I held on to my pen. As I always did. As had been my modus operandi since primary school. As required by my crippling fear of losing control. The veins on the back of my hand were pulsating. The skin on the palm of my hand turned whiter than snow; whiter than was the norm. The blood in my hand stopped flowing. The ink never started to. Before me was a blank page that I stared down as though it were a bull and I a novice matador, all too aware of the fact that the beast could smell the sweat on my frail skin; product of my fear.

I exhaled. I inhaled. Not a smudge of blue on that insufferable white. If only I had gotten recycled paper. Failure might not stare at me quite so brightly now. In the dimly lit den of a room that I was in, this one page – devoid of words – seemed to scream at me with a high-pitched voice, etch itself into my skin, blind my vision and dull my sense of smell.

Then it started like a tinderbox. I heard a slight sizzle in the back of my mind. And behind my eyes a cinematic spectacle started to unfold: first a tame, blue flame, then a grand, hot red fire. I was ready to burn it out of spite, to watch the embers fly away before they would inevitably fall on the ground. Earth: the great ashtray of thoughts unthought, words unspoken, deeds undone. And yet I could not. Because I knew Bebelplatz.

And the unwritten thought is not naught, it is substance as of yet without form. But it needs to be born, can’t be burned, can’t be forlorn. We all know what it means to burn the stories that have already happened or as they unfold. But who is aware of the sin that it is to burn the blank page, burn the myriad stories as of yet untold?

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