Out, Out, Brief Candle!


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“Out, out, brief candle! Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player that struts and frets his hour upon the stage and is heard no more. It is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”


― William ShakespeareMacbeth

 

 

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The Challenge of an Empty Page


I’m sitting here staring at this blank page at a bit of a loss tonight.  The emptiness of it is daunting.  My “thought factory” isn’t running at full capacity today.  This leads me to think about the emptiness; the blankness.  I can’t help but ask myself why it intimidates me.  Upon reflecting, three reasons have volunteered:

Reason #1:  The responsibility to fill it.

When you’ve taken the solemn oath to write every day, the responsibility can sometimes be heavy.  Some days writing is easier than breathing.  Other days, like this, it’s a chore.  But this is my daily literary workout, keeping my tenuous relationship with words toned and ever-improving.  So write I must, like it or not.  The difficult times, as with everything, tend to yield the best results.

Reason #2:  Fear of what it will reveal.

This is the tempest.  When the words don’t come easily, my reaction is always negative and tempered with a dash of fear.  The blank page becomes a vast uncaring sea.  I poke at my keyboard throwing stones into the white water and wait to watch them sink.  I become a mockery of my own mind.  What will appear before me when I’m done?  What will it reveal to me about myself?  Will it be something  I don’t want to see?  When the words flow, I’m not concerned with this idea.  When they come with difficulty, I tremble a little.

Reason #3:  Forgetting the opportunity.

I forget sometimes this blank page is a gift.  It’s an opportunity waiting to be snatched up; a dare to be taken.  The page says, “Here I am.  Can you fill me?  What will we create today?”  In this white void all possibilities wait to be shaped.  I think about the great minds who have sat before an empty page just like this one and what works they’ve created:  Shakespeare, Twain, Dickens.  For them, timeless classics were birthed from the same empty space. This is my opportunity to open my mind.  It’s my turn to cast my nets into the infinite sea of words to see what I will catch there.  It’s my time to do what I love most.

I know it sounds cliché, and it is, but life is like this; an empty page to be filled.  Every day, every minute, in this very moment we have this empty page before us.  Some days we only throw stones at it, but still there are ripples.  Other days we paint masterpieces.  Most days wander in between.  So, I guess this page is my life’s mirror.  It tells me where I am, metaphorically speaking.  I’m not sure if I threw a stone today or something else entirely.  I guess in the long run it doesn’t matter.  At least I threw a stone, cast my net and watched the ripples.