The boy sat in the corner of the library clutching his pen. He looked down and confirmed what he already knew: the open page of his pale yellow notebook was blank. He clicked his pen a few times; relishing the way the sharp clicks broke the stillness of the air.
When he was younger, people called him a writer. He had loved the title and had proudly pinned it to his chest announcing it to anyone who would listen. The word was a relic of the past to him now. What kind of a writer was he, unable to write? The great writers he looked up to never sat and stared at a blank piece of paper, did they? They assembled words into indestructible and immovable formation. They took soulful and moving snapshots of the human condition. He wanted desperately to be able to do that.
He thought about the immutability of a great sentence and wondered if he’d ever write one. His whole life he had thought that if he could just find the right order of words he could produce something great. Now, he came to believe that he had the same odds of accomplishing this as he did of discovering a new number. As reasonable a proposition as this was, it bothered him.
He clicked his pen again, taking no satisfaction in the action this time. The paper in front of him was not a canvas waiting to be painted, rather a black hole sucking up his creativity and leaving his mind infuriatingly empty. He could write about anything, so of course he had created nothing. He felt like he had been staring at the blank piece of paper for years.
He wanted more than anything to crumple up this empty sheet of paper, this perfect and unblemished monument to his failure, but he couldn’t. He took this as a sign that he still had something left to say or some story that he could tell if only he could find it.
Finally, he looked down at his pen, then around at the library. If nothing else, he would preserve this feeling. He started to write.