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.
Monday, August 3, 2015
Short Fiction: The Seer
I have an ordinary name: Celia. And while I lead an ordinary life, if there truly is such a thing, I must admit to an extraordinary profession. Some might call me a psychic, but I like the term seer better. I see what my clients prefer not to see.
When a client walks into my place of business, they are left to idle in the reception area for a few minutes to contemplate the paintings on the wall and the sculptures and ceramics on the tables. There is soft background music and comfy chairs. I want to take down that wall that keeps them from seeing.
People come to me for various reasons—for help in finding something or someone, to seek guidance about career or relationships, or to make me look like a fool.
Today, into my office strolls a tall willowy young woman. In her early forties, I guess. Her attire is expensively simple: blue jeans; a loose, lacy white blouse; and knee-high leather boots. She could be a star on Housewives of Orange County. I note her long, polished finger nails; the tawny-streaked hair artfully tousled; and the bangle earrings. She has a cool, dry handshake that has no more strength than the fluttering of butterfly wings. A deep breath could blow her away if her over-sized breasts did not anchor her to the earth.
“My friends and I were at lunch,” she explains, pulling out a chair next to my claw-foot table. “We thought it would be fun to go to a psychic.” Her eyes settle on the candles, the crystal ball, and the deck of Tarot cards and her idea of fun and games seems to wane. I am aware of her chattering friends in the reception area and I realize she would not be here sitting before me if they had not pushed her into coming.
“These are just tools.” I seat myself across from her. “There is no magic or anything to fear in them. They merely act as triggers for the sixth sense, which we all possess if we choose to use it. Sometimes I hear a voice, sometimes I see an image, other times I have a feeling in my gut.”
She folds her hands in her lap and looks down.
“I usually start with a few moments of silent meditation and then you can tell me how I can be of service to you.”
I close my eyes. “Divine Spirit show us your love and wisdom. Open our hearts and minds to your truth.” I bow my head and pray to see this woman and her life. Already I know I must tread carefully because she is a fragile soul. I listen to her soft breathing. She is nervous, troubled.
When I finally open my eyes, I reach for the Tarot deck.
“Do you read palms?”
“Sometimes,” I reply, “but I usually prefer Tarot. It is easier for the spirits to communicate with me through the cards.”
I place the deck in her hands and tell her to shuffle them several times.
I take the deck back when she is through. “What would you like to know?”
“Well, I guess I’d like to know where I go from here. I’m feeling kind of lost and I can’t seem to focus on anything. My doctor prescribed Paxil for me, but it makes me feel emotionally numb. Like my feet are stuck in quicksand.”
“Let’s begin with a Celtic spread to orient myself.” I shuffle through the cards until one by one, they present themselves to me and I lay them out. I stare at the cards for some time. I point out each card and the meaning of its placement in the spread and its relationship to other cards. She nods but seems confused. “All these cards have a very important message for you.”
She is listening.
“You must find your purpose in life. Embrace the discipline of doing something meaningful and challenging.”
“What should I do? I don’t seem to have enough time as it is to take care of my family and home.”
I hear the hollow echo of untruth in her words. “No, you must go deep into your heart and ask yourself what you can give to the world. You will be unhappy until you can answer that question. Also, you need to learn to be more organized.”
She gives me this helpless look. This is not what she was expecting from a reading.
“I know this is not an easy task for you, but you must do it for your happiness and for the happiness of your family. Get a job or go back to school. Learn to meditate. Learn to schedule your activities and responsibilities.”
“My husband is so stressed out. What should I do about that?”
“Learn to be more independent. Again, find your purpose.”
“What kind of lives will my children have?”
I close my eyes. I am seeing too much. “Provide them with love and the discipline of a well-run household. But most of all find your purpose. You must find yourself first in order to be the best wife and mother.”
She sighs. She does not like the homework assignment I have given her. She is afraid of the world. It is a hard journey to embark on when you’ve neglected your soul for so long. I look into her clear blue eyes and I know she will lose her husband if she cannot change. I cannot tell her she risks losing the respect of her children.
“Do you believe in reincarnation?” she asks.
“Yes, although I don’t give it much thought. My focus is on the here and now, but truly it seems to me the past, the present, and the future are all happening at the same time.”
She frowns. “Do you do past life readings?”
“Not usually. It takes a lot of energy—yours, mine. What would you do with the information if you had it?”
She gives me a blank look.
“Through prayer and love, you can break the bonds of any karmic debt. Keep your focus on the here and now and the discipline your soul must exercise.” I am not reaching her.
She fidgets in her chair.
“Start by learning to meditate and asking your spirit guides for their help.” Before my eyes, I see a man who has grown weary and impatient. Her neediness has exhausted him.
“Your husband is tall and dark, yes? Handsome?”
“I see that he is standing on the threshold waiting for you. If you love him, you will make the necessary changes in your self. You have beautiful children that require the strength and wisdom of your guidance.”
She shrugs and smiles.
“Do not fail in the task before you.” I feel the weight of the anguish and despair that is going to be hers if she cannot see the man standing on the threshold of decision.
Click on photo to go to: http://www.lindakatmarian.com
Dreaming of Laughing Hawk
DREAMING OF LAUGHING HAWK is the story of Elizabeth Leigh, a young woman who leaves behind the ashes of her unhappy, Midwestern upbringing for a new life in California. But it’s 1964 and neither the turbulent times nor the people in Elizabeth Leigh’s life make a Cinderella ending possible—least of all, a quicksand character like Mark Laughing Hawk. Available on Amazon.