Three times in my life a future version of myself, a version of myself I’ve taken to calling Future Brian, has paid me a visit.
It’s always happened under the same circumstances. I’d find myself extremely anxious about the current state of my life, I’d be laying in bed, more than half asleep, and a future version of me would sort of drift out of the ether and begin reassuring me about things to come. And, without exception, everything he’s ever told me about my future has come to pass.
The first time this happened I was in college and my girlfriend, my first love, had moved across the country. This was in the days before email and cheap long-distance phone calls. Her departure spelled the end of Us, and at no time did I need Future Brian more than I did during that dark, cold summer, to come in and let me know that everything would be okay.
The most recent time this happened was in September of 2008. At the time I was freaked out about a lot of things. The elections, the state of the economy, my future. It was deep in the night, with me in a partially awake but still halfway in the dream state, when Future Brian made his appearance. It felt as if an invisible, wiser, older version of myself was whispering in my ear. He explained that all would go well with the election. He told me not to worry too much about the economy. It’s going to get worse before it gets better, he explained, but it will get better. He told me that I would not lose my job as a result of the coming recession, and other things that would happen in the coming months and years. I got a sense that he was from around 2016 and that he had the benefit of eight years of hindsight. My current woes must have seemed almost quaint to him.
He had just about wrapped up the things he wanted to tell me when I blurted out, “My book! Will my book ever get published?”
I’ll never forget his response: “Of course!” There was no hesitation, as if to say, You already know that much!
Weeks, months, and years went by and one-by-one everything Future Brian predicted came to pass. That is not to say I wasn’t a little nervous about them, even after Future Brian’s predictions. They all unfolded but one: My book. When is my book going to be published?
While Future Brian didn’t say he’d contacted me from 2016, that was just the impression I got. If that was true, said book publication could happen at any time up until that moment. Still, I’ll admit I was growing inpatient.
Then last April the call came from my agent. I’d been in a business meeting at the time and quickly silenced my cell phone. But something had told me then, even at the time, This is a call you want to take. This call is different.
The message was all I needed to hear: I’d been offered a contract for Aftersight, my supernatural Young Adult novel. After all those years, imagining what it would be like, visualizing that moment, really feeling it, it had finally arrived.
Now that it actually has happened, I have to wonder. What else had Future Brian told me, if only I’d asked?
Brian Mercer is the author of the supernatural YA novel, Aftersight (Astraea Press, 2013). He is also co-author with Robert Bruce of Mastering Astral Projection: 90-Day Guide to Out-of-body (Llewellyn, 2004) and The Mastering Astral Projection CD Companion (Llewellyn, 2007). A board member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association and senior editor at Author Magazine, he lives in Seattle with his wife, Sara, and their three cats.