As I sit at my computer desk, in a new apartment, in a new city, in a new state, I can taste the flavor of the last cigarette I smoked on the tip of my tongue. Just as easily as I can feel the streching of my lungs as I sit once more, in my mind, at the end of a long table filled with friends I love dearly and people who I will never forget. We laugh like that a lot. So much, that I take it for granted.
Goodbyes are difficult, because it never really feels like I’m leaving when I go. I’ve spent the length of my life waiting on “The next adventure.” I remember a time when the prospect of a new job filled me with excitement, the people I would meet and the things I anticipated to learn bubbled out of me. I always expected the next turn of my life to be gleaming with bright lights and music, dancing and singing and emotional highs that would put my late heroes to shame.
Yet, my absence from my hometown, no matter how proud I am, or excited I feel, brings with it a kind of melancholy I can’t describe to you with words. When we moved, or rather, first talked about moving, I pensively waited to bring it up to the people I loved. I begged my wife not to talk about it with anyone until I was ready, and a week passed, then a month, and we still hadn’t told anyone what we were considering.
I want to feel composed, complete, I want to feel like the life I lived meant something. Even if I only plan to be gone for a time, I want to leave a mark on whatever place I was in. I believe that’s why it takes me so long to come around to things, to admit that what I’m feeling or what I’m doing really is true. If I can’t justify to myself that there is that feeling small in the back of my heart, I don’t want to do it. Because for years I bent my life on the will of those who loved me. If I can’t be honest with myself about who I am because of who I am to others, I will never be able to be honest about that.
You’ve grown with me for years, watched me waiting and anticipating as I always do, the coming of the next sunrise. Always making something out of nothing. It’s a distinct point of pride that I hold, that I am always good at making something out of nothing. So I talk. I write. I create. I ramble. As much as it gets to my wife sometimes, I think she knows deep down that when I go on and on, it’s because I’m looking for something. I’m looking for that feeling deep down, in the back of my heart, that tells me to go, to pull the trigger, to make something of the rising sun.
But sometimes words don’t get me there.
I’m afraid, of many things, but more than the rest of them that I will grow old and full of dust and covered in cracks and I won’t be able to be proud of the life I lived. I’m terrified to wake up one day and realize I’d done it all wrong, that I should have gone to this place at this time, and my life would have been forever changed. I’m afraid that one day my friends will question to themselves why they keep me around. I’m afraid to one day, be left with nothing to say.
Writing, and storytelling have always been so close to my heart that I don’t know what I would be without them. I sometimes wonder if I would be happier if I weren’t burdened by this constant need to put out writing, especially when no one reads it. Of all the things I am afraid of, I am afraid of myself the most. I am afraid that one day I will consume myself whole, and there isn’t a thing anyone can do to stop it.
Goodbyes are difficult, because I’ve never been good at endings. To everything there is another chapter, another secret, another sunrise. I’ve told myself this for years, and to those things that did end inside of me, I was fortunate enough to be blessed with even better stories to tell, after I’d taken time away. The way I loved changed when I gave it up. The way I was happy changed, when I gave it up. The way I learned changed when I let go of what I’d been taught. My life changed forever, the night I almost decided to give it up. Because as much as I want endings… I’m terrified of them, too.
Suffice it to say, when my wife and I packed our bags and drove away from the only thing I’d ever known, it was hard to face. It was hard to hit the ground running and it was almost impossible to give up that safety net that I’d clung to so desperately for years, because at home, nothing ever really ends…
But I’m not at home anymore, I’m far away and I am working every day to be better than I ever thought I could be. Because I felt that ending, that cold hard close of the back cover of the first book and I want nothing more than to write another.
So, I’m giving up.
Come September, Modern Alchemy will be going away. It could be for a while, it could be forever, I don’t know. What I do know is that I accomplished what I’d set out to do way back in 2013 when I started writing on this blog. Through all of its facelifts and content revisions. Through every missed typo and every secret that was never discovered, I wrote because I wanted to learn who I was. What I was, outside of everything else. Here was where I felt safest, because I could talk to you. I could tell you all of my fears and my doubts, and you’d tell me I was brave because I spoke so openly about it.
The thing is, I was never really all that open. There were always things I kept guarded, close to my heart. Fears that held me down and trapped me. Things I’d never tell anyone as long as I lived, and yet, in 2017 I met someone who embraced me despite those fears. Despite those shortcomings. Despite my desparate need for validation. I met my wife. The woman I choose every day. The woman who has become my sunrise.
I realized quickly that I no longer needed this journal, I no longer needed to vent my own frustrations with myself out on you, and to those of you who’ve reached out and told me that what I said, or showed, changed you… I’m so grateful. You don’t know how much that meant to me, because that was why I wanted to write in the first place. I’ve always wanted to change the lives of the people who read my work. I’m so glad I did, even if it was this catastrophy. I’m proud of Modern Alchemy, or if we’d rather, Gravity, My Enemy.
I don’t know that I’ve ever explained the history behind the original name. Years ago, back in high school my good friend and I wanted to start a band. We spitballed about everything, who would play what, what genre we wanted to experiment with, over the week we thought of names. All of mine were what you’d expect of a kid who lived his life through the height of Emo music. “Black Knife Catalyst” and “Endless Obliteration” were a couple, but he came to me with this simple name and a reason, and it stuck. Gravity, My Enemy. “Because life is about getting back up, every time you fall, you just have to get back up and make the best out of where you landed, and like, gravity kinda fucks with that, doesn’t it?” I remember it crystal clear. I couldn’t forget it if I tried. So when I sat down at my dining room table in my parent’s place in 2012 and started brainstorming names for the blog. That was at the top of the list.
Of course, I should note that I don’t talk to him anymore. A falling out some number of years old, and he moved and I moved on and that was the end, another chapter that cut short when I didn’t expect it to. Still, I miss him and I miss that time of my life in some ways. I think when I changed the name to Modern Alchemy, I wanted so badly to reinvent myself. I’ve always said that I was a collage of memories and faces of people I’d known. That I was cut together and glued out because of everyone in my life that was important to me, which means you. I’m sure you, whoever is reading this now, is a part of me. Even if sometimes I’d want to, I could never change that.
All of that being said, I’m still writing. In fact I’m working more dilligently on creating something I’m passionate about than I’ve ever been, the way the cards have fallen just means that this blog is no longer a priority for me, at least for the time being. I’ll still be preparing content for release on the Grimoire of Finality, you just won’t see me here talking about my week like I’ve done for so many years. Honestly, I haven’t been committed to this since late 2019. I don’t want to offer fractions of myself out and pretend like I’m giving my all to something. It’s just not Modern Alchemy as I want it to be anymore, and it will take some time to understand what I want Modern Alchemy to be again. In the meantime, I’m going to be writing, and reading a great deal. I have wonderful things planned for the future, even if it means I have to pull back from work that has helped to define who I am.
So don’t think of this as a goodbye. Goodbyes are difficult. Instead, to me, this is the end of another chapter. I hope that you enjoyed what you read as much as I enjoyed living it for you.
I’ll see you soon, I’m sure. -AT
Make sure you go follow me on the Grimoire of Finality to see upcoming content from there! I’ll miss this, but like I said. When you’re home… nothing ever really ends.