Across the Blank Page

Every now and then something jumps out at me — a word, an article, a book.  Maybe beautiful words of poetry or a flower–a rose, a gardenia, a lily–catch my attention.  A profound quote can resonate within me for days.  The power of the human spirit is often most compelling.  Stories of struggle that lead to enlightenment strike a chord, for instance.  A knowing voice or look isn’t something I take for granted.  Okay, so I’ve always been a bit on the “spiritual” side of things.  But as I tap into that dimension more fully each day, and with greater trust, I  am convinced that finding the depth within–without beginning or ending, infinite and timeless–is the most powerful thing that can happen to anyone.  As “mere mortals.”

The word enlightenment conjures up the idea of some
superhuman accomplishment, and the ego likes to keep it that way,
but it is simply your natural state of felt oneness with Being.
–Eckhart Tolle

So last March when I happened across a blog post by the Executive Editor of Author Magazine, Bill Kenower (Seattle), I knew I’d stumbled across someone who had figured out a few magnificent things about life — someone who had found the depth within.  A kindred spirit, as I’m fond of saying here in SunnyRoomStudio.

Bill, founder of Author writes a daily blog, and his post on March 18th was called Waiting (see archives for Editor’s blog).

I thought, hmm, the entire world is trapped in the painful world of “waiting”  — let’s see what he has to say on this important subject.

Basically, Bill wrote about an insight he’d had, one that helped him to realize what he really wanted in life was for anything he watered to grow. Before the light of “knowing” ignited within him, he’d believed he was mostly waiting to be published, as he was a writer … waiting for the days of “success” that so many people spend a lifetime seeking (only to discover its mirage-like qualities).

But now he’d discovered the depth within.

That’s when life gets interesting.  Takes on new meaning.  And, as I wrote above, that’s when we are transformed by awareness through the gift of realization; that’s when we know, without a doubt, that we are so much more than we had ever imagined.  What could be more profound?

So, thank you, Bill, for sharing your creative light in this sunny space for kindred spirits.  You are a natural teacher with a great message for the world.

  • Bill launched his on-line magazine, Author, in February, 2008.
  • Via his blog, he wrote: “Whether you are published or unpublished, whether you’re a devoted journaler or an avid e-mailer, whether you would rather read a book than ever jot down a note, everyone, from the first kindergartner to the last Nobel Prize winner, is an author.  Everyone is the author of his or her own life.”  He goes on to point out how we must all figure out what interests us, truly.  And that it takes courage to answer “such a lovely, noble question.”
  • Wonderful advice for anyone reading this guest blog post.  Without personal awareness that flows from the essence of our being, we will limp through life with eyes closed to what could be … never knowing the truth of our own existence.  So here’s more from Bill — enjoy!

The Only Thing I Know
by Bill Kenower

When Author was still in its infancy, I had the chance to interview the novelist Alice Hoffman. I mentioned that I had just listened to an interview with Meryl Streep in which the actress discussed her doubt that anyone would still want to cast her in a movie. Hoffman, who has had a long, prolific, profitable, and decorated career, said she felt much the same way. “With every novel,” she explained, “I feel that I don’t know how to write a novel.  It never gets easier.  And I always think maybe this is horrible.”

I remembered Hoffman’s comments two years later when I interviewed Louis Sachar, author of, among many other books, Holes, the bestselling young adult novel for which he won both the Newberry and the National Book Award. Sachar described a conversation he’d had recently with Judy Blume in which he asked the legendary children’s book author if she ever wondered if a book she’d just finished was any good at all. “Every one,” she replied.

When I look at the world of writing instruction and writing advice, most of what I see are books and magazine articles focused and the craft and the business of writing. This is all very well and good. If you want to play the game of writing you must learn the craft of writing and then the business of selling what you have written.

  • And yet, here are Alice Hoffman, Louis Sachar, and Judy Blume all confessing, in one way or another, that they remain strangely mystified by what they do.

How can this be? Is it possible Alice Hoffman doesn’t know enough about the craft of writing? Is it possible Louis Sachar and Judy Blume need to learn just a bit more about the business of publishing? It seems unlikely. The young writer, then, might despair at these stories. Why am I studying and reading and studying some more if all that awaits me is more of what I already have?

My sister Felicie learned the answer to this question when she was in college. Felicie has a hungry mind that loves puzzles and problems. She got all A’s and only one B at the University of Rhode Island. That B? Creative writing. “I hated that class,” she told me. “There were no right answers.”

Which is why Louis Sachar still wonders if what he has written is any good at all – which is why you probably wonder sometimes if what you have written is any good at all. There are no right answers. That there are no right answers is what frightens every writer, no matter how experienced, and yet also why every writer, no matter how experienced, chooses to write.

  • The blank page offers neither advice nor criticism nor expectation, only the opportunity to create what is of interest to you.

The only correct answer for any of our choices, from words to spouses to careers, is what is of interest to us. There is, in fact, nothing else that we know for sure. I do not know if what I write will be published; and if it is published I don’t know who will read it; and if someone does read it I don’t know if he or she will like it. I don’t know what anyone else is thinking or has thought or will think. I don’t know what will happen tomorrow and I have only a vague, dreamlike memory of what yesterday felt like.

But I always know what is of interest to me. At anytime, in any city, state, country, or continent, I can ask myself what is of interest to me and the answer will be waiting. It is who I am. I look in the mirror some days and see a stationary creature – but it is a trick of perception.

  • I am nothing but a trajectory of interest, launched across the blank page of time to author my own life.

Bill Kenower is the Editor-in-Chief of Author, a free on-line magazine for readers and writers that, in addition to articles on writing and the writing life, features video and audio interviews with hundreds of bestselling and award-winning authors. He writes a daily column for Author that looks at the intersection of creativity and spirituality.

I hope everyone will take a look at your on-line magazine —
a wonderful resource for writers and readers alike.

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