Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Today, in this sporadic little blog series, (apologies...tis the season of Backtoschool, and during Backtoschool, there volcano Kidsindenial always erupts) I'm going to take the cards so far and develop a storyline. A decidedly NOT urban fantasy one but I think you'll see how it can work. And, today's card is the 4 of cups.

6 of Cups : past dreams tested
TOWER : breakdown of structure
10 of Swords : difficulty at an end
3 of Wands/FOOL : new journey with potential and a risk
4 of Cups : dissatisfaction
Ooooo. Dissatisfaction. Sing with me, the old Rolling Stone's...Can't get no...dissatisfaction.
Yeah, silly. I know. But in a story, there has to be some bumps. If it's all happy-happy its probably a false--I mean embellished--autobiography. Conflict is interesting and character building because we see how the character deals with it. Stir things up!
Let's build this thing. (Build yours any way you want. Mine below are examples. Use your imagination!!!) First, I say I have a female protagonist. We'll call her Jane.
6 of Cups: Past dreams tested...let's give her a past that's decidedly NOT happy happy, but could have been. HER PAST: Jane was a dancer. She had great dreams, but she fell and badly broke her leg missing her Big Opportunity, and in the recovery months, she let it go due to depression, false friends, and parents who wanted her to be a nurse. She met a guy, Adam, we'll say a man with a high-stress job and a penchant for drinking too much. He's abusive.
TOWER: breakdown of structure Here, she sees an opportunity. The dance studio in town is hiring, or is for sale, for the owner sees her and, remembering how she used to dance, offers to let her take over, with the promise of selling it to her as this person is looking to retire... Jane tells Adam. He laughs at her. Tells her she's stupid for even thinking she'd know how to teach anyone to dance. (Maybe she still walks with a limp and a cane...) She hates him, but he is her only means of support because she never finished nursing school. She sees that she's stuck and prays for way out. A week later, he gets drunk and beats her up, bad. He says terrible things to her, demeaning things. He goes to get more liquor; is killed drunk driving.
10 of Swords: difficulty at an end Abusive Adam is dead. But she grieves him. And there was no insurance, no savings, no means to pay the mortgage. She considers the dance thing again. In the past weeks, the dance studio owner has suffered a heart attack. Is hospitalized, and not expected to recover. The studio is closed. Jane wants to re-open it, start her own cash-flow, but now there's no one to teach her the ropes and gradually let her take over. She wants to take action, to do something, but the evidence of Adam's abuse rises in her self-doubts as her own thoughts take on his voice "You're too stupid to make it work." etc.
3 of Wands/FOOL : new journey with potential and a risk Jane sees the means to make her future work in this dance studio. But she has no business sense, hasn't danced in years, and uses a cane now...how to instruct when she can't display the moves herself? She goes to the bank and works out the details of a loan to re-open the dance studio and use the house as collateral. The bank's loan officer takes the paperwork submitted and says they'll consider the loan, etc. She could lose her house if they accept and the studio doesn't work out.
4 of Cups : dissatisfaction Now, as this card is about emotional dissatisfaction, let's give her alot. Mwahahhahahahaaha! Another local person with serious clout, is revealed as wanting the dance studio space for his own, and he intends to make it a bar, or a strip club, or some other kind of establishment that is anti-kid, or un kid-friendly. This gives Jane another reason to fight, for the benefit of the kids at the studio, but this guy's clout makes him seem an obvious better choice by the bank. AND, let's say the bank's loan officer is an old flame of hers, who she is not interested in. He's married, has kids--daughters who used to be students atthe dance hall--and during the time filling out papers, he was making advances on her. She needs him to say yes to her loan...whatever will she do?
Heh heh heh heh. Ain't this fun?

Saturday, August 22, 2009


Okay, so I didn't call it Tarot as Story Prompts before, but dang it, I didn't plan this. It's just kinda happening so I'm rollin' with it. Hope it triggers some creativity in somebody out there!

So, if you haven't read the previous posts, go back and read them.Yes, in honor of back-to-school season, this is your homework. Go on. I'll be here when you get done. I'll play a game of 4 card Spider Solitare while I wait....

Oh, you're back. Good. You know the character you've started has had a rough patch. So what's next? Here's what we have today.

Three of wands.

and the Fool.

Why two? Because that's what I wanted. I drew one, then to clarify, drew another and combined them. When using the Tarot as prompts, as often in life, you do what works.

Let's say the 3 of Wands tells us that there is hard work ahead, that the foundation for this work is already complete, and some early success indicates this project has real potential. YAY! Happy things for this character. Then add in he Fool, which represents a new phase of life(works with the 3 of Wands), but the clarifying element here is this: this new phase of life is one that comes with a risk. It means your character has to jump into the journey whole-heartedly...yet this character can see how she (your character may be a he, but I'll use she pronouns here) is either going to land wonderfully, or trip over her own feet and look foolish.

The point is this: Regardless of the landing, she's jumped. The journey has begun.

Easy enough, right? Character has bad things happen, she deserves an upturn. But it's not all cake. Here's an opportunity to reinforce that character, to define her...after disclosing the pain of that falling Tower card, the character's risk here should hearken back to that time and bear a resemblance to it. Even better is if this moment can call her to prove that the lesson was learned, or show that it wasn't.

C'mon now, the creative wheels are turning. Get out your paper or a new document and start writing down some notes. Go back to the other posts and start building a character and her story. You might be surprised what you get.

