Early each month, I take time to review my journal entries. I sit down and read the new month’s entries from 6 years ago, 3 years ago, and 1 year ago. When I started journaling, I never imagined I would have enough entries to do that.

It has felt like I am reading monthly installments from three completely different novels which arrive just often enough that I can remember what was happening. Every month, each of these three people’s stories gets advanced. I’ve been doing this for over a year. I’m not sure what is going to happen [to my brain] when, in my reading of the 3-years-ago novel, I get to the part where the 1-year-ago novel is today. But, since it will have been a while since I read that part, I suspect it will feel like a fresh installment. For that matter, if reading the 1-year-ago novel today already melts my brain, what will happen [again, to my brain] when the 6-years-ago novel gets to where the 3-years-ago novel is?

So, the first thing I’ve noticed is that these novels are wild. I feel as if I’m getting installments from some insane author who doesn’t take his job very seriously. Sometimes I get big entries for every day of the month droning on and on with all the gory details of the character’s life; it’s like work from some drunk author who needs to learn to edit sober. Sometimes I get these notebook-bulging multimedia scrapbook things. Sometimes the author just phones-it-in with a terse, “there’s not much to say,” and sends one journal entry that reads, “didn’t write much,” and I wonder why I’m paying him to write the novels. Sometimes—and this is the worst—the action stops mid-scene at the end of the installment.

The next thing I’ve noticed is that the relationships between these three characters is wacked. I am, after all, just reading the same huge novel with three bookmarks at different places in time. Even though it is literally the same character, their relationships seem tenuous at best. The 6-years-ago character is hopeless: What are you doing, and are you actually blind?! Meanwhile the 1-year-ago character strikes me as simply naive: Do you seriously think 2018 is going to go well now that you’ve “had a chance to look back” on 2017; how quaint, and you are clearly, completely unrelated to this 6-years-ago character. And don’t get me started about the 3-years-ago clown: You seem to have read the 6-years-ago novel by skipping over the lessons and reading only the racy bits.

But, I keep paying the author and he keeps sending me installments for the three novels. Every month, as I sit down to read, I think that maybe—as in, “maybe drawing for an inside straight will work”—the today-me can manage to extract something useful.

I—the today-me writing this—note that in this process there’s nothing special about a January. I read the new installment for all three novels every month. Every month I think: If 6-years-ago me is hopeless, and 3-years-ago me is a clown only reading the racy bits, and 1-year-ago me is simply naive— …that’s TERRIFIC!! Now that I know, I can do a better job of choosing my actions. But wait, how long have I been reading these novels? It’s been more than a year. Uh-oh, that means 1-year-ago me has already tried to change. Uh-oh, what does it mean if the 3-years-ago-me doesn’t change in two more years? Actually, clearly he won’t change, because I’m reading the 1-year-ago novel right now, and he hasn’t solved it! Ok wait hold on— …should I write, the 3-years-ago me “doesn’t” change, or “didn’t” change— …err— …wait— Will the 3-years-ago me have [or is it “have had”?!] this exact same thought, about 24 months ago— …no, 24 months from now, when he reads that part in the other novel— …now I’m actually confused.

Screw it. I’m having a drink and phoning-it-in.

There’s not much to say; Didn’t write much.

But just to mess with all three future-me-s reading the novels, this author is plagiarizing this post and copying it directly into the journal entry for today.

Happy new year!