I bought a book in which

the previous reader

had filled the margins

with notes.


It was difficult to read

with the margins stuffed

full of inky words and thoughts.


I put the book down.


For weeks, I tried

to read this

stuffed margin book,

to no avail.


Even though the notes were thoughtful,

insightful even,

the clutter was too much.


I ended up buying a different copy.


In print and design,

margins give space to words and images

allowing them to breathe,

allowing the reader’s eyes

to float easily

from line to line,

from shape to shape,

allowing the mind

to connect more easily

idea to idea.


Without enough space,

even the most beautiful

words and images

cannot fully show themselves.


I began to think about my personal margins.


I looked at my calendar.


The margins had all been stuffed full.


I had left no space for real





No wonder I wanted to walk away,

put my life down

like a

margin-stuffed book.


The difference:

I couldn’t buy a new life.


But I could create my own margins.