The words never came easy. He searched for them, day in and day out. Fought against a galaxy of possibilities, but in the end all he ever had to show for it was a handful of butchered metaphors. He wanted to be an artist. He wanted to make people sigh, when they read the things he wrote. Wanted them to repeat short passages to themselves with their eyes closed, so that they wouldn’t let a single word of it slip from their memories. But in all honesty, he was a sham. He was a paint-by-numbers artist, merely following in the footsteps of truly great writers. Worst of all, he was a sadist. He prowled through used bookstores finding masterpieces, and picking them up to read random lines. Then, he set them back down on the shelves with the solemn conviction that he would never write the sort of book he wanted to. If he was lucky, one day, he’d write something good enough to scrape by all the other garbage out there and land itself in the dollar bin of one of his second-hand shops. He accepted that as a fact, an inherent truth that could be argued with to the same extent the Sun’s position in the solar system could be. That thought kept him up every night. So that he would lie in his bed, letting the bags under his eyes sink into a darker shade of purple. Then, he would get up, and pace, and sit down at his desk, and get up again, and sit back down, and write. In the morning he’d look at each word with scorn, and throw every page of work away. This, his suffering, he considered, was maybe the only thing that likened him to any real artist. And that, gave him hope.