Something from nothing

As a translator, I’m not used to creating something from nothing. I’m not accustomed to writer’s block or, as they say in French, l’angoisse de la page blanche (blank-page anxiety). Always, in my work, there is some existing something to be transferred, transposed, flipped or otherwise shaped into another form. It’s just a matter of starting, as I always have a lump of predetermined raw material waiting for me in what we refer to as the source file.

Freestyle writing, as it could be called in contrast with the writing of a translation, offers a tremendous amount of freedom. If a sentence isn’t working out, I can abandon it and move on to a new idea rather than being stuck molding and massaging until it reaches a satisfactory state, no matter how long this takes. It’s a bit like being used to walking with heavy shackles around your ankles and suddenly being freed from them. Now you can easily go anywhere. But then the page blanche question pops up: where will you go?

After reading blogs for many years without any intention of starting one myself, I’m now curious to give it a try. Partly to share my culinary experimentations, travel discoveries and anecdotes from a life lived abroad, but also as a reason to more regularly practice original writing—setting down some of my own ideas for once.

It’s a strange feeling, knowing that I’ll be creating something from nothing. But it won’t really be from nothing. Like with any kind of writing, there will be a formless something hanging about in the ether that needs to be caught and expressed. I don’t know quite what it will look like, but finding out may be kind of fun.

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