I come from the future. Your future.
Today was your first day of at the Conservatory (or the more apt, “The Con”). I’m guessing that it’s around 10PM, and you’ve already decided that the life of an orchestra monkey isn’t for you. By 3PM, the reason you went to the school announced they were retiring at the end of the year. By 7:30PM, you have been told in front of an entire orchestra that you won’t amount to shit by the conductor.
And to be honest, he was probably right.
Though you’ll take it as an offense, as an attack against your grandiosity behind a marimba (hey, you did play some fucking Sousa march solo or something), you did suck. You strove to become part of a whole, a cog in a wheel. You let yourself become seduced by someone else’s vision, by someone else’s dream.
You’ll be spurred by that fateful day to become your own person. You’ll seek out mentors and seek out guidance. Friends. Lovers. You’ll move to Boston (where you learn that speech therapy in grade school to say your “Rs” was a fucking waste of time) to seek the ultimate freedom in musical creativity – a composition degree at a prestigious school (if you can write the check). You’ll learn the hard way that the only true freedom is the freedom to be yourself.
But with that, you’ll experience heartache like you’ve never experienced and have a tiny heart attack at the ripe age of 22. On the flip side, you’ll find your favorite scotch (Macallan 18), brand of cigarette (Nat Shermans, sigh), and finally stand up and do what needs to be done. You’ll walk away. You’ll stop trying to be a cog. You won’t pick up a pair of drumsticks for six years. You will leave school – and, in spite of continuing admissions of regret from your family that will continue to the writing of this letter, you will never regret this decision. And when you do, you will remember what I’m writing now.
You will enter “the workforce,” selling booze to stuffed-shirt corporate types and urban hipster douchebags with equal charm and aplomb (you will wear your contempt on your sleeve, and somehow, they will like you for it, isn’t it ironic, don’t you think). You will let yourself lose yourself into a relationship that will suck your energy, finances, willpower, and emotions. You will be robbed, be all over the news in Boston, then be accused of being part of the robbery because the pot-smoking owners (basement file cabinet, second drawer) don’t like you. You will become an intern at a weird non-profit and learn who killed JFK. You will accept a position as Executive Director of this non-profit (this will be the biggest mistake you make). You will watch it rise to new heights and crumble just as your life will. You will get a cat. You will buy a house and lose it (though that will drag on for many agonizing months, perhaps years). Your cat will die at four. You will go nearly bankrupt trying to save it, only to have it die in your arms on the way to the emergency vet, where you will still have to pay them fifty dollars to bury it. You will get a dog. You will get another dog. You will write your first book. You will make more mistakes, which while fun on the surface, probably aren’t the best idea (that said, go for it. It’ll give you plenty of material). Eventually, you will have to drive that first dog to the middle of Pennsylvania and say a tearful goodbye in an abandoned outlet mall parking lot as the ex-girlfriend (of the relationship in which you lost yourself) picks up the dog and puts her in the pickup truck, Jersey-bound. You will shed tears and cigarette butts.
The very night you do that, you will go to a wine bar. A wine bar that was the first comic book store you ever frequented. The place where you fell in love with the medium. There, you will write more of the book. A woman will call you. You had just met the week before. You will ask her to come down for a glass of wine. She will agree. You will hold hands. You will realize all of the bullshit you went through was worth it because finally, it all makes sense. You will realize that you did everything the way it needed to be done. It will be worth it.
Yours, in scrivenings,
P.S. You’ll rake in the dough from that BW Card. Use it wisely, and be sure to pick up Bowie’s new album when it comes out. Oh, and hang on to the poodle.