Janet (j4) wrote,

For to end yet again

Paralysed by choice, I end up writing nothing. The blank page is not an absence of words, but the space where all words could exist. It's all of time, all possible futures, all the things with which you could fill that time. It's a snow-covered field, and your feet will make one path across and around it, just as soon as you start walking; you can backtrack, retrace your steps, jump sideways, change your mind a thousand times, but all those indecisions will leave their mark. The blank page is your bed, the head-sized space on the pillow; the white sheets are unforgivingly unfillable when unoccupied, the margins are too narrow when they're full. The blank page is your skin, and it scars easily.

Given two hours of time, I am quite capable of filling them by agonising about the fact that I can't fit everything I want to do into those two hours. Unable to choose, I end up choosing nothing: not even choosing nothing, merely defaulting to nothing. Two hours of staring at the wall, the blank page; or of listmaking, dithering, weighing up the pros and cons: sorting a pile of stones into the right pocket and the left while the stream of time flows on.

To start anything is to fail to start something else: I do not endorse this belief but it clings like cobwebs to my head and hands. To start anything is to fail even at that thing: to start is to move from the ideal to the actual, to step down from the pedestal of potential perfection. Between the idea and the reality falls the shadow: it falls on the cave wall, falls like a blade, the execution of an idea. But to fail to start at all is a double failure: not just the failure to live your life but the failure to be born. Nobody can know about the perfection of the idea until it is obituarised in its imperfect actualisation.

To begin a narrative is to condemn it to an ending: to tell a story is to write its death warrant. Is it better to stifle it at birth?
Tags: nablopomo, writing

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