A blank page is a formidable foe

Medical Practitioner WritingA good writer should be able to write about something—anything—even nothing, as the writers for Jerry Seinfeld did so successfully for years. How did they do that?

Well, here I am, facing a blank page on a Thursday night and committed to post something on the blog. (Since yesterday’s post went up after midnight, I could cop a plea on the basis that I’ve filled my quota for today. But that wouldn’t wash, because then yesterday’s slot would be left empty-handed.)

This afternoon I was writing about how first the Patriot Act and then the monster it spawned, the pervasive NSA, chill my blood; why their power and secrecy awaken dormant terrors leftover from childhood. But that’s a longer story for another day.

How many times have I read that you have to force yourself to face down the blank page and enter some words— free association, a grocery list— anything to get the juices rolling.

I could write about the sudden flood I unknowingly waded into this afternoon. 

After spending most of the day at my desk, I needed to flex my other muscles, so I decided to go to the gym for a workout. I was half-changed out of my walking-around clothes and headed to the bathroom for leggings and sneakers. (Does anyone say “sneakers” any more? Is that one of those words that signal that you’re just not with it?)

So I stepped into the bathroom, onto the white, fleecy rug that keeps my feet cosy in the middle of a wintry night, and … Squish! My socks sucked up water and my feet left watery footprints on the cold, marshy rug. The water was about two inches deep, enough to drench the moccasins that were waiting to swaddle my feet after a shower, and to soak the trailing laces in my sneakers, enough that they could wick the water up and into my no-longer-dry shoes.

Where had all the water come from? It certainly hadn’t been there before. I poked around until I discovered the source of the leak in the intake valve for the toilet. Fortunately, I live in a building with a handyman, and he came as soon as I called, equipped with a vacuum for the water. Who knew there were vacuums that slurp up water as well as dust? I only knew about sump pumps. Inevitably, the defective part has to be replaced, so I have to make do (no pun intended) without that toilet until the new part can be found and installed.

Fortunately, the rest of the day passed without incident, and now, my commitment minimally satisfied, I should be able to get into bed at a reasonable hour for the first time this week.

Stay tuned for the next installment.

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Filed under Musings, Personal, Writing

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