Technical writers or non fiction writers scribble to pay the bills and for the love of the analytical or the exercise of truth or deception.

Fiction authors write to illuminate their world or escape it.

Whichever kind of writer, it's all about staying alive and helping or entertaining others.

The Writing Life

Like most writers, I have a love of reading and the power of words. When I was younger, I read everything I could get my hands on, but I don’t consider myself well read. I consumed books like a starved person, so quickly I hardly knew what I had read. By some strange process of osmosis, I learned from everything I read, but I cannot give you an erudite discussion of characters, plots, or authors. I can only tell you it’s lodged some where in the core of my being and informs my writing.

In addition to reading, I’ve spent a life time writing---from that first elementary school composition to my college days when I studied French literature and wrote explications de texte. Along the way, I fell into technical writing--to put food on the table and pay bills. In the 90s, I had the good fortune to take a dialog class with Sol Stein, former owner of Stein & Day publishers in New York and a prolific author. That led to his California-based writers’ group, Chapter One. It was a rigorous, ego-bruising experience, but I was intent on learning everything I could about fiction writing. A few years ago, I also had the good fortune to study with another writer, Louella Nelson, an experienced romance writer and teacher of fiction writing. She provided a different perspective and balance to my writing.

My novel, DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK, a mainstream, Sixties era novel, is available on Amazon in print and ebook (also available in Canada, Europe, Japan, and Brazil). Download a free sample. If you like it, I hope you'll download the book and post a review on Amazon.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Tarot Tale #1

I decided it's time to start a second novel. I have no idea where this second novel will take me, but I am beginning with a little research on Tarot and then waiting to see what characters show up. Maybe no one will show up. Much like Dreaming of Laughing Hawk, I expect the characters to determine the story. I try not to intervene. Have you ever met parents who forced their children down certain paths and intervened whenever their offspring got in trouble? I have always believed that children and characters in stories should have as much freedom as they are capable of handling in determining their path in life. The best thing you can do for anyone is to provide them with basic survival skills and a moral compass. They will grow in ways you never anticipated and fascinate you with their choices.

So to begin. Tarot cards. There is much speculation about their origin. No one knows for sure. The most likely story is that somewhere back in the middle of the fifteenth century, an artist named Bonifacio Bembo painted images for an Italian card game called Tarocchi. The deck of cards consisted of four suits of fourteen cards each, plus twenty-two trump cards that depicted different medieval scenes. At some point in time, these cards were adopted by gypsies for the purpose of fortunetelling. Over the ages, people have used many things for divining--sticks, stones, animal innards, the palms of hands, tea leaves, astrological charts, bumps on the head. You name it; it's been tried. There is nothing magical about tarot cards, except perhaps one thing. They have the uncanny ability to circumvent the rational mind and tap into the intuitive mind. They act as a trigger, allowing your brain to conjure up its own magic.

In general, Tarot decks consist of 78 cards comprised of four suits. There are hundreds of different Tarot decks. Most of them are based on the traditional Rider-Waite pack, but each artist brings his own perspective to the traditional meanings that have been established for the cards. People collect these cards for their artistry as well as their contemplative and intuitive purposes. The four suits are earth, wind, water and fire. Some decks call theses suits Pentacles, Swords, Cups, and Wands. Still others choose different names, but they all refer to the physical elements, thoughts, emotions, and passion. The stuff of life. These four suits are referred to as the Minor Arcana (or mysteries). The numbered cards represent advancement, a step-by-step progression of knowledge and mastery. The Court cards tell stories, present a personality or role. The 22 cards of the Major Arcana depict higher truths or soul issues.

There are many books that give a good introduction to Tarot. My favorite is A Magical Course in Tarot by Michele Morgan. It is very well written and it is playful. Playful is what an author needs to be to invite new characters and their stories.

Let's begin with a journey through the Major Arcana and see who or what turns up. The first card of the Major Arcana is the Fool. Stay tuned and feel free to add your own comments as we go along. If you have ever used Tarot cards, share your experiences.

1 comment:

  1. Nice blog! I found your great blog through the WLC Blog Follows on the World Literary Cafe. Great to connect!
    --Jan Moran, author, at JanMoran dot com