>Okay, here goes. Erm … Blimey, it’s not as easy as it looks, is it?
Perhaps I should do what she does at this point, which is to go and put the kettle on. Or check her crops in Farmville. After all, she doesn’t want them to die, and cause America to be down on its wheat quota this year. Or she’ll cook up a treat in Café World. I swear that place sees more action than her real kitchen, where the only sound to break the deadly silence is the occasional ping of the microwave as she heats up yet another Tescos Finest cheddar mash. Then there are the emails to check, because she might well have had another since she checked two minutes ago. Oh, and there’s a DVD she’s bought which she must watch today, because who knows when she’ll get a chance again, what with it sitting on the shelf waiting till she’s actually got time to watch it.
I know, I’ll start by explaining my title. Tabula Rasa. It means to wipe the slate clean. It makes me sound clever, but I got it from the title of a Buffy The Vampire Slayer episode. Of course, it helps if the slate has something on it in the first place. I am that slate. Or to put it in simpler terms, the blank page upon which she sets her sights every morning. Often, setting her sights on me is about all she does. And it’s not necessarily morning by the time she does…
So I thought that since she’s having a day off today – An official day off, that is, as opposed to the days she just spends mooching around doing nothing but check her bloody crops and cook virtual food – I thought I’d take over for a change.
Do you know there’s a rainforest weeping somewhere, because of all the empty notebooks she owns? They sit there, waiting for her to fill their blank pages with exciting ideas, with words, with thoughts, with feelings. Because that’s what paper is for. To share ideas. And I should add here, that jotting down the lottery numbers or the number of the local Dominos Pizza place does not count.
I’m okay I suppose. I’m a Word file on the computer. Technically I don’t exist as an object, and I can wait forever. Or at least until Bill Gates brings out something that renders me obsolete, in which case she’ll lose everything she’s written. Just like she did when she got rid of her Brother Word Processor and had no way of opening the files she’d saved to disk. Mind you, judging by what she did manage to remember and commit to Word, it’s probably of great benefit to mankind that she did lose them all. But at least she did fill pages, which is more than she does lately. S’funny, but she’ll often say she was happier writing then, before she was told there were rules (for God’s sake don’t get her started on that! If there’s one thing that will fill up my blank pages, it’s that chuffing subject), when being published didn’t matter so much as being creative.
Then there are the times when she really wants to write but can’t. She forgets about the virtual crops, the café, the kettle, and tries so hard to fill me. But the ideas won’t come, because she’s worried about something else. Her husband, her kids, her friends, her health. I can feel the despair, travelling from her fingers to the page, as she shudders out words that fail to transmit her meaning. You’ve no idea how many half-filled brothers and sisters I have, waiting for her to return to them and finish what she started. But she can’t, because that only reminds her of how impotent she felt at the time. She’d rather move on, find fresher words. Sometimes she’ll salvage something. Sometimes she’ll even sell it, but even then there’s something at the back of her mind telling her ‘that isn’t very good’, and she can’t understand why it sells when better words fail. So she begins to doubt herself, and the publication, which trusted in her. After all, they can’t be that good to have taken her weakest work. Then begins the cycle of despair again.
She’s not always lazy or in the depths of despair. In fact, people around her don’t think she’s a lazy writer at all, and her cheerfulness, she’s been told, gets right up some peoples’ noses. That’s because she’s good at sudden spurts, she’s great with deadlines and she strongly believes that you shouldn’t inflict your misery on others. She’ll get an idea and run with it until the end. I can’t tell you how happy that makes me. To be useful, to share her thoughts and feelings, to live the lives of the characters she creates, or to share information about writing with others through her articles. Her fingers fly across the keys, and her joy is transmitted to me. Or she’ll get out one of her notebooks, and make copious notes on the novel, which she never actually writes. But not writing it is not the important part here. What’s important is that she’s sharing her ideas on the page, and using those pages in the way they were meant to be used.
My real purpose here today is to put out an appeal for blank pages everywhere. For as little as 25p you can buy a notebook full of blank pages. Just 25p is all it takes to adopt that notebook and give it a loving home. Just 25p. You can buy a quarter of a cup of coffee for that (as long as you don’t go to Starbucks, or another one of those overpriced coffee shops where it costs £3 to sit down and look at the menu). Alternatively, if you know of a blank page in your area that’s looking empty and cold, please cover it with warming words, and stop that blank page feeling lonely and unloved in 2010.
This is Sally, hijacking the blog just to say a very Happy New Year to my wonderful blog visitors. I wish you all a peaceful and contented New Year, where even if your dreams don’t come true, you come that bit closer to them.