Once upon a time, you stood on an empty stage. Space surrounded you: stage left, stage right, upstage, downstage. Just you and the space and the lights and possibility. You longed to fill the space: the air with music, the stage with dance. The dance was for you and you alone, regardless of who might be there watching. There were no rules, only technique, and the technique had been drilled into you so often that your muscles retained it in their memory. The dance was automatic.
Once upon a time, you stood in a wide open piazza, bordered by tall buildings, a fountain, a tower, cafes. People and pigeons traversed the bricks, unchoreographed, uncaring. You longed to join them, to become one with their movement and their language, indistinguishable in the mix. You looked like one of them. People would even ask you for directions. But the words tumbled in your mouth, strange and broken. They were unruly birds, these words, flapping their wings and flying away before anyone could know what they were supposed to be or do. Deep in your heart, you knew you were an imposter.
Now you sit before a blank page. You climb up onto it, walk from edge to edge. You peek over the side. It’s a long way down. There’s nothing here to hinder you, nothing to make you pause. You turn around, staring at the snowy expanse before you. It’s rather scary, all that openness, all that possibility. You lie down on it, roll around. Wish for some sort of texture or geographical feature. A path, perhaps. A hill to climb, or even just an unruly bird to keep you company.
But there’s nothing there.
Just you and the blank page and the hope that some quintessential part of you remembers what to do.