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January, 2008

Easy Way To Write

Empty Page Rage
Bright white chaos or domestic bliss?
By  Alison Tharen

Filling an empty page is work. Hard work. Not a moment of glamour passes your way.
hate the empty page.

Unlike a blank wall, which I see as a lonely space crying out for paint. I enjoy painting walls. A mindless, repetitive motion that brings instant gratification. From drab to fab in a few short strokes. It doesn’t strain your muscles or your brain.

But I hate the empty page.

I love an empty garden on a sunny Saturday in May. So many plans swirling through my mind. Mental landscapes ablaze with colours that would make Renoir and Monet right giddy. Endless possibilities in my imagination. I can garden for hours forgetting to pause even for the necessities of life.

Then a relaxing bubble bath, a glass of Chardonnay, and I slip contentedly into the darkness, watching and waiting for the seeds of my effort to sprout.

But I hate that effing empty page.

I’d even opt for a messy house over an empty page. At least with a messy house I can quickly shift into organized mode, assess what has to be done, and with a little elbow grease have the place spotless and smelling like lilacs in a few hours.

My house is at its cleanest when I’m starring down a deadline. I’ll do anything to avoid facing that daunting empty page. As a kids' book author or not -- doesn't matter the project -- long, short, fun, hellish dull? Hmm, this floor needs waxing. Immediately.

Filling the empty page is work. Hard work. Not a single moment of glamour passes your way. No Carrie Bradshaw snapshots of writing cross-legged on my bed wearing nothing but a long sleeve shirt, smoking a Marlboro Light and drinking a boysenberry vodka martini.

More like a gritty mugshot of a bloodshot slob staggering around in dirty sweatpants, slurping cold coffee and picking used butts out of a heaping ashtray.

The damnable empty page glaring up at me, baring its teeth, mocking me, challenging me like a pregnant city raccoon.

“So you want to be a writer?’’ America poet and wastrel Charles Bukowski asks in his poem of the same title. “Unless it comes out of your soul like a rocket, unless being still would drive you to madness or suicide or murder, don't do it.’’

I stare at the empty page and the only projectile I feel like spewing out of my insides ain't words.

I hate Charles Bukowski. Bloody drunk. I hate deadlines. And I hate that godless, wordless empty page.

I love the sound of my Epson printer. Love pushing the print button and watching word after word come tumbling out.

Pages filled with paragraphs. Paragraphs filled with thoughts, ideas, musings. I love it because it means I did it. I filled the empty page.

It can’t taunt me anymore, screaming silent obscenities and ridiculing my ability.

The actually annoying whirr of the printer head brings me an enormous sense of relief. I have proven myself victorious. I have conquered the empty page.

“Take that, you vexatious piece of shite.’’ At last, piece of mind. A tidy house to boot.

Now I can sit back, relaxed and fulfilled -- until the next deadline when the ugly, white bastard raises again its blank, malevolent head to scoff at me again.IN Icon

Alison Tharen is a former staff writer for Toronto, Canada's Grolier Publishing Inc, the author of 28 published children’s books and contributing author to 18 children’s text books. She is currently finishing two new children’s book manuscripts. Email

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IN This Issue
Part III: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part II: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
Part I: What Your Publisher Won't Tell You
The Delusional Is No Longer Marginal
Part II: Researching Nonfiction
Part I: Researching Nonfiction
Rediscover Your Passion
Pet Prose
Successful Influence
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Whose Books Are Turning Into Movies?
Bald Ego
Mouse Over To Pause

Writer’s Block
The path to inspiration starts
Upon the trails we’ve known;
Each writer’s block is not a rock,
But just a stepping stone.

Poetry Is Not
Penned to the page
Waiting for us to admire.
It is only a lonely thought
Caught by tears on fire.

Silent Echoes
A quiet rhyme upon a page
Is what a poet gives;
Some gentle words whispered in trust
To see if memory lives.

Bard From Deadlines
What makes a poem finally work
Is not the time it takes;
It’s how the poet used the muse
To prophet from mistakes.

Be Mused
The art and craft of poetry
Are not so far apart;
The craft comes from the cunning,
The rest comes from the heart.

Fine Vintage
Don’t plant your poem on the page
As though you’re hanging drapes;
It’s shape and flow should come and grow
Like wild summer grapes.

Getting It Write
Writers write what they know best,
Their passions, fears, and dreams;
Writers rarely write about
What other call their “themes.”

Double Vision
A writer’s life is paradox,
It’s more than what it seems;
We write of our reality,
The one inside our dreams.

The echo of a promise,
The thunder of a sigh,
The music of a memory,
A child asking why.

Letter Perfect
Twenty six symbols arranged on a page
Can send a soul to heaven or torment it with rage,
Can free a fragile world or hold it in its net--
The power and the magic of the mighty alphabet.

The Write of Passage
The jump from writing just for fun
To getting paid for it
Begins when you first realize
You know you’ll never quit.

It is not the magic of his wings
That sets us free from our bond.
It is the muse within ourselves
That lets our words lift us beyond.

Photo Poet
Consider your mind the darkroom,
Consider your life the lens,
Consider your eye the camera
On whose focus the poem depends.

Rising Moon
A poem is a rising moon
Shining on the sea,
An afterglow of all we know,
Of all we hope to be.

Star Light
Writing a poem,
Reaching a star,
In making good art
We find who we are.

Spider Web
A poem is a spider web
Spun with words of wonder,
Woven lace held in place
By whispers made of thunder.

The final draft upon the screen,
At last my poem’s through;
A verse of only four short lines--
I rewrote twenty-two!

Read All Of Charles Ghigna's Poetry at

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