Wednesday, July 13, 2011
A frustrated writer stares at the blank piece of paper taunting him from his typewriter. He furiously types a few lines, slamming the return bar in his rush to finish his thoughts. Sated, he peers at the page in front of him and re-reads his work. He frowns. Then he rips the page from the machine, crumples it up, and tosses it toward an overflowing wastepaper basket.
Can you picture it? A tortured soul with writer's block. So cliche.
I thought about taking a picture of an overflowing wastepaper basket to put with this blog post, but I don't have one. I've never had one. I do have a picture of empty dumpsters, and actually found that more fitting because I don't believe I have ever thrown away my work. I can't even imagine it. I can relate to writer's block, and dissatisfaction with the words I've put on paper, but I can never bring myself to throw my writing away.
Is it just me?
I will cross things out. I will scribble notes, draw arrows, and even write questions to myself in the margins of my pages. Then I file those papers, save those document files, or tuck away those notebooks. I've got filing cabinets and computer folders full of bad writing. I probably could fill a dumpster. Except that I'm a hoarder. I can't let go of those scraps of paper. I always think that there must be something in there. I must have been trying to say something, and maybe someday I'll want to come back to it and revise it/fix it/flesh it out.
I can't help but wonder if the image of the writer with discarded balls of paper all over his desk and office is just a myth. My wastepaper basket is empty. Is yours?