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When you have nothing to say…

… say nothing.

Yeah, that’s not working for me. I’m going to think about it a while. In the meantime…

a picture of a glass elevator by Paul Hanaoka

My days here have been either long or unpredictable. I may work 14 hours or I may have the next three days off. Usually because of rain, which means spending those days where I prefer to spend them, outside, isn’t feasible. So I’m either waiting to work or working long hours to make up for the time spent waiting.

It’s wearing on me.

Every night I sit at my computer to write and nothing comes out. Or what comes out isn’t what I want. I’ve deleted more words in the last few months than I’ve managed to salvage.

I have probably started 50 poems. Some of them are crap. Others are worth storing and coming back to later. Some will never make it to the Caravan because they steered me in a direction I generally don’t share here. Some have been finished and submitted to publishers or contests in the hope of adding Recipient of the X Prize for Poetry – 2019 to my LinkedIn profile. But mostly they’re crap and get deleted after stripping anything worth keeping and then stashed in the “fodder file”. A collection of brilliant and less-than-brilliant one-liners that have just enough potential to keep around for a while.

If I had an office instead of a spare bedroom (a walk-in closet, really) I would write them all over the walls. I think it might inspire me to be surrounded by usable one-liners. It would definitely make the hours I spend staring at the walls more entertaining. Then again, it might just remind me of all the failed attempts I’ve made and make things worse.

I should use sticky notes just in case.

I’ve also started dozens of stories about love and hope and gratitude in the past several months. But as much as I feel those things, as much as I am in touch with them, live them, and want to express them, the stories don’t get finished. Most of them are saved on my computer as drafts.

One day, long after I’m gone, a data historian will gain access to those drafts in some accidental discovery of my hard drive in a second hand store a hundred years from now and the whole collection will be published posthumously. They’ll likely get my name wrong and call me Jeff. Everyone does sooner or later. It probably doesn’t help that I don’t use my first name when I write. It’s a feng shui thing. Like Datsun changing their name to Nissan.

It’s James, by the way.

Wait a second! Was that optimism? Well, yes, lean as it was, it is pretty optimistic to think I’ll be worth publishing a hundred years from now. It’s not that I’m depressed or feeling negative. I feel fine. I’m just not in a place, physically, that is conducive to writing. But that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t write anyway.

So here I am, starting another article.

Given my track record so far this year I probably won’t come up with anything profound or even noteworthy to say, and what I’ve written so far hasn’t exactly changed my mind on that, but I’ve decided that doesn’t matter. Not really.

What matters is that I write… something.

So here I am. Writing something.

I got it! When you have nothing to say just say it.


Image (unnamed and completely unrelated to anything I just wrote) by Paul Hanaoka.

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