Why is the blank page so scary (or even the “empty field” of a blog post)?
Writing the first word is terrifying, even if it is a trite cliché or a quote. Staring at the blank page is paralyzing…
There is a certain purity and beauty to the blank page. How could my words improve upon the simplicity and the silence of the page? That is what paralyzes, at least what paralyzes me. The marks on the page are flaws, blemishes on the simple beauty of the blank page.
Yet the page calls out for writing. Its blankness exists to be marked. It waits for the pen. It waits for meaning. The page is pure potential that begs to come into actuality. The beauty of the page is an incomplete beauty. The page exists to be marked.
It is this tension between the purity and safety of the blank page and the call of the page that makes the act of writing so difficult and yet so rewarding. Julia Cameron says,
“Writing is like breathing, it’s possible to do it well, but the point is to do
it no matter what.”
I agree. Writing, like breathing has its rhythm and there are times when the pen must be put to the page or the fingers to the keyboard. Communication must happen and, like breathing, if it is held in too long, the writer in us will die.Beginning to write is like any beginning. It is a risk. It makes us vulnerable like an infant. Yet, one must begin as an infant. It is the only way, unless you are a Greek god like Athena who sprang fully grown out of Zeus’s head. We are not ancient deities. For us, vulnerability is the only way. Everything begins with vulnerability.
John writes, “In the beginning was the Word…” This Word is Jesus, who becomes a vulnerable infant and places himself in our hands. Jesus breaks the silence of God and becomes helpless. God risks everything. He is not content to rest in his simplicity but takes the chance of loving and communicating that love to us. All beginnings can be acts of love if they begin in vulnerability. I hope that as I begin to write I can write with love and vulnerability. May my pen (and my computer keys) be blessed with gentleness, joy, and gratitude.