Abstract expressionist Mark Rothko wasn't intimidated by no stinkin' blank canvas. He laughed in the face of emptiness. Unfortunately, not everyone appreciated his genius, including his mother who insensitively noted, "Well even I could do that!"
Okay, so I’ve been sitting in front of a blank screen for about 20 minutes (or a year and a half if you want to be literal), trying to think of something earth-shatteringly profound to say in my first blog post. I have an irrational fear of blank space—the beginning, the unknown. All the possibilities leave me, well, speechless.
I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. Even in high school I’d find myself staring down a piece of loose leaf paper like it was my mortal enemy. (For those of you born after 1980, that falls somewhere between the stone tablet and a touchscreen.)
I have the same problem when I’m about to start a new design project. Sitting in front of a blank monitor kinda freaks me out, so I use a trick I picked up when I hit a brick wall of writer’s block while working on my graphic novel, “The Talking Horse,” in the 2nd grade.
I walk away.
That’s right, TeenieWeenie knew something most folks take years to learn; that sometimes the best decision is to go do something else for a while. Granted, in 1974 that “something else” may have involved spinning in circles until I fell down, but the point is not lost on me today. Mini-me knows that if the time isn’t right, I shouldn’t fight it. I’ll only wind up frustrated, depressed and drowning my sorrows in a vat of Cool Whip with chocolate sauce and Ding Dongs. But I digress.
Weenie's Early Career: Cover Design for "The Talking Horse"
It’s one thing to walk away when the time isn’t right, but it takes guts, faith and a bit of masochism to walk back and finish the job. I have no problem walking back to my desk to finish a design for a client, but doing work for myself… well, I agonize so much over it, you’d think I was responsible for balancing the national budget. TeenieWeenie knew how to do it, and it’s time I took a cue from that fearless kid.
This blog is new, and I have no idea where it will go or what it will do. I’ve been “meaning to do it” for over a year, worrying that it won’t be good enough; that people will think it’s stupid or narcissistic or worse—boring. I’ve done too much thinking and not enough doing.
One of the main reasons this site has moved along at the rate of a tectonic plate is because I can’t seem to get my portfolio in the shape I want it to be in for public consumption. I have a terminal case of perfectionism, and it’s making me look anything but perfect. I keep saying that the cobbler’s children have no shoes, but it’s getting pretty hard to pull off this charade. After all, my dad’s a Jewish doctor in Austin, Texas and hasn’t been responsible for my footwear in years.
So, my portfolio is incomplete, my writing is all over the place, and I don’t entirely understand how WordPress works. I’m scared I’m making a huge mistake by putting myself and my work out there, but it’s finally time for me to listen to my inner Weenie and walk away. This time, however, I’m not walking away from doing something; I’m walking away from doing nothing.
That’s who my role model should be. To hell with Oprah and the Dalai Lama—TeenieWeenie lived in the moment, and if that moment called for writing, she wrote. If it called for pepperoni pizza dipped in creamy Italian dressing, she high-tailed it to Mr. Gatti’s. And if ever a moment should call for me to step away from it all to spin around in circles until I fall down, well, get out of my way. Now, pass me a Ding Dong.
A day at the beach is the perfect remedy for a severe case of creative block. (TeenieWeenie; circa 1974)