In the beginning, there was an image,
and it was good.

On day one, the image stirred you,
wrestled with your psyche, and evoked
emotions that had lain dormant. You
carried that image, like a baby
pic in a wallet, pulling it out to show
others as you smiled – the proud parent.

On day two, like a journalist, questions
flowed from your mind –
who this image,
what this image,
when this image,
where this image,
how this image,
why this image,
until whole humans formed in your mind,
their eyes vibrant blue or brooding brown,
their limbs movable,
their minds full of angst and yearning,
just the things good stories
are made of.

On day three, you retrieve the image and
see these humans walking about you,
their mouths moving, but nothing being heard
until your anxiety dissipates, then voices,
soft murmuring voices that tickle your ear
tell you that they are ready to be written.

On day four, image taped to side of laptop,
humans crowd around you, voices sing
a dissonant tune like a fork scraping a metal pan,
but you calm yourself, yet again, channel the
anxiety, eradicate the “is the idea good”,
eliminate the editor, and funnel your thoughts
into one question: “What’s the best way to
begin this thing?”

On day five, you stop, the dissonance so loud
you can taste it in your mouth, sour like curdled
milk. Before you, long stretches of nothing lie,
with only the tips of the ending seen just beyond
the horizon. You bang the desk, you stand, you
pace, you hear the footsteps of humans, hear
the voices of humans, and you wonder how you
will travel the width of your middle wasteland
and tell a story that’s worth reading. In the middle
of the night, as snores make their escape, you will
jolt from the bed, race to your laptop, smile because
it’s on and still warm, and you will write the conflict,
the tension that was always inside you, waiting for
its release.

On day six, you can barely catch your
breath as you and the humans you have birthed
take your time heading to the last page. You know,
on the smallest scale imaginable, what it’s like to
create a life – far beyond that of just being a mother
or father, for you have giving life, and you have set the
stage for that life, and now you must lay the life to rest.
Living, breathing, real, they touch you, pleading with
you, asking you, “Can there be a sequel,” but you know
this one is finished. The last period will be the last
period. And when that last period is placed, you sit
back, take a deep breath, shed a tear, and think, “I
think I’ve done them justice.”

On day seven, you rest, fingers sore, carpel tunnel
flaring, mind spent. You’re proud, for you have
taking that one image – the same image you hold
in your hand now – and created a world filled with
lives and scenarios and trials and grief and joy and
wonder and closure. As you close your eyes,
ready for the nap you haven’t allowed yourself to
have since the image burned into your memory,
you sit up with a start: “I need to go back and rework
the beginning. Doesn’t have enough punch.”

And…on the eighth day, the new beginning,