This is the best time.
Writing. Well, maybe not writing. Some writing, pre-writing. Research. Jotting down ideas, startling plot twists, random thoughts. Imagining lists of songs on a phantom iphone. Plucking out interesting faces from the past, recalling scraps of conversations that never happened, creating families that have never existed, but were always there, waiting.
The time when suddenly everything makes sense, the visit from an old friend, the shambling man who you watched cross the street on Sunset and Vine, the youtube video that you saved to your Facebook wall; the wrong turn into a new neighborhood. Now you know why that odd kid in your 8th grade has stuck in your head all these years and whose face, on occasion, will make an appearance in your dreams. All these bits and pieces of memory from your subconscious roil together and force themselves to the surface by volcanic fury, shocked into form, merging and hardening into an archipelago of moments that are connected, but not obviously so…
The time when all the ingredients of your life are laid on the table and you realize, hey, there’s a good meal here. Maybe a feast, maybe a warm sustaining stew for two. And how you were glad you saved that tandoori mix in the back of the shelf, because it will add just the right amount of spice, and who knew you’d end up using the pink sea salts given to you four Christmases ago and never touched? It could be tasty, you think.
The time when you get to try on every Colorform accessory on every character, figuring out who they are, these new people you are being introduced to. A hat? An umbrella? An axe? Do they go against the school background, the barn background or the deep background?
Or it’s like those board books of separated body parts that you get to flip back and forth, endless possibilities presenting themselves while you find the perfect combination of head, torso and legs. Ethnicity, age, temperament, sexuality, you swap each out, discovering the right mix…
It’s that time when you shuffle through your deck of experiences and memories, pairing this queen with that jack, looking for the king at the bottom of the pile and adding a wild card or two for surprise, trying to come up with a winning hand…
It’s the time when you’re allowed to mix your metaphors.
And, in time, you mold these new beings into distinctive forms, each an amalgam of you, or an anagram of you, and you touch them with the spark of life, etch the mystic rune on their head, blast them with lightning and hope their fingers start twitching. They’re not entirely defined, their features aren’t completely filled in, but they breathe, and they’ll wait patiently to the side, ready when you need them, eager to find out who they are and what part they’ll play.
It’s all before you, unmarred by your own inconsistent skills. Everything still shining with possibility.
This is the best time.