Let’s talk about the blank page. Let’s talk about the Shining. Let’s talk about senior year at NYU and my Milton paper. How you can quilt a perfectly fine legal yellow pad from writing the same opening sentence over and over again. I used to have zero tolerance for people who feared the blank page. Why the hell are you a writer, I secretly thought to myself, while nodding empathically. Same thing with writer’s block, which is a version of death by blank page. You don’t know what to say, you don’t know how to say it. Or, you’re afraid to say it. Or, you have no tolerance for your own limitations. Or, you a coward. Full stop. Or you know what you don’t know. And care. Or you think you’re better than the blankness. Or you are unworthy. Or you are not in therapy. Or a page is a mirror is a stone is a flower is a sesame bun. I studied with the great Charles Ludlam, playwright, actor and founder of the Ridiculous Theater. He said that he always wrote a few sentences into the next page of whatever he was working on so he never had to face the blank page. That’s the best advice I ever heard apart from cod liver oil and a pack of Lucky’s.
How do you deal with it? State secrets?
Filed under: Uncategorized