The addiction of blank pages

I love books. I love to sit a conference or in a course, to read a post by a friend or see a review on facebook, to hear about a book, and then to buy that book. Amazon makes it easy to put on my Android device.

And forever after I am able to say, “Oh yes. I’ve got that book. It’s on my reading list.” And we talk, we readers, about the piles of books in our queue.

I have the same love affair with particular pens and with blank journals. The way that a particular paper takes the ink of a particular pen, the way that a particular pencil writes perfectly smooth on the paper. I get chills typing that. Because, of course, I am typing these words, not writing them in my journal(s) with my pen(s) or pencil(s).

I have enough of my favorite pencil in my drawer to write a commentary on the Pentateuch. All five books. Three hundred words a day for the next decade. I have enough of my favorite pen that the last one may dry out before I can use it up by writing. I have enough Moleskine and Fieldnote pages that, at my current rate of consumption, Nancy may be able to use the last one as the guest register at my funeral.

Why do I tell you this?

Because some of us need to be honest with our addictions. Reading a book says, “I will do this, not that, with my time.” Writing a post or an essay or a journal says, “I will do this, not that, with my time.” And those are risky decisions. What if we choose the wrong book to read? What if we choose the wrong thing to write? And so some of us buy book and journals and pens and pencils because it gives us a buzz without the risk of actually writing.

But stewardship is not the accumulation of books and blank pages. Stewardship is the reading and living of them, wrestling with ideas and then sharing them.

(First published July 29, 2013)

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About Jon Swanson

Social media chaplain. Author of "Lent For Non-Lent People" and "A Great Work: A Conversation With Nehemiah For People (Who Want To Be) Doing Great Works." Writer of 300wordsaday.com. I help people understand. Understand some of the Bible. Understand what Lent can be about. Understand what it means to follow.

5 thoughts on “The addiction of blank pages

  1. I was recently struck by the idea that my mind might be more available than my heart. I think there’s more to explore with I’m the area of my mind getting too disconnected from my heart but I’m working to not be a hypocrite right now and actually live out the thoughts I think I think.

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  2. Dear Jon: As I sit amidst the sea of unread books by my “reading” chair, I have just one word in reaction to this post: Ouch.

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  3. Good one! And possibly it explains for me why I own so many blank books, journals, notebooks, pens and pencils but never use more than 2 or 3 pages. I am full of good intentions. Unfortunately, we know what the road to Hell is paved with…guess I should write something.

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