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Onward! to NaNoWriMo 2016

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Most writers already know, NaNoWriMo is right around the corner. I’ve had a few conversations about this with a friends already. General consensus: we’re all going to attempt it this year, regardless of that other pressing project in the works.

Last year, I completed From the Other Seat for Nano. It was challenging and rewarding and I’m thankful to have done it. This year, I’m still working on From the Other Seat. While I did send it off to an editor I found over at Reedsy and while I’ve been sharing plenty of sample chapters over at Scriggler, with this book in particular, I think the content was, and possibly still is, too close to me to be editing at this juncture. Even though I’ve been editing for a year (jeeze, that sounds bad), in truth I should have followed the advice of Stephen King and stuck it in a drawer for 6 months to 2 years. I didn’t because I didn’t have another project to focus on (which is healthy practice and prevents oneself from getting exhausted by the first book.)

I’m opting to set aside From the Other Seat to participate in Nano this year and I think this will be precisely what the doctor ordered.

Which brings me to this spread. I asked the tarot where I’m at in my writing process. I did a three card spread because I drew The Eight of Swords first. This is where I’m at in the process, for sure, but that’s certainly no solution, so I drew the two others, The Two of Pentacles and The Page of Swords, as clarifiers- and how clear that message became!

It’s helpful to know that swords represent any process of the mind, thoughts and feelings that we internalize, but they also represent communication- writing in particular. They’re usually somewhat negative cards just because, you know, knives are sharp and dangerous. Cutting words, devious and harmful thoughts, cold maneuvers, logical love- these are things swords can represent. (They have good qualities too, depending on the card; bravery or decisiveness, for instance.)

In this case (and I’m strictly consulting my own intuition here) I see The Eight of Swords as me, surrounded by my pages. I’m bound up and I got that blindfold on because, like I said, at this point those pages are too close to me, I can’t see my way through them, I can’t editing my way out of them blind. They’re making me feel stormy and trapped which isn’t helpful to me or the book. So a choice emerges, The Two of Pentacles. I’ve an opportunity to balance the situation, and I’ve got to. Notice the grey sky has turned blue, and that blue is then mirrored in the the tunic of the The Page of Swords who comes rushing in with an exciting new idea, a bold and decisive direction – a youthful one – but fresh, nonetheless.

So there you have it. I will most definitely stick From the Other Seat in a theoretical drawer and rush forward with a new book for National November Writing Month!

What will I be writing about this year? I want to give myself a little more freedom, magic up my environments. I think it will be a love story, it could turn out to be a tragedy, but it will most likely be realistic with an element of magic to blur the lines a bit. Nothing original in that simple description, no. I can think of handful of writers that regularly do this type of writing, but it is my perspective and my writing style that needs to set me apart. I’m thinking of mermaids, longing, new lands, love and loss. I’m thinking, dry indie films and exotic records. I’m thinking of an interview I recently read in Playboy Magazine between James Franco and Maggie Gyllenhall and this bit that I found highly intriguing (quote below):

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Gyllenhaal: An actress said to me two days ago, “I’ve been getting so scared when it comes time for my close-up. I’m paralyzed with fear.” From my objective position, I was like, “You’re playing someone who is acting like they’re comfortable with the wildest sexual encounters. It is so much more interesting if that person sometimes is paralyzed with fear.” I don’t believe in the fantasy person who is totally comfortable with that kind of stuff. Maybe there are a couple of people like that in the world, but I’m not really interested in them. I’m much more interested in the person who acts like they’re comfortable with all those things and then sometimes is paralyzed with fear.

And I’ll leave you with MaJLo “Another Day” mostly because I love this song like it was my own heart beating, but also because he offers another glimpse into the setting of my upcoming NaNoWriMo adventure. MaJLo is based near Gdansk, Poland. That’s all I’m going to say about that.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

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Bogged Down by Backstory

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The Fool lays back to gaze up at the stars. “They’re so beautiful,” he said, “but so distant.”

“Like possible futures,” agrees the girl. “Cool and distant. Yet if you keep one in sight, it can guide you to your destination no matter how far away it is.” – www.aeclectic.net

 

A few days ago I woke up with an epiphany, the clearest direction I’ve felt with my book since I started writing it during NaNoWriMo last year. I know where I want it to go. I know what I want it to be. Problem is, I still don’t know how to take it there.

See, this project started as a memoir. Like my songwriting, I never had a knack for making stuff up. Every lyric I wrote, every word I committed to page had to be true, as in, I had to of lived it. So I wrote what I knew, I wrote what I lived. Within that, I began to see another story- the same story, but like, the essence of it- the folk tale version. “If I tweak this here, rearrange that, there,” I thought, “I’d really have a novel on my hands.”

While I’m not afraid to sensationalize details, I’m morally conflicted about fictionalizing large portions of my manuscript. But the story I want to write, calls for it. If I’m to tell a tale with any lasting affect on the soul, it needs to be “surrealized” a bit.

The Star - Da Vinci Tarot

The Star – Da Vinci Tarot

And with this in mind, I shuffled my tarot deck and The Star popped out. I’m not at home, so again, I’m using an image from a deck that’s not my own, but I love the story of The Star.

Ruled by Aquarius, which always has the future in mind, The Star whispers the hope of possibility. It’s not a guaranteed fate, but a damn strong sign that good things are on the horizon so long as you keep your eye on whatever goal you’ve set up for yourself; the aim, the idea, the beacon.

