The Tyranny of a Full Page

The second scariest thing in the world to me as a writer is a blank page.

The scariest is a full one.

A blank page is nothing. It’s pure potential. Nothing is actualized yet. It’s unmarred and pure, a vessel begging to be filled.

But a full page is–full. The potential has been supplanted by the real and actual.

Decisions have been made. The word “decide” comes from two Latin words, “de-” which means “off” and “caedere,” “to cut.” You can hear echoes of this in words like “deceased” and “homicide.”

When decisions are made, options are cut off and slaughtered in impersonal wholesale with every new word and punctuation mark. The vessel fills with these glyphs and symbols, marring the surface and altering it irrevocably.

Unless you decide (there’s that word again) to delete the entire page and start over, you’re bound by what you’ve written. You’re stuck with that. You’re confined to the limits of the arrangements of glyphs and symbols you chose to tell your story or speak your truth. Once you’ve released that page into the wild to wander freely, you can never get that page back. It cannot be unwritten.

As a writer and a human, there are plenty of scary things in this world. To me, the scariest will always be the tyranny of the full page.

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