The empty paper, and the half-full

2015-03-28 15.29.12-2

I always admired the empty paper how patiently it waits for my thoughts to gather; it never forces me, never rushes, it has no demands as to the number of words it longs me to impress on it. No, the empty paper is satisfied with its possibilities, and they are many. The half-empty paper on the hand losses this patience and starts to demand for more. It is like reminding it that the white space feeds on words, and it yearns to see more of them on its surface. The almost full paper, if the words are gathered nicely, and if their weight feels appropriate, has a potential to be quite satisfied, if not even a little proud. This pride is no bad thing for it is rooted in gratitude. It is more proud of me, its writer, and very content to have been useful. When I start editing the text and rearranging the font, the words on the paper and the paper itself tend to think I brought them to a fashion show. They stand toll, back straight, they gaze at each other as if the camera is just about to snap their first ever picture. They pose, they laugh, they rest. They would even drink coffee, if they could. But I don’t allow them. Then they wait. Will someone read what we are? Will they understand? Will they critique? They hope all three and more will happen. A premiere is soon to come. The premiere? The words on a computer page know nothing of this. But they heard that some words end up on the big screen. Some words, some papers, some pages, dream it could be them, though they are not fully sure what it means to be outside of the computer screen.

Then the paper, the empty, the half-full, and almost full, all eventually resign to take a deep sigh of rest. It doesn’t matter where they go from there. They surrender, let go of any wish, and make resolve to keep company with other pages that may come after them. The words might marvel and chat with the words next to them, or they may not. Depending on the pauses, the dots, the white spaces, that even when the paper is filled remain. The white spaces remind of the possibilities that were there from the start, and urge the writer to keep writing; whether the writer wants to rush, or take a rest, or add a quote or two on the page, perhaps drink coffee at this stage, it is up to the writer. The paper comes back to its initial resolve. It does not rush, nor forces, nor demands, but rather waits expectantly, and it ends quite commonly joining the writer reviewing the end result in the utter surprise.

© Iva Beranek (Dublin, 6th April 2015)
Photo by © Iva Beranek



4 thoughts on “The empty paper, and the half-full

  1. Thank you for following my blog! That is quite the compliment. I look forward to reading more of your work.
    I love how you describe the different stages of the paper. Strangely though, with me, it is the blank page the yells the loudest, demanding I do a good job fufilling its potential. Half empty pages, they are happy! The hard part is done all I have to do is follow the train of thought to the end of the page.

  2. Thank you! A few years ago, while I was studying and after having experienced a prolonged writer’s block, I had a shift where I started to look at the empty page as filled with possibilities. I used to be terrified of it. Not always, but it can put us under pressure. I think I probably switch between the two, depending on what I’m writing.

  3. An interesting description of the connection between paper, writing, writer’s dilemmas. Especially like this part: “Will someone read what we are? Will they understand? Will they critique?… A premiere is soon to come…”

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