Perhaps the story’s ending felt abrupt, or maybe you saw it coming. I thought a full year was a good stopping point, because really The Prospectives would go on for many years, so long as Eric, Joanie, Bart, Peter, Tyler and company all teem with potential, so long as they contradict one another and themselves, so long as they remain dynamic and reflective and motivated. But The Prospectives itself is not over—only the current version you know. Just as you saw different versions of Eric and his friends—whether as alter egos, drag queens, past selves, or stage names—I want to keep things dynamic in this space, and diversify my own writing portfolio. More on those changes later this week.
I have a request of you: re-read the story! It’ll be a different experience, especially once you already know what happens. While the day-to-day publishing keeps things moving at a steady, ground-level pace, I’d love for you to indulge me and read it all the way through. You might notice setups and payoffs that didn’t stand out at the time. You can download the full PDF to your computer or tablet for easy reading. Or, re-read it on Instagram, and leave me your comments along the way. That daily feedback was the brightest highlight (among many) of this entire endeavor. You fueled my writing, and each morning when I submitted that day’s text, I hoped above all else that I kept you happy, or at least invested (seeing as I strayed far from “happy” quite often).
A lot of people asked which parts of this story were real. Yes, I once worked in talent management and had to go by my middle name (Leonard), and yes, I’ve dated a couple Simons and Jacks and Omars (archetypes, that is). Of course, I also wanted to express my adoration of Prospect Heights, and project my stellar friends onto Bart and Peter and Tyler. The plot itself is entirely fictional, but there’s sincerity in what I wanted to say: I never feel like the same person from one year to the next. And of late, I’m not sure which of those people—all those versions of myself—has been the most optimal. While I’ve been very happy with my life in NYC, I don’t think I’m as friendly or as patient or as considerate as I once was. I feel “less ideal” despite also being smarter and more efficient and realistic about expectations. Only recently, however, have I been able to grasp that the most optimal version is always the one I am today, because it’s the one I have control over, and the one I am able to change. I’m glad to know that any part of me can change if and when it is necessary, and that it can change back again, when necessary. I wanted Eric to learn that lesson as I myself came to terms with it.
For other creatives out there, I want to share my thoughts on this day-to-day publishing cadence: I’ve written a number of long stories and screenplays that never get finished (in that I keep finding an excuse to do another draft), never get read, and thus feel quite pointless. I was always unable to pace myself creatively; I began to loathe each project because I could write, rewrite, and edit without any deadlines, benchmarks, or feedback. I would write in large bursts and never let anything breathe and unfold in my mind, and not allow my own experiences and thoughts to periodically present options for what could happen. I recommend this gradual publishing if you need to get a story or portfolio out into the world. Sure, one goal is extra eyeballs on your work, but more importantly, you’ll have something much bigger: a passion project. In this case, it’s 55,000 words, and it’s complete. I can’t edit it or rewrite it because you’ve already seen it and processed it and it’s alive. I was able to create it over the course of 14 months, by sacrificing just a few hours each week.
Next, and very importantly, I want to acknowledge Sam Kalda for his terrific illustrations. I hardly provided him any direction and he gave this project its incredible visual identity—which is imperative, considering that the story lives on an image-sharing platform. I am so grateful that he fit this into his packed workload every week and for always giving me something to look forward to. Sam and I went to elementary school together, but only since both living in New York have we become close friends; it’s been a great pleasure seeing his career take off in such a big way these past few years, and it means everything that he would so generously make time for this. Sam, thank you thank you thank you. I’m sorry I gave the story’s villain your name, and that some very bad things happened to him, because you deserve only the best.
So here’s what you can expect from The Prospectives: starting this fall (early fall!), you’ll meet a lot of the people whose experiences and perspectives shaped the first story (real-life Prospectives, if you will). They’re very much like these characters you know—dynamic and reflective and motivated—enough so that their point of view will carry the second phase splendidly, assuming I can string it all together. I’ll serve as the narrator (which means plenty of melodrama…trust me here), and it’ll be a companion of sorts to the first project, alternating between plot and theme. It’ll still feel familiar, but I don’t want you to expect something identical. Again, I want to keep things evolving for both writer and reader. There is even a new artist who will give it its own unique look—I’ll reveal who as the time draws near.
We’ll take a short hiatus for two months as I get things in working order for Phase 2. SO, I suggest you go to our Instagram profile on your phone app, and click those three dots in the upper right corner. You can turn on notifications, which will alert you whenever something is posted. I’ll chime in a few days before the story starts unraveling, just so you know to expect it. Lastly, THANK YOU, readers. Not only did you give this project purpose, but you’ve given me more confidence as a writer. I’ve so enjoyed your comments and feedback all year on the Instagram feed, and hope you’ll continue it (gratuitously, please!) in Phase 2. I’m very glad to have started The Prospectives, if only because I have gotten to know and adore so many of you, even if it’s through this silly, insightful, and remarkable app.