I just read an amazing blog post on The Blank Page….sometimes a bane, sometimes a challenge….it is all to do with attitude in the end.
I think that is true of all things in life. Bad things will happen and you will meet bad people but you can choose to allow that or them to poison your life or not.
I have always thought of myself as an optimistic realist. I would not say I am a dreamer, maybe I am an idealist. But I am an optimist…Because I do not believe in wallowing in life’s sorrows or dramas. If I cannot give them a voice or battle to get through them, I put a pen to paper and write a poem. I also believe that no matter what pain I may go through, we are never given more than we can bear….that sometimes it takes that very pain to teach us about our strengths and pushes us past our perceived limits. A blank page is a lot like that. I can choose to view a blank page as a fearful thing or I can take the opportunity to see it as a space where I can work through my dramas and my sorrows. It is a place where I can reshape a sorrow into a memory or where I can reshape a trial into a life lesson. Traumas and sorrows are as necessary to the human condition as they are to the writer condition. Every writer writes for themselves but in the end the writer submits their work for publication because they wish to touch at least one life out there. As writers, we have the power to change attitudes. That is a tool for change and for insight. Words are amazing tools. The written word though is sometimes far safer than the spoken word. There is something to be said for the weight of the pen in your hand as you put your first word on a blank page. For myself, it is a form of streaming memory. I write from what I know, what I feel. I imprint my writing with the memories that are sometimes too painful to remember and voice out aloud. The largest part of that “streaming memory” is my poetry. My poetry is written from a visceral core of my memory. I don’t allow myself to think when I write poetry, I allow myself the freedom to feel: to immerse myself in memories that flow from me like a waterfall. Sometimes I will flow over a rock and sometimes I will flow unheeded. But my therapy is that as long as I can write, I can feel free.
My character driven writing though is a way to not just record those memories but to shape them and work my way through them. As a writer I have the power to exaggerate flaws and grow from them or exaggerate strengths and build from them…whether they be my own flaws or whether they be my own strengths. Each character is an extension of myself or of those whom I have come into contact with. Writing is for me the most effective therapy I can find. Therefore the Blank Page can be described as a therapist’s couch. Just as a patient can feel intimidated by sitting on a couch to confide in a stranger feelings and memories of an intensely personal nature so can The Blank Page be a challenge to a writer. For me, writing is the greatest form of truth-seeking. When I write, I do not conform to being politically correct nor do I temper my words to ease their weight. Writing is a tool to not only teach you your own strengths and limits but it is a tool that will allow you to touch someone who reads the words that you have filled up that blank page with. With the spoken word, a person is often very aware of creating offense but with the written word, the truest part of your thoughts, you judgements and your emotions are unleashed. So although a blank page may sometimes fill me with elements of trepidation, once I start putting my first word down on that blank page, I let the words take over and the politically correct and the cynic and the realist all disappears and I see a mirrored reflection of my heart and soul. That for me is the power of the blank page. It is a space that can fill up with the core of me. It is a space that can touch the core of the person who reads my words. It is the place where I ultimately I seek out the truth of my memories. It is the place where I feel like I have stepped off a mountain ledge and am a bird flying free on the warm air currents above the cares of the world below.
I choose to see The Blank Page as my challenge and I never resist a challenge…