Start on the inside

Making a start is usually the hardest thing, no? With anything. I am particularly inflicted with some sort of start-making disability. If I’m faced with a white canvas or a white page or a pregnant pause, I become stuck in an odd, blank space freeze frame.

I figured all this out pretty early in the piece. When I was around 9 or 10 my Nan asked me draw a picture of her garden. So I head out to the front of her house one day, sit cross-legged on the nature strip in that prickly buffalo grass that seems to permeate every lawn in the greater Wagga area, with a large white sketch pad on my knees and a pencil in my hand.

I sat outside that house for around 2 hours, and nothing. All of a sudden the clouds in the sky became fascinating. I started pulling things out of the lawn, following ants through the grass and noticing wooden notches in the fence that looks like faces of old men. I became the queen of procrastination and intent on not looking that white space in the eyes. Eventually I felt the air get cooler and I knew it was getting dark. Nan came out and told me I’d have to come in soon, and I was mortified by the idea of going inside with nothing on the paper. So in a panic I took the pencil and drew a big square around the edge of the page.

And you know what? From there it was easy. From the square came the fence, and from the fence came the trees, and the gate, and the front door. And once those things came out on the page the motivation came too – I didn’t only want to keep going, I wanted to finish. And I wanted it to be good. And I wasn’t scared any more.

This blog is becoming an image of the same thing. I’m not sure what this is – it could be that for now it’s kinda run it’s course. Filled its use. It could be that some of the stuff I want to write I’m scared too now I know there are people reading it. It could be that my head is less full. To be honest it’s probably a little from column A through C. I’m not ready to finish this thing yet. I like having it here – a messy pile of words and hastily strung together sentences that mean very little to anyone but me. For a while it was somewhere to come every night when I needed an end to the day – somewhere to sign off, to recap, and to brace myself for tomorrow.

I have other routines now. I get home and cook dinner. I listen to music. I rattle around the house doing probably pointless things that don’t really need doing (like changing the rings on my shower curtain because the old ones looked like they were upside down, even though they weren’t, and for some reason this wouldn’t do). I email (or on weekends go see) the boy. I sit with my cat and watch Bargin Hunt (which incidentally is my new TV find which incidentally is followed by Antiques Roadshow EVERY NIGHT be still my beating heart).

So yeah, a couple of nights in a row I’ve fired up a Word document, only to stare at the white for maybe 10 minutes and then shut it again. Only tonight I committed to make a start, and here we are. Perhaps that’s the thing. I need to draw a square around whatever I do, to take the blank space away. Hit play and move past the freeze, one frame at a time.

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