Friday, April 24, 2009

Shamus in Vegas: Episode 5 -- Finding Yr Calling

Finding Yr CallingHad originally planned to title this last episode “The Writer’s Life,” but during the week I found a different, better title. As anyone who has ever been the least bit serious about writing knows, there’s always room for revision.

My last two days in Vegas were taken up with a good deal of running around, meeting various folks while also pursuing a particular writing project. The meetings were all fun and fruitful, and the project did get completed. All the back-and-forthing meant I didn’t get to play anymore poker after that brief session at the Gold Coast I wrote about yesterday. Though, to be honest, I wasn’t all that bummed about it.

You could say those last couple of days illustrated fairly clearly that when it comes down to it, I’m really more of a poker writer than a poker player. As much as I love to play, if given the choice, I have to admit I would rather write. Which is a good thing, as I’m probably better at writing than playing. I know my ROI tends to be better there.

The Center for Gaming Research, UNLVMet with David Schwartz early Friday afternoon over at the Center for Gaming Research at UNLV. Wound my way up to the third floor of the Lied Library where David and I spent a while talking about the CGR and its fellowship program. Then I spent an hour or so looking through their catalog and perusing the small part of the collection they have out on the shelves. Had numerous ideas for various poker-related writing projects, and would love to spend more time over there taking advantage of the Center’s resources.

Then, as I wrote about last week, I made it over to the Wynn later that afternoon to spend a couple of hours visiting with Dan Michalski (Pokerati, The Poker Beat). While waiting to make the connection, I spent a good while watching some poker at the Wynn poker room, which was especially active that afternoon.

Dan and I talked a lot about the blogging game, podcasts, and the upcoming WSOP. I shared with Dan some of what I have been thinking about lately with regard to the writing thing -- how it is starting to become much more than just a sideline and is in fact seriously threatening to take over as my primary occupation. Goes without saying that freelance writers -- in poker or anywhere -- face a lot of uncertainty, work-wise. Of course, these days most of us are facing a lot of uncertainty work-wise, but freelance writers probably a bit more than most, as jobs are usually short-term/temporary. And there’s the whole benefits thing to fret about, too.

So while I’m still not quite ready to chuck it all and give myself over to writing full time, I do know that when I’m writing I’m happy. And life is too short not to be happy as much as possible. As Justin Shronk says in answer to one of Matt Waldron’s Random Questions “What is the meaning of life in eight words or less?” -- “Don’t be sorry.” One shouldn’t spend the majority of it doing something that isn’t totally rewarding. And happy-making. Just because you’ve started down one path, life-wise, you don’t have to continue in that direction. There’s always room for revision.

I mentioned last week how I’d forgotten to take my cell phone to my meeting with Pokerati Dan, which led to some silliness as I tried to survive a couple of hours “off the grid.” Part of that writing project I mentioned above concerned me meeting up with someone for an interview, and all week I was basically worrying over whether or not that person would call me. So that was another reason why I was a little anxious about not having my phone with me for a while on Friday afternoon.

However, once I got it back there were no messages indicating I’d missed a call. Vera and I then met some dressage folks for dinner over at Caesars Palace. We ate at Wolfgang Puck’s Spago. As we had arrived about a half-hour before our reservation time, the group split up and sauntered around a bit, and at one point I had wandered into the nearby Apple store where I spent a little while goofing around with iPhones and laptops.

Shamus takes a callFor fun, I picked up one of the iPhones and dialed my cell, just to see if the iPhone was in fact working. My phone buzzed in my pocket, indicating that it was. I made a mental note that if ever I was stuck without my cell again, I could find the nearest Apple store and perhaps make a needed call there.

A little while later we were seated for dinner and my phone buzzed again. Perhaps it was the person whose call I’d been expecting. But when I looked my phone was just signalling to me I’d missed a call. I looked at the number and didn’t recognize it, but thought it very likely it was the all important call.

Dammit! How did I miss it? I basically fretted over it all through dinner and even into Saturday morning. Vera kept telling me not to worry about it, but I couldn’t help it. We were only going to be in Vegas for one more day, and it looked like I’d screwed up the project.

It was actually Saturday morning before it finally hit me. I realized who it was who had called from before.

It was me.

The call I’d missed had been the one I’d placed on the iPhone at the Apple store. Vera and I had a good laugh, enjoying the absurdity created by my absent-mindedness. Seemed a little symbolic, too, the idea of missing a call to oneself. What was it that I had wanted to tell me?

In any event, like I say, all turned out just fine as far as the meeting and writing project was concerned. And, as I mentioned in my post on Monday, Vera and I had a lot of fun at the Thomas & Mack on Saturday night watching the dressage final of the World Cup. Flew back Sunday and life resumed this week as scheduled.

It was definitely fun to get back to LV like that -- to think about last summer, and to consider what might lie ahead.

Speaking of, whaddya say we put a hold on all this navel gazin’ and start talkin’ WSOP here soon? (Is it really nearly a month away?) Stay tuned.

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3 Comments:

Blogger Drizztdj said...

If finances/family are not holding you back, I you've answered your own question.

Be happy and you deserve it.

Good luck if you take the jump.

4/27/2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger Short-Stacked Shamus said...

Thx, Drizz. Mebbe that's what I was calling myself about?

4/27/2009 6:20 PM  
Blogger Drizztdj said...

Indeed.

And who wouldn't jump at the chance to do something they are genuinely interested in?

Think I stare at a spreadsheet or a database in amazement? Hell no. For some strange reason I'll actually watch more online/live poker then play it.

Which is why I'm thankful for Otis in giving me the chance to earn some money writing about it.

I hope you do take the leap, even if its temporary, and soak up the things you write about here for lasting memories (good and bad).

4/28/2009 10:44 AM  

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