AMONG THE LIVING

So, despite what you may have read online, I’m still alive.

One of the good parts about being at death’s door for a month and change was the cutting off of communication. For the most part, I avoided Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. I avoided the forum. I avoided email. I avoided the phone (in part because my friends and family knew I was physically incapable of talking for long, so they refrained from calling). I still recorded a podcast every week (and spent much of the next subsequent day coughing up blood and feeling like someone had scraped a razor along the inside of my throat). But the podcast was pretty much my only communication with the outside world at large.

None of this could have happened at a worse time, of course. After all, I had a brand-new full-length novel, THE COMPLEX, to promote. I had a 2016 FAREWELL (BUT NOT REALLY) TOUR to finish setting up. I had manuscripts and Kickstarter stuff to mail to people. I had THE NAUGHTY LIST business to attend to. I had emails to answer and things with deadlines to write. Instead, I spent most of my time on four different antibiotics and being told things like, “It’s strange. You have all the symptoms and signs of H1N1, and yet we can’t find the virus in your system. Also, you shouldn’t be standing up.”

I felt guilty about all of this until the third week, when my eight-year-old commented that it was nice not to have Daddy’s phone dinging all the time (which it does every time I get a new email).

And that — that moment right there — is when I learned to quit feeling guilty and quit giving a shit what people say or think. I’ll promote that new novel and set up that signing tour and mail everything and answer emails and phone calls and respond on social media. Eventually. But it won’t all get done today, and I refuse to feel guilty about that anymore. And the moment I quit feeling guilty, I actually managed to start getting a handle on all of it.

I made some progress over the last week. Here is a picture of my email inbox.

That is 1,032 UNREAD emails. It’s important to stress the unread part. And when I started, that figure was at 2,185. But there are still a lot to get to, and I’m sorry, but I’m just not going to feel guilty about it anymore.

Entertainers — authors, musicians, actors, comedians, etc. — they get to a certain point in their career where they just stop responding to everyone. And then people turn on them and say how they changed, and how they used to take time to respond to each and every person, and now they don’t, and because of that they are an asshole. Well, no, they’re not an asshole. They just don’t have the fucking time. It becomes physically impossible to do, and unless you decide to stop feeling guilty about it, the mental and emotional distress it causes will subsequently stop you from responding to anything, even the stuff you HAVE to respond to. Worse yet, it can cripple your creative process, as well. You get to feeling that you owe everybody everything, and unable to cope with that, you give nothing to nobody. And the folks you really do owe something to suffer as a result.

Anyway… I’m alive. Not dead yet. Still going blind in that left eye, but that’s another medical problem for another day. Today I’m not coughing up blood or baking with fever or showing any of the signs or symptoms of H1N1, regardless of whether they can find the fucking virus or not. I might be dead tomorrow. After all, my friends are dropping like flies. But not today. If I owe you a package or an email or a phone call or a manuscript, I’ll do my best to get it to you. I’m making progress. But one thing the last two years have taught me, is that we all reach the Finish Line sooner or later, regardless of whether we run or walk. And the faster I run the more I seem to stay in place, so now I’m trying a different approach. It won’t stop the requests coming in, but it will allow me to focus on the ones that need to get done today, and the ones that need to be gotten to tomorrow, and the ones that can wait until I get there.

Of course, the beautiful irony of this whole thing is that I’m typing this as a Blog entry, and nobody reads Blogs anymore, so Facebook and Twitter will still be full of requests from people who didn’t read this.

When the apocalypse comes, it won’t be zombies or a virus or Nibiru or the Antichrist or a nuclear war. It will be social media. And it will be us.

***

THE COMPLEX is available in paperback and eBook. A lot of critics and fans are saying it’s the best thing I’ve written in years. Click here to buy a copy and see if you agree.

The 2016 FAREWELL (BUT NOT REALLY) TOUR is shaping up to be a beast. This will absolutely be the last time I do an extended, nationwide promotional tour like this. Click here to see where and when. Plenty of more states and dates to be added yet. Oh, and there’s even going to be tour t-shirts!

Exciting audiobook news coming, but I think we’ll save that for later in the week…

11 thoughts on “AMONG THE LIVING

  1. Keep fighting the good fight, dude. Went through the same unnamed virus crap. Fever, chills, body aches, n/v, weakness, laryngitis…and no one could tell me what the hell it was. Been re-reading Dead Sea and Entombed in my sick time. Love that shit! Have a good one and try not to sprint to that finish, it’ll still be there when you get there.

  2. It’s good you had some you time B-man. Nothing is as important as family. If you decided to pack it up and stop all this, I would understand. There would be some questions of course as to what happens to so and so, etc. But I would get over it. Your only human as am i. At a point in life, things start to lose their meaning. I’m not saying you don’t like writting, because I know you do. The Beatles liked making g music, but they stopped touring. It got to be too much work and nonsense. Making everyone happy is a friggin joke and doesn’t happen. You take your time getting better. I very much enjoy your small visits in my life and they make life easier for me. In no way shape or form should you risk your life doing it though. I appreciate everything I’ve ever read from you and will continue to do so until you have given it all what you think you should give it. You changed my life and I can never thank you enough kind sir.

  3. Never occurred to me to check on FB or Twitter-must be age catching up to me.(I want to insert laugh here but I hate the use of LOL) Love reading your blog though.

  4. Glad to see you’re still alive. I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but you really need to take care of yourself first. Everything else can wait, including us rabid fans. I totally agree with your commentary on social media too. I’ve been telling my friends for years: The internet made the world smaller; social media made it shallower.

    Focus on health and those closest to you, for they’re all you truly have in this life. Write when you damn well feel like it.

  5. The most important things are your health and your family and friends. We just just want you to take care of those everything else can wait. Take care sir!

  6. I still read the blog entries Brian! Can’t be bothered with Twitter and all that other social media b*llocks!
    Glad you are among the living again. The Complex was fantastic!

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