An incorrigible writer of marginalia, I have given up on library books. Kindle books and smartphone texts are equally useless. If I can’t underline, circle, highlight, and write vertically in the margin with a fountain pen, it’s not for me.
I don’t just read, I process. I study and contemplate, chew and digest until I have milked every idea for hidden inferences and conclusions and turned over every conceptual stone in search of the truth. This cannot be accomplished without putting pen to paper.
And not just any paper either, but every square inch of blank paper adjacent to the words that launched the investigation in the first place; the closer the better. There is a particular satisfaction in the immediacy of time and space. It offers a canvas for an intuitive blending of colors – the author’s ideas and mine, mixing to form a new shade if we think synchronously, or contrasting until the colors pop when placed side by side if we don’t see eye to eye.
Either way, our experience of life will remain linked in a verbal duet or concerto grosso, my quartet chiming in – or impetuously interrupting, as the case may be – the author’s rich orchestral tones.
Why let blank paper go to waste? Why turn down an opportunity for a debate with an ancient scholar, a duet with a dead poet, or a fan letter to a brilliant thinker? Blank paper beckons us – nay, it compels us – to get involved, to live life out loud, to speak up even in the margins. There is no time like the present for taking part in life’s grand discourse and letting our unique voice soar.
Copyright 2012 Ilona Goin. All rights reserved.