A few weeks ago, I received an email from someone I’d never heard of, asking specific questions about me. Normally, this would be in the form of a survey or a message from a deposed Nigerian, but this time around, it was from a reader I didn’t know I had.
“I know you’ve put out a couple of books this year and are working on a couple of film projects,” my reader asked (and asked me to withhold his name should I choose to discuss this—more on that later), “but I honestly miss your blog. I used to look forward to it, even though, by your own admission, it was ‘infrequntly updated’ [sic—but I believe an honest typo]. Do you have plans to return to it because I really did enjoy reading it.”
To which I responded, predictably, “So you’re the one.”
Glancing over the entries this past year, I was astonished at how little I had written for Random Acts. As my reader pointed out, I was focusing on other things, including a collection of articles, including many of these very blog entries, called The Incomplete Works of Mike Watt Vol. 1 (with an introduction by legendary bassist Mike Watt—now available for order through Amazon or mike-watt.net…ahem…), so I could easily make the excuse that I was avoiding blogging until the collection was out in order to avoid feeling compelled to jam more recent entries into the lovingly-sloppy mix. But the truth is, like so many of us, 2009 kicked my ass.
I won’t go into a blow-by-blow recount of the tragedy stack—I’m in the mood for neither sympathy or a pissing contest as I know for a fact everyone had their own garbage shower this year—but in a nutshell, emotionally, physically, financially and spiritually, 2009 was the biggest metaphysical crotch-kick I’ve ever gone through. Both Amy and I and many, many family members and friends experienced soul-crushing hardships and set backs through this, the cruelest of years in recent memory. None of us, praise be to whomever, wound up dead or ill or homeless, but that’s because I think 2009 wasn’t trying to kill us, just leave us metaphorically maimed and close to death. All in all, 2009 was a loyal adherent to Nietzschean philosophy, though dammit, I don’t feel much stronger after this year-long staring contest with the abyss. I certainly don’t feel like an Uber-anything, that’s for sure.
But, as my father succinctly put it at Thanksgiving, he and my mother having gone through the wringer themselves this year, while it’s no comfort to say ‘it could have been a lot worse’, we all came out the other side alive and intact.
We may have lost friends, but there are many others who stayed. Life got hard, but we still had blessings to count. The Big White ‘X’ stalked us throughout the year, but it didn’t always find us. The falling piano didn’t always crush us.
Which isn’t to say that I didn’t find myself so desperate for better karma that I turned to witchcraft and shamanistic advice. I sent missives out to multiple deities during numerous moon phases just to make sure I covered all bases. If you think it’s silly to ask both Jesus and Jupiter for help, then you had a better year than I.
So while I sit here, as usual, trying to keep my head down and just survive the remaining two or so weeks left in 2009, I understand, too, that a “better” year has as much to do with attitude as it does luck or karma or curses. I know all too well that 2010 won’t be better if I don’t believe it will. My mindset is directly linked to my destiny. If I allow the events of 2009 to keep me flattened, then I’ll simply slip under 2010’s door like an unwanted Chinese Restaurant menu, rather than stride boldly—or, better yet, kick it in—and announce, “Hey, 2010, you fucker! I’m here!” Though, on second thought, maybe it would be best to knock politely, preferably with a year-warming gift, and greet it cordially, rather than call it out as soon as the Times Square ball drops.
Still and all, rather than wait and see how 2010 is going to treat us, I’m already planning to make the best of things. 2010 marks the 13th Anniversary of Happy Cloud Pictures and we already have several things in the works to celebrate that including the 10th Anniversary Special Edition DVD of The Resurrection Game, complete with never-before-seen behind-the-scenes footage and testimonials from all sorts of lovely people who feel that it’s well worth your time. Res Game will have a number of neat tie-ins as well, including updated editions of The Dead Life comic book and a long-awaited updated novelization which will also include the sequel story, After Strange Flesh.
This is not to mention official releases of Demon Divas and other super-cool things. New merchandise to part you from your money, that sort of thing. So whether or not 2010 co-operates or not, you’ll see more than enough of us in the future.
In closing this first-in-a-long-time blog, we’d like to thank everyone who has stood by us this past horrific year and especially those of you who supported us and our work these past 13 years.
Which brings me back to my unknown reader. When I told him how much his message meant to me, and asked if I could publish it in whole or in part, he agreed but, again, asked that his name be kept private. And I understand his reasoning behind it, but I still have a cynical grin on my face as I think about it. He was so passionate and encouraging, but doesn’t want anyone to know who he is.
I like to think that he’s less concerned with privacy and more worried anyone finds out he’s a fan of mine. I like a good sense of shame in a devoted reader. It creates the impression that I’m somehow a guilty and forbidden pleasure, like masturbating in a staff meeting. You shouldn’t do it, but dammit, it feels too good not to!