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