Hey everyone. @adamhurly here. It’s time to wrap up this navel gazing. This series is starting to fold into itself, and it’s now too overlapped with the window of time in which I’ve been writing the story. I got the final idea for this second series within a few days of things ending with Strings; originally it was supposed to be a bunch of talking heads, discussing all sorts of topics: entrepreneurialism, health care, dating, sex, religion, work, family, and the sorts. Then I saw this interesting book-ended narrative that involved the love triangles and the weird gypsy doll. It felt too rich to not pursue, but it wasn’t dense enough to do without commentary from friends; I think the marriage of the two was a good decision, keeping things somewhat familiar from the first series. (Back me up here?) As with any endeavor, I’m happy to have written it, but the process of actually writing it was a pain in my side. For example, not only did I endure two months of bed bugs, but then I relived the nightmare when I wrote about it a few months later, then edited and published it a few months after that; suddenly I’ve been “dealing” with it for almost a year. Ditto for the relationships and family stuff and now work. This has been as good a self-exam as I’ve had, but taxing and somewhat unnecessary, all for the sake of what I thought was a decent narrative, a singular writing sample. So let’s move on!
Don’t get me wrong; I’m glad I wrote all this, just as I’m glad I endured all those annoying, pesky things that have made me slightly less affected by other annoying, pesky things. I admire the people I featured here (and many more) for the gradual steps they’re taking in their lives, and I consider this project—the bigger picture, including series 1 and the forthcoming series 3—one of my own gradual steps. But man, when people say “I would never want to re-live my 20s, but I am so grateful for those years…” (like Rod in last week’s episode), I want to shout a very loud and punctuated “AMEN.” I’ve changed identities so many times in the past decade, grabbing at air as I try to form some semblance of a POV or clear direction, only to do an about-face a few months later as I put on a new career hat, or adopt a new city, or cycle through friends, or pursue the wrong romantic interests. I’ve run myself in circles, and with just three months to go before 30, I’m eager to pack up the past 10 years in airtight boxes and file them deep in the corner of my overly analytical and critical mind. I know the number 30 is arbitrary, but I’m a sucker for symbolism. I don’t wish away the unpredictability, but I do hope the next 10 are less frantic and more confident; in fact, I’m certain they will be.
It feels good to have things so undefined again. It’s familiar this time, not alarming. I’ve finally accepted that too many variables are beyond my control, and my expectations—for career, for commitment, for stability and for stasis—have often let me down. I’m not lowering my expectations by any means, but I like knowing that I can approach them in different ways, at a steadier pace, and by embracing my shortcomings. I know that “failures” are also victories, because embedded in each conclusion are insights, reflections, lessons. … In my own history, the short period of time documented here will probably be categorized as “the sinking reality years”, as I know that this shit—pests (bugs and boys), minor debts, layoffs—is petty compared to everything that follows. I do feel more ready for it, though, like I’ve put on a helmet and fastened my seat belt. I guess that’s why the stress doesn’t feel as affecting now: I’ve raised a different kind of expectation—one for resistance, for impact—to more realistic levels.
The friends I’ve highlighted here are but a fraction of the people who have made my recent years so colorful. That I’ve been in New York just 4.5 is astounding to me, mostly because it previews what’s in store for the next 4.5, or 10, or 20: hundreds, even thousands more perspectives of people who flock to the heart of the creative and economic world, and who endure a lot of uncertainty and anguish if only to prove that they can bleed for what they love to do, or to test the expectations they’ve set for themselves—often falling short before trying again. This city is as much a character as the people who inhabit it; even as I watch my precious dollars melt away—not one at a time, but hundreds at a time—I feel indebted to this place and its powers, because of the people I’ve met, and because of their ability to positively affect my thoughts and behavior. An especially gracious “thank you” goes to these 13 friends who let me invade their private lives for this project, for my own gain. My persistent happiness and confidence in New York, or anywhere, would be nothing without companions; they have given me a home when I had none, found me work when I needed it, offered advice when I felt lost, forgiven me when I’ve done harm, and fixed my heart when it was broken. Do not let your friends go; their love is the most unconditional.
When I wrapped the first series, it meant saying goodbye to fictional characters I had created. It was fairly easy to find a concluding place, tie up loose ends, and get on with my own life. There are four characters in this story that feel somewhat fictional to me; I’ll be in no hurry to type the names Buckminster, Romeo, Cold Hands, or Strings again. I am happy to pack those names away along with that frantic version of me, and to move ahead as friends, without any silly pseudonyms. I see two regularly enough, and they’re considered among my best. Even though I was over these guys, I had to fall in love with them again as I walked through our relationships, then I had to fall back out of love as I moved things along. To the four of them, a thank you for letting me agonize, and an apology for seeming like a crazy person you dated. I hope what you read here feels sincere; it’s how I remember us and is, of course, just one perspective of two. More than anything, though, thanks for being wonderful and dynamic enough to write about, and for being highlights of my previous two years.
And of course, my gratitude goes to each of you. It would be hard for me to write this if I didn’t think anyone would read it. You really do validate the endeavor. I hope you’ll say hello and announce yourself, or send me a message on Instagram, or fill out the contact form on our website…I’d love to know your opinions, highlights, criticisms. I’d love to know where you’re from, or why you’re still reading. I’d love to know if you’re a literary agent. (Kidding!!!) A handful of you have said hello throughout the process, and it’s been great to count you as friends; it always means the most to hear from readers, and when you speak up, it gives me something to point to that says “maybe this is working.” Thanks again.
The next series will be fictional—hallelujah—and will be quite different from both of its predecessors, in tone and format. It launches this summer. And, yes, there’s a different illustrator; we’ll announce who it is today on Instagram, and will preview the series throughout the week. … With that, a “thank you” goes to our series 2 illustrator, my now darling friend, Levi (@leviathanleague). Thanks for giving this story its personality and visual identity, and for being such a wonderful collaborator. And once more, to everyone here: I am so grateful for your attention, your feedback, your trust. Last year, whenever I was a roving gypsy or a heartbroken fool, I had this project and you people to look ahead to each morning of the first series. That has only continued with series 2. You’ve played a very big role in my persistence, in my moving forward and feeling confident. I’ll miss you in this short interim, and excitedly await our summer reunion. I love you, quite terribly. So thanks.