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Rare Reverse Rant

I know the internet is mainly about venting, demonstrating, complaining and their less positive brethren trolling, insulting, hating. This blog will probably see its fair share of those in time. And believe me, I think that some of the best things that this place has ever achieved are down to this freedom. But for once I want to rally against the rant and extol the virtues of a particular kind of friend.

There are a few people that I have known now for over a third of my life, and it’s a testament to how our shared experiences have shaped us that a group so diverse in scope are all still friends now. We all started our relationships pretty much on exactly the same path, as science students, but now we number among us marketers, lawyers, teachers, travel agents, engineers, communications gurus and TV execs who span the entire globe. And we can still meet up and immediately revert to our comfortable & comforting places within the group. And every time it feels like coming home. There’s a communal trust there and even though I can go six months or sometimes even a year without seeing some of them, there is never awkward conversation, never judgment and always support, always friendship. And always laughs. And I mean belly laughs. These are people that know you the best and you can completely be yourself with them, without all the pretences of a professional life or the politics of a new friendship group. There’s no pretending. They can see right through you. And it’s wonderful.

So if you’re lucky enough to know anybody that fits this bill, why don’t you give them a call, meet up for a beer, drop them a text saying hi or even just use Facebook. Because no matter how easy it is when you are together, it is also far too easy to take this valuable gift for granted and let it gradually, and almost imperceptibly, slide into the recesses of the past. And that’s a terrible waste.

Balking at a blank canvas

I hate white spaces.

I especially hate big empty blank pages.

Lined pages aren’t so bad. Squared sheets, like they use in France, are less terrifying again.

But it’s the pure, unadulterated, crisp, unblemished white page that really sends me into a cold sweat. Even rendered digitally, it looms large in the mind. Seemingly sentient. Waiting. Staring. Judging. In fact it’s almost worse as it bathes you in the cool but ultimately bleak light of your own trepidation.

And it doesn’t end there. The blank canvas looms large at me in ever ingenious fashions. There it is now, casually taunting me from it’s whiter-than-ivory tower of “opportunity”. Oh yes, the blank canvas is adept at propaganda. There are many “opportunities” when you are offered a blank canvas. “You could do anything!” it sneers. “The world is your oyster…” it coos. “You’re so lucky to have a chance like this.” it sets you up for the final, killing blow – “Your only limit is your own imagination.”

Because what if your imagination isn’t enough? What if you don’t take full advantage of this situation? You could agonise for days over what to put on that sacred piece of proverbial parchment. Searching books and newspapers and magazines and in-flight pamphlets for inspiration. TV shows and movies and the internet and friends are plumbed for possible sources of creativity. Your mind flip-flopping between ideas, concepts, words & pictures until you stumble across something in the whole jumbled-up mess, a glint, a grain, a glob of truth. And you grab it. And it’s tantalising. And it’s terrible. And it’s too late.

Because you see, once that virgin surface is sullied with the first drawing of your stylus. There is no way back. There are no erasers, keystrokes or brainwashing techniques that will completely eradicate an ill-thought out line. A well-worn cliché. A tired metaphor. A hackneyed example.

And perhaps I haven’t managed it either.

But at least this bloody page isn’t blank any more!