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Shortly after my IndieGoGo campaign failed miserably, people began asking me how I was doing at poker. Trying with all my might not to show my sorrow over the missed opportunity, I explained that I couldn’t afford to play. I had been unable to sell enough candles to afford the time off work to go to the tournaments that my backer had agreed to fund. The plan was void and my “game” was struggling to stay alive. What I didn’t say was that things had actually gotten worse for me. My hours were cut (again) at one of my jobs and I realized I would soon have to request yet another loan from my dad to keep my bills paid – an act which pains me like no other. At times, the most optimistic thought I could muster was, “You’ve hit rock bottom. There’s nowhere to go but up.”
I took a few days to wallow, then made myself get back to working as hard as possible to dig myself out of the muck. As I resumed juggling two jobs, occasional catering gigs, a candle business, and my writing career, I found myself feeling increasingly confident about my career path despite the lack of stable finances to prove it. After nearly twenty years in town with only two or three sightings, I crossed paths with three celebrities whose work holds meaning for me in a single week – The Dude, Dori, and P!nk. I took it as a sign to “Take it easy, man.” and “Just keep swimming!” knowing that, in loving myself because “no one could be just like me anyway,” I could, “light the world up for just one day,” each and every day I chose to show myself that kindness.
Lo and behold, I was finally right. As I walked taller, content with my status as a poor but published writer, happily bragging about my article in Santa Barbara Magazine (p. 108 – Perfectly Illogical) by day, it became easier to find inspiration to write and create Boxes of Flare by night. I bid on and secured a chance to write blog posts and case studies for a local company which does extremely interesting work (thanks to a referral from a friend). Then, thanks to my penchant for conversing with strangers, I stumbled into an astounding interview opportunity and felt my world begin to change and warp speed. I now have a collection of interesting information I must find time to pitch to the appropriate publications (as it is certain to take my career to the next level) and am amassing a list of people to interview next.
One week after I was showered with blessings by a group of Tibetan Monks (a story for another time… maybe), engrossed in my researching my next writing projects with every spare moment, it took me nearly fifteen minutes to realize I was sitting next to Kevin Costner – the man whose famous line, “If you build it, they will come,” had long been used to justify my multi-faceted approach to constructing a creative career. He caught me sneaking a peek at him and, to reassure him that I was merely looking because I’d recognized his voice and didn’t hear whatever was being discussed in his meeting, I added, “I’m a poker player.” before “It’s nice to meet you.” I realized how brightly I am now shining when I turned back to my phone while he chose not to end the conversation there. “Are you any good?” he asked with a smile. We chatted for more than a moment about poker and each of our writing careers, then went our separate ways. (Did you know Kevin Costner recently published a book – Explorer’s Guild? I didn’t know until he told me, but hope to check it out soon!)
The next night I went out to karaoke, heard that my local casino has a very big tournament coming up soon – $100,000 guaranteed prize pool – and began to think it might be time to make my move. A few days later, I went back to my backer and asked if he would still be willing to give me that bankroll he handed me a few months ago for the World Series of Poker. He said yes. So, this Friday, August 12th, on my 16 year un-anniversary, I will break in my new bankroll. It marks approximately 14 years since I got divorced and roughly 12 years since my dream to become a writer began. It seems like the perfect day to celebrate the fact I am finally (at least mostly – no one is perfect) the woman I always wanted to be.
You can call me The Gold Digging Grinder. (Click here if you don’t know what a grinder is in the poker world.) I don’t date men to get my hands on their money, but I metaphorically dig for gold every day. Whether I am working at one of the jobs that keeps me out of the house 40+ hours per week, informing designers about my handmade candles with custom colors, pitching my next article to a magazine or transcribing an interview, uploading more background texture photos to my Shutterstock portfolio, or (coming up soon) grinding for riches on the felt with my somewhat rusty poker skills, I give my all and seek to make each moment sparkle. My bankroll is not gigantic, but I believe it could be enough to launch a career. It feels as if I’m striking gold everywhere I discuss my writing career lately. It is time to take that luck and confidence to the felt.