Who would you be if you could bend time and space and rewrite yourself from scratch?
by Corey Saucier
If there were another you, in another universe, on a different planet, in a separate timeline, with a multiverse of separate experiences that are infinitely varied from your own, and they are standing in a field with a different colored sky—but still unquestionably you, what would that look like? Who would “you” be? And would the difference matter? Or would you, he, her, and them still ALL be the same?
And what letter would they have taped across their chest?
I have tried to write this article three times before, and each try has been just a fraction of a decimal point different enough to change the trajectory of my train of thought. This is attempt number four….
Attempt number ONE was about “words on a page,” and how those words could be rearranged into many different sentences that could be interpreted to have a million different meanings. But that if “you pulled the camera back” they were all just dots on a page: Fundamentally small (whatever that means) but full of potential. It was very grandiose, abstract, and metaphysical—but a little vague…and it kind of fizzled out pretty quickly. Something that can happen if you start with a gimmick. Not that I would ever use a gimmick to get a piece of writing done.
*Stares directly into the camera and winks.*
The SECOND time I began to write, I thought I would ground the essay in some sort of “time and place” as writers are taught to do. So I opened the story with me sitting in my living room half-naked drinking lemonade and eating gummy bears, while Drag Queens (our modern day superheroes) performed ridiculously terrible music through the speakers of my computer, and I pretended to be a six-foot-six German alien supermodel with a thirty-two inch blond silk weave; whipping it back and forth like the world’s best hair-ography for a music video as I screamed: “This is my hair. I don’t wear wigs! THIS IS MY HAIR!”
*I promise you I’ve been absolutely sober for two months.*
I think I was trying to say something about “joy and reimagining yourself” but sometimes I get carried away with my metaphors…. The next day I took my laptop to the cemetery and continued to write…I was inspired. But because I was no longer in my apartment, and the piece was written in present tense, and I try to always tell the truth, I rewrote the intro and incorporated the light scent of rose, lavender, and fresh-cut grass. I wrote little cute vignettes that followed the free-range peacocks: with their iridescent emerald green feathers preening as they paraded themselves gracefully over graves. And I followed suspiciously aggressive swans as they glided across a manmade lake in the spring sunlight, like living gondolas ferrying love stories a hundred years old. And with a kiss of wind against my skin—and all that life flourishing around Hollywood Forever cemetery, I started thinking of the dead. And the thousand untold stories interred in stone and marble. All the flapper girls in beaded dresses, and jazz musicians with hand-rolled cigars, and World War II vets with their heroism and tragedy, and the stunning Rudolph Valentino lying just a few feet away, with his sultry eyes and olive skin, and lips as delicious as strawberries…and all the men and women who died of AIDS and other things who were buried quietly under my feet. And because I am currently writing a novel about magic, and queerness, and the incarnations of spirit—like the beautiful death goddess Oya—and how death and rebirth are inextricably linked, I was on a roll…and that’s when my computer shut off and I lost everything!
OH HELL NO!
No more writing in cemeteries.
So this is the FOURTH and last version of the same story. And this go-around the story is about “timelines and trajectories,” about multiple universes abiding in similar transparent dimensions—and how every version of life, though different in a million-billion ways, is still EXACTLY the same. Because the Universe is infinite, and time is relative, and it unravels in many, many lines. And because the person I was ten yeas ago, and ten stories ago, and ten minutes ago are both different AND the same, there is always opportunity to begin again. To be ME again. But differently.
Because time loops.
This, you can learn by picking up any comic book: There are at least two versions of you, each wearing a different costume, with a different backstory, standing in a field under a different color sky.
Who would you be if you could bend time and space and rewrite yourself from scratch? Because you can, you know? Nothing changes that—not even having HIV. Superman always saves the world! Even in the timeline when he has no powers….
So who will you be this time?
Love and Light
Corey Saucier is an artist and writer living in Los Angeles. He is a Lambda Literary Fellow in Fiction and Non-Fiction and is currently penning his first novel. His musings and wanderings on Love, Life, and Nonsense can be found at www.justwords.tumblr.com.