The curser pulses against the blank page, daring me with its insisting beat. Write-pause-write-pause-write-pause-write. Quality doesn’t matter at this point in time. I hear the echo of my own words challenging my students from long ago, “Five minutes. Timed Writing. Your pencils cannot leave the page. Write whatever pops into your head with as many details as possible. If you finish with one topic, move on to another. Push yourself to beat your last word count!”
Heads bent over journals, the soft sound of pencils scratching the writers’ itch competed with restless throat clearing and the jittering legs of pre-teen energy. I’d sit at a student desk, my own school journal before me, my own empty pages to fill. Some days, the words pinged from brain to pen effortlessly. As if by magic, just the right extended metaphor would unfold before I’d even consciously completed the thought. Other days, every—word—weighed—heavy—stilted—and—deliberate. Yet I wrote. And then I shared. It’s an important lesson for my students to see the brilliance of writing one day followed by the frustrating lack of substance the next. My defeats comforted them just as my wins entertained them.
And so today, I sit before my computer with its curser testing my abilities. I confront the blank page with cockiness. With boldness I defy the emptiness and fill the void.
Copyright 2011 Elizabeth Abrams Chapman