Dear Future Todd,
Hi, it's me. Well, you. That is to say, us.
I'm not sure when you're going to be reading this. If you listened to yourself (that is to say, me) then you've bookmarked this or copied it off somewhere for periodic review on your rise to the literary cosmos.
I want to paint a picture for you. Just in case you have trouble remembering what it was like all the way back here in 2016, before you became the best-selling author that you most assuredly are.
It's December 4th. Typical Ohio Sunday morning. You're in that 2 bedroom funky apartment you lived in on Vine St. There are dishes in the sink-fallen soldiers in your battle to make the world famous eclair cake that gained you favor and marriage proposals among the ladies (and a few men). I wonder, as I write this, if you followed through on any of them? Story for another time, I suppose.
You have laundry in the washer and the dryer. Still needs to be done, folded, put away (or at least neatly stacked in the laundry basket until you wear it). You are still working at Micro Center as the Lead for their IT Operations team. You like the job and the people. It's a good fit helping to solve problems.
Your apartment could stand with a good solid day of purging and cleaning. And like most people, you have bills that you struggle from time to time to pay.
In short (and please don't hate me for using this), you have a pretty typical life.
Now, that's the bad news. Or at least the whatever news.
Here's the thing that makes all of that fade in to the background. You, my friend, are a writer. Now, i know that you know that as you're reading this. You have a healthy body of work sitting on the shelf behind you in your office. I know as you're reading this that you've seen several of your titles in Airport book stores (I can't wait to read about how that felt--don't forget to write that down). And you've been on the Bestseller list.
Today, my friend. Today is one of the milestone days that contributed to all of that. Before I dive too deeply in to that, I want to you to give pause to how amazing 2016 was for you, as a writer.
Read that last bit again. As A Writer.
Oh, sure, as shitty as 2016 was for celebrity deaths and the deaths of some amazingly talented and wonderful people, 2016 was the year that you got your head out of your ass and declared that you were a writer. You went from telling people that you liked to write to telling people that you were a writer. There is a subtle yet distinct difference that I sincerely hope we have not forgotten.
It was the year you met an amazing group of writers from Northern Ohio. We could write countless posts and thank yous to them individually and collectively to their impact on our career (and if you haven't thanked them all by now, fucker-get on that).
And...most importantly...2016 was the year you finished the first draft of a little piece called The Treachery of Rainbows. From where I am sitting in 2016, I think it's going to be a series. And based on some feedback I have received from some of the readings I've done here and there, it's going to be huge. I'm dreaming big. And you're really going to need to tell me how close I am on that vision.
This Sunday in December is a Sunday you need to remember. If you have forgotten it, then I'm glad I did this.
This Sunday, Todd, is the Sunday that you took two years worth of work and put it all together. It's the day you put everything together.
It's the day you actually assembled your first draft.
Your first real first draft. Of the first real novel you've written.
In case you can't remember how this feels, let me tell you.
We had to wipe the tears from our eyes as we read this.
You looked and saw the page count sitting at 188 and wondered in amazement, who actually snuck on our computer and did the writing. Where was this writer-person hiding?
And the gratitude. The sheer gratitude you feel right now. The list of people that you need to thank, and hug, and try not to cry as you whisper the most heart-felt, "thank you" you felt in a long time.
You may be tempted, Future Todd, to think that you did all of this. That you put in the work. You did the writing. You came up with it. It's all you.
I'm going to remind you of something. It's not.
Michelangelo painted murals on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. And they are truly beautiful works of art. But ask yourself, could he have painted those if the Sistine Chapel was not there?
Maybe. Maybe he would have done some form of those paintings somewhere, in some fashion, but to truly shine, the building had to be there. The foundation had to be in place to provide him the canvas.
So, too, did you need your Sistine Chapel. You painted the picture with your words, but so many people were there for you, providing the foundation for your mental brushstrokes to dance across the page.
Future Todd...this is an amazing day. I know you are living the dream right now, just as I am dreaming the life as I write this to you.
I look forward to the day when we read this with a fond tear in our eye as we remember where we came from and what this moment actually meant to us.
Love you man,
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