A Blank Page.
It has been a very long time since I’ve sat staring at a completely blank page.
Oh, don’t get me wrong. There are times, many times, I try to put down thoughts which don’t seem willing to make the trek from my brain, down my synopses to my fingertips but still, I usually am building on some sort of pre-existing foundation; sometimes built by me in a brief burst of creative energy and sometimes built by others over time, mammoth monoliths rendered immobile by shear volume and mass.
For so many of us, is there anything more terrifying than a blank page, metaphorically speaking? Because it means that we have lost all that has come before. In this case, in a very real way, when my computer was stolen back in March. Yes, I had online backups so all I truly lost were several dozen half complete short stories, and my personal notes to myself about future writing ideas to be fleshed out later. But recently I got a new laptop and in my excitement to once again be mobile, freed from the chains of a home computer in my father’s basement, I forgot to transfer all my files. I clicked on Microsoft Word and was greeted, quite literally, with a blank page.
It is the end of a very long journey. So what do I feel looking at a blank page? Fear? Confusion? No, I feel relief. I feel like I can stop holding my breath and trying to make everything ok. Because stripped of everything that I was fighting so hard to preserve, I am free to create something new. To let go of all the expectations, the paths untaken, the success which seemed always so elusive not because it was unachievable but because it was never what I wanted but I was too afraid to admit it, halfway into this novel life of mine. You see what I did there? I digress.
I have to say it becomes a bit addictive, the more you start to strip away all those anchors which you never believed bound you to the rut, so tightly fastened by your own invisible bindings that you couldn’t even see the mooring, the more you want to strip away. Because the more space you create, the more you invite in wonderful experiences and opportunities. A blank page represents not loss but change…and opportunity. The letting go of old habits and paradigms and morays.
Perhaps the goal shouldn’t be to strip away the whole foundation, but to start each new day, each new relationship, each new venture with a blank page. Just don’t forget to back up what you need. Store it as a reference, use it if you need it, and discard it when it is obsolete.
Oh, and footnote. Always footnote.
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