'That's the trouble with being a chemist, you can't actually think. Every now and then you feel compelled to sit and stare at a sheet of white paper hoping it will speak to you but it never does.'
Dr Barnaby Fulton, Monkey Business, 1952
The other day I was watching the film Monkey Business - which is a different film to the film of the same name that stars the Marx brothers - when the above line struck a chord with me, so much so that I had to pause the film and write it down.
Dr Barnaby Fulton was played by Cary Grant, and the second line of this quote made me think of 'Writer's Block' or what I am going to call 'Blank Page Syndrome' (BPS), as it is not just writers that suffer from this.
The first part of the quote has little to do with writing - I'm sure most writer's do have the ability to think.
Most writers, at some point or another, will have sat down in front of their computer with a blank document on the screen, or turned to a brand new page in a notebook, and will have had no idea what to put on it.
And as the seconds tick by and become minutes, the vast, white emptiness, begins to scare them slightly.
I think one of the reasons I get BPS is because I want to write it all in order, the beginning, the middle and then the end. However a lot of the time I do not have the middle, I only have the beginning and the end, and so while I try to think of the middle the page remains blank.
I am currently working on changing that, by typing the end in a few lines down from the beginning, it is done. The gap in the middle will need filling at some point but the bits that were floating round in my head are down on paper, be it real paper or a computer screen.
Perhaps if I stick at it, these bouts of BPS will become a thing of the past.
We must remember that we need to speak to the piece of paper and not rely on the hope that it will speak to us. Because it never will...