Rome is burning.
While I stare at a blank page on my digital screen.
My thoughts are the same as my coffee; black and bitter.
RadioHead’s Hail to the Thief is playing in the background, Or maybe it was Pablo Honey.
It doesn’t really matter.
But it always starts like this.
Words betray me one more time.
Every single time that little damned self-doubt creeps back into my heart. It tells me that I am not good enough. That I don’t have what it takes. That the last page I wrote would be . . . the last. It tells me I have no business being a writer or trying to be one. It tells me to quit. To go watch TV or spend my time on booze and gambling.
It tells me my worst fears.
And then I think to myself . . this is it. This is the one. This is where I would be made. This is where they all find out that I was getting away with it the whole time, and now I would be found for who I truly am . . a fraud.
A man with no talents or a higher purpose.
A man whose sole motivations in life have always been anger, despair and loneliness.
Then I write the first few words. I slowly start slipping into that place; that place I need to go to start writing. I know what is waiting for me there. My sins. My regrets. Ghosts from the past. Parts of me that died and was buried there. And I roam around that place like an exorcist. Fighting demons and breaking magic spells.
Every time I go there, I come back a little less, and a little less, and a little less.
This is the price that I have to pay. I know one day I would go there and then there would be nothing left of me. Only scars and souvenirs.
That place would be the end of me.
Every morning I wake up and I want to quit. I want to pull the plug on this dream and call it a day. It won’t be the first time I gave up on a dream. I kind of became an expert at that. I am my own worst enemy; I talked myself out of more dreams and adventures than I ever want to admit.
And still, I find myself back here staring at the blank page. My second worst enemy.
Every writer, or an aspiring-writer, have to go through this – the blank page.
But it is not the blank page that we are battling with, it is our fears. Our self-doubts. There is no such thing as a writer’s block – only a writer that is shit scared to be found out. And we all have to go through this. With every page. Every blog. Every book.
We all have to go to that place we love and loathe the most.
We are all junkies there. Addicted to a drug only we can cook and consume.
You only see the high.
You don’t see the pain.
And I keep going back. Not because I am addicted to the pain. But because every time I want to quit, I remember the moments when I read something profound written by one of my favorite writers, and it made me ache in places I didn’t even know exist.
Chuck Palahniuk. Hunter S. Thompson. Ernest Hemingway. Charls Bukowski. Neil Strauss. Henry Miller. Rob Judge.
I keep writing – or trying to write, better say, because this is how I honor them.
Writers don’t give a fuck when you tell them how much thier writings meant to you or changed your life.
So I don’t thank them.
Instead, I honor them. I pay tribute to their art. This is our little secret ritual. The never-ending cycles of high and withdrawal.
I keep going back to that place and I keep staring at the blank page.
I pour my heart out.
Then I bite on my pride, and I hit publish.
That is my third worst enemy.
The blog is out there now. Words had merely become an electric current and digital bytes.
They don’t belong to me. I don’t own them anymore. The internet does.
And it doesn’t matter.
And I don’t feel better or worse.
As if a little piece was chopped off away from me.
This is the price I have to pay. Until there is nothing left to give.
Ernest Hemingway was right.
“There is nothing to writing. All you do is site down at a typewriter and bleed.”