The Blank Page
Aug 14 2012
Sometimes when a blank page taps me gently on the shoulder, I’m delighted and eager to greet it. I can’t believe my good fortune, my divine blessing, that I have the honor to mark it and make it laugh and tickle it with joy and teach it new words and play silly games and sing it softly to sleep.
Sometimes when a blank page says my name seventeen times in a row and tugs on my shirt and puts its face in front of my face with only a centimeter between our noses and talks to me loudly and with wild eyes, I’m enraged that it’s my job to fill it. And I am enraged that the choice to write is only mine because I would like very much to blame someone else for the sucking demands of the blank screen, all plaintive and lonely and desperate for my attention.
Sometimes when I’m faced with a blank page, I know its deepest longings, I see its darkest despair, I feel the bright, warm sun of its hope, and I understand my place in speaking Love straight to its heart.
Sometimes when I’m faced with a blank page, I am lost, adrift, without direction or compass or home; I am Moses’ Israelites, and I am sentenced to wander my desert for 40 years. At least. Perhaps 100 years, if I’m feeling dramatic. In my desolation, I pray for and receive manna from Heaven because I know — I know — nothing on Earth will sustain me, and then I take the manna gift for granted, and I try to stockpile it against a famine even though it’s meant to be shared, and I complain that it’s rotten and that I’m not better fed.
Sometimes the blank page is so annoying.
Sometimes the blank page is endearing and captures my heart and my attention and my soul so completely that I’m made whole and new for just a few minutes, and I believe all the way down to the sticky stuff on the bottom of my feet that we’re all absolutely where we’re supposed to be, and that we’re all already enough.
Sometimes I understand that the blank page is the Mad, Mad Mystery of light and dark, and life and death, and love and desolation, and that therein lies magnificence.
Sometimes I understand when I write about blank pages that I’m not really writing about pages at all.
Sometimes I understand.
Sometimes I understand that the blank page is my child.
And sometimes I understand that the blank page is me.