Just a Piece of Paper
There’s nothing more frightening than a blank piece of paper. It’s the unsurety of it all really. What begins as something seemingly simple, like 28 or 30-something impossibly straight, horizontal lines printed across a blank slate has potential. That’s the scary part.
A piece of paper’s life span can be reduced to the time it takes someone to write two or three sentences, read them over, and hastily scribble through them before the paper is wadded up and thrown away forever. Those two or three sentences could have moved mountains, but they cease to exist in that one frustrated moment following conception and rejection.
A piece of paper can be the backdrop for the scribblings of a 4 year old or the inpatient doodles of an important executive. Which is more powerful? The four-year-old might grow up and one day find his/her scribbles stashed away somewhere safe, among many other treasures that were saved out of love. Those incoherent scribbles could be worth more than the executive’s $15 million deal he/she was negotiating over the phone as they mindlessly doodled. Nobody saves those doodles.
A piece of paper can hold a love letter, a thank you note, an invitation, an apology. It can be used to form relationships, mend broken ones, and just as easily destroy seemingly healthy ones–a folded up phone number left in someone’s pants pocket, or a letter meant for one person that falls into the wrong hands.
A piece of paper can be powerful, insightful, and inspiring. It can hold knowledge and allow others to learn and share in the knowledge of someone long dead, across the world, or just down the street. This knowledge can encourage enlightenment and betterment, and it can ruin people. Knowledge is power. People abuse power every single day.
A piece of paper can form a religion. It can hold powerful words that people will worship and be willing to die for. The paper can encourage people to be good, humble beings, or it can demand assimilation. It can promote self-acceptance or it can promote genocide.
A piece of paper can hold the deepest secrets of a teenaged girl–who she has a crush on, how her parents just don’t understand, and the fact that she thinks she might be ready to have sex. Another piece of paper a little further along in the same notebook may be stained with tears and realizations that came too late.
A piece of paper can be the only conduit for someone who’s suffering. They can put their feelings on that paper and then they can say they’ve shared them. They can use the paper to reach out for help, or they can use it to lie to their families and say everything’s okay. Some might even use that paper to say their final goodbyes and “I love you”s before they leave the world that has always been a hell for them.
A piece of paper can begin an epic journey, a heart-wrenching love story, a deeply emotional poem, or a hilarious comedy. People live and die on these pieces of paper. They love and mourn. They exist.
A piece of paper has potential… The potential to begin, end, mend, destroy, teach, create, learn, get lost, find yourself or something that’s been missing, hold memories–good and bad, and record lives–real and imaginary.
A piece of paper has potential, and it’s magical.