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Papyrophobia (Soaking in My Mental Bloodbath)

A blank page absolutely terrifies me. I am never so alone with my thoughts as I am right before the first mark. It’s like death; the fear of the unknown.I have no idea where these words will take me, but I know that I won’t be the same afterwards. Or maybe it’s more like dying itself. You scan your mind trying to find something worthy enough to withstand the vocabulary of your existence, something that can endure the burden of being a first sentence. Much like the soul searching one goes through before that last breath is taken; inspecting each memory to find the perfect one to concentrate on, the one that sums up their reason for wanting that next inhalation. Only to realize, in that moment, that nothing is good enough. Not a first kiss; not the pretty faces of all the loves you have known, or more heartbreaking, the beautiful faces of strangers, growing more gorgeous with each fleeting second because the sun rises and sets in the safety of your concocted romance; nor the glory days of yesteryear, that feeling, a tempo forever sought after day after day, the burst of intensity there from the knowledge that what once was will never be again. All of this loses its value when having to choose just one to lull you while you end. Perhaps this is what is meant when they say your whole life flashes before you the moment you die. It’s actually more of a conscious deliberate decision, than a unconscious reactionary one. A last ditch effort to catalogue personal reveries, choosing one as the radiant pinnacle, a representation of all you have been; the worth of a life. It’s an impossible task because what makes a moment a memory is the longing to live it again, to live it better. Death destroys those chances.

Hand drawing . . . itself! . . from hipstercore on tumblr

I don’t know why I put so much significance on an empty page. Maybe it’s because I have never had anyone’s undivided attention before and the exposure is too much. Or perhaps it’s the fear of having none of this inside me anymore, leaving me as vacant as the page that preys upon me. Afterall, I am nothing more than a collection of feelings waiting to be chosen. And the day that I am plucked cleaned will be the day that I become the pages of a catalogue worth running from.

Categories: 2013 Winter Writing Contest, Long Form, Philosophy, Psychology.

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6 Responses

  1. mackytrajan2013-06-07 @ 17:59

    Someone once said that possibilities mean more to us than the fulfillment of those possibilities. And that we want the feeling of wanting, rather than the object itself. Or something to that effect.

    Could you explain the ending? Fear of your thoughts changing when they are transferred to a physical, concrete medium?

  2. @Macky – Kierkegaard

    Good story

  3. mackytrajan2013-06-08 @ 05:13

    Hmm… could you elaborate Nach? I’m only familiar with a slight bit of Kierkegaard (Fear and Trembling)

  4. There’s a beautiful irony in the text because it seems to radiate dread of writing and definition, but it does so by defining a problem in written form. The upshot, for anyone intimated by the dread, is that expressing yourself is good for you, and doing so pseudonymously is easy. Writing helps you become something, and to the extent that growth is the process of becoming something and then becoming something else, you first have to become something before you can become something else, so write.

    @Macky: many have read Fear and Trembling, but I don’t know if anybody is familiar with it. That would be like being ‘acquainted’ with the Guy on the other side of the mirror, no?

  5. Reminds me of this mah good friend Hofmannsthal:

  6. Comus2013-07-30 @ 00:30

    The most horrible thing for a somewhat neurotic twenty-first century person to do is to cash in on your potentiality, and this is exactly why the page haunts us. The problem is to move from the ideal to the real, and here the text functions as a mirror, so everything you produce somehow ends defining you. Writing and other arts (maybe science as well) are the worst as they directly appear to make the confines of your mind transparent, so everyone can come in and check for faults, strengths and whatnot. As long as it is not finished it has the potential for perfection. Still time for indecisions, visions, revisions. It is indeed hard to choose things that not only mirror but also constitute your identity. The trick is to note that the mere act of starting to begin, the staring into the page has already defined you.

    William Gaddis´ The Recognitions revolves mainly around this theme and cannot be recommended often and highly enough. It has a wonderful quote:

    “What’s left of the man when the work’s done but a shambles of apology.”

Got insight?