Sometimes you just have to sit down at the computer and type. That’s what I do when I can’t think of anything to write about. I think about sixty percent of my blog posts start the same exact way every time. Something about how I don’t know what to write about, and then it usually leads to something else, and then eventually I wind up with a big chunk of text that I can put up on the Internet. I should probably just wait until the whole blog post is finished, and then come back and erase the first paragraph. It really doesn’t add to anything, right? But then I feel like I’ll be losing something, something that’s unique about my writing. And I’m also superstitious, like if I start deleting the, “I don’t know what to write about,” words, then they’ll lose their magic, and as I continue to write in the future, they won’t work at all, and I really won’t have anything to write about.
Everybody’s heard of that John Cage song where it’s just silence for four and a half minutes, right? I wish that I could do something like that. Like I’ll write a book but it’ll just be blank pages. And everyone will applaud me and ridicule me at the same time, which is fine, I’ll take the ridicule, as long as I’m famous, as long as they talk about me in high schools in the future.
But most people will only look at the first twenty or so pages of my blank book and they’ll dismiss it, think it’s just a novelty, a fad. But my real fans will actually read the book, they’ll look at each blank page and they’ll lick their fingers and turn the pages and really try to understand what I was trying to say by putting out such an unorthodox piece. And then they’ll get to page fifty. There won’t be any page numbers either, so they’ll have to be keeping count. But that shouldn’t really be a problem because there won’t be any text to distract them.
And they’ll turn the page and it’ll say “Page Fifty. Congratulations.” Because there actually will be text, and there will be a whole book written inside. But I won’t want just anybody reading my masterpiece. I won’t want my work to be cheapened by mass consumption. And so that’s what I’ll be after by starting the book halfway through. I’ll pretend to write a book with no words but … yeah, you get it right?
But then what if word spreads about my book, that it really starts on page fifty? People would buy the book and then flip right to where the writing starts, bypassing my trick, skipping past all of those blank pages. And it would have the opposite effect, because people hate being tricked or told what to do. And so by me making it harder for people to read, they’ll naturally gravitate to it more, in defiance of my plan.
But that won’t happen either, because at the end of my book I’ll tell readers not to tell anybody else about what they’ve read, to keep it a secret, something between the reader and me. But what if they tell people before they get to that part? Well I’ll just have to make sure that whatever I wind up writing is so compelling that the reader is unable to put the book down, that the whole thing will get read in one sitting. But what if the book is lying out on a coffee table and some guy starts absentmindedly flipping through all of the pages, accidentally coming across my text? Well then I’ll just have to push the start of the book back even further, one hundred pages of blank text, five thousand pages. You’ll really have to get through it.
I’ve never listened to that John Cage song. I don’t even know the real title. I just know that the title is how long the blank track is. I don’t think anybody’s ever listened to it. It’s too boring. Why would you go through all of the motions of pressing play when there’s nothing that’ll ever come out of the other end? I bet you Cage tricked everybody just like I would have. I bet you after a minute or two of empty noise he starts up with a song or a speech. He has to. He’s like, “Hey everybody. This is D-D-D-D-D-DJ Johnny C. coming at ya with a secret track. But don’t go telling anybody, you hear?”
I just tried to listen to the whole thing on Youtube, but I only made it through fifteen seconds. It’s really boring.