dreaded writer’s block – it’s only you. And no matter how many of your heroes have confessed to it, it just doesn’t matter because you feel like a failure and you know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, the words will never come again.
I have ideas. I have stories that visit me at random times and they sound great in my mind. I have started countless essays, short stories, and poems. Hell, I even have a novel brewing. And then I start typing and here comes that voice again: this is crap; who am I to call myself a writer; damn, this is so cliché. The voice, the mocking white screen voice, the mother’s voice, is a very talented insult artist. There is a movie called “In the Loop” that features the most creative and obscene insults I have ever heard, one of which features the genitalia of a horse, said with a British accent, because obscenities are best said with a British accent. My writer’s block rivals that extremely black comedy.
So here I am, white screen and all. White – the color of purity, the color of innocence, the color of surrender, the color of emptiness. And what is emptiness if not potential, and hope, and an openness that lays you bare, accepting, and vulnerable. And what is a writer if not vulnerable, and vulnerability is dangerous, risky at best. So, I fill this white screen, half of it at least, with black letters in Arial 10 font, and hope there will be more to come.