Sometimes I just sit and stare at the blank, flat, white background to a Google Docs Untitled document. I’ll start to put down some words onto the page, disrupting the canvas, and then quickly backspace them away before the ink sets. What I had written there was uninspired. What I had written was put-on, contrived, and affected. It was the false-start of an idea on flawed pretense. Whenever I’ve ever continued, pushing on past the pain of knowing that what I’m doing is farcical at best, it has always turned out to be a mess. The result is an uninspired heap of words that sort of mingle with one another like a bunch of second-hand acquaintances awkwardly attempting to make conversation at a party.
So, instead, I sit on the blank page. I am comfortable there. At least sitting there, repeating endless cycles of ‘type-type-delete’, makes me feel like I’m “working.” Even using that word, “working,” feels like I’m lying to myself. On the one hand, writing every day and practicing every day is - as far as I understand it, which is not very far I will admit - the pathway to success as a writer. On the other hand, referring to it as “working” implies that there is actual “work” to be done. Maybe if there was, I’d be less inclined to hammer the backspace key. Maybe if there was, I’d be less often guilty of marking down the failure to write day over day. Again, though, even typing that out again just now, and all of the sudden my inner monologue is lashing out, pounding at the confines of my subconscious.
“No!” it shouts, beating it’s hypothetical fists against the wall. “No, of course not, that’s not how it works!” It sounds again. “You’re giving yourself excuses! What, are you going to wait to write for real until someone is paying you to do it? Giving you your ‘work’? How do you propose on getting the work if you don’t practice, genius?”
“Shut up. I know,” I tell the hypothetical little man snarling at the edge of my mind. “You’re a lot more fucking difficult to deal with than Untitled document, you know that?”
Then, completely unable to entertain this hypothetical conversation between myself and the voice in my head embodied by a hypothetical little man, I stop writing about that and reflect for a moment about how this descent into mania has ruined my otherwise pristine Untitled document.
Sometimes I think I’m losing it. At least I didn’t name him. Only crazy people name them.