The Author

By Erik Nygren
21W755 with Prof Alter
September 11, 1995

The dim moonlight shone onto the pages on the desk, making them appear a bone white. A man sat next to the desk. His empty gaze stared at nothing. The hard lines of his face surrounded sunken eyes and his chin rested wearily in the palms of his unmoving hands. Gaunt arms connected his hands to elbows which rested on the sheets of paper.

On the pages were the thin lines of words. For years he had been planning a story. It was to have been a great story. The black markings on the paper composed a great outline and detailed the marvels and wonders that were to come. They spelled out the perfect voyage through a perfect world. But for all their perfection, they remained only a skeleton that no flesh could ever fill. Although magnificent in its entirety, any close look would reveal that every chapter and every paragraph was truly dry and brittle.

The man moved out of his long stillness and looked down at the outline. He sighed in contempt and frustration and started crumpling up the pages. The dark orange flame of a match flared violently into existence in the man's hand. He reached out with all that was left of his determination and the flame crawled from the match onto the paper. The shifting light of the fire cast fleeting shadows across the man's face and the barren walls of the room. Soon the darkness returned and only ashes were left of the glorious plans. The darkness then consumed the man as well and he slept.

Sun streaked in through the window and a gentle breeze made the curtains dance. Joel slowly awoke and looked around. The morning wind had carried away the ashes and only a few black scars remained on the desk to remind him of the night before. Joel reached his arms high into the air and stretched them in an arc as he yawned as if he were making a snow angel. Soon a warm glow filled the room and the smell of fresh coffee drifted out of the kitchen. Joel already had pages out on his desk and was filling them with words. But they were not a plan. Rather, they were short vignettes. Each was playful and complete and exuded the joy of living. They did not compose a great masterpiece but instead stood on their own. Joel looked down at what he had created and smiled and was content.

Erik Nygren