Dear White Page

Dear White Page

Dear White Page,

I’m writing you this letter because it seems appropriate and sort of proves a point I’m going to make later, if you’ll bear with me.  But let me start from the beginning.

I don’t dislike you. I want you to know that up front.  I actually consider you a dear friend. I mean, what’s not to like? You’re really beautiful.  White—it screams purity, right?  You’re bright and beautiful and in the sense of laundry, you’re bleached and sanitized.  I use a word processor, as you know, but honestly, you kind of make me want to get out a calligraphy pen and write like the forefathers.

But let me get back on track.

As pretty as you are, you hold a dark secret, and that’s what I want to address today.

You and I have met many times, as you know.  Mostly over coffee.  And at first, you seem like delightful company.   As I gaze upon you, I immediately think of what fun we’re going to have!  What creativity we’ll produce together!

You seem unoffended when I ignore you for a little bit, gaze out the window, put my thoughts together.  You just sit there, waiting on me, letting that black cursor blink its little heart out.  (It’s in good shape! Am I right?)

But then…then something happens.  It seems so innocent at first.  I mean, it’s not like your page goes black or anything.  In all appearances, you seem exactly the same—white and waiting.  White and waiting…WHITE AND WAITING…WAITING WAITING WAITING—

Hold on. I’ve got to catch my breath.

Okay, I’m back.

That’s what I’m talking about.  For lack of a better explanation, you kind of turn into a bully.

One moment, you’re inviting me in.  The next moment, you’re taunting me.  Don’t deny it.  I realize you’re not the kind of playground bully that yells across the school yard, throws rocks and calls me names.

But honestly, you’re a little worse, because you do it so quietly. You start by disrupting my thoughts.  And you know more than anyone, my thoughts are the most important part of what I do.

And sure, they’re jumbled at first.  But you don’t have to point that out.  Let me give you a few examples of things you utter in my ear:

“That doesn’t make any sense.”

“Why would you even consider that idea?”

“Are you just going stare at me all day?  You’re making me uncomfortable.”

“Susan doesn’t take this long. She’s already on page ten.”

“Maybe you should just give up.”

“Ugh—are you sure you’re a writer?”

And from there, the bottom falls out. I come off the rails.  And then…THEN…you deliver the death knell…

“You must have writer’s block.”

Now…you and I both know that Writer’s Block might as well be the monster under the bed.  If we think it’s there then we begin to hear strange sounds.  Notice moving shadows.  Our mind plays tricks on us as long as we believe it’s real.

But monsters don’t exist.  And Writer’s Block is just a fable.

You say these horrible things knowing full well I’m vulnerable.  Creatively compromised.  Why must you make this harder on me than it already is?

I’m a writer.  Beginning anything is a feat in and of itself itself.  I’m already bleeding onto the page. Why be mean and give me a black eye too?

But, let me get back on track.  Because there’s something I want to say to you today—the whole reason I’m writing this letter.  Starting today, I’m standing up for myself.  Today I say—ENOUGH.

The truth of the matter is that without me, you’re nothing special.  You know it. I know it.  Without me, you have nothing to show the world.  You have nothing to offer.

I make you. Without me, you’re just sitting near a printer in a ream with other white pieces of paper, all of them exactly like you.

Through the thousands of years of writing, White Page, you’ve been a part of many special and world changing moments.  Men and women have taken to you to pen extraordinary pieces of writing that have gone into the world and created the history we now all celebrate.

I’m one of those writers who thinks I can change the world.  And in the process, touch the hearts of my fellow human beings.

I believe in the written word.  But the truth of the matter is that the written word cannot be put down without you, White Page.

And so, we must learn to live with one another.  Perhaps you’re not particularly fond of my creative process.  But if you’ll work with me, instead of against me, imagine what we can do together.

So I conclude my letter by urging you to reconsider how you treat me from day to day.  Surely you can muster the decency to let me be, to encourage me through the moments I struggle to find the words and thoughts I need to make whatever I write more amazing than the last one.

I’ll give you some time to consider all of this, and the next time we meet, let us see if can come together in harmony and better yet, together, change the world for good.


Rene Gutteridge

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