Sunday, November 8, 2009

Empty Slate

I recently found myself between stories. I had written some long overdue work that now finished left me without any new big ideas. Several days had gone by without an epiphany. Sure, I had some revisions to finish for submissions, but there was nothing new percolating in the pot. It was a strange feeling. Usually my mind is cluttered with unwritten (and unwritable) story lines, but this week I was an empty slate.

There must have been more creative space alloted to those old projects than I realized. I'm glad I got them out, although success was mixed. Some were not all as interesting once written as I hoped. However, the last chapter I think has not been written.

The question now is: What’s next? Where do other writers turn for inspiration: newspapers, cocktail parties, the box of old journals in the garage? Should I play mechanic and weld together spare out-takes? Or should I just relax and let the ideas start trickling back on their own accord.

I've a number of Fiction International volumes whose edgy nature quicken the blood and strike the imagination. I also carry a skinny reporter’s notebook in my back pocket for unexpected thoughts and observations. That eases the burden from the mind to both create and remember.

So my net is cast. The store is open for business. Bring me your tired and your hungry, your ironic, your iconic, bring me complexities, allegories, and metaphors, bring me time travel, self discovery, sex and contempt, bring me redemption, bring me tragedy. Keep it messy, imperfect, and real. Bring me these discordant, beautiful misanthropes with whom I can play life and make music. Just be sure to jostle me if I'm lost in a daydream.

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