The blank page laughs. It taunts me. I sit at my desk and glare back at the pristine rectangle on its surface. No, you're not alone. Even this editor draws a blank now and then. I pick up my pen, quell the urge to stab as ink meets paper. Gently…gently.
Well, I reason, I’ve been editing all day. Maybe my words need company. In the air above the sheet, my pen describes those circles, the ones that look like doodled curls, we were taught when we learned to write. I lower point to page.
My pen stops.
“Oh, come on,” I mutter.
I pull out a scratch page, a scrap of discarded manuscript, and try writing in the bottom margin.
“Something…anything,” I coax. I sigh. My mind is as blank as the looks I get when I read poetry to my aging Aunt Hettie.
I push myself to my feet, wander around the house. Throw in a load of wash. Make a cup of coffee. Let dogs out. Let dogs in. Feed dogs. Sort mail. Check to see if the squirrels have emptied the birdfeeders. Check to see if the squirrels have stolen the birdfeeders.
I wake up my laptop and pull up an email from this morning in which I’d suggested a story to another writer… “Aha!” I nod. I put pen to paper...nothing.
I retrieve the newspaper from the coffee table and scan the headlines, the editorial page. Chuckle at a humor column about changing technology. Hey, I could have written that. But I didn’t.
I open a blank document on my laptop. Try vainly to type a title, a phrase, something… Great! Now I have dueling blank pages.
I can’t help it – I laugh.
Outside, a car door slams.
I type: Must’ve been the noise that woke me up. Diesel engines make a racket. And out here in the back of beyond they sound lots louder than they do in the city…
The back door opens.
“I’m home. What’s for supper?”
copyright © 2014
N.K. Wagner is Executive Editor and Publisher of Page & Spine.