a wandering woman writes

Monday, February 06, 2006

Blank Page

Turns out I'm deathly afraid of a blank page.

Weird, really, considering I'm well known for them.

I always knew that one of the most powerful parts of my moving-on and moving-somewhere-else rush - and I promise you it is always a rush - was the lure of a blank page. A new start. A place where nobody had seen me doing anything less than perfect. Yet.

I like to think that I stretch for different reasons now. I like to think I've sent my father the "Yeh, you told me so" I've long owed him for his last, wise words as the first of many moving vans pulled up to move me 2000 miles away:

-Wherever you go, there you are. You know that, right?

But I went, and I went again, and in no time I'd won a name as the queen of new pages.

Then a few weeks ago I tried to play a game.

Cool game, really. Poetry Slam, Laura calls it. You tell somebody what word you want out of a magazine - blindly naming the page, paragraph, line, etc. til you lead them to your surprise word, then you track down their chosen word. Back and forth til everybody gets a word, then you all start writing. Anything. With your word. It's a blast, really. People are funny and creative and this game lets them be. I like the addition of Beat Poet clicking after each read, personally, but any way you play it, it makes for a cool evening. And an even cooler collection of stunning 5 or 10 minute creations. Silly, some. And poignant.

So why could I absolutely, positively not write anything on my shiny new Poetry Slam legal pad? The blogger box coaxes something out of me every time I show up, for God's sake, and I am one of those annoying coworkers who just keeps running back at you all day with one more idea for whatever we're working on. I email people at midnight with stuff. Honest.

But Poetry Slam? With people in the room? People who are done, ready, and waiting for me to finish so we can all read our creations? Nothing. Frozen solid.

Then came the realization that I was coming back here to Spain, alone, about to leave the job that brought me here so nicely and neatly and legally. About to leave behind all the tempting "but, wait, if you come back here" offers I met in the States, and the stubborn last minute tries by the old and new owners of the company I work for here in Spain. About to leave what little security I have.

I visited a web I never visit the day I landed in Madrid and read this:

-Your life is up to you. Life provides the canvas; you do the painting.

And it hit me. I've never really just wholeheartedly all-out DIVED into a blank canvas. I always started with a sketch provided by work. Or something. Or someone. My move to Spain was magic. I said I wanted to move, and a job hit me on the head on its way down from a bright blue sky.

So I came to Salamanca, with that visa, for that job. Nice little template, eh? Not quite a blank page.

So, Nomadita, because I think this is me still trying to explain to both of us why I am so sure I am headed good places with this new page, this time, this time the canvas is blank. Nobody else's idea, like my corporate moves. Nothing all set up and ready for my signature, like this job in Salamanca. This time I am starting with a blank page.

And all of sudden I don't care who else is in the room.

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  • Hola Erin...
    Soy yo, la otra Erin.... Estoy aquí en Barcelona. Uy!
    I´ve been following your blog, and it´s so inspiring. Of course, like everyone else, I want to know "how did you get a job!?" but I took the leap without a job, and here I am studying Spanish and exploring the culture, and wondering, "what will the next day bring?" I hope it´s buena suerte... and I´ll keep my eyes open and my ears to the ground, and hopefully a great opportunity hits me on the head, too!
    Hasta luego,

    By Blogger erin, at 2:45 PM  

  • ¡Hola Erin!

    ¡Bienvenida a España!

    (They're going to freak out at your name, by the way, maybe less in Barcelona because just about everybody speaks English, but get ready to be Irena...Elena....and a lot of times, "cómo?")

    I'm so glad to hear you're here.
    Hey, there are a couple of good English speaking women's (business) networking groups in Barcelona...maybe hook up? You never know.

    And where are you studying, if you don't mind the question? (I work right now in Español para extranjeros, so I'm just hopelessly curious about where people study...)

    Suerte, Erin!!

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 7:42 PM  

  • "all of sudden I don't care who else is in the room"
    "it turns out I am deathly afraid of the blank page."

    a nice little creativity conundrum, isn't it, and so perfectly capturing the irony of TRYING TO MAKE SOMETHING in the face of NOT THINKING TOO MUCH ABOUT MAKING SOMETHING.

    thanks for the reminder to keep going and not worry too much about the outcome...


    By Blogger Maya Stein, at 10:21 PM  

  • Maya, you get it! you get it!

    Although I did get a good belly laugh (after the momentary panic) when I realized I didn't care who was in the room..UNLESS it was you, of course, (ah, the irony) with a poem entry in front of the one you commented on. But, yeh, even you can hang out in view of my creativity conundrum, I've decided and I´ll keep doing it the for doing it.

    Big 10 line Tuesday fan, you see...

    By Blogger wandering-woman, at 5:10 PM  

  • Hola Erin,

    Do you introduce yourself with "Erin" and la Americana acento? I just plow ahead with the castellano pronounciation, and no one seems to blink. Or they promptly forget. I don´t know. haha Yes, many people seem to speak some English here, but I´m treated much better when I speak in Spanish, and it would be even better for me to learn Catalan, but that will have to come later...

    Everyone here says to me "Qué mona! Tienes el acento Americano Y Mejicano!" (Claro, en los EEUU, aprendí de un profesor mejicano...) It´s fun, though.

    Networking groups, good tip. I´ll look into that, thanks much. The internet is amazing, no?

    I´m studying spanish at a private school called Lewis School, it´s owned by a british woman. After classes, I´ll be taking the CELTA certification course to teach English. (also at the Lewis School) After that? Who knows. I might not stay in Barcelona. Would you recommend Salamanca? (I´m assuming you´ll send me a resounding yes, but I´d better make sure.) Frankly, weather-wise I´d like to find the Denver of Spain. Hot dry summers, mild dry winters. I like dry. Beyond that, I´m open to whatever.

    Ok, well good to hear from you, and by the way your blogs have been quite a bit, more... no sé como decir... lleno de energía. Ha cambiado algo? Me los disfruta mucho....
    Bueno, abrazos, y hasta luego!
    ps. I too love the abrazos.

    By Blogger erin, at 6:49 PM  

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