As much as I enjoy writing, the occasional blank page does a little too much stating back at me. It’s creepy when a person does it. You look up. They look up. You look down. You look up again. They look up again. Or were they watching you, but you didn’t know because you looked away in that game of eyeball chicken strangers inadvertantly play? Or do they do it on purpose? A form of boredom killing entertainment, or something more sinister? I’d be willing to bet it’s almost always innocent…and rarely not innocent at all. That’s kind of the way it starts to feel, when a writer and their blank page get into a stating contest.

Another kind of blank page is strictly mental. Too much distraction. Often unavoidable, sometimes made entirely out of procrastination.

I’ve been experiencing it all too often lately. I know what to write…most of the time. I even know how to write it. But it feels as if an invisible wall made of stress, exhaustion, and worry has planted itself between my brain and my fingers that want to type in spite of that invisible wall.

I love Twitter, but a lot of people there  relentlessly try to help everybody…in the world. They chirp about being positive, just do it…whatever it is, there’s no reason to not be doing what you’re meant to be doing, if you’re really meant to do it. There are also the ones who are negative and insist in 140 characters or less that…well, basically you’re a dilettante, if you don’t meet their criteria for whatever it is they think you’re trying to be. They’re right in a lot of cases. The world is full of talkers, well, tweeters, instead of doers. But, you know what? They’re not hurting anyone, with their bought followers or wish upon a stariness.

There’s another kind of person out there who really is dedicated and trying their  best to hang on to their dreams. There are obstacles and hardships in this world that no amount of chirping or admonishing can change. Sometimes life thrusts difficulties on us that have to be worked around, gotten through, survived.

For writers, these situations we didn’t ask for leave us drained and demoralized. The mental blank page is made not of paper, but of emotions and time drains and, quite often, entirely too much love.

In my particular case, I’m a writer/screenwriter with an elderly parent who depends on me. I’m her caregiver, her anchor, and her only child. She’s done more for me, in more ways than come in the how to be a wonderful parent handbook so many mothers do not instinctively have, but she lived from for decades. She deserves my attention and my love. I try to give all of it to her I can, even though it brings forth my mental blank page where all my words lurk obscured in its shadow.

This isn’t at all what I started out to write. But as it started to form, I allowed it to because I know more and more people have aging parents who need them as much as they were once needed. I can’t be the only one who feels outside the chirping and admonishing, wondering where the dedicated writer fits when dedication of another kind becomes…life.

It’s a life of challenges, and also one of growth and learning and self discovery. Just like writing. And it doesn’t mean the writing stops. It means those times when the mental blank page eases and fills up with thoughts and ideas and words become more precious.

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