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  • S F Hayes

The Blank Page

A short story.

By S F Hayes

She had so much to say, and yet so little to say. Or maybe she didn’t know how to say what she wanted to say.

The woman sat at her desk, everyday, and stared at the blank page, and said to herself: write anything. But there was nothing to write. Or nothing to say. Or no way to say it.

Fear, they said. They said she was afraid to write. Afraid to fail. Or was it afraid to succeed? Could it be both? If it was both intolerable to fail and intolerable to succeed, what was left? The grey in-between of sitting at the desk and staring at the page.

If I don’t write I won’t have failed at writing. If I don’t write I won’t have to take on the burden of success. If I sit here and stare at the page, neither will happen.

No, more than that. Nothing would happen. She could sit at the desk staring at the bare nothingness of a blank page forever. Like some sort of horror story -- the blank room, the blank desk, the blank page, and then eventually the blank mind.

Isn’t that all that’s left when you have never started? There is no beginning and no end. But neither is there a middle. There is only the blankness. And this blankness doesn’t lead to indifference, it leads to despair. The despair of the nothing and the nowhere.

So she put her pen to paper and wrote that down. Nothing. Nowhere.

But looking up she saw that the room wasn’t blank. The room was green with plants and fragrant with flowers. Purple tulips and pink orchids, lime green ferns and bright jade plants. There was a lot here that wasn’t blank. There was a

lot here that was blooming and vivid and alive. A lot that was not nothing and nowhere.

And then she thought that blankness wasn’t just nothing, it was death. To do nothing was not to avoid a path, it was to take the path to a living death.

So she wrote about that. She wrote about the blankness and the fear, so that she could let it go. Put it on paper, purge herself of it, and move on to the path of life. Because failure was still life, it was still living. Failure was still a defiance of death. It was to say, I have worked, I have tried, I have chosen a living path, I have learned that this path was the wrong one for me. Now I am free to choose another path, to live on in a different way, perhaps to fail again, but always, always, to keep living, to avoid the blank, dark path of the nothing and the nowhere. I will live.


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