The first time I thought about this was at a museum exhibit displaying selected pages from Michaelangelo’s notebooks. He didn’t just use his notebooks, he wore them out. Every page wasn’t a large drawing. Instead, he scribbled and sketched small studies in every bit of white space. The pages were old long before I saw them, but the brilliant swirls of his sepia ink still shined, crisp and indelible.
“Nothing went to waste,” I thought.
Using up the pages makes lot of sense, paper was probably scarce and expensive back then. Not like today. I was a frequent business traveler and writing on planes was sometimes my only uninterrupted time. My rationale was, “Well, I can’t take two journals. But what if I write to the end of this half-written one in mid-flight, then I won’t have more pages with me. Better take a whole new one.” It wasn’t long before the number of halvsies were gaining on the finished ones.
Just as it has been my mission this year to finish old pieces, I have been finishing off the halvsies. When I get to that last page, I feel like my writing and that notebook have had a second chance, like bowling for a spare. Yeah, it wasn’t like bowling a strike on the first go, but does anything worthwhile ever go in order, as planned, as hoped? All those blank pages are opportunities just waiting for us and picking up the spares, finishing the halvsies gives us a chance to find them.