A note from Sports Editor Guy Dossi: It’s that time of year again when I leave my desk and take a step away from the computer. The lovely Mrs. Dossi and I are out exploring America and will be gone for a while. However, just because I’m gone doesn’t mean content won’t be produced. So, like I did last year, I wanted to keep my column going and I figured that there’s only one person who has the perfect Dossi voice to fit right in. So, once again, my father came through in the clutch.

Column about nothing sparks no new ideas

John Dossi

Loyal readers of this paper might recall that about a year ago, I wrote two guest columns that appeared in the sports section. Don’t remember? That’s OK, take it from me, it happened.

And why would I have allowed myself to be dragged from my cozy lair of retirement only to be charged with the task of writing something worthy of being read? There’s an easy explanation. I wrote those two articles because the usual creator of this column, my son, Guy, was on a temporary assignment that didn’t involve a computer keyboard, word counts or spellchecks. You see, he and his lovely bride were off to the wilds of the Great Northwest to enjoy their first two weeks as husband and wife. Under the circumstances, how could I have said, “no” when my son asked me to pinch hit for him?

And it’s not as if I’m a newcomer to the art of writing. On the contrary. I’ve written thousands of pages of academic papers, essays, short stories, plays, song lyrics, even a book among others. I’m thinking that there is a large, bare spot of earth in the forest somewhere, where a significant number of stately trees gave their all to satisfy my need for writing paper.

When I presented the articles to my son last year, instead just smiling and walking away, I instead made some flippant remark about not asking me to write anything else for now, as I’m only good for one column a year. And as is its nature, time marched on and a year has passed. So for me, the literary chickens have come home to roost. It’s time to write.

And there, my friends, lies the dilemma. As I sit here at my desk, with pen in hand, staring at a blank yellow legal pad, that area of my brain that is usually so adept at churning out ideas has apparently just posted the, “Gone Fishin’” sign on the door. Seems nobody’s home.

A dearth of ideas is the bane of every creative person, writers included. No ideas, and you have nothing. No new articles, books, movies, TV shows and so on. And as I sit here with nothing, I come to the conclusion that perhaps the best thing that I could write would be just that, nothing. In a nod to one of my son’s favorite sitcoms, I will take a Seinfeldian approach and compose a column about, that’s right, nothing.

You won’t find any cogent comments about current events or revealing insights into the meaning of life. You won’t be able to delight in the pleasure of reading some well-crafted and expertly executed piece of prose. Not today, not in this column.

The more I think about it, the more I understand that this column about nothing is really about something. And that something is the realization of just how difficult the creative process can be and how much appreciation I have for those who actually use it in their careers. How many of us could crank out article after article before the well of ideas ran dry? Could any of us continually grasp something from nothing and turn it into a product for all to enjoy? That is no easy assignment.

So, the next time you read an article in the paper, remember this column on nothing and realize that is exactly what the author had when he or she sat down to write. And yet, time after time, the spark of an idea ignites in the creative mind, and another piece of writing is born. And for that, we should be grateful.

One more thing. Before I smile and slowly walk away, I want to state right here that I will be available to write another column in the future. Look me up in a decade or so. By then I should have an idea.


Comment Policy

Calaveras Enterprise does not actively monitor comments. However, staff does read through to assess reader interest. When abusive or foul language is used or directed toward other commenters, those comments will be deleted. If a commenter continues to use such language, that person will be blocked from commenting. We wish to foster a community of communication and a sharing of ideas, and we truly value readers' input.