Blank Page

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Oh, January – dry in so many ways.

Blank page. Blank mind.

Google blank page quotes.

“I live for the blank page” – Lisa Unger

“A blank page is no empty space. It is brimming with potential…It is a masterpiece in waiting — yours.”  A.A. Patawaran

Miserabalist me, January me, despairing at this positivity, keeps searching for something more appropriate to the current mood.

Apparently, Hemingway, having been asked about the scariest thing he’d ever come across, responded :“A blank sheet of paper.”  This, courtesy of writer Mary Anne Mohanraj. (I know quite a lot about her now as reading the rest of her website was the natural next step in the process of distraction.)

Oh, for focus’ sake.

All the stuff I should have done a year ago is creeping out from behind the (unfilled, unsanded, unpainted) woodwork.  Today, I transferred the painting and decorating equipment from garage to house.  It will sit there a month or two, no doubt.

I’d like to say it’s the January Blues, but blue is my favourite colour and when I think of it, my head fills with visions of Roman skies and Devon summer seas.  It’s more like the January Beiges or the January Blanks or the January Blands…Oh, for funk’s sake.

I’ll leave with a quote by the well known Anon.

 “A blank page is God’s way of showing you how hard it is to be God.”

 

The Great Antiprocrastinator

No, I haven’t gone all anti procrastination.  I vowed this blog would never be about ways to stop procrastinating, mainly because the first point I would make would be to stop reading blogs and get on with something more important.

I’m still on the subject of Rome.  As if the architecture wasn’t enough to make a great procrastinator feel bad, we visited an exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci’s designs.

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That man had a finger in many a (pizza) pie – anatomist, artist, scientist, city planner, engineer, weapon designer, architect, musician, sculpter.  Not to mention, vegetarian.

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How amazing to have such a mind, to be capable of doing so much and seeing so many possibilities.  So many things he had foresight of, that have taken the rest of the world hundreds more years to develop – flying machines and medicine, among others.

design for a tank

design for a tank

I wonder if he ever slept?  He certainly didn’t waste hours wittering about invented problems and insecurities and thinking endlessly about all the stuff he wanted to do but not actually doing it.  I bet he never had a ‘To do’ list.

He is the father of all anti-procrastination and inspires in me both the desire to get on with it and a sad apathy.

It’s much the same when I go into a book shop.  I think: ” Wow! Look at all these books. So many people have managed to write a book (or several) and get them published.  If they can do it, there’s no reason why I can’t.”

The other part of me is thinking: “Oh, no!  Look at all these books.  They’ve used up all the ideas that ever existed.  How am I ever going to come up with something original?  There’s no hope.”

Sadly, the latter usually wins the argument.

 

When in Rome

002I was in Rome during July; an overwhelming sense-fest of orange and blue sweatiness. 34 degrees, and sightseeing, trailing a family best described as freckled with a hint of ginger. Not overly relaxing.

The Colosseum sat at the end of our road like a gigantic lopsided toad. As we passed it, the great procrastinator within me marvelled at the get-up-and-go of those who had the original vision and energy to build it – Vespasian and his sons. Its first incarnation was completed in ten years, utilising the new Roman invention – concrete. As we loitered in its shadow, I wondered aloud, naively, how this tribute to civilisation had been physically built in the heat that was turning us pallid persone inglesi into floppy wet flannels.

The answer was “slaves”. 100,000 prisoners of the Jewish War were brought to Rome and provided the manual labour to build the venue, where more slaves, Christians and criminals died horribly before a jeering, cheering crowd.  Not so civilised.

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Now, looking down on the Colosseum was like staring into a giant mouth, full of broken teeth, stretched out in an eternal bloody scream.

But, as if to make amends for its brutal past, the Colosseum has become a symbol of the global campaign to end capital punishment. Italy abolished the death penalty in 1948 and calls on others to do the same. The Colosseum’s night time illuminations change from everyday white to gold whenever the death penalty is abolished anywhere in the world, or when a person condemned to the death penalty is released or has their sentence commuted.

Civilisation lives to fight another day.