I was scrambling to straighten up the table after sending the boys to bed. The next day’s to-do list sat ready at my place at the table; there were just a few odds and ends yet to stash away someplace else before I could retire for the night. And that’s when I saw it, staring back at me from the tidied surface–a blank sheet of notebook paper.
There is something intriguing, inviting about a blank page. It implies a new start, a fresh beginning, a story waiting to be told. I suppose even a new Word document may have the same effect on some people, but for me there is something so much more enchanting about a tangible, dry piece of paper, thirsting for real ink. The lines themselves suggest a longing for the paper to be filled with words, sentences, paragraphs…a story.
And so, as I grabbed my things to take upstairs–water, purse, Bible–I took the single piece of paper with me as well, determined to fill it before drifting off to sleep.
I tucked the boys in, brushed my teeth, changed into my pajamas, tended to the (far too hyper for bedtime) children once more, and then finally settled into bed with a pen and that piece of paper that had, all the while, been calling out to me, begging me to fill it.
The words came quickly at first, like exhaling. While getting ready for bed, they started forming in my head, waiting eagerly for me to sit down with my pen–like I had been holding my breath–but now, pen to paper, they rushed out freely, taking their own shape as they came.
Writing is like that. You have an idea of what you think you want to say in your head. It may be cloudy at the moment, or it may seem crystal clear. Until somehow, that thought, those words travel from the head, through the heart perhaps, and then to the hand and fingers, where they are somehow translated into ink on paper by way of a pen. It’s amazing how my words can feel as if they take on a life of their own. Sometimes this bothers me. I like to think and present ideas logically, so this kind of intuitive take-over can make me feel as though I haven’t communicated effectively, as though I’ve gone off on some tangent and left my originally-intended outline behind.
But all too often, after reviewing what my head, heart, and hand have penned, I find that the result, while it may not have perfectly followed my outlined intentions, has more depth and feeling and fluidity than I could have ever “logically” planned out ahead of time.
And thus has been the case with this particular piece of paper. I wanted to describe how the words came quickly at first, which they did. But I didn’t quite expect them to come so quickly after that point. I thought I would have to muster up some sort of plan in order to fill the back of the page. But alas, here I am with just nine lines left to fill and still a few concluding thoughts.
There is such beauty and intrigue in an open page–and arguably more of the same in a simple sheet of notebook paper than in a blank white box on a computer screen (at least, that has been my experience).
Having hit thirty this year and feeling much more painfully how swiftly the years pass by, it seems as though many areas of life hold nothing but boundaries and limitations–a real bummer for a dreamer like me. But an open page is a field of possibilities, an adventure waiting to happen, in which even I, the writer directing the course, get to be surprised along the way. And so I have a feeling this will not be the last time I fill an empty sheet of notebook paper before filling the empty sheets of my bed. Good night.