Dear Future Me,
I know you are probably too busy fighting zombies or having babies or writing screenplays, but I sincerely hope you haven’t forgotten your zealous devotion to books. Listen, just stop everything right now and go read a book. No, seriously. Go, do it. I’ll wait here until you come back.
Did you read a book? Of course not. Damnit, Future Me, I know my ways. We’ve never liked being told what to do. Remember when we were like eight and reading those crappy self-help books that Momasaurus left lying around? And there would always be instructions like “Take a pen and a piece of paper…” or “find three different-coloured highlighters and a dozen index cards…”, but did we listen? NO. Too jaded and indifferent even then. I’m sure nothing’s changed.
But listen, books are pretty much the greatest thing ever. Remember Palahniuk? What’s he up to these days? Did you ever read Fight Club? I bet you were disappointed. I told you not to bother, but do you ever listen to me? Anyway, I suspect Chuck drank himself to death in a cheap motel room in Middle America, probably during a tornado. I can’t imagine him getting married and raising little freckle-faced spawn with that kind of angry, dystopian fiction.
Vonnegut has been dead for years. You’ve probably read and re-read everything he’s ever written, even the bad stuff. Sirens of Titan is slow, but once you get into it it’ll give you shivers. Welcome to the Monkey House is the only reason you’ve ever read short stories. The man was a genius, and he managed to completely hate the world and love it to pieces at the same time, which might be why we like him so much. This world is a lot like a beloved child who keeps making mistakes: you still care about them, and it hurts so much more because of it.
Why are all the best authors dead? Douglas Adams. Kurt Vonnegut. Charles Bukowski. John Wyndham. I’m sure you could add a dozen more to the list. I suppose dead authors do have one great advantage: they have stopped writing, so you can consume their work in it’s entirely over a weekend.
Books make you think, Future Me, and god knows that between the Coke years and all that time we blew with those “experimental” poets out in BC, we need to do some thinking. You’re probably too busy being courted by Spanish counts and stalked by crazed fans but trust me, books are good for you. They’re soul food.
Anyway, I know you’re probably going to slink sensuously out of bed around eleven this morning, but some of us still work for a living. I have to go be what amounts to a secretary (only with more bum-swabs and blood samples) for the next six to eight hours, but you should know I’ll spend that whole time thinking about wonderful books and judging you for your hedonistic lifestyle.
Hoping that you’ll put down the martini and pick up some Warren Ellis,