Facing a blank page usually doesn’t deter me. I simply begin one of my various writing techniques that forces words upon the page. Right now, though, I have nothing . . . no, no—I have the beginning of an idea that flits out of my overtired brain before I can even latch onto the memory or focus my inner eye upon the images. My fingers, flying across the keyboard at hundreds of words per minute when I’m in the “zone,” falter tonight. I fumble with misspelled words, stumble within a sentence, tumble into chaos instead of clarity.
I keep thinking WTF.
My obsessive-compulsive nature cannot let me ignore my blog for a day. At least not yet. When I first started Swing in a Tree, I planned on blogging once a week, maybe a little more as the mood dictated. Somehow, that shapeless plan morphed into a personal quest. After the first week of daily entries, I thought, “This isn’t so hard.” Later on, I used my blog as an excuse to go through my old journals and consolidate all my poetry into one place. After years and years of writing verse, I’ve finally typed up almost everything into a nice little manuscript. I’ve relied on these earlier pieces on the days when Life (with a capital L) bites into my writing time.
Blogging, though, took on a life of its own after I passed thirty entries. Then began the challenge. Could I write something every day for another month? Could I manage to pull something out when I went out of town? Was it possible to even get ahead on entries? Stockpile them into a cache somewhere? How long could I write on a daily basis?
And so I find myself sitting this evening, listening to my mother’s breathing over the baby monitor. I have Koi sprawled so close to my feet that if I move, he’ll growl in grumpiness. Bridget commandeers the bed (specifically my pillows). MASH bleeds into Everybody Loves Raymond, and I draw a blank. For the first time in seven months, I have absolutely nothing, nada, naught, nil, zero, zilch . . .
I make myself face the blank page. Quality? No way. But that’s okay. My obsessiveness winks at imperfection because the goal isn’t having the best ever poem or the most clever prose. It is to practice my skill, my talent, my passion every day.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman