Filling in the Blanks

Today I’m faced with a blank page. A blank page that’s inviting me…taunting me… exciting me…daring me to express myself. To say something. To think something. To create something.

But what if for all the enormous possibilities, what if for all the promise of what could happen on that blank page, what if…I don’t have any ideas? What if I have nothing to say? What if I am blank?

What is it that drives us to face the blank pages again and again? To put up with the doubt, the frustration, the emotional turmoil…what is it that compels us to put ourselves through the utter exasperation of feeling vanquished by something as simple and harmless as a piece of white paper? I imagine it must be the same force that drives us to keep climbing toward the mountain’s summit; to keep going around the next bend; to fly just a little higher, dive a little deeper, remain a little longer, to try it, just to see….We face it because it’s there. We face it because we can. We face it because we’re curious to find out who we will be once we get there. And once we begin, once we try, once we achieve, we’re changed forever. We have grown, evolved, stretched ourselves, shared ourselves. And how amazing that once we’re underway, filling in the blanks, so much of that pain, fear, and doubt somehow start to vanish and it turns out we really weren’t blank after all, but, rather, filled with more emotion, passion, and story than we knew what to do with.

What is it that drives us as artists to face the blank pages over and over again? What is it that drives us as people to face life’s blank pages over and over again? Poets and painters recognize the strength of the blank space as it supports and balances their line. So, too, are we all of us poised to grab whatever opportunity we have to enter ourselves into those blank spaces, thereby clarifying what we care about, giving ourselves and the world the gift of who we are. What drives us? I think perhaps it’s inspiration -- a combination of ferocious seemingly insurmountable challenge and the promise of a glorious satisfaction that’s too great to ignore.

(c) emma d dryden, drydenbks llc