Friday, October 10, 2008

No Poker Content?

Nights are getting cooler and the house isn’t holding the heat from the sun as much as it was a few days ago. At this latitude, while we have longer days during the summer, the days grow shorter much more quickly than a little further south. The sun doesn’t climb quite so high in the sky, so everything cools off quicker. It is time to use the wood-burning stove.

Last night I fired it up for the first time this season. It was good to have it back, to feel its heat and to see the soft orange glow that spreads across the living room through the stove’s windows. But, of course, I didn’t make an evening of it. As most nights, I was in the basement playing poker.

Well, not all night. I did do some research for my client before I hit the tables. Part of that research involves reading blogs that deal with the industry. My goal is to find posts and articles apropos to my client’s niche, establish a cordial relationship with a writer or an editor, all the while making the PR pitch. Knowing that the relationship is built on shaky premises, it is an awkward road for me to travel, especially when I am called upon to be persistent in my pursuit.

Along the way I have come across some brilliant writers who obviously not only know their industry inside and out, yet also show evidence of a passion for much more of what life has to offer…or throw at them.

I came across one such post last night. A very influential author and prominent industry figure, he had posted a 5th wedding anniversary greeting to his wife, recalling a moment from their wedding, and expressing how much love he had for her. It wasn’t until the third paragraph that the reader could glean that the love of this man’s life had passed away. It was dated yesterday.

Under normal circumstances, my next step in the process would be to send an email pitch to the prospective and write something along the lines of “I read your article on blah blah blah and it struck a chord. My client…” Instead, I posted a comment, first briefly explaining why I was reading his blog, and concluding with “I am moved by your pain and joy…and the depth of your love.”

I may not ever contact this person again. Nor do I expect him to respond. The way I look at it, the relationship got off on the wrong foot, the good foot. And that’s OK.

I wasn’t going to write about this when I first sat down to post. Instead I was thinking about the overall gist of my own blog in light of the title of this post. Occasionally a poker blogger will start off a post with that disclaimer: “No Poker Content.” I can’t imagine why one feels the need to give such notice. When I contemplated starting this blog, I knew that even though I was passionate about poker, there were so many other things in my life that were equally important, and given my high level of self-disclosure, I knew that it would be difficult to edit them out. In fact, I may have gotten away with the subtitle, “Questionable Avocations,” poker being one about which I would frequently write, and left it at that.

Yet, with that said, I understand that the writer of a poker blog would expect his audience to be poker players, and some very dedicated and/or knowledgeable players at that. The blogger becomes an ad hoc authority. Oh, the pressure! As if the game does not exert its own power over that writer…

Last year at this time I was one year into learning Hold ‘em. Learning? Yes, but it was so much more than that. I was enthralled, and always surprised. I was hooked, so much so that I spent perhaps twice as much time at the game than I do now. As for the wood stove back then, there were many nights I would emerge from the basement to find the fire nearly extinguished. Not good. Although initially it was with some difficulty, I resolved myself to moderation. In essence, I sought to rediscover lost passions, one of which was writing.

There are people behind those hand histories, and stories to be told to set up the hand. And just as one session does not make or break a player, a person who blogs about poker is a writer who, in order to communicate effectively, must utilize his or her five senses, emotions and intellect to do the work justice. I suspect this utility is engaged elsewhere in that person’s life as well; and just as one “reads” another player at the table, in effect, identifying certain characteristics, a recognition takes place, a parallel established. Likewise, poker bleeds over into other aspects of one’s life, and vice versa. We learn by making these connections, these metaphors. There is, ultimately, no division that can be maintained, no subject matter that can live in isolation. And that’s OK.


Cardgrrl said...

Is there some reason why you're not linking to the post you discuss???

I mean, that's what this whole internet thingy is good for... LINKING.

PAPro_SandMan said...

I dunno, the post is a little personal and Bastin is specifically filtering the exact nature of the client and industry... I suspect it would be inappropriate, probably on multiple levels, to link it.

In any case, B, I thought I'd mention that I agree. I've certainly learned a great deal about business and life at the poker tables... It has enriched and empowered me more than most anything else I've pursued, my marriage excluded.