Empty Rooms

Posted on July 1, 2010


All the way up through high school, I took art classes. Of course we talked about negative space. Recently, a post on a blog that I read regularly made me think about other places where negative space is worth noticing, considering, and manipulating.

How often, in handling the garbage, have I received the most illuminating flashes! How often in washing the greasy dishes or cleaning out the sink have I meditated well and profitably! I might say in all seriousness that I am often nearer to God when doing the dirty chores than when listening to Bach or Mozart. – Henry Miller

For example, I often have wonderful creative ideas while driving or walking. These aren’t just things I have to do, but they are opportunities for me to let my mind wander. Without preconceived notions about what I should think about, my mind expands to fill the empty time. Granted, sometimes that “undisciplined” thinking produces nothing, but when an idea does come up, it’s worth considering.

That’s why I carry a pen and a moleskine notebook with me all the time.

I’m well past thinking that every idea I have is pure gold. First drafts are worth polishing, though, and if it weren’t for the empty space my mind wouldn’t have produced anything at all.