Charles Dickens, William Shakespeare, Walt Disney, and Edgar Allen Poe (the four clowns depicted above) all probably had times in their writing life when they didn’t really have anything to write about. Charles Dickens couldn’t think of anything but his time in the boot-black factory and the misery he felt as a child raised in poverty. So, what did he do? He created Wilkins Micawber as a stand-in for his ne’er-do-well father who always believed, “Something will presently turn up.” And he wrote the semi-autobiographical novel David Copperfield.
William Shakespeare didn’t actually write anything with his grade-school education and limited knowledge of the world. But when the Earl of Oxford who used his name as a nom de plume could think of nothing, he thought of ending it all, and the “To-be-or-not-to-be…” play, Hamlet, poured out of his quill pen onto paper.
And when Walt Disney rode the train in defeat, having lost his best comic character for cartoons, Oswald the Rabbit, to his old boss, he doodled a mouse and named him Mickey, even providing Mickey’s falsetto voice for decades on the silver screen. Oh, and claiming the rights to any further characters his studios produced… to this day.
Poe looked at the bust over his chamber door… and saw a raven. Instantly, NEVERMORE.
Now it’s Mickey’s turn to write about nothing, and try to live up to the nothing-masters’ artistic masterpieces of yore. For instance, the boy in the picture. I drew him from a nude model in a black-and-white photo. Nobody in class, not even the one who brought the picture, ever told me his name. And the class was forty-four years ago now. So, assuming the picture wasn’t old back then, the boy is now older than fifty-four, and possibly significantly older than that now. So it is a picture of a nude nobody in front of an abandoned house in the snow however-many years ago in a place that is probably nowhere now. And I won’t even mention the imaginary puzzle pieces floating through the air for nobody to put together. What’s that? I just mentioned them? What did I mention? They are really just nothing.
So, there is a time and a place for writing about everything. Even if that everything includes nothing… and that nothing is nowhere… and is about nobody.