Paper Clips

“Writing is easy. All you do is stare at a blank sheet of paper until drops of blood form on your forehead.”

- Gene Fowler

I’ve just finished dusting the paper clips. Not individual clips, of course – that would be an exercise in procrastination, wouldn’t it?

It started with a blank page; to be precise, the blank page where I left off writing yesterday. While I was staring at it, waiting for the words to come, I noticed some suspicious looking dried-up drip marks freckling the page. Kind of gross, and the source didn’t warrant vigorous thought, but I wondered how anyone could be expected to write the Great Canadian Novel in the face of such diversion? So I grabbed a damp cloth and started to clean.

Perhaps a clean page would be more forthcoming with new words, I rationalized; however, the absence of grunge on the screen only served to enhance the layer of dust which remained elsewhere on my desk. Idly I carved with my finger on the dusty monitor the message B hearts BG before attacking it with the cloth.

I would not call this procrastination. One needs a clean workspace from which to produce one’s best work, so I dusted happily, and before long the speakers, the monitor, the printer, the keyboard, and the dictionary (OED, if you want to know) were sparkling. The page on the screen was pristine, an inviting, snowy white. With fingers poised over the keyboard, I took a deep breath.

Then I noticed the paper clips, at least the plastic container with the magnetic hole that keeps the paper clips from falling out. It was very, very dusty. So I picked up the cloth and gave it a good doing over.

The blank page waited.

My fingers dangled over the keyboard.

I peered inside the paper clip holder, where I saw a mote of dust.

Shaking my head, I put down the paper clips and got to work writing. Dusting individual paper clips would definitely be an exercise in procrastination. And anyway, my dust cloth won’t fit in the magnetic hole.

Link to Mary’s Procrastination Diary

Categories: General.