Tuesday, June 7, 2011

[The Beauty of a Blank Page]

A blank page is the most beautiful thing I have ever seen. 

My love of blank pages is equaled only by my love of books and pens. And maybe my love of all things Gerard Butler, but that’s another story. (Should I do a post on the art of fangirling sometime, and what it says about the objects of our fangirly obsessions?)

I love blank pages not because they are white, or because they are clean, though they are both of these things. One look at the constant, messy state of my room proves that I exist most contentedly not in a clean environment, but in one that is open and welcoming to mistakes. Papers are strewn all about my room on any given day, and all of these pages are written on.

Right now, sitting before me is a packet of 150 pages of lined, college-rule, notebook paper. I fished it out of our den last night under the impression that I would need the paper to write my Latin essay on why Caesar crossed the Rubicon River. I never ended up opening that packet of paper, and my essay on Caesar remains unwritten.

But I found the paper last night because I wasn’t able to write the essay on a word processor. My computer was fine, and we had power, but I couldn’t bring myself to write in my Word program. I love blank, physical pages, lined or un-lined, but I could care less about open word documents.

Sure, they’re easy. Sure, they’re convenient. Yes, I use one every single day. Next to iTunes and Google Chrome, Word is my most-used program. My problem with word documents, though, is that I can’t feel them. I can’t physically touch them until they’re printed out, but then the page is wrecked by the type. It’s too official, sometimes, for me to connect to it. 

Sometimes, I just need to scribble with my favorite pen on a piece of actual paper, and see what happens. A piece of paper can serve anyone who wishes to write as a portal into another world. It is landmark to which you can cling when you’re lost somewhere between inspiration and that black hole all words fall into whenever you’re blocked.

A blank page does not judge; you can write on it whatever you want. If I could, I would frame a piece of paper. I would hang it in a nice, classic frame right next to my posters of The Phantom of the Opera and Michael Phelps holding his eight gold medals. But then my parents would ask me why I was bothering to hang a frame holding a blank piece of paper, and sometimes I don’t particularly want to explain how I feel most at home staring at an empty page, or tapping my pen against my cheek, rather than sitting on our couch watching a NASCAR race.

NASCAR is big in my family. You guys will have to forgive any future NASCAR references. I make them without thinking about it.

A blank page can be anything, which is why, I think, I love it so much. It can become any world, or any character. All you need to do is trust yourself to begin scribbling or scratching away, and the world will appear on its own — sometimes, I don’t even notice it’s happening until it’s happened.

And that’s the beauty of it.


  1. I have *many* packs of college ruled, three-hole punched, loose leaf paper. I love to write on them and on legal pads. Something about the blank page feels so optimistic to me. I like to flip through the full notebooks I have of my stories; something about that makes me feel like I have proof that I really can write, even if they're just scribbles to anyone else.

  2. Ha, if you couldn't tell by the title of my blog, I collect notebooks like it's no one's business. Really, though, I don't need the notebook -- I just need the paper. It makes my inner-environmentalist unhappy, but I can't help it.

    (My guilty pleasure are five subject notebooks, but it's an expensive habit to indulge too often.)

    Thank you for the comment and for following me! <3