Fear of a blank page

How long would you guess I stared at this screen after typing that title?  Three days.  It took me three days to push one key, to lay down that first "H" back there.  The title was in reference to starting a new piece but the concept seems to be contagious and has spread to this blog.  This is my first entry since the creation of the blog (I wrote the small essays about my new works before this blog was built) and because it's the first it feels important. Hesitation begets hesitation.  Right when you need to commit and jump into something this nefarious disease strikes.  Stagnation, procrastination and doubt crawl out from their burrows and begin circling.  Another insidious feature of this malady is that the greater the consequence, the more intense the paralysis.  Even if the consequences are imaginary or self imposed (like the idea that a blog has to be transcendent or a drawing has to be a masterpiece).  I suppose this is where the advice to take oneself less seriously comes from, but it's my life, my one go-around, my precious now dissolving into history never to be unearthed and experienced again and it is the wonderful weight of this miraculous opportunity that can make me st-st-stutter when it's time to sing.

The best thing I can say about the grips of this hesitation is that I beat it.  I win.  Each time I make a piece I have conquered the internal mechanics that seem to me to be hardwired from ancestral days of lizard brains and preconscious tadpoles.  This is the victory of starting the race, of putting the shoes on, even.  This is the under appreciated ore of every work of art: someone had an idea, and then, and then, the silly human began rearranging earthbound molecules to make something new.  I ride the wave of this victory until the piece seems to develop it's own momentum and I enter the proverbial "zone."

I maintain a very rigid work schedule because if I don't I get derailed and succumb to the mighty foes of sloth, but without fail when it comes time to start a new piece and I have stretched my paper on the board, I have to ride out the same anxiety every time.  I would think that it would diminish with time and practice, but this has not been the case for me.  With each new piece I lose sleep, I appear rudderless, I drink a little more booze and a little more coffee.  With each new piece I feel like I have nothing worth saying and I can't find anything worth a long visual investigation.  This defies what I have learned by experience: that anything and everything is worth a long visual investigation.  That infinity is present within every particle and infinite interest resides in our consciousness.   I lecture myself, do some shadow boxing, and get my hands dirty with charcoal dust.  "Go ahead, touch it.  Just touch the paper.  Make a mark.  Get dirty."   And then I set off on that infinite path of visual investigation, and off we go a-bloggering, too.