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This week is the fifth anniversary of my first weekly column. I realize this has no bearing on my readers, who wouldn’t know my fifth anniversary from my fourth anniversary or my fourth anniversary from the anniversary of the day they made Martin Luther King Day a holiday. But the way I see it, if the fifth anniversary of September 11th was worth reporting, then the fifth anniversary of one of this nation’s other great disasters—my column—is worth reporting, too.
I’m gonna be honest: It sort of blows my mind to think how long I’ve been doing this. Maybe that’s because it started feeling like five years as far back as three or four years ago. I didn’t start writing columns because I always dreamed of being a column writer. What I wanted to be was a novelist. I just didn’t have any books to sell on my website.
Five years later, what started as a way to “get myself out there” turned into the steak and potatoes of my entire writing career. It turns out I had some things to say. Some of those things were less sensible than others. But that’s okay. This is America. You can shout nonsense from the mountaintops if you want to.
Over the last five years, I’ve had good times and bad times. Some of the best things I’ve written were roundly despised by most of my readers. Some of the worst things I’ve written managed to publish to widespread acclaim.
I’ve had more phases than I can remember. My conservative phase. My anti-state phase. Even my I-don’t-want-to-do-this-anymore phase. I’m currently in my just-disagree-with-what-everyone-else-is-thinking phase. I’d say, “Who knows where the future will take me?” But I don’t think that’s accurate. That wisdom is too conventional. I’d like to think human beings can tell the future after all. At the risk of sounding entirely too corny, I’d like to think we can write our own destinies.
This is the part of the column where I should probably thank my readers for making this all possible. I’m not going to do that because I don’t think that it’s true. I’m the only one who writes these columns, which means I’m the only one who makes them possible. What I will thank my readers for, however, is reading, responding, and constantly renewing my will and inspiration. My readers are freaking incredible people. When there were times when writing seemed difficult, hearing from these people reminded me why I write.
I’m still holding true to that original dream of writing novels. In fact, I’ll put it out there: The time is getting close now. You can expect big things.
But if there’s one thing I’ve learned the last five years, it’s true what they say when they say to enjoy the journey. In the words of those Bud Light commercials: Here’s to you, Mr. or Mrs. JDM Column Reader. And here’s to the next five, ten, or however many years.