In college, I read a short story by Isak Dinesen called “The Blank Page.” Therein, a convent displays the wedding night sheet of princesses. Framed on the convent walls, idiosyncratically one might say, is proof of consumation of the marriage and the virginity of the bride. Hanging among these white squares featuring brownish-red blots is a clean, blank white sheet. No story nor explanation.
The professor of the class explained that this was the most interesting story to be told. It sets fire to the imagination. Why is this blank, pristine sheet included among the Rorschach blots of spoilt virginity? Our creativity supplies explanations for its inclusion. We become writers of its story.
I decided that the princess who provided this sheet was an active youth, and she broke her hymen through some tomboyish activity like riding a horse with one leg on each side instead of a ladylike side-saddle. When her bedsheet failed to show blood, her new in-laws were outraged and demanded an annulment. Our heroine did not offer a single word of explanation. She would not lower herself to comment on such accusations. She merely demanded that her sheet be proudly hung with the others.
That shut her in-laws up.
Sometimes when I read blog comments, I come across: “Comment deleted. This post has been removed by the author.” Why was the comment deleted? What did it say? I always try to imagine. Was it merely impertinent or was it offensive? If the latter, was the offense clever and personal or merely vulgar? Nothing I read on such blogs is as interesting or thought-provoking to me as what I imagine has been deleted.
And why does it have to say that it has been deleted? Why not just make it disappear with no comment? Why must I be told that the comment was there, but now it is gone? I don’t use Blogger, so I don’t know if this is a feature that can be chosen by the author. If so, what would make an author choose it? I deleted your comment, but I want people to know that I deleted something, so they’ll wonder about it. Maybe this is how the author puts people on notice. Toe the line, assholes, or you will be removed by the author.
If I read a blog that includes “Comment deleted. This post has been removed by the author,” I also wonder at the ambiguity of the notice itself. Which author? The author of the blog or the author of the deleted post. Did the blogger delete this offense, or was the blot removed in a fit of remorse by the person who wrote it?
Nature abhors a vacuum. My mind rushes to fill it.
The Blank Post.