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Category Archives: Future Tom To Ground Control

Revenge of the Ghost of the Curse of Future Tom

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.

Kirk and SpockI 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?

My Left FootYes, 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.”

Q Billy the Kid

 

 

 

 

 

.

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.

Sincerely,

Future Tom

 

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Future Tom, Tear Down This Wall

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.

 

The Future Tom Hump Post

What kind of person clicks a link to a post with a title like that?  What is wrong with you – seriously?

I mean, sure, I’m not talking about anything gross, but it sure sounds like I am.  Like I’m selling some kind of product for your overly randy hound dog to go to town on, with a picture of my smiling face on it.

Really, really sick.  Is that actually what you thought? 

Man.  That makes me lose my faith in humanity.  I’m not talking about a post for your dog to hump.  I’m talking about a blog post, specifically the six month mark of The Curse of Future Tom

Much like Wednesday is Hump Day because you have to get over that hump and then it’s all downhill from there, this is my Hump Post.  And I’m Future Tom.

Jeez, man – I’d have thought that’d be obvious.  I would never be so intentionally, flippantly offensive on my blog.  Do you think I’m trying to deliberately insult people or something? 

I’m sorry, I got to get my head together a second here.  I’m just shocked.

Okay, I’m fine now.  I’m sorry I snapped at you, big fella.

Anyway, don’t think I’m not aware that it’s the Hump Post for you, too.  Writing this thing every day is at times exhilerating, infuriating, gratifying, exhausting, or terrifying.  It all depends on what kind of mood I’m in.

That’s good news for me – I get to write according to my own mood.  But a recent study indicates that less than five percent of the population of Facebook are in the same mood I am at any given time.  So those of you who keep showing up here and reading this have got to be thinking just like I am, Really, Tom, are you 100% certain that the whole “every single day” thing was necessary? 

You might also be thinking, Even the eight hundred word thing, man, you got David B. Dale over there writing whole novels a third that length.  I just wish you’d thought this thing through..

And how.  Do you have any idea how difficult it is to write and post eight hundred words when you have a half an hour left to do it, and three kids who want dinner?   

Or when you totally lose your shit and post a long, venonous rant that you feel bad about later, but that you can’t take down because you didn’t post anything else that day and it’s against the rules?

Or when you got drunker than hell at your mom’s house (!) and had to be driven home by your wife, who was a remarkably good sport about it, and then dumped in your garage to babble about crab dudes who communicate by clicking and farting? 

Sure, you’re probably thinking.  Say, Future Tom, do you have any idea how hard it is to run into you at Jo Anne Fabrics and not tell you that I feel like wringing your neck for never shutting the hell up? 

I don’t know man.  What the hell were you doing at Jo Anne Fabrics, by the way?  I got three daughters – what’s your excuse?

Anyway, most of the time it’s pretty gratifying and I’m just being silly.  But I’ll tell you one flaw in my not-very-well-thought-out plan.

The purpose of writing every day was to establish an identity as a writer and get any kind of a thread of a writing career started.  It’s working, too – I am light years past any place I’ve ever been in that regard.

Expect an obnoxious social media blitz out of me the day the book goes on sale by the way.  If I have my way, they’ll be selling souvenir Future Tom glasses at Burger King – Collect the whole set!

But you know the problem with writing and posting something every day is that you don’t have time to write things that you don’t post.  Things that you then go ahead and try to get someone to pay you for publishing.

That’s going to be Future Tom: Year Two.

Right now, the writing is like a rigorous exercise regime, and I feel like I could do an infomercial, cause my writing muscles are totally ripped now.  You should see me standing there in front of a mirror with my old writing pants on, holding out the waistband.  You could fit another Me in those pants, though that would be every bit as disturbing and gross as a literal hump post.

On the professional front, I’ve entered two fiction contests so far and I’m still waiting for them to announce the winners.  You can bet your ass you’ll be hearing about it if I place at all in either of them. 

