Friday, November 18, 2005

A Look Back

My personal history is littered with the rusted artifacts of temporary obsessions. An old fishing pole I bought after catching two catfish in the Grant Line Canal leans withered and unused in a garage corner. I sold off my splintered drum kit after losing interest in the "rock star" lifestyle. The wedding photos from my first marriage are yellowed and....okay, better not make a joke out of that one.

I've had varied interests throughout my life, but few which have stuck around to have an impact. Thankfully, this blog--which will be one year old next week--appears to be one of the lucky ones.

Looking back, it's hard to recall exactly what spurred me to start here. A common reason I give is that I had no other outlet to talk about poker. I didn't know any other poker players. My wife had already had it up to HERE only five months after I embarked on my poker education and couldn't really add insight to questions of whether medium suited one-gappers should be played in late position in a family pot. One thing I can say for certain is that I was inspired by the blogs that already existed. I'd been reading Iggy and Hank for several months. I didn't have any knowledge, or any real intention, of where it would go. In fact, my first post grossly mis-characterizes what eventually ended up here.

But I know I caught a fever. I know that I found a place to rant and examine and get the poker thoughts out of my head. In doing so, an odd thing occured. I started writing. Not just reporting results and hand histories, but turning them into stories, narrowly focused stories, but stories nonetheless. In my opinion, things changed right here:

The Jack

That still might be my favorite thing I've ever written. It took me 15 minutes, at most (though I eventually revised it for an issue of Truckin'). I think it perfectly captures how I felt (yes, it's almost entirely true). It was also the first time I felt that muse tickling me in the back of my brain.

Suddenly, the blog became not about detailing my poker trials, but simply about the writing. It put a charge into me, awakened a dormant desire. I always had the nebulous dreams of writing, even had a few periods where I practiced the craft with some regularity. But never with any destination. And now, I had a destination every single day and an ass-load of material--thank you poker--to pour into it.

Things kind of snowballed from there. A week later I met AlCantHang and the LA bloggers at Commerce. Then my mad rush of tourney success in April and May. The June Blogger Get-Together and winning the WSOP satellite. And...and...and...

I've gone through some valleys as well. Some awful Variance hits, some psychological downswings, even some blog tilt, where I questioned the worth of continuing. Through it all, I've been able to keep a level of satisfaction. I'm able to look back and truthfully say I'm proud of a lot of what is contained here, despite occasionally cringe-worthy prose and play. And I've improved (sorry, your votes are not eligible).

Best of all, I've connected with a vast array of bloggers who have enriched my life in ways I still discover daily. Smart, funny, insightful people who inspire me to be here, who prod me into self-reflection and invention. I owe you all so much.

Here's where I dump on you some highlights of the past year under the guise of self-reflection. Don't fall for it.

From almost totally anonymous blogger ("almost" totally because I always had April) to playing in the WSOP, being invaded by unwanted guests, the honor of having stories published by Pauly, a Vegas weeekend to never forget, AJ's guest post, regularly tossing chips at the Murderer's Row home game, my battles with psychology and bankroll and finally, just plain ol' stupid running of the mouth (pick any).

So I sit here mildly surprised I'm still going, have yet to shrug off this committment and leave it behind in a dark heap. I marvel at what an important place this blog now occupies in my journey and the idea--once preposterous, but now possible--that it can go onward and upward from here.

Thankfully, I appear to be one of the lucky ones.


At 2:33 PM, Blogger Huge Junk said...

Now that's a mighty fine posting, if I do say so myself. Hold on while I check if I do really say so...

Yep, I do say so. Mighty fine!

At 3:59 PM, Blogger BigPirate said...

You continue to entertain and enlighten. I look forward to another year.

At 8:35 PM, Blogger April said...

You always have been and remain one of my favorite bloggers. Here's to year number two.

At 9:04 PM, Anonymous Maudie said...

So glad you are a part of the crazy phenomenon. You do your share of inspiring, sir, yes you do. 8^)

At 10:48 PM, Blogger Mr Subliminal said...

Without trying to diminish the importance of November 26, 2005 (the anniversary of your blog), a more significant date will be March 20, 2006, when your blog turns four hundred and seventy nine days old.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger Drizztdj said...

Ugh, you made me read about that A4 hand from the Excal again...

... which is exactly why I love this game.

Rock Mr. Speaker. Three weeks!!!


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