I am going to attempt to follow the WordPress: Prompt-a-day tag where each morning (unfortunately American time) they publish a new word which the bloggers of the WordPress world are challenged to write a blog post inspired by that word. Yesterday, Monday 30th May, the word was Blank. As I stated, they are released as the American population awaken from their slumber, so being on China time here, I will be doing completing these for the previous day’s word.
- (of a surface or background) unrelieved by decorative or other features; bare, empty, or plain.
- showing incomprehension or no reaction.
Blank. Blank makes you, by definition; think of emptiness, of something that is missing or lacking. Blankness can be one of the most intimidating things. For writers; a blank word document or notebook page. For Artists; a blank canvas or sketchbook. For office workers; a blank email or form. For tattooists: a blank stretch of skin. For Photographers; a blank roll of film or a memory card. For Travellers; a blank page on the calendar… I must admit. I struggle with all of the above. I may not be an established writer, artist, office worker, tattooist, photographer or traveller. But we all struggle with filling in the blanks of
everyday life, not only physically but also metaphorically. In each conversation you have with someone, you’re filling in the blanks of what they’re telling you; you read between the lines, look for body language and clues that help you gain a better understanding.
Blankness makes us feel weak. It makes us feel that we are not good enough, and we are not enough on our own to fill this empty void. Yet once that first step is taken, that first sentence written, the first brush of paint made, the first photograph captured, we’ve done it. The blankness is no longer there. No longer there dominating our thoughts, making us feel inferior. I remember starting my dissertation, way back in 2012. I’d done more research and reading than I care to admit, yet sitting at my little corner desk at 60 St Guthlac St, the bright white word document staring back at me, with that little blinking curser winking at me, urging me to push it forwards, terrified me. How do you start a paper which may define your entire further education? One word. That’s all it took. One word to get the essay writing juices flowing, so to speak. And that word was aestheticism. A word I probably, (if I’m being brutally honest), don’t even think I knew how to spell before taking on the big bad Diss.
A mental blank. I have those a lot. Mainly for words during everyday conversation. Example: our students leave everything lying around school. MacBook’s, iPhones, bags, money etc, and they never worry about them going ‘missing’. What I wanted to say was “Our kids are far too trusting!” to Leah as we strolled upstairs for our umpteenth cuppa of the day. But what came out was: “Our kids have too much trustivity!”… or something like that, I then proceeded to throw around many other non-existent words.
Body blanks. I also get these, probably once a year, maybe twice. And by body blanks I of course mean (sorry Dad & Nana), that loud, screaming, skin itching craving to add some new “artwork” to my body. Tattoos. My newest, and now possibly my favourite, is quite visible. And I don’t hate it. I love it! I get to see this beautiful, delicately done flower of my home country each and every day. And, the same with my others, I can’t even picture that blank piece of skin sitting underneath. What was blank is now decorated, permanently, for life. That sounds scary and horrifying, and for people with commitment issues, definitely not cool, but if you’re sensible enough to think it through, and really take your time over design and placement, then it’s possibly the coolest thing ever, definitely the coolest thing you’ll take to the grave.
So yes, blankness can be an intimidating force that mocks you when you’re trying so hard, but, it can easily be vanquished. And not with some JKR spell shot from a wand, but by you, by me. It just takes that first teeny-tiny step, and you’ve done it. So, this is advice I need to take myself: keep on writing, put some paint or pencil on a page, go out and take a photo, go onto Skyscanner and book a flight, just go and do. Go and do and don’t let anything stop you.