It's an old story, and I'm ashamed to tell it.
When I was 4 years old, I wanted to be a writer. Everyday in the upstairs hallway I'd pass the most beautiful blank page and everyday that page called me to write on it. Every day I ached to please the white expanse and fill it with wonderful words and drawings, for you see, writing is art and art is writing. You might wonder how a 4 year old has deep emotions, but hey, I'm a deep guy.
So one evening I came across a pen on the floor. I knew my opportunity had come and that destiny and fate had granted me a chance to fill the wall in the hall with such wonderful a thing as the outward expression of a child's imagination. I eagerly began to run the pen against the smooth white of paint. I was ecstatic, and the wall felt like an extension of the pen. I couldn't believe how well the pen worked; it never skipped, never blotted, and never slipped. It was wonderful.
Amid the melée, I realized something... I made an 'L.' It was the most beautiful 'L' I had ever seen. It was a perfect ratio of height to length drawn at the most perfect right angle. It was straight and true, much like the heart that beat within its author. I eagerly shouted to my parents downstairs "Mother, Father, come upstairs quickly! You must see my first ever procurement of art!" Father and Mother obeyed, and were on the spot in moments.
I pointed to my handiwork and proudly exclaimed "LOOK! An 'L!' I grinned in the face of my proudest moment. My first attempt at writing was a sheer success.
But something was wrong. My enthusiasm did not bubble over to my parents' faces. My Father looked down at me, over at the wall, and then over at me.
"Bend over," he commanded.
I thought: "What? Where is the lauding? Where is the appreciation for decorating the once bare wall with my gifts and talents? Why isn't Mother interceding? Don't they see the 'L?' Don't they understand?"
"Grab your ankles." Father interjected.
"I don't understand. How could they not like it? Why aren't they getting papers prepared for Oxford, the Sorbonne, or for Harvard? Why is that--"
But my thoughts were interrupted at the last question. My Father's iron hand had made stiff contact with my exposed posterior. It all came crashing down. They were mad that I had sullied the wall with my grotesque art.
"Go to your room, now." Mother pointed down the hall. I had no choice but to obey. I was smarting-- not only my buttocks, but my pride as well. If this is how the world is going to accept my ventures into the world if inspiring imagination, then I'll withold my talents for myself.
And I have until now.