My oldest son sits down with his brand new art supplies, gifts from his recent birthday. Crayons, markers, paper, paint spread out across the kitchen table. He loves to draw, to write, to create. He is preparing for quite a session, to allow his creative juices to flow.
He stares at the blank page. I watch his face as the doubt starts to creep across.
"I don't know how to start." He says, mournfully.
Don't I know the feeling.
I have been blocked for days. Unable to put the tangle of ideas, thoughts, and words down into any semblance of order. The feeling nagging me, following me around like a giant shadowy figure.
"Just start to draw something." My husband says cheerfully. "You can't do it wrong. Whatever you draw will be great."
Spoken with the logic of a person who understands mathematics and can read maps. A person who doesn't carefully consider the ramifications of each creative endeavor. Unless you have experienced this kind of "block" you can never understand it.
The anxiety that can be created and compounded by the prospect of a blank canvas. The curse of experiencing critical acclaim, accolades from audience who you will attempt to impress again, always with the worry that you will not again be quite as successful. The feeling that your last creative work was your best.
This is the feeling that haunts me now.