Is It Written in the Stars? Or Maybe on a Popsicle Stick?


This morning I scrolled through Facebook’s conga line of cupcakes, roses, chocolate-covered strawberries, love letters, and jewelry. My favorite post was from a friend from junior high. She and her husband gave each other the same singing lemur card. ?! Seriously, that is true love. I hope everyone had a nice day today, regardless of his or her feelings about candy hearts and sonnets. Personally, my husband and I don’t celebrate Valentine’s Day because—let’s see, how may I put this most cheesily?—because our love has no calendar. Nailed it.

Instead, I chose to spend the day contemplating the future of a different relationship in my life, the one between myself and my unfinished novel.

When it comes to research, I have a plethora of reference materials at my disposal (Dictionary, Thesaurus, Atlas, Writer’s Market, Internet, Magic 8 Ball, Tarot Cards, Fortune-Telling Sticks, Spell Book…) and I use them all equally.


I’ve always loved fortune-telling paraphernalia. My cousin Kelley and I used to enjoy getting advice from the gods of fate so much that we’d make up our own procedures for consulting them. One way was through poetry. We both had a lot of poetry books, which are full of wisdom. One cousin would call the other cousin and say, “I’ve got a question!” The other cousin would collect five poetry books and say, “Ok, pick a number between one and five.” After selecting the book, the page number, and the line of the poem (all sight unseen, of course) we would have our answer… more or less.

Cousin #1 – “Ok, got it. What was your question?”

Cousin #2 – “Is (current crush) going to kiss me tonight?”

Cousin #1 – “Your answer says, ‘All the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and miseries.’”

Cousin #2 – “So… maybe?”

Later we started creating our own fortune-telling devices. Cousin Kelley made cards and a box of cookie-like fortunes, while I made journals and popsicle sticks. No question was safe around these items. Should I have chocolate for lunch?  Who will be my next door neighbor in ten years? What is my dog thinking right now?  Why are there so many balloons on the ceiling at HEB? The truth was out there. Sometimes REALLY out there.

So anyway, today in a bout of super-procrastination unseen in this house for days, I decided to consult ALL of the fortune-telling references at my disposal about the future of my novel and my writing career.

Here’s how it went.

Good News / Bad News

I started with the basics, and pulled a cookie-style fortune out of the box.

Not a bad start. 🙂

Next came the fortunes-on-a-stick, both store-bought and homemade. They were less encouraging.

fortune sticks
But I wear purple a lot…

Then it was the Magic 8 Ball’s turn, and let me tell you, he was in a GOOD mood today!

  • “Will I finish my novel by June?” It is certain.
  • “Will it be good?” As I see it yes.
  • “Will I get an agent in the next six months?” Outlook good.
  • “Will I make money from my book?” Without a doubt.
  • “Will I become a super-famous YA author someday?”
Well, ok then!

Buoyed by the 8 Ball’s positivity, I consulted two different homemade fortune-telling journals that I made a decade apart.


I asked the big orange one to give me its best writing advice and turned to page 96.


I asked the smaller journal what my writing career will be like five years from now and randomly chose page 68.

I chose pasta. Underneath it said, "Keep going."
I chose pasta. Underneath it said, “Keep going.”

Next I checked in with the homemade tarot cards my cousin Kelley gave me. I asked them, “What are three things I need to succeed at writing?”

So I need liberation, a sensitive soul, and a drink. Sounds about right.
So I need liberation, a sensitive soul, and a drink. Sounds about right.

Last, but certainly not least, I did a tarot reading with my deck of Halloween Tarot cards. These cards are the real thing. I can always count on them to tell me the truth, whether it’s what I want to hear or not. There’s also a good story about how I aquired them. You can read about it here. (And, if you keep reading further down that page to the note from February 10, 2010, you’ll also learn why I chose not to consult the “Black Cat Fortune-Telling Game” that cousin Kelley gave me for my birthday a few years ago. That one is MEAN.)

The Halloween Tarot, though, is not mean. It’s honest. And it did not disappoint.


I won’t bore you with the details of the full tarot reading. Some of it is personal anyway. The gist is that I’m on the right track. My goal is clear and I know the risks. Other people may not fully understand what I’m doing or why, but that’s ok, because writing is an individual journey and one that is sometimes hard to define. All I know right now is that I’m happy, and I think my novel and I have a future together.


[ To purchase one of my homemade fortune-telling devices, visit my Etsy store, Pumpkins & Poetry.]

Published by Carie Juettner

Carie Juettner is a former middle school teacher and the author of The Ghostly Tales of New England, The Ghostly Tales of Austin, The Ghostly Tales of Burlington, and The Ghostly Tales of Dallas in the Spooky America series by Arcadia Publishing. Her poems and short stories have appeared in publications such as The Twin Bill, Nature Futures, and Daily Science Fiction. Carie lives in Richardson, Texas, with her husband and pets. She was born on Halloween, and her favorite color is purple.

8 thoughts on “Is It Written in the Stars? Or Maybe on a Popsicle Stick?

  1. I really enjoyed this. It was very funny and inspiring. The idea of a relationship with your novel is genius, and all your fortune-telling paraphernalia, the homemade stuff in particular, is awesome! I thought I was the only person who consults Tarot about writing. lol

    1. Thanks, A.B. I thought I was the only one too! Ha. Here, I’ll ask the fortunes-on-a-stick to give you a little advice for your writing this week. Hang on… It says, “People like you just the way you are.” 🙂 And I swear I didn’t keeping picking until I got a good one!

  2. Apologies if this seems lurkish and stalkery (not to mention procrastinatory), but I reread this when I saw your reply to the review for the Poet Tarot. I must say I enjoyed it even more this time around since I now know understand the true depths of your awesomeness, and I cannot believe I wasn’t more excited by the fact that you also read tarot! Anyway, my real reason for replying to this–a second time–was to let you know that I would like, for my next writer-care-package, my own Fortune Journal or Fortunes-on-a-Stick. I promise to cherish them and use them daily! Okay, no. Seriously. I’m going to write now, dammit.

  3. Cool! I was wondering if it would be okay to consult more than one fortune-telling device in a day! Obviously it’s okay! Do you have any homemade fortune thingees left? I’d love to have one! Thanks!

    1. Of course it’s ok! Sometimes you have to just keep asking until you get an acceptable answer. 😉 And I do still have some homemade Fortunes on a Stick. If you like some (and if you live in the US) they’re yours! Just send me an email with the address details.

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