Feliz Cumpleanos

I call myself a writer because I believe in self-fulfilling prophecies.

I think the most painful years of my life were my mid-to-late-twenties, after I had won every poetry slam I ever entered.

I’m looking for a way into this and I can’t find it.

Sitting down to write an “important” post is an exercise in futility. And if there’s anything I’ve learned over the last year, it’s that it’s all about the process, baby. Just write, and let the rest take care of itself. So, write. Right.

A year ago I was a little less happy than I am today. I was living in a flat in the Mission with three other guys, three other dogs, two cats, no privacy. One of my roommates, who was also a co-worker, was an emotional black hole who sucked the energy out of every room he ever entered. We didn’t like each other much (he actually got fired yesterday for time card fraud or something and I can’t say I’m torn up over it). Those of you who’ve been stopping by this little campfire for awhile know the rest of my litany of pain and trouble: i.e. early sobriety, HIV diagnosis, my mother’s terminal illness. She was clearly near the end. I was depressed and out of shape. I hadn’t written much in the last six years.

Then I received an email from a friend with a link to his new online diary. Though I had read, off and on, the blogs of twoother men for the past couple of years, it was my friend’s email that inspired DogPoet. With Blogger I didn’t need to know HTML or how to build a website. When Blogger asked me for a title, I put two odd words together in the hopes that no one else had a blog called DogPoet. To be honest, I have only one poem about my dog, but I guess that’s enough.

And so it began. Back then I would get two or three hits a day. I remember the first day I got thirty hits! Most of them were people in Saudi Arabia who didn’t know how to spell the word “lesbian” when Googling. Jonno graciously linked me when he saw that I intended to stick with it. I figured out some basic HTML, linked to a few blogs. Maybe four or five. A couple linked back. And it grew from there.

DogPoet, you saved my butt last winter. You were there when my mom died. You went with me to Minneapolis for Christmas and then later for the funeral, and you kept me company. You let me write some stupid shit sometimes, and helped me grow up a little along the way. It was always you, my constant companion, and to you I cried and laughed and threw tantrums.

And it was you, my gentle and perverted reader, who kept me coming back. I couldn’t let two or three days pass without a post. And many of you linked to me (oh, how giddy I got, each and every time) and many of you wrote to me and encouraged me. I met some of you in real life, and I know I’ll meet some more. I get many more visitors than email, though, so if you need a reason to say hello, you’ve got one. Say hello.

During this year I moved into a wonderfully quiet apartment with my own bathroom, a view, and plenty of street parking available. For much less money than I was paying in the Mission. I started working out again, lost some fat, gained some muscle, went out on a few dates. I celebrated two years of sobriety and recently started sponsoring two men in AA, which basically means they call me everyday and I listen for long stretches of time, saying “uh huh”, “right”, and “you’re doing great.” I signed up for a writing class through Berkeley extension that I will finish on Monday. I somewhat gracefully handled an unrequited attraction for my friend Ski. I’ve made some great friends along the way who keep me company, make me laugh, and challenge every single notion I have about being a grown-up. I bought a car. I paid off my credit card debt. I kept my job through four or five rounds of lay-offs. My t-cells are high, my viral load is low. I’ve successfully handled depression, with a lot of help. And damnit, DogPoet, you got me writing again. Yes, I can look back now and I have a year’s worth of posts, some stupid, some not so stupid. It’s helped, more than you’ll ever know. I have this feeling, no, fuck that, it’s faith, that life is just getting better and better.

Today DogPoet turns one. Which is, like, eighty-four in blog years. I hope you’ll stick around.

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