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Like a bad fairy tale, this story starts on a dark and stormy night. A person sat lonely in their room. I will not say which gender, for it does not matter in this story. They sat there, at a writing desk. A lamp was turned on in the corner. It illuminated the mess of things on the desk: a notebook, a sketchbook, pens, pencils, markers, paints. Clay in a bowl sitting precariously on the edge; charcoal sticks making smudges on the chipped paint. And a wood model of a man, standing about eight inches high.          The person grimaced. Slowly, almost with caution, they picked up a pencil and placed it gently on the paper in front of them. A line was made and then another; every now and then, they would look up and consult the wooden man. The eraser was used. Once, twice. Then a flurry of shavings filled the page. The artist had messed up. With a huff, they crumpled the paper and added it to their stack of mistakes.          All they wanted to do was draw. They knew they had talent; they had drawn things before...good things. Birds and fruit and pastel trees. But when they wanted to sit down, make something purely from their imagination, make a memorable character, or make a man or woman, they couldn't. Like suddenly their brain had stopped, their pencil couldn't make the right shapes on the paper.           They wanted to show emotion in their art. Trees and pears and apples don't have feelings. The lighting can appear warm or cold, but in the end, they're still just plants and fruit. They wanted to draw people dancing and singing and playing; they wanted to make their paint flow like a palomino horse's mane as it jumped over a fence. A little girl's red scarf in the cold wind. Water dripping off a swimmer's face.          But they couldn't. No matter how hard they tried, they failed again and again. Just like this time; just like the next time.          The artist looked and stared at the wooden man. It mocked them with its simplicity; saying, in the artist's mind "How can you not draw me, for I am so simple...I am just shapes and lines and yet you cannot copy my image."          The artist got angry, as they always did when things didn't work out as they had seen it in their head. They reached up and grabbed the man. They glared at it; it had no eyes, but it seemed to glare back. The artist heard him in their head: "Staring at me will not help you. You have failed, as you always will."          The artist reached up and grasped the man with two hands. With a snap, his arm broke off. Then his leg. Soon, he was limbless. With a smile, the artist tossed him away, in the wastebasket with all their other mistakes.          The artist remembered what they would tell people when they would ask about their wonderful drawings of trees, and pears, and apples. "How did you get so good?""Practice," The artist would say, "I just practice a lot."          So, on that dark and stormy night, the person in the bedroom, at the writing desk, lit by the lamp in the corner, grabbed another piece of paper. And their pencil. And drew a line. And then another.                 -- -PMD- :3



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