So here I find myself on posting day, a vast expanse of empty screen in front of my eyes and a vast expanse of empty brain behind them. Yet despite my complete lack of a suitable topic for my blog, I feel no unease. This is because my entire stock of unease has long since been replaced by anxiety, then by panic, and finally by sheer blind terror. I have absolutely nothing to write about! What am I going to do?
I leaf through my notebook for ideas, but the pickings are slim indeed. There is an unused joke about penguins, rather a good one as jokes about penguins go, but I’ll need something to add to it if I’m going to build it up into a post. I try closing my eyes and running through my entire stock of penguin-related ideas, thoughts and opinions. Three-fifteenths of a second later, I try running through them all again. It’s no use. The memory banks are near empty. There’s simply no way I would be able to make the subject of penguins stretch to fill even a single paragraph.
Of course, in a transparent attempt to pad out meager content, some unscrupulous bloggers in my position might be tempted to take the dead-end topic of penguins and squeeze it into a second paragraph full of irrelevant details about these plucky flightless birds found almost exclusively in the southern hemisphere and thought to have descended from ancestral penguins which lived around the time of the Cretaceous-Paleogene extinction event somewhere near what is now New Zealand. My readers can rest assured that I’m not a writer who would ever stoop to such depths.
So instead, I decide to try a random word association prompt. I first write down two seemingly unconnected nouns – broccoli and the planet Venus – then I put my forefinger to my lips and think about how the two might be connected somehow. It’s easier said than done and my first few moments of effort yield nothing. I wipe my brow and try again.
Broccoli and Venus… Broccoli and Venus… Broccoli and Venus…
I close my eyes and concentrate so intently, smoke begins pouring out my ears. I try to find similarities, but the many and obvious differences between the two keep getting in the way. Venus can’t photosynthesis. Broccoli doesn’t have a surface area of 178 million square miles. Some children may actually be willing to eat the planet Venus.
I am just about to admit defeat and concede that Venus and broccoli have nothing in common, when all at once it comes to me, a similarity so obvious, it has been staring me in the face all this time: neither of them can play the saxophone.
I sit back, immensely pleased at having made the connection. But when I then go on to consider how best to follow up on this momentous discovery, I realize that the indisputably low level of musical sophistication of both terrestrial planet and cruciferous vegetable has taken me rather less far than I’d hoped in the direction of completing my post.
In sheer desperation, I turn for help to the WordPress Daily Prompt, a source I have never once used in all my many, many long, er, year of blogging. More in hope than in expectation, I click on the page and find that today’s prompt is… secret! Not secret as in, I’m not telling you what the prompt is, but rather secret as in, that’s what I’m supposed to write about. Secret? What can I say about that?
The first thing that pops into my head is how poor I am at hiding my feelings and keeping them secret. This has been a clear disadvantage to me on numerous occasions in the past. When I went through a difficult time with bullies at elementary school, for example, I was constantly reminded that the key was not let them know I felt the slightest fear, so I tried to hide the fact from them. Sadly, they always seemed to be able to work it out, although it was never quite clear to me how. Perhaps it was the slight twitching of my eyebrow, the tremor of my lip, or possibly the fact that my teeth were chattering out the William Tell Overture and I was standing up to my waist in a pool of my own sweat.
This does not mean I’m a blabbermouth with other people’s secrets, however. On the contrary, if I’m told something in confidence, there is virtually no situation in which I could ever be induced to repeat the details to another living soul – except, obviously, in the most extreme of circumstances, such as a direct and credible threat to any member of my family, er, -sized packet of chocolate chip cookies from the stash hidden in the top drawer of my desk.
Such tight-lippedness is also a trait exhibited by my eldest son. No matter who you are or how scandalous and gossip-worthy the secret you might tell him, he will merely nod his head and smile. Then when you leave, he’ll continue to nod his head and smile. In fact, he’ll only stop nodding his head and smiling when he gets to the last track on the album, at which point he’ll switch off his iPod and remove his headphones.
On the other hand, telling my younger son any kind of fact is the equivalent of taking out a full-page ad in the Washington Post, the Times of London and the Sydney Morning Herald on the same day. Indeed, the only known way to communicate information at faster than light speed is to mention it to my son and then tell him it’s a secret.
Text © Bun Karyudo and the BunKaryudo.com blog (2016)
(All rights reserved but reblogging with attribution is welcomed)