“White Sheet Music”
Fiction. Based on a True Decision to Write.
By Starry Teller
This journal entry is inspired by true events. Some of the characters, names, businesses, incidents, and certain locations and events have been fictionalized for dramatic purposes. Any similarity to the name, character or history of any person is entirely coincidental and unintentional.
Trigger Warning: our program often motivates people to discuss their trauma. If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, please, take a step back to address emotional flashbacks and trauma before continuing to push yourself. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, call 911 or the National Suicide Hotline at (1-800) 273-8255
White represents not the absence of color, but the foundation upon which color can manifest. Without the white page, there would be no place to imprint inky words.
I find it hard to think of the concept of blankness. Sometimes we say our minds are blank, like we don’t have any thoughts. However, that feeling usually comes from a mind that is inundated with thoughts. When we are scrambling to remember something, we say we are drawing a blank. But that is usually when our minds are working overtime to remember whatever it is we have momentarily forgotten. What we associate with blankness in our minds, is therefore not really blankness as all, but rather an overworking of the mind, like when we hit too many characters on the typewriter at once. The page is not blank, but rather has too many markings in the same place, while the rest remains available.
White represents not the absence of thoughts, but the space in our minds which connects thoughts. Without the white space, there would be no organization or order. White provides a place in our minds for thoughts to manifest, and a place on our pages for words to take form.
The color white represents not only the potential for writing, but the potential for decisions.
In the last two weeks, many people I know have been personally affected by drunk driver accidents. Some were friends, some were family members of friends, some were strangers from our city. Regardless of their connection to me personally, I have been mentally affected by their situations. At what moment did those drivers think to themselves, “Oh, I’ll be fine to drive” and got in their vehicles? At what moment did those victims think, “Oh, I’ll make it home” or “I’ll make it to that event” and never did? Some of the victims walked away with minor injuries. Some victims are in the hospital. A friend of one of my family members is currently having brain surgery. Another friend of hers was buried this week.
White represents not the absence of thoughts, but the inability to make a coherent decision. White ends where drunkenness begins. The color white represents that moment between cognitive understanding and inebriation—that moment of thought that doesn’t quite connect to other thoughts, but leads to action, which later leads to regret. Of course, this is true of all impairments—not only drunkenness, but anything that causes distraction or overwhelms us to the point of losing control.
White beautifully represents all potential. If we choose to add beauty to it, the world evolves into a better place. If we choose to destroy it, we taint the world.
White is neither good nor bad. White represents the courage to revolt for a cause, the hatred to incite a riot, the patience to hold onto love, the audacity to apply a word to the page, the decision to leave the house impaired.
White is the breath we take before we sing the song that is life. We each choose the tempo, the key, the melody. Our tempo is how fast we drive our cars while under the influence. Our key is the way we act under pressure. Our melody is the way we channel our thoughts into words. As we write our songs in pen, may we consider the notes we place upon the sheet.