A year ago this month, I was scrambling to finish my book (which was due the first week of November) while keeping up a steady stream of chatter about the 2012 elections (to be held the first week of November). That's what I was doing, pretty much all I was doing, when I was offered a job at Texas Monthly. 

The only qualm I had about the offer was related to the first two circumstances. The preceding year had been exhausting. By October 2012 I wasn't even running on fumes; I was running on the unexamined premise that if I made it through the first week of November, then it would be the second week of November, and I could take a break. I liked the idea of working at Texas Monthly, though, and so I quickly accepted the offer. I thought: it's okay, between the book launch (in April) and the legislative session (January-May) I'll be pretty busy, but it'll be the end of May soon enough and I can take a break then.

Then it was the end of May, and Governor Perry called a special session half an hour after the regular session adjourned. I thought: Ok, it'll be a quick little special session, no big deal. I'll keep one eye on the Lege while I get started on the other things I was planning to do this summer. There were a couple of family situations I was worried about, and I had about a million calls and emails to answer, and a lot of paperwork looming for a mortgage closing I had scheduled for july. I was even looking forward to some things this summer, thought I might see more of my friends, spend some afternoons at Barton Springs, and get to work on some new writing projects, because I hadn't had much time for that and found myself missing it.

June was going pretty well until a week of pointless & unnecessary theater relating to an abortion bill triggered the most dramatic day in Texas politics in a generation, and my coverage of that day triggered the most uninformed and dishonest personal attacks I've ever elicited as a journalist. And I thought: Okay, the next couple of weeks are going to be a little busier than expected. And this isn't really great timing. The family situations were precarious. I had some Texas Monthly assignments I needed to get started on. The backlog on my to-do list was still so long it was making me vaguely nauseous to think about it. Assuming I closed on the mortgage on July 5th I would need to arrange a mid-summer move, which wasn't going to be pleasant. I missed my friends. But more than anything I was so tired. I had been tired for like a year. But I was resigned: It is what it is. I can handle it. No problem. 

Then on August 2nd, just after I moved, and just as the third special session was winding down, and just as I was happily working on two long projects for the magazine, my dad was diagnosed with lymphoma. His prognosis is pretty good, thankfully, and he's started treatment. And since he was diagnosed I've learned that in addition to being scary, sad, etc, cancer is irritating. It's capricious as well as malicious, so you have to respond meekly. You don't stroll up to cancer and unfurl the Come and Take It flag. Or, at least, you don't do that when it's your dad who's sick. Still, that morning in August, taking notes as the doctors explained the diagnosis in an unmistakably oncological hush, I had a lot of thoughts, including this one: you have got to be fucking kidding me. 

In other words, things have been busy around here, hence the lack of updates to this website. I'm planning to resume normal operations at this point, though. Still pretty busy but I'm tired of being in triage mode. (And if I owe you a call or an email: 1) sorry about that, 2) might be worth reminding me?)  
 


Steve Erickson
10/16/2013 08:02

I just finished your book and enjoyed the read. I also watched your debate at the LBJ library and found it interesting. I'm looking forward to your next book once you catch your breath. I hope your dad beats his cancer..

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Francis
10/18/2013 10:28

We're still here! Welcome back and hope your dad gets well soon.

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