Staring into Space is a Valid Approach to Problem Solving. Usually.

Posted on 11/04/2012 by


Rick: Having fun?
Me: Er. Define ‘fun’. Writing is fun, yes? And banging my head against the wall seems to be an integral part of writing. Q.E.D.

It’s not that the ceiling of my living room is fascinating. It’s not. It isn’t even among the top five most interesting ceilings I’ve had. There are no murals. No footprints. No charcoal stains. No matter how often I consider the possibility it does not defy the laws of physics.

It’s just… white. The light fitting is one step short of a bare bulb.* That’s it. Really. It’s quite dull. Oddly shaped, but still — dull.

This does not explain why I spend hours staring at it. Or staring through it. The ceiling is not a portal through time. It will not show me other worlds, no matter how long I stare at it.

But for some reason, I act like it will. Like it could. Like if I stare long enough and hard enough I’ll figure out what exactly it is I’m looking for. Like somewhere in the blank canvas above me there lies the knowledge of how to translate the itch under my skin into the flood of words that I know wants to escape.

Today everything I’ve written in the second Path book is terrible. Today the main characters of Wizards are avoiding my eye, neither of them wanting to take the next step. Today nobody is drunk, or laughing, or destroyed. Nothing is exploding, or on fire, or lost.

Today I look up and there’s nothing there. And I think the canvas on the wall is mocking me.

blank black canvas hanging on a cream wall

This is actually a work in progress. But it’s been at this stage for about four months. So the word ‘progress’ may be something of a misnomer. Nevertheless, it’s has provoked more comment in those four months than any other work hanging on our walls.

I think it’s a picture of your soul. Your soul is a dark and desolate place.
Me: I call it ‘you have been eaten by a grue’.

* The light bulb itself is a kind of nifty Edison-style one that gives of an eerie yellow steampunk style aura that I’m not sure I approve of. Also, I can’t actually look at it because it makes me blind.