My posts average around nine hundred words, so 182 posts equals 163, 800 words, which equals roughly 655 pages in six months.

Holy Christmas, I didn’t know that when I first got out my calculator just now.

And the book coming out includes about a hundred pages or so that were never posted on Future Tom, so I’ve written seven hundred fifty pages in six months.

I think I might be making my intended point.  I just think that from several valid perspectives, it might be a sort of irritating, borderline creepy point.   Some folks might be kind of thinking, “Okay Tom, you’re a writer.  I got it.  I admit it.  I recognize you formally as a writer, for crying out loud.  Are you happy now?”

Why, yes.  Yes, I am.  Thank you for asking!

 
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Posted by on October 9, 2010 in Future Tom To Ground Control

 

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The Book Creeps Closer

Like a horrific, million year-old abomination from an H.P. Lovecraft story, the book version of The Curse of Future Tom is slouching toward the gateway to our reality, cackling maniacally and waving its tentacles around.

It’s taking its time – there was a shocking lag between sending the manuscript and getting recognized in the system and assigned a design crew, but they are working on it now, and it’s not a particularly complicated book.  There are no pictures except the cover, which seriously I don’t want to alarm you, but in my opinion it’s a pretty hilarious cover.

In the meantime, traffic on the site is steady and the vast majority of the people reading are folks who have found their way here through some other means, as opposed to the chunk of supportive friends and family members who have been here for nearly six months, and that’s a good thing.  Eventually, people I don’t know would have to start reading otherwise the same hundred people would have to buy a book every single week – Bill Vaughn might do it, who knows?

Also, I’m tending toward some strange new categories, so I’m going to tell you again what’s going on with them so you know what I’m doing and so you can avoid the posts that don’t interest you and read the ones that do.

The Opposite of Homeless – I can imagine as Rebecah said that this is a fairly frustrating story, since I have only a vague idea where it is going and I’m writing it eight hundred words or so at a time.  That’s not normally the way I would go about something like that – I’m an outline kind of fellow.

But what can I say, three kids, wife, bills to pay, work to do and I can’t post an outline of Future Tom, so I thought that’d be a nice, experimental way to keep writing fiction when I’m having trouble finding the time to really concentrate on it.  Fiction is something I enjoy considerably more than angry rants or television shows.

So eventually, I suspect The Opposite of Homeless will turn into Chapter One of a longer work I’ve been kicking around for a while, so we’ll just see how it goes. 

The Paperback Project – This is similar, though not much of the actual writing will appear here since this is a science fiction paperback novel I’m writing, which I will then push for publication in the relatively easy Scf-Fi market.

When you’re writing a total fantasy novel like that, something that is essential is worldbuilding.  I started with a planet for the novel to be set on, put some humans on it, and then thought up a decent reason for them to be there and a fairly original method for covering the distance from Earth.

I’m having an absolute dorktacular blast with it, by the way.  It’s exactly like sitting around on the floor playing Dungeons and Dragons with a bunch of weird dice and a stack of books, and it’s also exactly like an epiphany – holy Christmas I said to myself, I never had to stop doing that at all.

People still get paid for sitting around thinking up stories on other planets. 

So anyway, the way worldbuilding works is I have to figure out everything about my planet.  For example, how long is a day?  It’s not 24 hours, that’s how long it takes for Earth to go around the Sun, not this planet to go around its Sun, while being towed and bobbled around in its orbit by a much, much small sun.  So you have to figure out how long a day is, and how you’re going to talk about time without saying “TEN OF YOUR EARTH HOURS!” or anything like that.

Same thing for years.  For all lengths of time.  Then speaking of that, what are the seasons like on this world?  How cold does it get?  How hot?  What kind of life?  What kind of terrain?

Then of course there have to be civilizations and life forms on the planet – so I need to figure out the history of it.  The more detail I can come up with the better.

