Plunket in Wonderland


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About Alan

On a blockade that is sometimes language

from Chapter Eight:  “The Whiteness of the Page, The First Non-Movement: The Nocturnal Epiphany, Or, Rebel Without a Clause” 

Black could be beautiful and conversely white could be ugly as sin. Nowhere else was black as beautiful as with the night, and nowhere else was white as ugly or sinful as when it came in a continuous mass, unbroken by any contrasting color whatsoever. Such a whiteness was found in many places, but none more disturbing than in the whiteness of the blank page.

To Ishmael, it was the whiteness of the whale that above all things appalled him; to Plunket, it was the whiteness of the page: in both, lurked the same vague and nameless horror, the same paradoxical combination of all colors and no color. It was the absence of color and the amalgam of every color of the spectrum. It was pure light, to be broken up by a prism into color and it was seven colors to be compounded into one light. Spin a color wheel with each of the colors of the spectrum and seven distinct colors magically merge into one—colorless white, all-color white.

Like the whiteness produced from the color wheel spinning, there is the whiteness from the blank page. Like light broken up into color, thought is broken up into words. Words color the page and give it beauty. With words comes the potential for coloring thought—a potential that is limitless. With each white page comes the opportunity for totally unique combinations of color. With each page comes the hope of self-fulfillment through self-expression. Like the color wheel endlessly spinning all colors of the spectrum into white, all the words in the spectrum of language are forever spinning to produce the stark whiteness, the monotonous blankness of the loathsome page.

Plunket rolled one of these snow-white, pristine pages into the carriage and listened to the purr of electric typewriter—white noise to match the whiteness of the page. He favored the antiquated typewriter for creative work. It was for creativity that the electric typewriter was invented—white-noise-writing pre-dating the silent, colored screen of the computer. Totally antiquated. Totally “B.C.”  Totally before computers.

He prepared to fill the page, to break up the unbroken white wasteland with self-expression. But the breaking up of whiteness didn‘t come easily; in fact, it didn‘t come at all. Plunket forgot just how rock solid the whiteness could be and didn‘t realize how not facing the whiteness for years produced more fear of battle than hunger for victory.

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