The Blank Beyond

Tapping a Pencil by Rennett Stowe

Tapping a Pencil by Rennett Stowe / CC BY 2.0

So, I’ve gotten over my schmucky feeling. Adult children by the bedside of a dying parent is a drama-filled scene conflict and emotions are ready-built. I picture sticking an oil well into the ground and having all that drama shoot out, just waiting for me to barrel it, or pipe it, or whatever one does with oil. When I’m riding home on the train, I’m swirling with ideas, but as soon as I open my notebook or blank document, those ideas disappear, scatter into the ether.

I’m left staring at a blindingly white page; it’s sterile and menacing. For some reason, I take comfort in the somewhat marred pages of Julia. The black splotches of ink or pixels of what I’ve already written cut the sterile-feel. They knock the fear factor of writing something new down to a manageable size. They’re proof that I’ve done it before, so I can do it again.

Fear not, dear readers, the scarred page will become claustrophobic rather than liberating by next week and the emotional see-saw will continue.

I’m contemplating giving myself a deadline to finish this piece: the Glimmer Train Family Matters October submission deadline. On the train ride home, I thought that was a brilliant idea. As I’m writing it here, it appears much less brilliant.

Tangential Thought: All my brilliant story ideas deal with death. I’m so depressing.


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