And the reason for all that craziness is consistency, the same thing I’m always complaining about in movies.  You figure all this stuff in advance even if some of it or most of it is never going to come into play.  Because down the road, there’s an army of little Future Toms who are going to be reasy and willing to point out how things don’t line up.  You figure all that out so that the descriptions and settings and conversations and characters are all consistent.

So when you see that title, expect to read about some worldbuilding.  I’ll be doing that right up to the point I actually start writing it, which may not be until next April, when this Write For The Blog Every Day thing has passed and I can issue a new challenge to Future Tom – that paperback novel will probably be it. 

Also, more television shows – I like writing about television shows because it’s easy.  All I have to do is watch television.  But also because that’s been the most successful method I’ve come across of connecting with new readers, so that’s that. 

Anybody out there have any suggestions?  Complaints?  Comments?

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2010 in Future Tom To Ground Control

 

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Meanwhile, At Future Tom Headquarters…

My hunchbacked manservant hobbles into my lair, in the left eye socket of my skull-shaped swamp fortress, and he trips over a cat, drawing a hiss and a squawk from it. He goes to kick it but misses, and nearly drops my glass of whiskey, and then gets his balance and screams a few obscenities at it as it scampers away.

The winged monkeys flanking my wall of video screens exchange the kind of looks kids do, when their grandma shows up to a cookout hammered with a creepy, half-dressed gigolo. I clear my throat at them and they straighten up, planting their spears firmly and getting serious.

My manservant’s name is Skinny Clyde – I didn’t name him that, and he’s not skinny, I guess it’s supposed to be ironic or something. There’s a temp service for minions and henchman and whatnot, and let’s just say it’s a pretty deep pool. You never know what you’re going to get.

Skinny Clyde wears a hood because of a horrifying facial disfigurement, so there’s not much to describe about him, except he’s pudgy, and dresses like the guys who steal droids and resell them, in Star Wars.

“Master,” he says. “I bring terrible news from the blogosphere!”

I keep telling him to just call me Tommy C., but it’s like he just can’t hear that. I take the glass of whiskey from him and let my adorable white lap dog sniff at it, and then I reply, “Yes, I know. I’ve felt a disturbance within it for several days now. Just give me the gist of the problem, and then I’ll blog it into submission.”

Skinny Clyde drags a club foot over to a side terminal next to my gargantuan, prehistoric-shark-jaw throne, and taps at a keyboard for a moment, while I sip my whiskey and smack my lips around it and go, “Ahhhh.”

It’s two o’clock in the morning, so Future Tom Headquarters is illuminated only by screen savers and torches mounted on the wall. Skinny Clyde hates switching out the torches all the time, but this isn’t a daisy farm, is it? He could always be a hunchbacked waiter, or a hunchbacked car salesman, or he could go back to school. Hunchback probably means Pell Grant, if he’d just take a couple hours and check it out.

“It seems that another blog has emerged on the Internet,” Skinny Clyde tells me, still typing. “On WordPress, no less, just like The Curse of Future Tom.”

“Impossible,” I tell him with a wave of my hand. “There is no more room on the Internet. We took the last spot, remember? That guy who tap danced and sang songs, sold us those lightning rods and the web address? He pinky promised.”

“No, Master. I don’t remember him.”

“He was right here. That’s where I got the deed to this place. He wore a big top hat made of nachos, and an eye patch?”

“Nonetheless, the new blog has been verified using Facebook Technology. It’s very real.”

Something screeches out across the Everglades, as an alligator eats it perhaps – a chilling omen, if you ask me, you know what I’m saying?

I lean back in my throne and make a steeple with my fingers, thinking all right calm down, let’s get a bird’s eye view on this here situation, before we get all excitied. “Tell me more about this, new blog.”

The dim lighting is perfect for the holographic projector, and when he turns it on, I slam down my drink on my desk. Rotating in front of me is a three dimensional image of my old nemesis, his head shaven, his eyes like leashed-up porcupines, full of coffee and set ablaze.

I leap to my feet, being careful not to drop the dog. The last time I saw this man, he was blogging in an abandoned warehouse, right before it exploded.

