Messing up the blank page

Of all the many many ter­rors which life seems to hold for me, few are as par­a­lyz­ing as a new blank note­book. That is why I have so many of them: I love note­books, I am drawn to almost every­thing about them, and I pur­chase them almost (but not quite) com­pul­sive­ly. But most of the time I can­not bring myself to spoil them with my clum­sy imper­fect words.

Lent is com­ing again this week. I say ‘again’ because it seems like we just had it a year ago, and I didn’t get around to writ­ing a jot about it then, despite a seri­ous knot of thoughts on the mat­ter and mul­ti­ple attempts to com­pose them. Fall down, get up again, right?

This year I am more inclined than ever before to approach Ash Wednes­day as a New Year’s sur­ro­gate: this is the time I want to tack­le some of the (many) things about me that I know need to change. And a lot of that change is going to involve this new note­book I am already dar­ing to mar with line after line of scrawl­ing words in Pelikan 4001 Königs­blau ink.

What shape will my Lenten ambi­tion take? Cer­tain­ly a return to the most ele­men­tal activ­i­ty for a writer — writ­ing — and with it a renewed effort to shift my iner­tia from con­sum­ing stuff to mak­ing stuff. There are a few facets to this, the expli­ca­tion of which I will attempt to drag out over the next few days, but this time I feel, more than ever before, that I am attempt­ing some­thing simul­ta­ne­ous­ly chal­leng­ing and achiev­able: a sus­tain­able move away from indo­lence (and the resul­tant self-loathing) toward a life of dili­gent self-expres­sion in my cho­sen medi­um. Will it work? We’ll all have to stay tuned to find out.

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