A person I know and admire asks "What shall I say?" faced with space to fill and only one real topic dominating the ether. I sympathise. As an ex-magazine editor that question lay at the heart of my job. More than once I idly wondered (I was good at that) what would happen if one month I put out a mag with twenty-five blank pages among the ads. The answer was depressingly obvious. On three occasions during 44-plus years, because of market forces, I was made redundant. The blank pages would have led to a fourth redundancy (and not because of market forces).
Actually I exaggerate (I was good at that, too). Subjects often cropped up, it merely remained to research them and write them. But there was one regular exception. As editor, I had an editor's page where I was free to say more or less what I wanted. And it was on that page I sought to create the magazine's "character" - a numinous project if ever there was one. Yet it worked. Within a tiny, nigglingly defined industrial circle I was sort of famous. What you read in Tone Deaf (and before that in Works Well) is me trying to get used to not being famous.
And there were times when the prospect of a blank space on the editor's page loomed horribly. I couldn't, of course, make do with 250 words on Wines I Have Liked or many more words on Women Who Have Turned Me Down, there were limitations. The cupboard was bare, I had to grit my teeth and – damnit! - think. No one ever said writing was easy.
To that friend I mention above I would say: when there’s nothing in the cupboard go ahead and invent.
As I’ve done here.