Joe Oestreich,” I whisper, not believing it. Yet there he is, risen before me like a ghost from my past.

“You know him, Master?”

But I don’t answer him at first, transfixed by the image above my desk – I should have known this day would come.

After a nice, dramatic pause, I finally reveal, “We used to blog together back at the Blogging Academy. One day there was a blogging accident – ten people died. Joe caught the blame for it, but we both knew that…”

“He’s very talented. He’s published several articles in actual magazines – you know, the kind made of paper, that you get paid for writing in?”

“I get paid?”

“No, Master. You sit around writing for free all the time. For some reason.”

That makes me cock my head a bit. “Indeed? Hmmm. Tell me more about these, magazines.”

More typing and then copies of Esquire show up on one of the seventeen wall screens. Also Sports Illustrated, Barrelhouse, and more – what’s that, a literary review? Why doesn’t this guy just get out his Writing Cycle and start roaring around me in circles, doing wheelies?

“That’s it,” I tell him. “I’ve seen enough.”

Then I turn to the winged monkeys, who were starting to slouch again a little bit and snap to attention. “You two – eliminate him.”

“I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” Skinny Clyde tells me.

“We can’t really fly,” one of the monkeys says. “Just having wings, that wouldn’t do it – it’s a matter of physics. Our wings would have to be like fifty feet wide.”

“You’re having another psychotic episode,” Skinny Clyde explains. “I’m not real and neither is this room. You’re sitting in your garage at a cluttered desk, giggling to an empty room.”

“Damn it!” I bellow, throwing the dog at the winged monkey on the right. “Very well. Nothing fights psychosis like blogging. Engage the Blogotron.”

“Master, you’re just going to sound like an idiot. Seriously. Bristol Palin got engaged today to that same dude who knocked her up and then posed in Playgirl. Maybe, blog about that I’m thinking?”

“Silence!”

“Okeedokee.”

I stare at the rotating face of my old arch enemy.

“Oh, I’ll blog about him,” I whisper to the various manifestations of my most recent psychotic episode. “I’ll blog about him… forever.”

And all the way out in the swamps, the bats and googly-eyed wildcats and weird-looking swamp owls exchange really tired and uncomfortable glances, as my diablolical laughter engulfs the night.

 
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Posted by on July 14, 2010 in Future Tom To Ground Control

 

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Enter: Bobo

Put this in the Strangest And Most Jarring Facebook Messages Category: meet Robert Bobo.

I hadn’t seen him since high school, and we didn’t hang around together that much. I just have a series of memories of winding up standing in the same group of people with him, at a football game or a study hall or a big, crazy keg party in the middle of a soy bean field.

One thing I can remember about him though – always smiling. Never acting like the bad guy from The Karate Kid. A lot of people in high school go through Bad Guy From The Karate Kid phase. Rob was never like that.

His sister is around here somewhere, and I’d say I probably knew her a little better than I knew Rob. We are a couple of guys who, in the pre-Facebook world, would have very likely never set foot in the same room again, and not for any particular reason. Just as a matter of probability. It would have been pretty unlikely that I’d have ever run into his sister again, either.

But at first, that’s pretty much all The Curse Of Future Tom was – a bunch of people from my high school and a bunch of people I know now, mixed together. A lot of people who I probably would have never seen or heard from again, if not for Facebook.

Now I’m getting incoming links to the web site from all over. I followed one all the way back to the Czech Republic. A discussion group, talking in Czech about my Lost rant.

So anyway, when Robert Bobo popped up in my Question Bucket – even if he wasn’t using the Bucket properly, like most people – he said, some pretty immediate Strange and Jarring Things.

The first is, he’s got a terminal illness, and it hurts. He’s got a year or two to live, is what he tells me.

And then he goes on to say that he used to own a company which worked on the computer effects in The Matrix and What Dreams May Come. That he’s taken a leak with Robin Williams.

I really like your blog, he tells me. If I write something, what would you think about posting it?

