The blank page is a powerful creature – often a monster, always a temptress. I currently stand on the brink of a blank page, encapsulated in a gray expanse, which is similarly housed in a cage characterized by colorful, useless, and oft ignored icons. It’s a terrible, wonderful sight. It is the embodiment of boundless possibility and the promise of imminent exhaustion.
Writing, often completed with great effort, rids the blank page of its power, caging it behind the bars of a Times New Roman prison. Keys pressed in perfect succession, with proper forethought, are most likely to ensure that the prison won’t need to unleash and recapture that awful beast, with corrections and revisions clearly serving as two of our most necessary evils. But even in its complete captivity the once blank page, in many instances, is merely a sign that an entirely new foe lingers around the corner; to finish one page is to start a second.
One might argue that the power of the blank page can only be truly grasped if it is attacked in a tangible, recyclable form. A sheet of loose-leaf is a far greater, more real enemy than the acrimoniously white expanse of a computer’s empty word processor page.
Dealing in actual paper means a complete eschewal of that magical delete key. To fully correct a mistake is never truly possible. Certainly, a grubby eraser might valiantly attempt to scrape the graphite laden fibers from their posts, but in the end the scars of this additional confrontation are rarely invisible. The impossible smudges and occasional tears are the unfortunate aftershocks of a pencil’s convenience. But be well advised, the war against the blank page is never truly, decisively won without the application of infallible ink. Though the wielder of the mighty pen may strike in error, they are without the option of flippant erasure. They must sully their masterpiece with a fierce pair of crossed lines, or often the more drastically impenetrable cluster of squiggles. Here, a true scar bears brave testament to the humility and tenacity of its creator. To prefer the pen is to absolutely refuse to surrender even an inch of text back to blank.
In all this it may appear that I hate the blank page. Granted, I believe strongly in its power to ruin a perfectly relaxed evening in its requisite grasp, but just as strongly I believe that the blank page serves as the most singularly perfect backdrop and facilitator of honest human expression. I believe the void to be filled is eternally vital. But for now I believe that – above all – I have adequately ended this particular reign of blank terror.
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