i once heard that an empty stage--or perhaps, it was a silent stage--is death to an actor.

the expression never sat well with me. i always thought it missed the mark.

supposedly sound never dies. a sound once made lives forever. its amplitude or frequency (or some such something that people much smarter than myself  understand) changes. and because the amplitude or frequency (or sum-such) changes we cease to hear the sound.

but that doesn't mean it isn't there. charging the space. a currency of air.

it always seemed to me that an empty stage and the shadow of sound was fertile ground for an actor. that sitting on stage, quiet and alone, actively inviting the silence...that there was a magic in the theatre of that. no performance ever ends. the ghosts live on to inform the present. all art is done in the wake of that which has come before. all art is in honor of the past and pathway for the next.

in the first grade i sat in the school auditorium, new clipboard and pale-purple notepad before me. i sat and listened as the second-grade teacher, ms. jackson, gave a small after-school workshop on writing. for a writer a blank page is death, she said. well, maybe not those words exactly. but something close. she said the all the empty space of a blank page is an invitation for mess. for words and scribble and whatever else the hand may create before thought dictates sense.

certainly the sound of those words live on. if only for me, in the deep marrow of the me attempting to forage some sort of life in the wilderness of youth and fear and endless possibility.

there's this thing going round the internet these days. about a teacher attempting to illuminate the lasting affects of bullying for her young students. the story goes she had them each take a blank page of paper, crumple it up, stomp on it, crunch it, get angry with it, and then smooth it out. the idea being you can smooth it out till your blue in the face--you can apologize till the world ceases to spin, and yet, the crinkles remain.

a powerful lesson, no doubt.

undoubtedly important for children to learn.

and yet.

i am a crinkled piece of paper.

i am deeply flawed and dirty and i have been trampled upon more times than i should ever hope to count. by myself. by others with my consent. by the very act of engaging in life.

my white-blank-page is now crumpled and dirty and torn, discolored in places and marked up in others. and i wouldn't have it any other way. my mistakes, my failures, as well as my successes have transformed the original sheet.