How it gives wings to my spirit
when I am able to access the richly appointed therapist’s office known
as my brain and bring forth wisdom for a hurting world. Or something.
Many of you have chosen me as a kind of Internet mentor of mental and
emotional health . . . and rightly so. Who better to serve those in
need than a man of impeccable training, unimpeachable pedigree, and
most important, unfathomable humility . . . me?
Steady on, Literary Voyagers. Your Captain is at the wheel; I will see
us through the dark and stormy night; I will guide us to the light on
yonder shore. I’ll be your Funky, Warp-Drive Admiral of Interstellar
Wordplay. I’ll be . . . oh, never mind.
At any rate, rest assured that
your cries for help will not go unheeded . . . not while I am manning
the helm of the USS Starship Therapy. Together let
us boldly continue to go where no neurotic has gone before.
Today’s letter is from a poor
soul indeed: a writer suffering from the dreaded disorder I call BPP
(Blank Page Phobia). Come, fair reader, and let us explore “Blank Space
. . . The Final Frontier.”
Dear Dr. Jim,
I hope you can help me. For most of my life I have been an avid reader,
and nothing gives me more satisfaction than to sit by my fireplace with
a good book in hand. And long ago I felt certain that one day I would
write a book . . . perhaps many books! It became my dream back then,
but one that has never come true. Back then I wasn’t afraid to dream.
But now . . . oh, I’ve tried, believe me; time and again I’ve sat at my
computer, only to stare hopelessly at the empty screen glowing there
before me like some pale burial shroud. I might get a few words typed,
perhaps even a whole sentence or two, and then nothing. Then I’d try
writing by hand onto paper, only to become haunted by all the blank
space staring back at me. My mind would race, but without order or
shape. As soon as I stand and walk away from the infernal machine or
legal pad, wonderful concepts and images flood my mind! But should I
return to my work, all my thoughts scatter and flee, leaving me
frustrated, heartbroken, and yes, lost in space.
Tell me, Dr. Jim, what can I do?
I . . .
. . . that is . . .
You needn’t . . . I mean, many of us . . .
(Pardon me, I’m feeling dizzy . . . need water . . .)
Back now, and the fact is . . .
Listen, try just . . . leaping in . . . I mean, every . . . eh, story .
. . must have a beginning . . .
everything ever written had to . . . sometimes we just have to . . .
for instance . . .
It was a dark and stormy night . . . no . . .
It was the best of times . . .
I am born . . .
Call me Ishmael . . .
Captain’s log, stardate . . .
I . . . I’m afraid I must go back to bed now.
I’m Dr. Jim . . . and I’m . . . oh, drat! What is it?
Oh, yes . . . I’m listening . . .
I’m Dr. Jim . . . and
listening . . .
When not writing this
Jim can be found compulsively overworking at
www.ProdigalSong.com and www.jameserobinson.com.