Of Blank Pages

The fear of creating something utterly new

What is it about blank pages that intimidate us?

They challenge us to say something important.

As I grow older, I don’t know if I have anything worthy, kind, important or interesting to say.

Should I draw? Everything I want to draw seems too childish or an attempt to impress on Instagram. I don’t just want to draw anymore.

I used to be able to just draw. Just like I used to be able to just sing.

When I was a kid, everything was a “blank page”. Including walls and floors. I used to draw on tables. With water droplets left behind on plates of steaming rice. With rings of filter coffee. Even with spilt talcum powder.

I used to draw faces with Little Hearts biscuits and stack together erasers to build forts. I used to fill silences with made-up stories, and pages with my name, words and flower pots. Everything else I wanted to say was tightly scribbled in the margins.

Even ruled paper did not faze me. The red and blue lines, meant to dictate, confine and control, inspired me to weave quilts and fishes through them.

Pieces of glass were game, as were windows and doors. All I needed was a pen, pencil, crayon or chalk. Sometimes, even my mother’s lipsticks and kajal were instruments. Tools.

Now, I buy all kinds of stationery. I have more of an urge to acquire than create now.

Rows and rows of pencils, HB, 2HB, charcoal.

Watercolors, pens, a pack of cartridges and then some more.

Glossy paper, art paper, construction paper, canvas of all sizes.

Color pencils, empty journals, all brand new and not inexpensive.

With the hope that when I say something, I’d say it well.

And yet, I don’t have much to say.

Blank pages and blinking cursors daunt, mock and depress.

What is this uninspired quietness within?

What is this unnamed fear?

Whatever happened to the eraser forts?

I'm a product manager living in San Francisco with a heart that refuses to leave Chennai! I enjoy writing about product management, technology, and food.

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