Recently I was at a dinner party where one of the guests, a medium and healer, offered to read Tarot cards. I'd never participated in this kind of thing before and found it very interesting. We were each advised to shuffle the cards and then cut the deck into four piles while thinking of a question. The question I framed in my thoughts was, “Should I finish the book I'm working on?”
The book in question is a thriller along the lines of the other ones I've written over the years. But even though I've already written a good deal of the book, I'd been having a lot of trouble with it and was starting to think it just wasn't going to work out, I decided to let the mysterious Tarot cards tell me what to do–though I didn't necessarily intend to follow their advice. After all, as Alice would say, “Who cares for you? You're nothing but a pack of cards!”
Anyway, the medium drew the top four cards from the deck and told me I was going in the wrong direction and needed a change of perspective. When she was not entirely satisfied with what she was getting, I prompted her by asking my question out loud. At that point, she elaborated that the book I was writing needed to be rethought, and that I should step back, look at it from a new perspective, and try a different approach, or I would be unhappy with the results.
Of course, you could say that the initial answer was too vague to be meaningful, and that the second answer was tailored to the information I had provided. Nevertheless, I couldn't disagree with the answer I got, so I decided to take it as a legitimate message. Regardless of where it came from, it still felt right to me.
But that left me with a dilemma. It's easy enough to talk about taking a step back from the project and coming up with a new approach, but it's a lot harder to actually do it. I spent a good deal of time over the next couple of days trying to see the book in a new light, filling many pages of a notebook with ideas on how to rethink the story, and basically beating my head against the wall, without anything to show for it except a pounding skull. I reached the point where I just couldn't stand to think about it anymore. I was exhausted, discouraged, and thoroughly sick of the book.
So then I tried something new. I addressed any spiritual entities that might be responsible for the Tarot card message, and I did so in rather impolite terms. “Okay, you guys,” I said, “you're telling me I need to rethink the book, but you're not giving me any help. I need some new ideas here, or a new point of view, and obviously I can't do it on my own, so it's up to you. If you really want me to do this damn book, you're going to have to figure it out for me, because I am done. You got that? I've had it. I'm tired and I'm going to bed, so if you want this stupid book to ever get written, then you guys show me how to do it. Otherwise, just shut up about it.”
With that tirade out of the way, I did indeed go to bed. And as I lay there in the dark, it all came to me–a new structure for the story that would solve the plot problems that bothered me, make the characters more interesting, and provide a smoother narrative flow. I can't say exactly how it came to me–I don't really remember–but I think I saw the pieces of the story rearranging themselves into a new and more pleasing pattern. I do remember thinking that maybe I should get up and write it all down before I forgot it, but then I decided I probably wouldn't forget, so I just went to sleep.
The next morning, I remembered all of it quite clearly and wrote it down, filling four notebook pages . What I had was a drastically revised synopsis of the early and middle parts of the novel–the problematic areas. Of course, the actual book still remains to be written, or rewritten, but the basic story seems to work now, and it didn't work before.
Did the Tarot cards really send me a message, or did I just hear what I wanted to hear? Did some higher spiritual entity–a guardian angel, or my higher self–provide me with the solution to my creative block, or was it the workings of my subconscious mind? And does it even matter, as long as I got the answer I needed?
I don't know, but to be on the safe side, I apologized to my spirit pals. “Sorry I was rude to you last night. I can get a little impatient about these things. Thanks for coming through for me!”