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Note on Paper
O Blank Paper,
I cannot tell you much. But I can say this with absolute confidence: you are and forever will be the most intimidating thing I ever witness, O Paper. You loom in front of me on my unyielding, unblinking computer monitor, staring at me, taunting me with your vast whiteness, daring me to try to say something that won’t sound completely naïve or pretentious. And I have nothing to say to you who frighten me, O Paper. Though saying that I have nothing to say is indeed something, though typing that I will not type anything on the sacred nothing-expanse that primly sits before me is a paradox that I cannot avoid. I am a writer, and my responsibility is to take on the Monstrosity of Blank and win.
I can only tell you what I know, O Paper, when I type upon you and leave you saved in your Schrodinger-worthy printed and unprinted state. I can only tell you what I know, and as such, I will tell you everything I know.
I can tell you what it feels like, everywhere you go, to have your face pinched and your shoulders grasped in the past tense of firmly, to have your birth recounted and recounted until the final tally is that I remember you when you were THIS BIG. I can tell you what it’s like to see through lenses that may or may not splay colors of faint bitterness and amused ironic reminiscence through my childhood. I can tell you what it’s like to have an accoutrement that effectively labels you as Different before you yourself realize it; I can tell you, I should tell you that I was Always Different, as most writers claim to be, and I can tell you that most of those writers are visited by the infamous critics Pap and Dreck. Hopefully I am not one of these.
I can tell you that the feel of metal in your hands is not always a bad thing. I have felt the metal of a flagpole fit comfortably in the palm of my hand as I smoothly twirled and spun it round about my body. I can tell you about the feel of cold metal slowly warming in your hands as you blow warm air through it. I can tell you about the thrill of putting metal to your lips and slowly, slowly, taking a breath and allowing the finality, the graceful, effortless, fragile finality of the moment before music, to set into your bones, sink in deep.
I can tell you about joy. I can tell you the simple story of a day with flowers and a balloon, or a complex one about my first love. I can tell you what it’s like to force yourself content, what it’s like to seem dazed at life’s circumstances when in all actuality you’re dazed at the beauty of life. I can tell you what it’s like to have the gotta, the driving force behind a writer, the gotta start this, the gotta see how this ends, the gotta see if this works. I can tell you I shake as I type this without knowing why. I can tell you that I didn’t have anything to do on this quiet Friday afternoon, and then the gotta set in and now I am doing something, I am writing, simply because the writer-urge, the gotta, felt like it had to be here, and so here I sit, O Blank and Not-Blank Paper.
I can tell you how it feels to understand the paradox of writing your best and knowing that later on you will consider it rubbish. I can tell you, I should tell you, about the in-between feeling that a teenager gets when they realize that they know what they’re doing is immature but they’re swayed by their own logic nonetheless.
I can tell you what it’s like to be so affected by something completely infinitesimal that it makes you weep, such as a blade of grass where it shouldn’t be or a child on a swing set on a sunny day. I can tell you exactly the sense of non-affectedness that one feels in the moments following a devastating revelation, the kind that change lives, the kind that forever break bonds once held sacred.
I can tell you what it feels like to pre-eminently lose someone you love, the fact unfortunately indubitable and weighing in your mind. I can tell you how it feels to go without food; the emptiness gnawing unceasingly at your stomach voluntarily, for your unhealthiness is, in your mind, deserved. I can tell you what it feels like to lose sleep because you spend long hours crying over a stupid boy, huddled in a corner, taking refuge in pillows, noting the irony. How it feels to know that a dying man hates you, loathes you, despises you with all his being.
I can tell you this, O Papers, you who have become plural since the beginning of our conversation: I can tell you what it’s like to be gay.
I can tell you what it’s like to be shunned for something you cannot control. What it feels like to have the hot saliva of another person slap against your skin like a banana on concrete. What it’s like to have words hurled at you with venom as their propulsion, with malevolent intent as their aim. I can tell you what it’s like to be in a pit of despair for being who you are. I can tell you how your spine shivers when cold metal, the kind that isn’t the good kind, traces its way up your wrist. I can tell you what it’s like to sheath that metal and cry for an hour on your kitchen floor.
I can tell you that I am afraid of your opinion, O Papers, even though you are my creation and as such I can slant your bias any way I wish; I can tell you that you also have your own opinion that I cannot change.
I can tell you, O Papers, that I want to write something. Not just something but Something. An Important Something. A Something that will not sound like angst is its main tone long after my teenage years are over and done with. I want to write An Important Something, a Something that gets me places, a Something that gets me out of here. I want to write something that I don’t have the strength to; I want to write a Something that I know not what it is. I can tell you I feel it in the back of my mind, gnawing constantly like a rat in a cage, eroding at my sanity slowly, the Something-gotta that slowly will pervade my every move. I want to write the Something that frees me.
It’s there, on the tip of my tongue, on the edges of my fingertips. The Something waits for me to unleash it. Maybe you are that Something, O Papers, or the possibility to be that Something. Until then, I fear you, and I love you, for the paradox in which we find ourselves is that of the writer.
The Great Something is about to occur. I don’t even know what it is. But it’s going to happen soon.
Waiting for that moment,