The Blank Page: Analogy and Reflection


Good morning Everyone!

Have you ever thought about the possibilities inherent in a blank page?  Every single book ever written began with one, even the Bible.  A page is anything that is written upon, physically or electronically, which includes all medium from leather hides, cuneiform clay tablets, papyrus, paper, computer screens and napkins and paper towels (for those of us like me who are organizationally challenged and can’t find paper all the time when they need it.)

A blank page can be intimidating, especially when a deadline is looming.  It stares back at you, unblinking, demanding that something be written on it.  At my work, it usually is demanding that something be written on it quickly, with accurate legal citations, and adequate evidence to prove my point.  When I am just writing, as I am now, sometimes it gives me a softer, gentler stare, reminding me that I can write about anything that I want, and sometimes the stare challenges me, telling me I can do better and it’s time to start writing.  

One typewriter Ernest Hemingway used to fill blank pages

A blank page can be comforting.  Each one is a new start, a new opportunity, a chance to write something that no one has every written before.  With each one, the possibility exists that the magic inherent in the written word will strike, and that elusive combination of words that goes straight to the hearts of others and makes them laugh or cry or think, that makes those particular words matter and live on past the immediate moment of their writing will be formed.

Kayla at what can only be called the "heirloom typewriter" for our family.

A blank page is both malleable, and inflexible.  A blank page, once I write on it, will let me erase the words I have previously written and start over again, if I need to, (with the exception of leather hides and cuneiform clay tablets; that’s more complicated) but I always reach a point where I am locked in to what I have written, and the story or brief acquires a life of its own.

Kayla, during her first Christmas ever with us.

I think that’s one reason that children are fascinating.  At the very beginning, they seem to be a blank page as well, but a blank page that, as it grows, like any good story, takes on a life of its own.  I have noticed that with Kayla.  While I see her growing into being her own wonderful person, I can see traits that mirror traits that Mark or I have, both good and bad.   She can be very flexible, at times, and absolutely intransigent (I can’t imagine where that stubbornness comes from!  Family members, no laughing please) at others.  She has been participating in writing her own story from the blank page that she started as, and as both a writer and a watcher of it, I can’t wait to see how it turns out!

Kayla driving the Southern Star, our dolphin cruise boat, this summer

Have a great day everyone!

Nancy

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10 responses to “The Blank Page: Analogy and Reflection

  1. I think u are great. Writing away everyday and sticking it out there in cyberspace. Really enjoyed “the blank page”.

  2. Good write…good read.

  3. Great piece of writing Nancy. My tall person liked your observation that “words matter and live on”. He said it reminded him of a poem he wrote a long time ago. This is an extract:

    Our thoughts
    And our dreams
    And all our desires
    Are etched
    In the memory
    Of time.

    Like footprints
    Fossilised,
    We leave
    A trail
    Behind.

    • Please tell the tall person that I like that quote. It always strikes me as amazing when I read something written by someone who lived thousands of years ago and realize that this person is communicating with me over centuries!

  4. I love your analogy of children as a blank page taking shape as a story of their own. Lovely. And a great reminder to us moms to let them run their course (within reason). They are going to anyway. Trying to make them conform to what we had in mind doesn’t work and stresses everyone out. This is a lesson I find I have to learn again and again.

  5. Great post, Nancy.

    I, too, have a love/hate relationship with blank pages.

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