I don’t know, man. What on earth would you TALK about? I mean, terminal illnesses and ground-breaking films?

You really need to have a solid platform, if you’re going to blog. Like me, a skinny, fat guy who likes to sit around watching television and drink bacon-flavored bloody marys. That’s the kind of gripping perspective people are really out there looking for.

So yes, obviously, Presenter Of One Of The Strangest And Most Jarring Facebook Messages I’ve Ever Received, have at it. Nearly Two Months Ago Tom said that I had to post at least eight hundred words a day. He didn’t say, AND NOBODY ELSE, JUST YOU!

I think that about 90% of the original members of The Curse Of Future Tom will be happy to hear about practically anything that isn’t LOST. I wouldn’t tell Rob that, though. He appears to be itching for a fight, and if he thinks you don’t like something, I am concerned – that’s what he’s going to do.

In my mind, I’m thinking you haven’t read his post yet, so if you haven’t let me just point out, I’m only being flip and casual about the subject because that’s the way he wants it. I know that I enjoy flying off the handle on a semi-regular basis, let off some steam as they say. I don’t know what I’d do if no one ever gave me a reason to do so.

My old friend Robert Bobo wants you to know about his condition because it’s not a secret, and also because there are logistic factors attached to it. He’s far enough along, for instance, that it’s tough to plan anything. Some days are better than other days, and the worst ones, he tells me, are worse than anything the rest of us will have to go through for a long time.

How long does he have? What exact condition is it? What is up with his hostile, invisible monkey? Well, head on over there and ask him.

But I know what it’s like, having something to say and never being able to say it. The big difference is, when I was sitting around unable to say anything, at least nothing anyone would be able to hear, there seemed like there was a future out there in which I might be a writer in one form or another. Having the future out there was a blessing and a curse.

It let me think that there was plenty of time, and it let me reassure myself, some day you’ll get there. And it let me stagnate for so long. I wasn’t dying, wasn’t even approaching the intensity and magnitude of Rob’s experience. But in a lonely and melodramatic way, I sometimes felt like I was.

I know that right away, even when the numbers were in the double digits instead of the thousands, writing The Curse Of Future Tom felt like a daily dose of medicine, prescribed finally for a condition I’d had all along. And I’m not going to hog the pills.

He’s right here, with his first post. You’ll notice pretty quickly, he’d rather you don’t tiptoe around him. Someone go over there and flip over his desk, start screaming obscenities at him – you’ll probably make his day.

 

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Getting The Book Out The Door

The bad news about Future Tom is, I’ve got him so busy knocking out the blog every day, that he barely has time to get the actual book I’m publishing out the door.  I mean, traffic is steadily increasing on the site, including more and more people who I don’t know at all, but the first thing I started doing was getting a book to the publisher’s, and I’m currently very late.

It’s not the kind of publisher where they’re flying a guy out to follow me around bugging me, like when Iron Man was in that movie with Michael Douglass and Spiderman.  They don’t have a lot invested in me, so if I want to sit around and not send them a manuscript, that’s perfectly fine with them.

It’s like that sneaky bastard Future Tom found a loophole.  He said, sure I’ll write something every day, but that’s all I’m going to do.  So now I have to yank his leash a little bit, get the lazy, procrastinating dude who’s not an astronaut off his butt, producing stuff.

So today, I’m going to tell you more about the book and the publishing process, because I need to get Future Tom updated before I call the publishing house and work on that. 

The book is called Half Crazy, and the purpose of it is to get some exposure, raise a little money for future publishing endeavors, and to generally do something decisive about the stagnation that has plagued my writing for ten years.  It’s a collection of short stories and novel excerpts, some of which have appeared here on The Curse of Future Tom.  Other stories will not ever appear online, because if everything in it is online, then why buy the book?

Actually, I like books, so I’d buy yours even if you put it online.  I like paper, and pages.  But I’m supposed to be writing new stuff every day for Future Tom, so the only way I can put in something already finished is if I re-write the hell out of it – which does happen. 

