What Else Is Blank Paper for?

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.

5 thoughts on “What Else Is Blank Paper for?

  1. Ah, but with a fountain pen? And will the liquid ink sink into the fibers of the paper, slowly age, and develop that softly faded patina only time bestows? Alas, no. Nor is the precious document–let alone that hand-written witness to a fleeting meeting of writer’s and reader’s minds–guaranteed to remain on hand in the event of a power outage wrought by a natural or man-made storm, or due to a disconnect from virtual clouds. In a mano-a-mano between digits and handwriting, I know where I’ll place my bets! 🙂

    • You are definitely not a Luddite, but you are very 19th century (and I appreciate that- sometimes I have a strong yen to travel to work by horseback :)). We shall if the grid goes down…

      • Let me just dismount my steed and check my pocket watch (I do own a few) to see if there’s time for a spot of tea before nightfall. Or should I bring my mobile sundial? Funny thought, horseback riding to work…presumably a non-technological job. Well, then, you better stock up on oats and check on Association rules for animal husbandry!

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