If there were one among us who could have written the greatest poem or the most significant novel, it was him. He promised he would accomplish a great work many times. With ease, he rolled out ideas for lines, plots, and descriptions of emotionally deep characters. His satchel never far from his body was full of crumpled, blank pieces of paper. For the inspiration, he reached down to pull up a handful. Laid out in front of him delicately on the desk, he spent time smoothing out the wrinkles, and pressing down the creased edges. He placed the blank shreds in order. With his long fingers rested on his chin, he leaned back to consider. “No, that cannot go there. The thought is wrong.” Then set about to rearrange the blank shreds into another order he preferred. A time would pass.
Always by the window – for he liked its view — he sat in deep concentration. His face contorted in agony; the sign of a deep thinker, no doubt. Mumbling to himself things about rhymes and meter, he became uncontrollably excited. He would sit, stand, pace and sit again. The manic actions promised a flurry of creative activity. Then the words came like wind. He bolted to his chair with purpose, grasped tightly in his pale boney hand, the pen stayed still, afraid to touch the paper. A time would pass.
Finally, he exclaimed, “I’ve got it!” and slump over his paper, poor in posture, pen grasped. The paper prepared for the dictates of its master. The paper lay innocently and undisturbed. A time would pass.
“No, it is not right! It cannot end like that.” We heard him say. He grasped the pen again and pulled the paper under his chin. We watched intently with breathless anticipation as he traced the air the words running through his mind, the pen only a few precious inches from the paper, finally the pen stilled, ready to write, slowly closer it descended in his hand until there was but the slightest hint of light between paper and pen! — but gave up to exclaim, “It is no use. I cannot write in such a dreary place!”
He stood and placed his greatcoat over his scrawny and sunken frame. Never did someone resemble a turtle as he did standing there, but we were prepared to claim it a capable turtle. He marched out of the room hurriedly. Saying aloud, his finger raised, “A genius must be free! A genius needs his space!”
A wave of blank shreds of paper circled behind in his wake, and fell to a rest on the floor.