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An Artful Pause

by BP | Score: 3550

The decision was reached in the balmy month of May, the year of our Lord twenty hundred and fifty-seven that there was simply too much art and so a moratorium had been placed on any act, overt or otherwise, that could be justly be interpreted as "artistic expression." What exactly constituted the expression of one's artistic whims was left up to that most noble of institutions, the courts, and was later immortalized when the honorable Judge Bowen, quoting the honorable Justice Stewart, said, "I know it when I see it."

And so, with the power of courts, the police, the Catholic church and its various offspring, the mighty hand of capital and congress joined forces and turned the valve tightly off, saving a generation the maddening burden of creating its own art.

The people rejoiced. Finally, they could catch up on the classics. Tarkovsky, Joyce, Lee. All could be read, all could be witnessed. The Great Feast as commenters called it--artistic commentary, having been deemed "informative" and therefore definitely not art, was granted a pass and therefore allowed to flourish--swept over the masses, settling upon them like a bed of sand smoothed over by a great wave.

"Finally," critics shouted, "the people will see what they've been missing!" Demand for lost classics skyrocketed, fertilizing the soil for digital pirates to emerge from their caves and present their plunder. They were then promptly arrested.

William Calhoun, "Billy C" to his friends if he had any, was one such thief who felt the iron bars of justice fall across his back. It was there, in his six by six foot cell, that Billy C decided to become a criminal.

"If I can't smuggle art," he thought, "then I'll just have to create it."

And so he went about turning the means of his imprisonment into his parchment. Toilet paper tore easily. In prison toilet paper is as thin as dreams. But he made the most of it and, after acquiring a shank from his cellmate began etching his history. Whether Billy C's short, brusque style of writing was borne more out of necessity or skill is lost to the ages, but it was a style he was write too adopt. There are few true stylists in the world and art would be better off if the artists who produce it simply accepted that fact.

By the end of his first year--back then digital piracy carried a substantial fine, which, if unpaid, multiplied the sentence by horrifying magnitudes depending on the disposition of the judge--Billy had a full library of short stories, poems, articles, novelettes, novellas. Not to mention the fertile seeds of a novel growing in his mind. 

By historic standards, Billy's work was simple, perhaps even amateurish, but by contemporary standards he was a giant. Club Wilson, his aforementioned cellmate and procurer and Billy's instrument, served as his editor. He was barely literate, but understood a good time when he saw it.

Completed challenges

The following challenges were completed during the writing exercise:

Begin Start typing to begin
Words Reach 50 words
Words Reach 100 words
Words Reach 200 words
Event Someone goes to prison
Words Reach 300 words
Location A pirate cove
Words Reach 400 words

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