Monday, October 4, 2010

Makers and the Blank Page

Making Monday

Sidney Sheldon said, "A blank piece of paper is God's way of telling us how hard it is to be God."

When confronted with a blank page, do you see a howling void that paralyzes you with its very nothingness, or a exhilarating window into a universe of possibilities?

Makers, as you probably suspect, see the universe of possibilities.

Although, to be fair, I paint here with too broad a brush because both makers and non-makers see the universe of possibilities. What distinguishes makers is that they are not paralyzed by the infinite cascade of possibilities.

There is a religious tradition that has a creation story in which the world comes into its present form because the gods organize preexisting matter. In a smaller way (or at least one untainted with delusions of godhood), makers are not paralyzed by the blank page because they apply the power of organization.

Visual makers like painters and photographers, for example, see the canvas or unexposed frame organized into a grid of horizontal and vertical thirds because the intersections indicate the most critical parts of the composition.

Aural makers see the blank staffs in terms of temporal divisions, movement that grows and diminishes, rhythm, pattern, variation.

Makers who work on things understand the structural patterns that support forms in opposition to gravity.

Where does the power of organization come from? Organization reduces the universe of infinite possibilities into a universe of finite possibilities. (Think about it.)

 Image: Bill Longshaw /