Thanks for sharing

I started Rapid Eye Reality in 2001 when my friend Susannah pulled me aside at a wedding and said there was this thing called a “blog” that I might find interesting. Since that time, it’s been through many different designs, endured up and down years, and served as a the longest-running chronicle of my sideways brain. This year, despite having a very small number of posts, Rapid Eye Reality saw more traffic than ever before. That’s entirely because of you, the loyal reader who has been coming here for years.

I started this site as a way to write down the things I couldn’t write in a TV script. I had no other expectations for it. Today, it has become more a way for me to exorcise the things that beat on the inside of my skull that I can’t quite vent in 140 characters on Twitter. For whatever reason, those things sometimes resonate, and many of you folks have shared them. For that, I thank you.

I’ve told some friends recently that the greatest thing they ever do for me is share something I write. I mean that every time I say it. It dawned on me some years ago that, while I can pass for a few things (soup maker, cocktail mixer, back porch troubadour, etc.), writing is the only thing I do well with any consistency. So, to have that recognized and passed on as something good…well, despite anything that may happen for me professionally, it feels pretty damned good. So, thank you for making this a really interesting year, and thank you for continuing to share my rambling with the other people you know. It means more to me than you probably understand.

For those of you who might have ended up here accidentally this year, here’s a quick review of some things I wrote in 2014.

I don’t know how many millions of words I’ve written in my life, but I’ve never written something that got as many eyes on it as two posts I published this year. That’s the nature of social media. The monsters are real was the story of Hailey Owens’ kidnapping and death in my hometown. Dear Coach Pinkel was an uncomfortable meditation on my son’s sports heroes and their real lives. I knew both stories meant something to me, but I was fairly amazed at how far and wide both traveled.

I know I’ve written a lot about my dad’s death over the past few years, and 2014 wasn’t much different. When Dad looked at the sky and Mistakes both fell under that heading despite coming from two entirely different parts of me. Mr. Andy, a story about a man my son befriended at the grocery story, touches on the subject, too.

If you know me or my writing well, you know I’m capable of the occasional capital “R” Righteous Rant. Capitulation Nation, Remembering the First Kill, The F5 Nobody, and To the courageous Senator Lindsey Graham all fell neatly under that category. And while they aren’t rants, Letter to an American kid and The email my son won’t get speak a lot to how heartbreaking 2014 was for all of us who have to explain the news to our kids.

Also, as is my wont, there was unabashed navel-gazing. I used to be ashamed by the practice, but anymore it’s just who I am. Mom’s pencil is some explanation for how I ended up doing this in the first place. Threadbare troubadour is my admission that 30 years of playing guitar and singing has only made me want to do it more. Finally, there was this Christmas carol to the people who make me understand how good I have it in life, The people you know at Christmastime.

This, obviously, is not a money-making venture. It’s my self-indulgent public diary that pays me exactly nothing but the pride of having people read what I write. Still, what I write does appear in other places. Most of it is related to the day job in the poker industry and of little interest to non-poker people. Still, there are a few things worth sharing here that don’t fit the above categories.

Wheaton’s Law Revisited: Wil Wheaton asked me to guest blog on his site earlier this year. This was an explanation of Wheaton’s Law and how it applied to me.

A field full of lightning: Another post from Wil’s blog, this one about the capricious way tragedy jumps on us.

Stages: In July, I met a woman at the World Series of Poker who started our conversation, “I’m not crying. I just don’t have eyelashes.”

Living in Chad Brown’s orbit: A couple of days before I left Las Vegas, I went to a memorial service for a guy that I wouldn’t have believed existed if I hadn’t known him. This was the original obit I wrote for him: Chad Brown 1961-2014.

Doc Jennings doesn’t do interviews: One of those stories that comes up on the fringes of a poker tournament, and a story of getting old.

My dog swallowed what?: An expensive lesson in what happens when you give people medicine to dogs.

Daddy’s medicine: A very short essay on hot sauce that won a silly contest hosted by ESPN’s Wright Thompson.

So, again, thanks for passing on what I write. You’re good people, and I appreciate you.

Here’s to 2015 giving us all something better to write about.

Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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2 Responses

  1. Bryan Polcyn says:

    It’s uncanny. Even when you are just writing about what you’ve been writing, it is well written. Happy New Year, Brad.

  2. Martha Herring says:

    I read every word and sometimes twice. I have told lots of friends about your blog. They all love it. You are so talented that it would be a sin not to share your writings with the world. Thank you for all the interesting things that you write that effect more people than you will ever know.