You know, I was going to write another letter to Future Tom and kick him in the ass again, but it seemed kind of redundant, and hardly anything is funny or clever twice, especially when it’s a year long. But yes, I’d say it’s clear that Future Tom, my friends, has not learned a thing.
Here’s what I’ve learned that me and Future Tom have in common – we will both gladly sit around drinking beer and watching Doctor Who all the time and flipping off our laptop, because that’s just sort of our natural state. And it’s not all our fault – this season of Doctor Who is pretty kick ass.
But three months of not writing much of anything is way too long, and it seems pretty clear that without some kind of public commitment, I’m not going to do very much. I’m a bad person, and also lazy – let’s just slap the cards down, right?
Hmm, that did feel sort of good, a little honest self-assessment. Because what I also am is a coward, and I’ll tell you why. It’s because I spent all year last year writing right out in public, and for a variety of reasons – the daily time constraint being a major one – I managed to avoid any real honesty or vulnerability.
Writing’s awfully personal, and for much of last year, I managed to avoid that aspect of it. Posting every day became an excuse to avoid depth – I’d just screw around if I felt like it, and maybe get a laugh or two, but what I really do is write fiction. That’s the stuff comes directly out of my soul, and that’s what I promised you, and most of the time, I didn’t deliver.
I managed to hide is what I managed to do, just like I always have. Right out in the open, right there among my own smartass words.
And then when it was over, I sucked my head back in my shell and kept quiet – and what on earth could be more cowardly than that?
But a funny thing happened over the last three months. My blog kept getting steady traffic, even though I wasn’t posting anything on it. Even though it was just sitting there, and finally the other day I logged on and looked at all the comments, and I’m serious – I was almost moved to tears.
What? I’m a sensitive motherfucker, don’t you judge me.
Anyway, check them out. The last hundred or so comments are either regular readers saying, seriously, please Tom, start posting again. Or they’re total strangers who found their way here one way or another, and took a minute to tell me, hey Tom, I don’t know who you are, but this one really affected me. Hey Tom, thanks for this. Tom, please, finish this homeless kid story – it’s cool.
And I had a little bit of an epiphany about what I really accomplished last year, and what I needed to do from here. I realized that people out in the world, reading my stuff, being affected by it, internalizing it, talking to me about it – that’s been what I needed since I was ten years old. And I got it – not mobs of them, but no, it’s not a bunch of crickets and silence, either.
You guys are out there. You’re listening. And I’m letting you down, and I’m letting me down, and you don’t deserve that, and neither do I.
Future Tom and Future You are just a couple of ideals. The past is an immutable memory, nothing we should forget but nothing we can change. And here we are, each of us. Surfing on a single moment across an endless sea of human choices, while the Universe blasts around us like a mystic hurricane in the gargantuan mind of the Almighty.
We’re living gods, and the choices are ours, and we rule the howling tempest – but only as long as we remember the truth about what we are.
That’s this blog from now on – not a snarky conversation with my own future self, not a daily gimmick that grinds me down like a millstone. I’ll make you laugh, cry, shake your head, whatever, but that’s my goal, to remind myself and anyone who wants reminding, of exactly how magnificent and timeless our lives really are.
The rules will be less rigid, but who cares? Rules are things to kick around anyway. Last year I promised you my soul and gave you a tee-shirt. This year, there will be plenty of wiseassery, but all the shit I’ve been hiding is getting released from my undersea prisons, like biblical monsters in ancient cyclopean chains.
You’re out there, however many of you there are. You’re out there, and I can hear you, and I can’t tell you how much it means to me, even if there were only one of you, blinking at me from the other side of this screen. I can’t tell you, no – but I can write for you. Not for me or for Future Tom or for potential publishers or the Wizard of Oz – but I can do it for you, because you’re my reader, and I promise you, from now on, I will.
But watch what you wish for. I’m going to ignore stats, ignore propriety, ignore publishers and the blogosphere, and I’m going to write like my soul depends on it, because it does. I will blast down every wall in my brain for you, my friends, and you’re going to get a startling glimpse of exactly who the fuck I am, and if this rabbit hole has a bottom, I have never found it. You might not be crazy about me, the more you look around.
Doesn’t matter, cause it’s not a beauty pageant. It’s Art, you crazy-ass, blog-reading motherscratchers, and The Curse of Future Tom is officially broken, so grab a beer and get comfy.
I’m back, baby.