The Charm And Vice Of Blank Diaries For An Author

The New Year carries along new tidings, and caught in the flurry of daisy fresh beginnings, we turn over a blank leaf in our lives. But here I attempt to give expression to the hurricane wrought upon an author’s mind, by blank diaries in the mailbox.

“A blank page is a door … containing infinity, like a night sky with a supermoon really close to the Earth, with all the stars and the galaxies, where you can see very clearly… You know how that makes your heart beat faster?” -David Mitchell

Indeed, the lure of a blank page to an author is most inexplicable. It sends our psyches into a dizzy of imagined scenarios as our deepest longings get projected onto a host of unreal people. Nevermore so, too, then when the newborn year is blossoming. The month of January is all that art aspires to be- a dream-like state, so innocently wistful in its yearnings and resonant with endless possibilities. But these fragrant, overpowering beginnings prove unnerving to authors, as blank hues and burning stories strike straight through the heart.

Washed off the hopelessness of yesteryear, this decade lies anew before us. A tabula rasa of possibilities and January beckons to us with blank calendars and diaries oh-so-pretty in the mailbox. It is these diaries that alight the soul of an author. Its scented pages awaiting the dance of human emotions inked in words. My poet’s hands caress their pages. As my writer mind brims over with new story ideas, the taint of the year past: stories too painful for words, the memory of diaries and reveries abandoned midway, causes a tempest in my author soul.

“There is something compelling about the blank page that beckons you in to write something on it — it must be filled.”-Margaret Atwood

The blank page must be inked, painted with words, spell cast into a whole other universe, and yet, … a flurry of questions hold me back. What if I were to become the proverbial Icarus, flying too close to the truth in my writings, and scorching myself with my own art? Some truths must never be inked, and thence the incomplete diaries locked away in my cupboard. Any artist has limits, breaching which might ruin them at the cost of their masterpiece. And so I dance about the white pages, a sentence here, a reverie there; but never the fulfillment of an unbroken narrative.

For someone so hounded by the nature of a blank page, I have a surprisingly huge horde of half-filled diaries peeking from the nooks of my bookshelf. And the satisfaction of flipping through one, to read unfinished poetry from a forgotten time, is unsurpassable. The colours they carry, and even the mere ideas their unfinished state evokes, proved rare gifts of sanity in a turbulent year. Oh, how even I would love to fill one from cover to cover, some day! It  should come as no surprise to the reader that the aversion to diaries isn’t a universal phenomenon amongst authors. Some cannot stand the blank and charge at it with their pens.

“I never leave anything blank…I never want to waste pages as they are so precious!”

 -Navneet Kaur, 2nd year English student at LSRC

But I, for now, have retreated from the battlefield of handwritten diaries, and into the fortress of word files. The white pages on my laptop, so inauthentic and cold, are at least a safer terrain: any mistake can be undone at the click of a button and nothing remains of the previous errors in judgment. Everything uneasy disappears if I desire to obliterate its inked existence. But it has none of the wild beauty and rugged terrains of a tangible diary, where every mistake is preserved in a blurry mess of ink.

Feature image credits: Pinterest
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Samya Verma