I’m not often intimidated by an empty page. First sentences are some of my favorite things in the world, if you want to know the truth. Ending a piece… well, that’s where the palm-sweating and
cursing grumbling come into effect… but I adore sitting down and unlocking the possibilities of a blank document. At least, I did before this January broadsided me.
My brain hasn’t checked out exactly, but it has locked itself in a steel-plated door marked “Authorized Personnel Only” to browse classified information without me. I’m no longer authorized, it would seem. Even personal letters I’ve written over the last few weeks have fought tooth and nail and blunderbuss to avoid being committed to paper. I have four (or five?) drafts of a special story collecting dust on my hard drive, and I’ve actually ignored a couple of writing offers. How can I explain? My brain is being a poopy-head?
I have been trying to carry on the illusion of professionalism by sitting at my computer instead of giving in to the power of the nap (as my body has been screaming at me to do… stupid body), but that first sentence is always just out of my reach. So instead of writing, I’ve been immersing myself in others’ stories. Others’ spacious and hearty lives, others’ intricacies and hues and incredible feats. And somewhere between empathy and actual motivation to get off my chair and live is the Valley of Strange.
Perhaps you’ve been to the Valley of Strange too. The scenery is fairly typical—sticky counters, dust piles under the couch, forty-five stacks of papers that were important two months ago—but none of it looks familiar. It’s like waking up to a lavender sky fleeced in turquoise clouds. Shoes are misplaced, words are forgotten, emotions are hazy. No moment registers quite like it should. Breathing just feels… strange.
I keep thinking of a comment Stephanie made last week, about how this sounds like an important time in my life. I sure do hope she’s right, because otherwise, I don’t know what to make of being locked out of my own story. I have to hope that something big is happening in my brain behind those closed doors, that there’s a mountain of AWESOME on the other side of this valley. Yes, awesome with a capital everything, plus clarity and purpose and enough Red Bull to fuel my explosive motivation. Yes, please.