I’ve also reversed the process a few times – wrote something for Future Tom which I really liked, like “Humpty Dumpty And His Girl,” and then decided to put it in the anthology, too.

A warning:  Half Crazy is not for everyone.  I’ve toned down the language and the violence, here on Future Tom.  If you don’t like guns or profanity or casual violence, might want to skip it.  I think when I wrote this stuff, I was in a bit of an angry place.

Half Crazy has its own Facebook page:   http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=113573921994568#!/group.php?gid=102830266424718&ref=ts

And excerpts from it are up on my other WordPress site:

http://thomaschalfant.wordpress.com/2010/04/07/novel-excerpt-half-crazy/

The book gets its name from the first story in it, which is around fifty pages and is intended to be the start of a series about small-time criminals.  It includes another half dozen short stories, and excerpts from two more novels.

The idea will be, I’ll start Facebook pages for both of the novels, and when one of them gets up to, say, 10,000 fans, that’s when I’ll publish that one.  Really, if I get that many fans, then someone will probably want to publish it for me.

It turns out to be unbelievably stressful, deciding that absolutely everything which needs to be done to the book is finished.  Every single time I read through it, I laugh at something clever, and then cringe at something I hate, and it’s like Whack-A-Mole.  I could sit there all day, fixing something that makes me cringe, then finding out later that what I fixed caused a glitch two sentences earlier – I used the same distinctive word, and it sticks out like an accidental rhyme, or I realize, I’m calling that character by a brand new name, for no reason.

Not a pro at this, you might say.

The other difficult part is writing the acknowledgments.  Thanking everyone.  You want to make sure you don’t  miss anyone, but on the other hand, you don’t want to sit there for ten weeks, not publishing a book because you’re worried about someone you can’t think of getting mad you didn’t thank them. 

Pretty soon, I’m just going to have to send this thing to them, say the hell with it, it’s done.

At this point, it’s been almost six week, posting something on Future Tom every single day, and it’s been an experience.  Sometimes, it’s very difficult to think of something, and the feeling of posting something I’m not crazy about turns out to be one of my least favorite sensations in life.  It ruins my day.

But when I put up something I’m proud of, and a couple hundred people come by to read it, I can’t even describe it – it’s like a serious addiction. 

An important factor to Future Tom turning into a book deal, to getting this whole thing to work, is spreading the word, and now that it’s been six weeks, and you all know I’m serious, that I’m really going to update this every day, and that it’s going to be relatively turd-free, I would like to ask everyone who doesn’t find it obnoxious to pick your favorite one so far, and share the link on your Facebook page.  Every time someone does that, a few more people come on board.

You also might have noticed I’ve been beating up the Lost page with my out-there theories about the show.  It is amazing how many people have come over from that page to read it, and usually a couple of them stick around, read some more.  I go over there and post the link a couple of times a day, and always a few dozen people follow it back.

The ShitMy DadSays guy just published a book, by collecting tons of fans for his Facebook posts.  We’re talking two sentences at a time, sentences that the guy didn’t even write.  I love the group, and I love the guy, but I have to believe, publishing actual short stories has got to be an easier sell than publishing Facebook posts, originally put up for free.

When I first started this, only a handful of people were showing up, and that’s when it was really hard.  That’s when I felt like the crazy guy at the park, playing the guitar.  Really, that’s exactly what I am, standing here with a laptop case open instead of a guitar case, and you can’t throw money in it, but you can push the link. 

Ironic, isn’t it, ranting a couple of days ago about commercials, then writing a commercial for my own stuff and sticking it right in front of you?  I’ll bet you’re thinking, this would be a lot less awkward, Tom, if there was an underwear model in it someplace.

Anyway, got to get Half Crazy out the door.  If you haven’t read the excerpts and you’re not too easily offended, just follow the link.  You can all be assured, I’ll be letting you know when Half Crazy is available in print.  I’ll have it within two or three clicks of you the second it’s possible to buy it.

 

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