I'm going to use an example in my next post, so stay tuned.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Ten of Swords + STORY PROMPT

The Ten of Swords is the card that indicated the end of some difficult situation is at an its ending point. The pain suffered through that ending is acknowledge here, but implies that the road before you--if you've learned what you were supposed to learn--can be travelled with less conflict.

Think about the previous post's card...the Tower. Did it inspire some character for you? What happens when that positive turn toward the goal is the painful falling of the Tower? Now...what happens when the smoke clears? What goal is left for that character? Get them started forward. And make us wonder if they've learned that lesson...

Monday, August 17, 2009


Recently, I posted on the Six of Cups. I said it was nostalgic, that sixes are about balance, and blah, blah blah. You should go re-read it because I am going to contrast it with today's card, the TOWER for a cool story prompt. I love doing this, and I thought it might be nice to share.

The Six of Cups "refers explicitly to the past, and of memories and good times experienced there." (I'm quoting the post because you likely didn't go and re-read it.)

Now, take todays card The Tower...

The handbook for the Mythic Tarot says, "...the Tower will fall anyway, whether we are willing or unwilling, not because some malicious external fate decrees it, but because something within the individual has reached boiling point and can no longer live within such confines."

The Six of Cups expresses a positive turn toward the goal... can that turn BE the falling of the Tower? What kind of story would that be and what kind of character would make that story interesting adn compelling?

Sunday, August 9, 2009


Go check out a post on Divination and a blurb at author Linda Hilburn's blog:


Leave a comment and you'll be in the drawing for a free signed book! Of course you'll have to check back Tuesday evening to see if you've won...

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Six of Cups

Sometimes a card comes up that just makes me go, "Huh." I guess I have been thinking about people, places, and experiences from my past, but I didn't think I was doing so with enough weight for it to influence the drawing of a card. At first glance, the 6 of Cups is nostalgic, and sixes are about balance, and good will.

But ata-tarot.com says more, and makes a LOT of sense to me now. Have to share.

"This card is the only one in the Tarot that refers explicitly to the past, and of memories and good times experienced there. After losses such as those on the Five [of Cups] we sometimes have to take a time out to heal, to look back on the past and all the good that lies there. And during such times it's never the right thing to focus on the negative, and that's why this card is so positive and full of light. The fallen cups are now full and upright again, but with blooming flowers that cannot be spilled or washed away. Now that you have looked back, maybe now the way will be clear to look forward." and "The Six of Cups almost radiates an aura of joy, because it represents the past with all its memories, the present with all its gifts, and the future with all its wondrous opportunities. It has ties to all kinds of pleasure, particularly sexual pleasure, but it can also refer to smaller, everyday pleasures. Simple gestures of affection, such as the gift of a cup pictured on the Rider-Waite version of this card, are still meaningful despite our modern world and its frantic pace. The Six of Cups can thus signal a gift given or received, or some other similar gesture."

Sometimes, the little things aren't so little.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Knight of Wands

I love this card. I just do. It's movement to me and if you know me, and read the ata-tarot meaning, you'll understand perfectly:

http://www.ata-tarot.com/ says: "There is no card in the Tarot that portrays such daring and enthusiasm as the Knight of Wands. His energy and courage are boundless, and he has no fear of anything; while this sometimes serves to get him into trouble, these are also the means by which he can free himself from any detrimental situation. There are few times when he does not move with the speed of a flash of lightning. When he rides into the area he always kicks up dust behind him..."

http://www.salemtarot.com/ says: "The energy of this card is that of action and movement. Harness this energy, but remember to “ground” yourself. You must think clearly to accomplish your goals. Don't get caught up in the situation: take time to think things through before you act."
I've recently harnessed the energy of the Knight for certain. Yesterday I cleaned up a storm, and didn't write one single word on the book. And it was nice. It felt good. (weird, huh?) I have to admit, my mind wanders as I'm running that vaccum, as I'm wiping down the microwave, changing bed sheets. What if Menessos did this? What if Johnny does that? And then the kids give me the "she's lost it" look when I chuckle to myself.
Sometimes, the best ideas blossom when your hands aren't poised over the keys, when you're not sedentary staring at the screen with just your mind racing. Sometimes, it's in the moving itself, like the mind has to move forward because the body is moving. It's not always about sitting in front of the computer.

Monday, August 3, 2009

I have been accused of...

...spoiling my kids. What do you think? Is turning their fenced play area into a mini-military base complete with Special Forces flag atop the command center and helmet-topped fence posts and camouflage flags the stuff of spoiling? We have signs to declare it Alpha Base but haven't yet put those up.

If those kids hadn't helped stir up the Quikrete for those fence posts (okay using the hose was the fun part of this) and hold the fencing while it was being nailed in, if they hadn't helped me shovel all the mulch (4 yards of it) into the wheel barrow to fill this area, if they weren't helping with the signs, if they hadn't held the nails and screws and stuff while I put up the flag holders and helmets (okay, so I think power tools are fun), then yeah, maybe they'd be spoiled. But they helped. And I learned I have some good workers.

It's worth it seeing them stalking around the yard with their nerf guns and light sabers (one or the other usually tucked down the the back of the their shirt-necks as if holstered or sheathed) fighting off some imagined beast with the other neighborhood boys and then suddenly everyone's swinging and sliding. Yeah. I have plenty of popsicles. :-)