Blank Slate

On a snowy day, the metaphorical alignment of undisturbed snow with the blank page is all but irresistible: that expanse of unmarred whiteness, awaiting signs of meaningful passage.

I don’t necessarily mean to compare writers to rodents, but it has lately come to my attention that signs resulting from the movements of mice in and through snow offers some potential as a visual guide to the writer’s experience with the blank page, a sort of metaphorical directory to a metaphor.

IMG_3163There is, first of all, the idealized vision I think most writers have about their work, the aspirational dream of clean linear prose that leads the reader efficiently from one point to the next.






IMG_1225There are plenty of days, though, when the venture leads nowhere, whereupon the writer realizes it’s a bloody cold world out there and retreats to the nest for a snack and some YouTube videos showing cats getting their comeuppance.





IMG_3154More standard, perhaps, is a series of forward plunges to test possibilities that just don’t work out, whereupon the author retreats to the coffee shop to discuss “craft” with colleagues who find themselves similarly blocked.



IMG_3157Sometimes all you can do is noodle an idea around, and even if you end up pretty much back where you started, you feel like you’re getting closer to finding, if nothing else, the shape of a thing.




IMG_3135There are days when grubbing around with the first draft reveals several possible trajectories.





IMG_3158And every now and again, the meandering shuffle of that exploratory draft takes the scribe to to a place where the direction of the piece is revealed and the work skips unfailingly along.






IMG_3160Occasionally, writers get bored or distracted and change course to work on something else.





IMG_3161And then are the days when it doesn’t matter what you do, nothing seems to work.

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