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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