Drawing Blank

‘A sentence starts out like a lone traveler

heading into a blizzard at midnight,’

-‘Winter Syntax’, Billy Collins

Today the blank space of the screen wearies me. It’s too glaringly white, the white of the sun upon snow or the moon cupped in a half-filled glass. The white of eyes that hold no expression, vacant as a door swung open within a derelict house.

The post stretches like an ocean, teeming with possibility. Usually as gentle as a kitten wrapping itself around my ankles, today the blankness is a tidal wave crashing to shore to destroy and conquer. Amidst the swept debris of sinking words and drowned letters, I kick to the surface, fighting for the air to type. Far off into the distance a maelstrom has opened out at sea, swallowing a dinghy whole in the ferocity of incoherence.

I tap my fingers at the keyboard, fumble clumsily with a stream of nonsense: sdkfdshfj. Somewhere in the film of clouds meaning dots through, an aeroplane weaving across the sky.

I hit backspace erasing all to oblivion and try again, starting this time with a single sentence on a quest for inspiration. The newborn blinks at me, shrivelled and bare, inadequate to the task before it. I delete the full-stop and watch it grow, expanding into a line that spirals over the screen. Lonely, it trembles, yearning for company and so I forge another to abate its crisis of existentialism.

Now a pair of sentences stand like lovers, side by side to face the abyss –them against inarticulacy. Yet reading them is more painful than having written them as the words seem to hold no meaning, nor inspire any thought to follow. Every word is a step too difficult to trudge against the coldly apathetic space of creation.

My prose pales to insignificance, my words peter out in exhaustion.

Today I come to the keyboard and draw a blank.

-Florence Y. Bauhofer

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