Daniel I. Russell is the author of Entertaining Demons, Samhane, Retard, Come Into Darkness, Critique, The Collector Book 1: Mana Leak, Mother's Boys and the huge collection Tricks, Mischief and Mayhem. Daniel is a HWA active member and represented by the Tobias Literary Agency, NYC. Daniel has also been the vice-president of the Australian Horror Writers' Association, special guest editor of Midnight Echo, associate and technical editor for Necrotic Tissue, and Shadow Awards judge.
Guest post: Paula Stiles
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Wednesday, November 14, 2012Happy 16th Birthday, Dan!
Happy 16th Birthday! This is Dan in 2012. I’m trying to think what I did to celebrate on my 16th, but as I’m drawing a blank, it couldn’t have been anything interesting or sexy.
So how’ve you been? I was thinking what would be a great present to send you, but as it costs a fortune to send a parcel oversees, I can predict that I can’t afford to send something both oversees and back in time. So, you know, I’m emailing. It’s free (for now). I hope you can access this on the one computer at your high school that has the internet.
Yeah, the internet is kind of a big thing nowadays, but I’m sure you’ve already considered the benefit of it in regards to downloading guitar tabs, band pictures and of course, porn. Just a heads up on that last one: the internet does speed up after a few years. Fear not!
You see, already I’m telling you too much about the future, which might upset the space-time continuum. That might sound like a good thing, but the way I see it out here in the future, is that if time runs its natural course, I’ll make it to at least 32 years, which would an incredible achievement. I always thought I’d die early in some cripplingly embarrassing way.
Anyway, I will try and keep it general.
I can remember sixteen being a very awkward age, being not quite here nor there. The same with seventeen, but I think you can get away with more at that age (like the Tudor pub WILL serve you). Some of the things I recall I wanted back then…it’s weird, looking back, because in hindsight it was pretty good.
For example, body. You wanted contact lenses to get rid of your geeky glasses, right? Skip to 2012, and you don’t bother with contacts anymore and prefer the glasses…because seriously, who gives a fuck if you wear glasses? If someone treats you differently because you wear glasses, then…I don’t know. Glass them.
You know when you had your braces off and the arse-cunt dentist left an annoying piece of cement on one of your teeth? Sixteen years later and it’s still there. But at least you still have all your teeth so keep doing what you’re doing.
Body size. Ah, at sixteen you still have the majority of hard work gym hours ahead because you think that’s a belly. Ha! You don’t know what a belly is! I’m currently doing an hour at the gym every day to try and get back the figure you have right now that you don’t want! So think on.
And running the risk of that whole space-time continuum again, I feel the need to point out that you have been healthy up until now. So any pain you feel in the next sixteen years isn’t cancer or a rupture or appendicitis or anything. So don’t stress about it.
What to talk about next. Oh yes, music! Most of the bands you like (hell, no, let’s just come out and say it: obsess over) will ultimately either break up, sell out or release crappier and crappier albums, mainly due to them selling out, which failure will cause them to break up. Are they replaced with new, better bands? No. You have done the thing that you swore you never would. You have become one of those ‘music was better in my day’ people.
That make you feel old?
It makes me feel old.
Guess when (for me) was the best period for music? 1995-96. Where you are now. So go out and see more bands before they’re gone. You’ll have more memories to enjoy when something called Gangnam Style comes along.
Never stop gaming. You might at some point think it’s immature and stop…but don’t. You’ll be lying to yourself.
You know how many times I’ve thought about going back in time and influencing the past? And it hasn’t been to make myself rich, or to benefit mankind or anything. It’s always been to advise my past self to avoid certain people: those people who made you miserable. The bullies, the back stabbing friends, the bad girlfriends (that’s right, they do come along!). But you need those people, so endure it. Chris calls it character building, and I recall he used to say that back in your day. He must have the power of foresight.
Oh and as I know that no negative effect can come from this: always do what Chris suggests. I know he recommends that, which makes it all a bit more suspicious, but things are always more fun this way. Trust me. I’m you. In the future.
What other nuggets of wisdom can I offer you? Oh yeah, people die. People do die, and usually not the ones you want or have money on. So enjoy people. Spend more time with them. Even the ones you don’t overly like will create regrets when they’re gone. Woulda coulda shoulda, old buddy.
Don’t play the lottery. It’s like a tax for morons.
You’re better at handling your drink if you stop at a few and feel fine instead of drinking more and becoming a mess.
Don’t grow your hair long. You manage it twice (and I don’t mean that awful Britpop fringe you’re sporting right now. That’s right. I remember) and just…well, just don’t.
Like the music and people, remember that nothing is sacred and that things you think will be around for years might not be. Enjoy what you have. Things get destroyed, or closed down, or bulldozed. You really don’t know what you have until it’s gone.
Jesus, I hate it when sayings like that are true. Same is time is the best healer, which is true…unless you’re suffering from the symptoms of old age. In which case, time is the best at making things worse.
Enjoy your day, the experiences to come and especially the music! I have to sit around and wait for my email from Dan age 48. Screw his time-continuum, I want some horse winners or the name of a company to invest in.
So Happy Birthday, Dan. Take in what I said, but don’t try and read into it too much. If you do, and you change my past, there’s a chance I could drop dead, and no one wants