What a blank page holds depends on the day. Sometimes it's a discouraging sight: the cupboard is bare. Something must be written, but no obvious ingredients are at hand. I run through recent offerings, checking to see if any of the usual suspects have been neglected of late: I recently wrote a piece about the cats, and the last one featured Sunday's sermon. There was one about global warming, sort of, and one about my travels. Is anything missing? One with a recipe? Maybe -- it's been a while since I did one of those. But nothing strides to the front of the room and takes the stage. It can be hard to identify gaps in a body of work as jumbled as the eMos.
On other days the blank page is an adventure just waiting to begin. Anything can happen. Then writing is like sewing: a garment grows from a flat piece of cloth, cut, folded, forming itself into breast-shaped curves where none were before, every stitch important, even the stitches nobody sees. Then I am confident: I can do this. This is what I do. There is much to say in this world, and I'm going to say some of it this very day.
Every day, everybody, all over the world -- everybody has ideas. Lots of them. Everyone sees a bird or a flower or a train or an old-fashioned suitcase like one his grandmother had. Everyone hears an odd remark, notices something she sees every day, as if for the first time. And every one of these ideas, sights, remarks has layers: there is what you see, hear or think, and beneath it is what it brings to mind. Beneath that is another thing it brings to mind, and another, and another. Every object in this universe has an ancient history. So does every idea, and every emotion. We are all old as the hills.
So there is no shortage of things about which to write. Just choose one. Take it easy, though, and choose only one. You don't sew six or seven dresses at once; you sew one at a time. Much damage has been done to stories that would have been good if too much hadn't been stuffed into them.
There will be another blank page tomorrow. There is always another blank page.
Check out economist Carol Stone in Ways of the World today, writing on how a person of faith views recent tumultuous events in the economy. Www.geraniumfarm.org, click on "Ways of the World."