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Bewildering Stories

Filling the Blank

by Oonah V. Joslin

Blizzard” might be seen as a dramatization of writer’s block; one’s writing can become stale. But for me:

C’est l’intelligence, l’éveil / qui enfante et rêve — Intelligence, waking creates and dreams

is much more true for both poetry and fiction. It's consciousness at play, the ability to tell stories to yourself, to let words skip and jump around in the mind. I don't think writers ever really grow up. We make up the stories and rhymes we want to hear. So Paul Valéry got that spot-on.

Does watching a computer screen induce synesthesia? I wouldn't say so. I have always kind of understood synesthesia, but I don't have it and I think it's something you can't really explain or induce any more than you can explain the taste of a cherry. People perceive the world more differently than we think — otherwise everyone would like chocolate, everyone would love Beethoven, purple would never look like brown.

I found that John Grey’s poem “The Perfect Man” matched very closely my original motivation in writing “Blizzard.” As you know, it was drafted but not crafted four years ago.

Yes, you’re our invention.
We imagined you,
and now here you are.
You’re immortal,
but as a byproduct of
our wishing immortality for ourselves.

That is what writers do. We try to become immortal through our characters, and my stories and poems are my only children so I hope at least some will survive. But, like real children, they are not always what you imagined they would be — not in a reader’s mind — sometimes not in your own.

When I began “Blizzard,” Paget and Silena were just names in my head. I had no idea where this story was going. And I think as writers we all have that fear, that our creation will ‘get away from us’ like Frankinstein’s monster. And if it did, what might it do to us? Accuse us? Kill us off? As a writer

You can’t be lonely,
because you’re beyond all loneliness.
You merely test the boundaries of the void.
Your brilliance centers
and finds, to your despair,
there are no boundaries.

Evidently this ‘thought’ is self-reflexive — the loneliness of the writer is in the void of that blank page — at the beginning of the process and at the end; the page is blank, as for Angelica. We never reach the boundary, as John says, and are therefore destined to try to fill the void forever.

Now if that’s not enough to make you ‘mad as a bag of brains’, I know not what is!

Perfect poem from John Grey, as always, and if I say I feel his despair... well, it’s because I do.


Copyright © 2013 by Oonah V. Joslin

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