The Untalented Artist This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

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A full, complete, and mastered face lay flat on a canvas perched on a fickle wooden stand, whose legs seemed fully prepared to relent, which would release the colossal face, sending it closer and closer to the ear-splittingly creaky floor beneath the benevolent artist.

The artist, the young man, lacked all of the necessary talent for art. However, he had a talent. A unique talent. A talent that was overlooked by peers. A talent that had the potential for utter greatness, or for absolute misery. The benevolent artist had a talent for being human.

The incisive and perceptive eyes on the canvas could not detect his humanity. Compassion was neglected by the nose that seemed too curved but yet too straight, too oblong but yet too jagged. Mercy was abandoned by the faultless curvature of the unyielding smile. Sympathy was berated by the unconcealed teeth. The face knew not of humanity.

The artist leaned forward on his unsupportive stool, which dug deep into the creaking floorboards. The face seemed cryptic—mystifying—unappealing. The face knew not of the artist, and the artist knew not of the face. Yet, the conspicuous features blended together on the canvas were a blunt and unequivocal projection of the artist’s face.

The artist stared into his own, bleak eyes. Burning animosity reached even the tiniest corners of the vast expanses of the artist’s mind. The artist was confronted with a truth that had been hidden for so long: the artist was everything but human. He held no compassion, no mercy, no sympathy.

The artist was flawed.

The artist closed his eyes and imagined a vague, blank canvas. On the blank canvas, a face began to appear. The artist neither imagined nor created it. It appeared, seemingly by chance. The indiscriminate portrait was a face the artist did not recognize within the jumbled confines of his own muddled mind. Instead, the artist came to understand that it was, in fact, his own face. His own face of uncertainty—of chance. A face of free-will and serenity. A face of bliss.

The future of the artist was not a distinct path, but a blurred and tortuous course that was fully worth the ride from beginning to end. The undetermined future of the artist made him believe that he was human.

The artist had a talent for being human.

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