Tuesday, March 24, 2020


This is the time in the day I would normally be doing one of two things. I would either be finishing breakfast and taking care of a few household chores before getting dressed and heading for work, or I would be halfway through a class at the gym and would then shower and change before going off to the day job. Either way it would result in me walking through the back doors of the casino prepared to play cards for eight hours with my regulars and teach a few tourists along the way.

I love my job. I know many who say they enjoy elements of their job but I love the entire thing. Yes there are players and bosses, coworkers and outside vendors that occasionally drive me crazy but overall I wouldn't trade what I do for almost anything. Not only do I get to laugh and talk with my players, I teach other dealers, and get to be part of a team at a company I admire. Then, of course, there is the bonus of being able to get inspiration for two different series of my books and have the time, while no one is feeling chatty, to sit and let the characters talk to me. Many of my fellow casino dealers have jokingly told me one day I will find that bestseller list and can quit. What they don't understand is I wouldn't leave, that place not only brings me joy but is a treasure trove of inspiration.

Today I am unable to head to the casino so I am sitting in my home office. I have my coffee sitting next to me, a notebook open with a pencil poised to work on notes / research / outlines but nothing is coming. I plan to get a decent amount of writing and I know that it is always the same for me. When I first sit down it is a struggle. I know the story in broad strokes but the elements of the story from line to line I discover the same way my readers do. It unfolds as I type and I am on the journey with the characters, I just happen to know where the final destination lays.

I am used to packing up my computer bag and heading to a coffee shop where I can get comfy for hours and push past that initial struggle to jump start the words and getting a solid word count on my days off. Now everyday is, in a way, a day off. With the current closing of all non-essential businesses I am writing in a space I have rarely bothered to commit words to paper, my home office. I spent a few days getting it in shape and now I am doing my best to make it work.

There are pros and cons to adapting. I am not stopping for coffee in the morning, granted I get coffee at 7-eleven not Starbucks, but it saves money nonetheless. My Keurig is getting a workout but in all honesty I like the coffee better anyway. I am home and getting things done around the house which is great to be accomplishing things but I am still struggling with the anxiety that comes from lack of socializing and with pushing to get my writing done.

My hope has been to create a pattern I can continue when the house arrest is over and I can return to my day job but will also be able to keep making progress on writing. Because I tend to take on just enough projects to get overwhelmed I find I struggle with completing any one thing in a timely manner. Hopefully this time of adapting and reflection can change that.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Trying Too Hard

Like most of the country (and many places around the world) my beautiful Las Vegas is on lockdown. Yes I can go for a hike, run or bike ride. I still make periodic trips to the grocery store, but I can' have coffee with a friend at a local coffee shop and for reasons of keeping exposure low I shouldn't even be having coffee at my house or theirs. As a super social person, both from a natural one to be around people as well as an anxiety driven need to not be alone, this is driving me crazy.

It has, however, given me time to reflect on myself some and there are things I am both proud of and irritated by that I have since discovered. One of the biggest understandings I have come to about myself is I tend to overthink and try too hard the it comes to many situations. Yes there are a number of people who cold say that but I am concerns with addressing these issues in myself at the moment. Perhaps if I find a path forward then I can discuss my methods with others dealing with the same types of issues. If not, then at least I was able to make some positive changes in myself.

When it comes to how I had this realization there are a number of things that came to mind first. I am overly ambitious. When I take on a project it is usually something that makes people look at me like I've lost my mind. They aren't always wrong. Because of that there is always a very real possibility I will fall on my face. However, to quote so many of the players on my table at work, go big or go home. When I took on my first distance bike ride I didn't sign up for the 17 mile ride which would have been the shortest distance, I took on the 60 (which later got rerouted to 72) mile ride and nearly killed myself. I trained but not enough and had no idea what I was doing. My clothes, supplements, water, everything was lacking. But I found out the camaraderie of the riders was unparalleled and they helped me finish what I started that day.

When I say I want to lose a little weight I don't set my sights on just dropping 5-10 pounds, I instead set my sights on doing a boudoir photo shoot within 6 months and begin contacting photographers and looking into poses / makeup / clothing I will need to acquire for such a shoot.

This is where my overthinking and trying too hard comes in. I am a natural flirt. It is part of my job as a dealer and something I have no problem doing. Yet, when faced with the idea of trying to be sexy for the camera, I freeze. I think, can someone learn to be sexy? I wonder, are there classes I can take? I look at myself in the mirror and all of my personal insecurities come screaming to the forefront.

I do the same thing with writing. I try so hard to have a public image that is "right". I stress about the idea of going live on Facebook, even though everyone knows I have no problem talking someone's ear off. I feel like I don't have anything entertaining to say and nobody would bother watching anyway. I spent years believing I was nothing unless a certain person gave me approval. There is a part of me that still fights his voice everyday and wants to prove him wrong.

I am closing in on 40 years old and a lot of the things I want to do I am far above the generally accepted age to begin, or even end, but I am at the point where I feel it is better to put myself out there and at least try. I just need to swallow my fears, tell that stupid voice to shut the hell up and trust that who I am and what I am truly is enough. If I want to do a sexy photo shoot, I should and just enjoy the experience. If I want to do distance cycling I should start pedaling and see how far I can go. When I write I need to stay true to my voice and believe I have a message that will resonate with someone out there. If I want to go live I should be happy even if it ends up being nothing more than a couple friends keeping me company. I have always been guilty of overthinking and I am using this time to work on that and try to just be proud of who I am.

How are you dealing with the house arrest? Have you had any epiphanies?