White Space-Terah Motskus

The white space stares back at me and then begins to fill my mind. And suddenly I have
been placed in a white room, with white walls, floors, and a white ceiling. I am dressed in white
from head to toe sitting in the middle of the room. “You have to create a story.” “You have to
write something whose words will last longer than you do.” But how does one write when all
there is to see and feel and hear is white space…
So maybe you’re a writer who like me, cringes at words like creative and ingenious.
Who, when faced with a white page, finds yourself in a claustrophobic abyss where the only
feeling is the overwhelming desire to escape. Or maybe you’re not. But if you do find yourself
there in that white room there is a way to break free.

First- give yourself permission to write. Permission to paint with colors you haven’t seen
or about things you haven’t experienced. Permission to open and spill your heart onto the white
space. It can’t be someone else’s colors and it can’t be their heart plucked out beating and red- it
has to be yours. So, give yourself permission to fill the white space with you.

Second- don’t be afraid of the you that will appear. The walls might fill with a mess of
colors that splatter, dripping down the cracks and spaces. The white might suddenly turn to
black. It might swallow you whole. But don’t run from what appears. Let it come out of your
fingertips and let it be from your soul. The hardest part is starting. Put one finger to the wall and
then don’t stop what starts to leak out.

Third- Forget the rules of the white space. We have been so conditioned to what message
or painting the white space should receive. “Is the period in the right spot?” “Does the paragraph
have a clear topic sentence and a transition sentence?” “Be sure to include alliterations or
metaphors in your poem!” In the effort to create intelligence and diversity we all end up with
slightly different versions of the same thing. And this space becomes a place where it is safer not
to try because then I cannot be wrong.
Let go of that.

Be wrong.

Be beautifully wrong.

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