I love Office Depot. I love the paper aisle, the pens and pencils aisle, highlighters, markers, index cards. I love the smell, the weight, the plastic wrap, the purity. When shopping for my employer, I invariably bought a little something for myself. Usually pens or paper. Beautiful paper.

When I got home, or to class or to work or wherever, I would attempt Creation. Just as I had countless times in my childhood. I would reveal, as a magician, the piece of paper from its hiding place, and gently place it before me. So smooth, wrinkle-free, cool, and soft. I would sometimes touch it lightly, to affirm its existence, and my mind would be racing. So many possibilities and only one fate.

And so it would continue. I would stare at this sheet of paper, lying perfectly still and cool and apathetic, upon my desk. So pristine, so much potential. My pulse would be slightly elevated, my eyes wide, my mind the noisiest place in the universe. The pencil or pen, phallic and dirty, would lie next to the sheet of paper. It was the means by which this sheet of paper would reach its fate, but I felt guilty being its vehicle. Eventually, I would nestle the pencil in my left hand, against the callus on my middle finger, and make imaginary strokes, closer and closer to this virgin paper. To reach the light, you must first pass through the darkness, I would tell this sheet of paper. You must submit to be Created.

But not once have I dirtied, wrinkled, and soiled a sheet of paper and felt I had Created. My expectations are raised so high for this pitiful sheet of paper and this pencil, that somehow the pencil should guide my hand and Create something fabulous and unseen, something the world would love. These sheets of paper are inevitably wasted to the 7, 9, and 11 point stars, lightning bolts, hearts, and other scribblings of the shallower recesses of my bored brain. I am no artist, no Creator.

This peculiar habit of mine only matters because I feel the same way about myself. My youth, my naïveté, the white sheet of paper of my soul, are doomed to fast come to a close on me. I shall soon leave this place, for better or for worse, and there is but one path I shall take in my life. But for now, I flitter about from place to place, a Butterfly waiting to find a place where I will Shine before someone or something or I myself rip my Wings off and slice them up with the Exacto blades of life. In the background of my mind, I hear those Exacto blades being sharpened. Where shall I go?

And more importantly, how long before I realize that I am the artist holding the pencil, and not the sheet of paper?