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The Man With The Canvas Face

Once there was a man whose face was a canvas. He had two eyes, a nose and a mouth, but only when someone had kindly drawn them on for him. He never allowed the person to use anything other than a pencil, and kept an eraser with him at all times. Sometimes, if the features were excessively striking, he would ask to have his picture taken before he erased all traces of them. He did not want to stand out. Artists made his face uncannily lifelike. Children made a mess of things. He did not think of the faces as beautiful or ugly, only as remarkable or unremarked. So he liked the ordinary faces best, even though he never looked at his own in a mirror once it was drawn. The best drawers were the ones who did not think about what they were doing, who were not afraid to let their pencil follow the faint traces of graphite that remained on his face where the eyes should be. The eyes were what changed the least from one composition to the next, for they were always the last thing to be rubbed out, and therefore the hardest to do cleanly, once both pupils were gone. He liked having more or less the same eyes to see out of, time after time. It was something to be certain of, an anchor. One day, he will pick up the pencil and draw in the features himself. It will be his true face.

Story by:

Ian Chung

submitted at 11:35pm

3 December 2010

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