New Blank Document
It’s November 27. I’m almost done with my 30-day practice. Today, everything has escaped me. I’m seeing a blank what page on my computer screen. MSWord calls this a “New Blank Document.” What am I supposed to do with this? Today, I am not angry. I am not sad. I am not frustrated. I am not depressed. I have no strong feelings happening that make writing easy.
Today, I feel calm. I feel happy. I feel as if I have accomplished things. What’s there to write about in that? Two of my friends and one relative have a birthday today. My brother-in-law and a friend have the exact birthday. Both turned 59 today. The other is younger. Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. I want to wait until then to write about things I am thankful for. A promise? I hope so. An idea!
NEW: Novel, original, innovative, different. As the month has progressed, I have found it increasingly difficult to find original, innovative or different subjects to write about. Original, innovative or different things to inspire me.
Duck Dynasty is on the TV. This is an original, innovative and different TV show. It’s also just plain weird. It’s reality TV at it’s strangest. The story follows a family in western Louisiana who make duck calls. They have made millions from the duck call business, but retain their bayou roots. All the men, Dad, his brother and his three sons, have ZZ Top beards, long hair and wear camo clothing most of the time. They live in the swamps, make duck calls, hunt, and drive each other crazy. It is far from politically correct, but there are strong and healthy family values. They even have the same family dinner during the show that Blue Bloods has on the network. If you want to try something original, innovative and different, leave your sensibilities at the door and check out Duck Dynasty. It’s on A&E on cable.
BLANK: Empty, uncomprehending, unmitigated, outright. Outright?? I have never associated “blank” as either a noun or an adjective with “outright.” I feel blank when I am empty, a clean slate, ready for input. Input like writing on page, like music to my ears, like a painting for my eyes, like the pumpkin cheesecake in the oven scenting my nose, like the sweet-sour tang of cider to taste.
Blank is passive – there’s nothing going on here. Blank is null, negative and devoid of feeling, devoid generally. Outright carries a great deal of energy and emphasis. Outright: abrupt, complete, unprecedented, anything but null. An interesting connection brings me back to a few days ago, remembering JFK’s inaugural and the poem written and recited by Robert Frost. Outright is perfect, pure and consummate, as is the “gift outright” of Frost’s poem. “Such as we were we gave ourselves outright. . . to the land.” We settlers, we people of the new United States. There is nothing blank or empty or vague about this gift. I wonder where Microsoft found outright being blank . . .
DOCUMENT: A record or to record. A certificate, deed, or manuscript. A container for words, or the act putting words onto or into a container. History. A written record of time, of “all that is preserved or remembered of the past.” Every time I put pen to paper, or my fingers to the keyboard, I am creating the document recording my history, the story (the record) of my events and times. Sometimes I write so that I may understand and interpret the events of my life. Other times I write to share the process of my life with others.
I create this document to document for my readers, a piece of my process. I remember in a flash the end of “The Time Machine.” The Traveler has left for the last time to return (presumably) to the future world. He took with him three books from his prodigious library. My mother and I often debated what three books he might have taken. One might be a Bible. I am certain that another is a dictionary. I have never settled on what the third might be. But a dictionary – that’s how I got here tonight – following one word to another in that grand document of a dictionary. It’s great fun and greatly informative, and I still possess three unabridged dictionaries, several abridged dictionaries and a great thesaurus.
Now to go back to Duck Dynasty. In this episode two of the bayou boys are taking their city-slicker wives deer hunting – with bows, of course. The girls have made an absolute mess of it. It wouldn’t be “fun” otherwise, but the boys love them, love silly and at the end of a disastrous and fruitless hunting day, one of the guys looks with doe eyes and puppy face up at his beautiful wife, sitting in the pickup truck. He says the following with outright love and devotion and honesty: “The next deer I kill, Honey, I will cook it for you.” She looks at him the way one would look at one’s favorite dog (or cat), shrugs, looks at her nail polish: “You would do that anyway.” This is the history, the documentation of these folks love for one another.
Thanks for reading.