The absent                                        surface.

What                                            statements.

This                                                full.


As                                            created.

In                                                page.

Far                                                writer.

The absent                                            page.


In                                            erasure.

The absent                                            cut.


To                                            absence.


To                                                read.

Removal,                                        possibility.

As                                                away.

What                                                whole.

The absent                                        inscription.


This                                        untranslatable.

The absent                                        revealed.



Joey Rosenfeld’s short essay explores creativity through erasing. Like a poem engraved into a piece of stone, elimination of form can sometimes be an effective tool to reveal what was always there beneath its surface.


With this piece, I took the first and last words of each of his sentences, to draw the reader’s attention to the space between them. By erasing the content, leaving only the loosest structure of each sentence, I hoped to capture what isn’t there in order to reveal what is.


Next, I added the word “absent” after every instance of the word “The,” because it’s a favorite word of the author, and I wanted to instill a sense of the author within the manipulated text.


Source Text (can also be found at http://bit.ly/17hBx1y)

The scene of writing, the pen emptying its ink onto the blank surface.

What was once empty and void is now endowed with substance, markings on the page create meaningful statements.

This creative act moves from nothing towards something, from empty to full.


As the written word attaches itself to the page, a symbiotic relationship is created.

In order for writing to take place, the page must carry the ink, as the ink must rest on the page.

Far from morphing into a unitary whole, the ink and paper remain separate entities, joined together by the desire of the writer.

The movements of the writer, the thought expressed through the point of the pen, maintain and sustain the creative act of text on page.


In contrast to the creative act of writing, the destructive act of engraving forms its message through erasure.

The wholeness of the stone, the tablet, is destroyed through the piercing cut.

To erase the wholeness that was, is to form the space of absence.

To carve a place, the opening of possibility through which emptiness can be read.

Removal, withdrawal of a prior plenitude opens the void of infinite possibility.


As the engraving is carved into the surface, the demarcations of content and space fall away.

What was whole is now absent, as the absence fills the whole.

The inscription becomes the tablet, just as the tablet becomes the inscription.


This miraculous relation between empty and full, between carving and carved, is the vehicle capable of translating the untranslatable.

The prior classifications of creation and destruction, writing and erasing collapse as the impossible unification of opposites is revealed.


Source Code

# First program for Joey's essay

import sys

for line in sys.stdin:

   line = line.strip()

   print line.rsplit(' ')[0]

   print line.rsplit(' ')[-1]


#Second program for Joey's essay

import sys

for line in sys.stdin:

   line = line.strip()

   if "The" in line:

       print line +' absent'


       print line