Where to begin in writing this? I’m staring at a mostly blank document, wondering how to pull all the fragments of thoughts in my head into a congealed blob that will hopefully become a complete blog. The problem is this literary medium has literally no limits, I can write about whatever I want. While this may seem liberating, in practice it’s petrifying. This is a problem I face quite often in my artistic journey; when confronted with infinite creative choices, how do I even begin to choose and develop one? The difficulties of the project would be nothing if I could just start it, but how do I begin? How can I ever begin?
Imagine a field. A cheerful sun shining down on grass as soft as a cloud, a meadow that ripples like water in the gentle breeze, fresh air filling your lungs. This field is boundless, disappearing over the horizon in all directions, melding into a cloudless sky so clear and blue that it’s almost black; You can see—feel, really—the abyss of space behind it. You have no hunger, no pain, only energy, excitement, and hope.
There is not much else to do but begin walking, but in which direction? The sun is directly overhead, the breeze shifting, and nothing but green and yellow grass as far as the eye can see. For now, you sit and wait, for any motion at all seems useless until you can get your bearings. Wait until the sun moves, until the stars come out, then you will have a guide. But the sun never sets, the north star never reveals itself. You sit in an idyllic pasture under an unblinking sun. You sit, and the only thing that changes is time.
The grass begins to scratch, the sun begins to burn, and the breeze begins to chafe. Your energy fades, excitement turns to dread. Hours pass. Maybe weeks, maybe years. But eventually you decide that inaction is no longer acceptable. You do the only thing you can: without any direction, intuition, or guidance, you spin around a few times, stop, and start walking. Step after step, crushing grass underfoot, moving towards an ever-unreachable horizon.
Steps turn into miles, miles into leagues, and you look desperately, frantically, for some landmark. A hill, a valley, the shadow of a mountain in the distance, but nothing appears. Nothing ever appears. As you drag your weary feet through the grass you wish, more than anything, that this field had an end, a border. A fence. Your journey would be so easy then, your travels simple. You could climb over the fence to where the grass was greener, knowing that you were in new territory. Or you could follow it, searching the fence’s circumference to find its purpose in this field.
But there is no fence, you’ll never find one. I’ve lived in this field for years now and I’ve never found one. Fences are easy. Stay on one side or the other, break through the barrier or stay within it, that can be decided with a coin flip, and there is only one binary decision in this field. There is no guidance and there is no direction. You can at any moment walk towards that infuriating horizon at infinite fractions of an angle. Surely, there must be some sort of fence that will corral you and me toward an absolute answer on what to do: What I should write about, what direction you should walk in, what we should both do with our lives. But there isn’t, and there won’t be. On this earth there is nothing solid, nothing certain, only the ever-changing grass undulating in the wind.
And yet you continue, for some reason you continue. Step after step, crushing grass underfoot, moving towards an ever-unreachable horizon. Why?
Because there is only one other option. This is the binary choice; to walk or to sit. To walk is to travel, to hope, to live. To sit is to die. Perhaps the death would not be yours, but the death of a dream, an idea. One of those futures kept in twilight, killed by the passage of time. But you chose to walk. After baking under the sun you decided that you did not need to know where you were going, you needed no map to guide you or fence to corral you, you did not need to know which direction to step forward in. You just had to begin.
And now look behind you. A thin trail of trampled grass leads back over the horizon. Step after step, you beat a path underfoot. The field before you may look the same, but you are not the same. You have traveled, made a mark upon this field in the only way you can. You have direction, you have position. You were one place, but now you are another, all because you began. Without knowledge, confidence, or direction, you stepped into the unknown. Now you have arrived somewhere new, and it’s time to begin again.