Dialogue with a sketchbook
I am standing in my studio staring at a blank page. The page’s void calls to me. The emptiness, the unrealized, the potential. The blank page is nothing and infinity at once. It is opportunity. It soothes me, gives me purpose, and fills me with anxiety as it calls to me to fill it up.
“Make me something” the page begs.
Doubt enters my mind, my muscles tense. What if I make it something terrible? Will the page forgive me? I reach for a pencil. Yes. Safety, I can erase, edit, and fix my mistakes. Just before I cautiously mark the page I realize that the page is not afraid of what it may become. It hasn’t been to art museums to see what other pages have become, it doesn’t know it’s potential. It hasn’t been taught how to be or been compared to other pages in the sketchbook. This page is just excited to be something. My options are endless.
I put the pencil down and pick up a pen. Caution be damned. Whatever marks come out of me, so be it, the page and I will be one, a stream of consciousness. Impulsivity. Whatever imperfections I have the page will share. I owe this page nothing. I didn’t chose this page. It was simply the next in line in my sketchbook. I never have to look at this page again.
I’ve been here before, staring at an empty page with no plan, no idea solidified in my mind. Not even a starting point. This does not go well. It will be a mess, a landslide of unintended consequences, a disastrous chain reaction. A wasted page. Horrified, I throw my pen across the room, what was I thinking?
STOP STARING AT ME PAGE!
I tell myself not to let the page irritate me. That’s what it wants and I won’t let the page win. This page disagrees with me, screw it, I will just go to the next page. Nah, this one is the same. Next. AH! Not again. Next. Next. Next. Next. Next. Next. Fuck! There are so many blank pages to fill, to disappoint, all staring at me. Taunting me. Words appear on the pages. “You suck” “You’ll never make anything good” “It’s been done” “No one cares” “Failure” “Failure” Failure” “You thought you could contribute to the world with your art?! HA! HA!
The sketch book is laughing at me. I slam it shut. To shut it up. But I still hear its whispers. Glancing around the room my eye catches a blue shape. My blowtorch. Yes. It has to die. The roaring sound of the oxygen burning soothes my mind. I throw the book on the ground and set the torch loose on it. The pages say nothing, no protest, nothing. My eyes glow red, transfixed on the flame. Bright white pages curl up and turn black, smoke billows off and dances away in the wind as the last embers burn out. Only a silky grey pile of ash is left. The sketchbook burned bright in nature’s glorious entropic power. Alas, the pages power and potential are gone.
The destruction was easy. It only took a moment, a single thought and…satisfaction. My mind is free. I don’t have to do anything. I breathe a sigh of relief.
I look down. The smear of white, black, and grey ash interests me. I crouch down, spread out the ash and begin to swirl the ash around with my finger creating ridges and craters. Hmmm. I need to go buy a sketchbook.