My e-mail inbox is empty again. My pond is empty, too. All those fabulous, exciting story ideas I had have vanished, as have all the fish in my pond. And I mean all. A few yellowish, flowerless clumps of water hyacinth are the only things swirling in the crystal clear not-even-tinged-with-color water. If you cracked open my brain, I’m sure that description would fit it, too….empty.

Where the fish have gone is anyone’s guess. I finally asked Rusnati about the fish and she asked Rohemon. He said he hadn’t eaten them. He thinks the fish ate the fish, and maybe the turtles ate some, too. Or the lizards. Or, one of the civet cats (possum-like critters) who prowl at night may have eaten them. (But why now? The civet cats have been co-existing peacefully with the pond fish for years. Why would they suddenly develop a liking for fish snacks?) We have two turtles, both handoffs from children who were given tiny bowl turtles that turned out to be stinky and not so fun. They have grown to salad bowl size and we sometimes see them in or around the pond... The lizards are blue-tongued castoffs from another neighbor who received the pregnant mama for Christmas, which hatched into a family of 4 by New Years a few years back. (I doubt the lizards ate the fish as they are the slowest lizards ever. One is so slow a visiting dog caught it and chomped its back leg half-off before it managed to wiggle free.)

Where my creative drive went is likewise a mystery. Like Rohemon, I am casting about for possible cause. I took a vacation from blogging last week. Took a vacation from e-mail and the computer, too. Daughter, Lexi was visiting and I wanted to focus on the time I had with her and nothing else.  I was also hoping the break would energize me, and when she left I’d be anxious to get back to it. I wasn’t. I’m not. It’s not for lack of trying. I’ve spent hours at my computer, with only an empty inbox to show for it. Empty.

Writer goddess, two-time Newbery Medal Winner E.L. Konigsberg says we need the negative space, the emptiness, the blank slate in order to create. Just as one can’t add more to a full box, one can’t add new ideas to a full mind. She says one needs to be patient and leave the void, trusting the process, trusting that the ideas will come.

Does that mean I should keep my inbox empty?

What about my pond?