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.
I 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.
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 email@example.com