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Entry date: 10-3-2022 - 9 Months Down - Letters to My Friends

Dear Friends,

I am just realizing we are starting the final lap of 2022. 90 days, including today, to go for the year. It’s been a wild ride so far. 276,000 words, give or take, so far. Probably closer to 285K or so with all the bonus words I’ve added here and there.

I was realizing the other day that I could have added another 25K or so in just doing a better job of describing people and places. Then I realized why first drafts are so important. They allow you to go back and make a story that much better. I have a lot of work to do to make this all even better and I’m grateful to those of you who have helped or offered to help along the way.

Over the next 90 days, I plan on writing more fiction and going deeper into how I became me. This process has been cathartic and agonizing and powerful. It’s been a lot of fun, too, to revisit times in my life that seem so far away now. In doing so, it makes me look forward to the days to come even more because I am far from finished with this adventure.

Sadly, there have been many days as of late where I’ve been tempted to just say “Fuck it” and give it all up. Just work and watch TV and gain weight and rest on whatever laurels I feel I might have. Ride off into the sunset, if you will, and turn off the pressure to create and be part of the world that feels like it is really for the young.

It seems, at times, like it is now the responsibility of the kids to take over and be the ones doing cool things. Why should I be taking cool writing gigs from someone younger and more excited about being at a show or meeting an artist and talking with them about their lives. I ask myself this question constantly.

Then I remind myself of how lucky I am to be able to do what I do and to have done the things I have done. I think about the fact that while I appreciate the fuck out of a beautiful sunset, it is not time to go riding off into one. It’s still punk rock time, just in a different way than before.

Lately I have been using some down time to relax a bit and decompress. It's been nice having these opportunities during the week. Today will be no different than that, I’m sure. I’ll do a little writing in between work and start to think about getting the house in order for Rhondi’s return. I’m pretty darn happy that in just less than three weeks from today, we’ll be attending Ryan and Bree’s wedding and seeing the start of something new together.

I’ve been thinking about this day a lot. On one hand, I am very happy for the kids and know they are taking a good step together. Ryan has not always had the happiest life, but I do feel that he is happy now and that’s the most important thing. He saw a lot of negative behaviors growing up, a lot of which, regrettably, I could have done things to change, and I’m confident he is smart enough and caring enough to make sure those cycles have ended with the generations before him.

I look forward to being a grandfather again, too. That’s a selfish thing, but it’s real. I can’t wait for them to have a baby. Hopefully a few of them. I want to have hope for the future and know there are some tough but loving little people out there who are going to take over and make sure the world survives. Grandpa Tom is going to be over here teaching them to think for themselves and look at the world in a way that allows them to believe in themselves and sniff out bullshit a mile away.

I could certainly have had an easier life if I was better at sniffing out bullshit when I was younger. More accurately, maybe it wasn’t the sniffing part but the acting on the feeling that bullshit was happening, that I could have been better at along the way. I certainly hope there is no bullshit at the wedding, but I’m not assuming there won’t be, especially once the alcohol starts flowing.

I’ve been off the sauce now for a bit. It’s been a wonderful break. It’s at the point where it doesn’t even sound good, but I do have a trip coming up and there is some delicious beer waiting for Mark and I when we get to Maine. It’s going to sound pretty darn good then, I’m sure. Once we leave, though, I may just leave that behind me for a while. I don’t know. Only The Shadow knows for sure.

I do know that I will not be part of the flowing alcohol at Ryan’s wedding. Beyond toasting, I have no desire to not have my full wits about me. I am looking forward to meeting my new in-laws in a place where I can deflect any torpedoes and landmines. Not that I don’t trust the situation, or the people involved. I’ll just leave that right there.

I honestly don’t think anyone would set out to make trouble at Ryan’s wedding, but you just never know. There is a volatility on certain sides of my family that has made for interesting gatherings over the years. I fear that I may be the one who tells a few people to get fucked if pushed and that’s why being sober is a good idea. There are several pots simmering that just may come to boil if pushed enough.

That’s a heavy thought. I’ve made a vow to myself, though, that I will not be the one to break the peace on 10/22. I’ve even been working on a wonderful toast to the bride and groom that is guaranteed to bring a tear to the eye.

See you tomorrow.

I don't know why but I thought this was funny.

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