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09/12/11 5:00AM

Meghan Cleary, a student at South Burlington High School, says she wrote this piece "as just another scribble, just another character forming in my head fighting its way onto paper." The result was "a personification of that bit of me that focuses only on creativity and self-expression," while the actions of the character's mother show how creativity can be stifled.

She stared at the starchy white sheet that sat on the table before her. She made no move to touch it. She made no move at all. She simply sat in her too-white chair with a pencil trapped between her clasped hands.

She's never much liked paper, if
she was honest.
She did like ink, though. She thought it looked harsher than lead or graphite, and so she liked to leave messages she thought were
important with it, scrawled in her tiny, looped-at-the-end handwriting.

She always thought that the idea of ink poisoning was romantic.
She would write her favorite words in strings along the skin surrounding her limbs and forgot to notice when it drew attention to her. She didn't understand enough of everyone else to know that it was strange.

It was her mother who put an end to her makeshift temporary tattoos, after one too many disapproving looks directed at her, rather than her daughter. She took away her pens, sat her down at a pristine white table and placed a perfect white piece of paper in front of her and told her that that was where she could write. Nowhere else. 

It was only then that she couldn't think of anything to write.

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