I know I've been away for some time. But rest assured, I have been working hard at all sorts of good things.
One of the things I've been doing while away, is, like all of us, getting older. This past Sunday, with a quiet pop, I turned 40. And today, inspired by Sugar’s “Tiny, Beautiful Things” column I am writing what I would say to myself in my twenties.
First. You are fat. But nobody cares but you. Sometimes, it’s like what they say about smoking in Dead Again, “In this life there are people who are smokers and people who are non-smokers. You just have to find out who you are and be that”. You are a smoker. And you are fat. This does not mean that you are not beautiful or desirable or worthy of love. However, it might be a good idea to lay off the processed foods, and go in for good cheese and egg yolks instead.
That guy you met at Target? The one without a fancy education, without artistic ambitions or hipster tendencies? That one. That’s the one. This is the man who will show you what love really looks like when the lights come on.
Work a little harder. Try a little more. Stop feeling so superior to your menial jobs at the temp agency, the health food store. It is not some tragic act in your Artist’s Bildungsroman. It just *is*. You are not too good for this. No one is.
You will not go all the way crazy and not be able to get back. Know that when you are lost in that maze, the story is your red thread. Remember that your Crazy is King Shahryar. You are Scheherazade. Just keep the stories coming, and you’ll stay alive.
I know you have a fancy education. I know you have an MFA. I know that every adult in your life since memory began has given you the signal that you are somehow special, meant for something, talented, gifted. Come closer now, because this is important. THIS DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU GET ANYTHING. You will not get anything because you are special and talented. The desert is littered with the bleached bones of special and talented writers with fancy educations. Please. Please. I beg you. Learn to work. Learn to really, really work. Because by the time you get here, you will be sick with all the time you wasted being sick.
I know you’re working on an experimental novel, but I can tell you that it goes nowhere because you gave it nowhere to go. Remember why you got into this in the first place. Remember your library books. Remember Nancy Drew and Poe and Horror Comics. Because I can tell you, I know what you’re writing now. And you will be very surprised.
But then, I know that you won’t hear any of this. Even if I showed up in the Tardis with the Doctor himself and told you. You just have to find your own way here. And you will. And it was all worth it.