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A fresco re-interpretation of Argus sitting on the front porch. I love this picture. (2006)
One year ago today, I made my first post to this blog. Like most years, it hasn't turned out anything like I expected.
The purpose of this blog was originally to promote my book, Unmeaning Flattery, which is still not finished. Truth be told, I haven't written anywhere near as much as I expected to have completed by now. A favorite author of mine, William Gibson, realized a while ago that he can not simultaneously maintain his blog and write a novel. As a result, his blog goes dormant for months at a time. So because posts started recently appearing again, I can only assume he has finished his latest, as-of-yet untitled book.
While I think my blog has distracted me from working on my book, there's a lot more to it than that. There is my poker obsession, which has transmogrified into a zen-like trance at the 5-card draw tables. I'm playing less poker than I was six months ago, but I'm making much, much more money. And instead of craving the adrenaline rush of pulling down a big pot, it's now the tactical routine and studious observation of my opponents that allows me to slip into a cerebral meditation while growing my bankroll $20, $30 or $40 at a time. Poker is less an escape now and more a forced point of reflection every day. A chance to let my subconscious churn away at the problems and puzzles of the moment.
As a lot of you have probably suspected, I was in mourning for much of 2005, wrestling with the heartbreak of losing The Red Dog... The Old Man... Chauncey. We still miss him so. For the longest time, it was so painful to write. And that pain made it easy to find other things to do. To fill up the schedule.
But now we have Argus. And the numbness of distance from that long, sleepless night on the bathroom floor. There are so many Red Dog mannerisms in Argus that, at times, we still feel connected to our favorite setter. Yes, Argus is his own dog and we are not forgetting that. He may jump and frolick in familiar ways, but he has his own uniquenesses: His unflappability. The way he comes to me every night when I go to bed (no matter the hour) and sits next to me while I rub his head and ears for a few minutes. His utter politeness.
So where do we go from here? The book is still a goal and, come a year from now, I expect to be sorely disappointed if I haven't made better progress. The day job is pretty hectic right now. I'm planning a trip up north for either spring or summer. So we shall see. Regardless of how it works out, I find faith in your constant, silent companionship here on these pages.
When I first started writing my book, I predicted that the biggest challenge for me would be maintaining the enthusiasm to see it through. Were truer words ever spoke? I am pleased, though, that, with your encouragement, I have managed to keep writing out here in the ether.
To paraphrase another favorite author of mine, Chuck Palahniuk — and just because I'm finding inspiration in someone else's words, don't think for a moment these words are any less sincere — thank you for reading my blog.
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