A desk sat in the corner of a room, empty. A man stood behind it. He had done so for a long time. And when he wasn’t standing behind the desk, he was pacing.
The desk had not always sat empty. It had begun with a holiday, no more than a day of rest. A single day out from behind the leveled wood; a blissful time of company and laughter and joy and feasting. But one day turned into two, and so on.
Day followed day, and the man glanced, then looked, then stared at the desk and the chair that went with it and the pen and ink and paper that rested on its smooth surface—and trembled.
Perhaps, he thought as his mind began to turn, his gift had gone. Perhaps he was no good from the beginning. Perhaps to work on a dream was to waste his life, to bash at no more than wishful fantasy. Perhaps now was the time to take himself in hand. Master himself. Seek out other employment; useful work—it was not pandering to scoffers if the scoffers spoke truth. For what, his mind taunted, was the use of setting pen to paper? There was no tangible quality to words on a page. One could not eat them—this he knew. One could not feel paper grant gratitude nor hear it offer praise that attributed value. To what end all this art, then?
His mind fully whirled with such dark, twisted, tempting thoughts, until the man could take no more. Crying out, he fell upon his desk and wept for all the rigid hardness that had filled him.
In despair, he picked up his pen and began to write.
And spun a tale of hope.