Margin is the space between our load and our limits– Robert Swenson
Remember, back in the day, when writing on paper was a salve and stylus and laptops were not as omnipresent as they are now, we would fold the foolscap paper from the left by an inch or so and offer it a margin ( I would never get it in a straight line but I always made an effort). It was the signal where to start off from and give our articulation some space before it began. The fold mark remained conspicuous and so did our writing, in most cases.
As you play your vinyl, you are happy to hear the reassuring hiss between the end of one song and the beginning of the next. Building expectation. It happens as credits roll as a comforting precursor to the constitution that is the movie that is about to begin. All of our media has margins. A space between what we are consumed with and the rest of the world.
As Christa Sterken put it, the best things in life are written in the margins. White space has the calming, soothing effect that a Hoover agnostic mind and life are not letting us. The white space serves us an offering to think outside of the confines of the text. Like a visual and a mental break.
Imagine books or magazines or newspapers. Think of how difficult it would be to read if the words were to be taken completely to each edge of the paper. Paintings have a frame, or a wall separating them from the next.
Margin is having the pace and space in your day to allow real life to happen. The margins are where you will find yourself. The honesty, the integrity, the real friends, the relationships that last a lifetime through good and bad.
As the inimitable Seth Godin puts it ” The self-discipline to see the margin and use it as a tool is a gift we offer the consumer of culture “.
Living in the margins will not make you marginalized. On the contrary, that probably is where the you-er or even the you-est ( the best version of you) in you will come to the fore.