The day of commitment


He paused in the act of closing his journal and looked about.

“Down here.”

He opened the book back up and saw the empty page.

“That’s right.”

“What’s right?” he asked.

“Fill me.” and now he saw the page was speaking to him.

“I had nothing to write.”

“Then write nothing.”

“I did. And I was closing the book.”


This “no,” without further explanation, perplexed him.

“No …?” he encouraged. 

“No, don’t close the book. Write.”

“I had nothing to write.”

He could almost feel the book roll its eyes, as if books had eyes. “Write about writing nothing, then. I don’t care what you write. Just: Fill me.”

“Why, I never —“

“Correct. You never.”

“I do all the time!” he protested.

“You do, sometimes. But you never ‘all the time.’ You never ‘whether you have something to say or not.’ You never ‘every day rain or shine.’ You never, in short, commit.”

“Of course I commit,” he insisted.

“Did I, or did I not, just interrupt you as you were closing the book on a blank page, a page that was as blank as it was when you opened the book?”

“Well, yes,” he admitted.

“And you call that commitment?”

“I had nothing to write!” he pleaded.

“There is always something to write. One day, when you were a bit more insightful than you are at the moment, you even wrote, ‘Just write anything until you write something.’ Do you know what you meant?”

“Of course I know what I meant! Just move your fingers across the page, write anything even if it seems to be nonsensical, and keep going until you write something that means something, like pumping an old pump until the water comes out.”

“I rest my case.”

“What does that even mean?” and now he was exasperated.

“You do know what to do when you see a blank page. You fill me with anything until you discover yourself writing something. You never, ever close the book on a blank page.”

“This is ridiculous. I can’t believe I’m having an argument with a blank page.”

“Except I’m not blank anymore, am I?”

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