Hello, Regular Tom.
I’m sure you’re suprised to see me here, just sitting in your darkened living room as you walk in the door, feet kicked up and comfortable as can be, drinking one of your beers, waiting on you like spies wait for James Bond. It’s been a long time, and I’d love to tell you you’re looking well, but you’re not. You’re not.
I had to burn up an entire solar system to get here; it’s WAY harder to talk to someone in the past than it is to talk to someone in the future. You want to talk to someone in thirty years you just go to Western Union and give them specific instructions to deliver your letter in exactly thirty years, like the Professor did when he taped Marty McFly’s letter back together and cheated death. Easy Peasy.
Coming back in time – not so much. A real pain. But I can see you need it – just look at you, a man who likes to bitch at me for not getting enough writing done, and here you are Facebooking, watching Doctor Who, talking about how once upon a time you broke the Curse of Future Tom. Talking and talking and talking, until suddenly you realize you’ve fallen under a new one. And I can see it from here, dude. This one’s not my fault – it’s yours. It’s yours and you know it.
You, with your Excuse Bucket you cart around on a two-wheeler wherever you go. You, with your fifty-hour work weeks and your bonkers divorce and your teenage kids and whatever else you have in there. Just dump the Bucket out and shut your mouth, Tom, that’s how much use those excuses are to me.
You know, a man named Christy Brown wrote and published five books, and he only had the use of his left foot. You might remember him from a movie, appropriately titled My Left Foot. IBM made him a special typewriter so he could get down on the floor and type with the only part of him that worked properly. How much of your body can you use again? Everything but your nose?
Yes, I know. What else did Christy Brown have to do all day but sit around on the floor with his customized typewriter. But you gotta assume that he typed slower than you, right? If he didn’t, well then that’s just something else to hang your head about. Oh did I mention he was a painter, too? Yes, Tom, your excuses. Are. Your own.
Listen, to me. I’ve been thinking these last few years, since you wrote me a public letter and forced me to write every day, and how far we went, and how that year ended and how you just let it. You blamed me for everything, but I’m an ideal. I’m the future. You’re the one who has to change us both, and I’m getting tired of sitting here, watching you do pretty much everything except what you’re supposed to be doing.
You’ve been sitting on four novels for ten years. Sitting on them like eggs that will hatch on their own. Every day goes by and you eat up a part of me, push me into the future a little more as I crap the days out behind me. And it’s getting harder and harder to believe that you’re going to finish up your day-to-day bullshit and blast out of your cocoon like a cosmic butterfly, that you’ll suddenly be me and we’ll be what we’re supposed to be – unless you can pull your thumbs out of your ass and get serious.
You and I both know – you won’t do it unless someone makes you, and as you get older I’m noticing that no one seems able to make you do very much. Oh, but I can. I’m telling you right now, you start writing every day again, every single day. You do it not for a year but until I say, “Stop.”
Until I tell you from the future, “Okay, we’re where we need to be. The Curse is forever broken and we are free.”
Ah, but Billy the Kid and Omnipotent Star Trek Being Q both agree on one thing: the trial never ends, and you have to test yourself every day or you get soft, and for you, change begins in your brain and ends at your keyboard, and when the cycle stops, so do you. So put down your beer can or at least take it over to your laptop, because I’ve come back in time to save your ass one last time. I’ve come to make you quit your bitching and do what the Universe created you to do. I’ve come to enslave you on the same day that I set you free.
You get back to work. You post every day, I don’t care how many words. You post every day, and you do it until you’re published to my satisfaction. You do it or I will start smoking cigarettes, or join a religion, or whatever batshit crazy thing I can think of that would be bad for you and drive you nuts.
The Curse of Future Tom is back upon you, old man. And you need it because you’re soft and lazy, and without it you’ll just sit there being a wiseass until you die. Without it you’ll settle for whatever’s on the table in front of you. Without it, you’re nothing and you know it.
Now light a fire in that Excuse Bucket, and get back to work.
That is all.