Hi! Sorry to keep you waiting.
I keep trying and failing to map out an adequate preamble to any of this, so here goes. If you wrote to me after 665 ended and never heard back, this is a letter to you.
The things I want to tell you are: thank you, and I’m sorry. I’ll start with the sorry.
I’m sorry I never wrote back. Sometimes it was a missive asking me to start making things again, sometimes just a bit of a check-in, sometimes just saying you’re out there and you had occasion to think about me and wondered what I was up to these days. In any event, I can tell you that I read every one. If you didn’t get a bounceback message, I read it, and it made my day. The tangle of reasons why I didn’t write back, even just briefly to say thanks, was a whole mountainous mess of my own horseshit problems and I think explication of them would sound too much like an attempt to excuse it, and I don’t want to do that. What I’ll say is that avoidant behavior loops and shame spirals and procrastination bouts that go on for years at a stretch are killer, and they can be a sign there’s something else going on that maybe needs attention. Little tip from your old pal JSP. Anyway, what matters here is: You took the time out of your day to drop me a line and said something nice – that’s the thing, everyone who said anything at all said something nice – you said something that meant a lot to me, and probably made me cry a little, and you deserved more than silence in return.
That said: Thank you. I’m serious about crying. I was dealing with a lot, including a big sloppy helping of despair. Maybe you can relate: despair is sometimes situational and specific, and sometimes it’s this big thorny existential thing that orbits a few core areas of you but largely it’s nameless and formless and it’s just sort of there. It can be both, even, and then they do a whole tag team thing and, okay you get it. It’s not like I didn’t notice that every so often I’d get just enough oomph to start making declarations that I was going to start making things again soon and then I’d turn around and it was a year later and I had maybe a couple beginnings of something sitting in a sketchbook I promised myself I’d get back to one of these days. Faith in myself was something I rebuilt extremely gradually and in a lot of quiet and not super visible ways. It was a little spark, a tiny cinder, and I am not kidding when I say that every time I noticed another email coming in with a subject like “Is this JSP?” or “sixsixfive” or what have you, I read it, and I felt really bad about not replying, but it stayed with me that you were out there, that you remembered me, and that you liked the work I did. On more than one occasion I got overcome and just broke down crying with gratitude, despite everything. Every time I heard from you, that little cinder either glowed a little more strongly, or it stopped the fading it was in the middle of. So if you wrote and wondered if your message reached me: It did, in so many ways. I’ve carried your correspondence with me in my heart and head and I cannot thank you enough.
A bunch of other stuff happened too, in the intervening years. There’s some catching up that’ll show up in subsequent entries on this site, and I’m trying to lay it out in a way that’s workable and not boring. But when I sat down to start writing, I knew where I needed to start, and it’s with you, and the reply I didn’t send until now. I’m sorry, and from the bottom of my heart: thank you. And thank you for liking the stuff I made, and caring enough to say so. Twenty (!) years after I started dorking around with my little orange website, there are some novelties which have never worn off. To this day it just absolutely floors me to think I could type some words or upload some scribbles into my computer and it could reach someone out there and connect with them – with you – in whatever way. I sincerely think that’s miraculous and I never feel any less of a sense of wonder about it than I did the first time it happened.
Thank you for your patience and thank you for reading and, above all, thank you for being you. I’ll write more soon.