When I started writing From the Other Seat, I’d written in little to no personal backstory. Rather, it was simply meant to be a book about a struggling musician who has a type of spiritual awakening through an unlikely source, the game of baseball. Could have been any musician. Then, I sent it to a few people to read and similar comments came back. They wanted to know more about me, where I had come from, my music story. Reluctantly, I began the tedious task of writing personal backstory.

I do see how this aids my character, puts me in context, gives other chapters more weight, but now I feel chained to it. Not only do I feel the backstory needs to stay, but I also feel it’s the one thing preventing me from pushing my manuscript to its full potential. In other words, shit got too real and I don’t know how to make it fake.

Making it fake should be easy, and it is when I fictionalize aspects of other characters, but my backstory feels impenetrable, stubborn as kryptonite.

Could it be a pride issue? An incredible need for people to know what really happened? As if I’ll start to disappear like Marty McFly if I don’t tell the whole tale exactly how it was.Will I disappear? It’s that back story, the real story, that built this tale. Fictionalized, sensationalized, without that backstory, there wouldn’t be a story. Yet I have this star in mind, this distant goal I’m trying to reach with my story and my gut tells me, that’s the story I need to tell.

“The Star offers no guarantees, of course, that the traveler won’t tire and give up or be lured in another direction. And there is no telling what obstacles they’ll encounter along the way. All the Star promises is that a particular future can exist.” – www.aeclectic.net

 

With that, I’ll leave you with Isaac Tichauer’s “Doing What I Got” because I feel like it’s my soundtrack this week. “I’m just trying to be G, doing what I got to do. People think that I’m just sitting on top of the world.” Props to Brandy on the original.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

On writing: Using sadness to your benefit

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I’ve been away in mind, waiting for the shift in the season, the shift in the cosmos to give me back a little energy; revive me or destroy me, but floating here feels like swords to the soul.

Truth be told, I avoided a post last week thinking I might be in a better state of mind this week, a better place with my book, a better mood for sharing. Whether or not I am isn’t an excuse to remain at a stalemate. If the outward aspects of my life aren’t planning on moving forward anytime soon at least I can attempt to push my mind past this place of numbness.

Over the weekend, I was able to dedicate one whole day to the writing/editing process. In that day, I worked on one chapter. One chapter, and it’s not like I even changed that much. I read it, edited and edited again and again. One word here, cut and paste there. Delete, delete, edit undo. Two new words. Two steps forward, three steps back. That is how it went.

It was a process that rolled on for hours, about 6, until the sun went down and I realized I hadn’t eaten. And while the work on that chapter felt like torture, in the end, it was better than it had been.

It’s with this state of being that I share this card, drawn digitally because I’m not at home by my own deck.

The Three of Swords is a card that tends to strike sadness in the heart of those who receive it. Three knives piercing a heart. It’s a painful present, but with sword energy at least we can rest assured it won’t last. Maybe a painful situation is coming, maybe it’s already here, all the same, there’s lessons to learn in the Three of Swords and as horrible as it may feel, as frustrated and as stuck, it’s still energy that can be utilized.

Writing in this state of mind rather than using it as an excuse not to write can be a moving experience.

The Three of Swords is where I’m at in my heart, it’s where I’m at in my life, it’s where I’m at in my memoir. Heartbreaking moments abound, but I’m using this instead of succumbing to it. And so far, it’s working out well. Hasn’t been fun, but it’s working out.

The image I used is from a deck called The Fountain Tarot. What I love about it is that it’s one of the more hopeful renditions of the Three of Swords that I’ve seen. Notice the rainbow reflected in the heart? There’s a silver lining to everything, a positive way to flip even the darkest emotions. A reminder that hope is right around the corner. Everything is transitory. These painful emotions need to happen just like the feel-good ones. That’s just life.

So, there you have it- a short blog, but it’s about all the heart space I can spare right now.

This may seem like random advice, but I feel compelled to share it: don’t be afraid to cut away what is no longer serving you, whether you want to apply that to your book or your personal life, start making some clean cuts. In light of the Three of Swords, cut away three things that are confusing your plot. Cut away three paragraphs, three sub-characters, three words. And if you feel you are cutting too much, do not fear. In life we need to completely separate from the old to make way for the new. Cut away all those things that have been holding you back. Burn them, trash them, block them and never look back.

That said, once you do and you’re feeling a little like you miss it, them, those– capture that feeling and fucking use it. 

Cry over your words, pour your soul out on that paper, over those keys; get deep, allow your heart to break fully and completely. At the end of that, there you will find the rainbow.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

 

 

 

Put your best long-term plan, forward

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

Queen of Pentacles/Queen of Wands

This week The Queen of Pentacles (coins, that is) and the Queen of Wands pop out to say, “Stop dreaming. It’s time for action; slow and methodical, tactical, long term, but with gusto!” Practicality with style and flair, that’s what this queen combination is. Grounded AND on fire, that’s what I am… er.. they are… er… their message, here to remind- these are the energies we should be harnessing right now.

They are a perfect representation of my swift decision to buy an Ergonomic Split Keyboard. I mean, it wasn’t a big ticket item, but the point is, I didn’t even have to think about the cost- it was of no significance compared to the wear and tear on my hands- my hands which are currently my only vehicle to the outside world; my hands campaigning my purpose, my livelihood.

Ok, so here we go. Right. My mess of a station. OMG. So many things my fingers have to push.

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Microsoft Natural Ergonomic 4000

Notice the size difference between the two keyboards? Holy Hell. That’s what I said when I took it out of the box. This thing needs a duffel bag to carry it. It’s far too big for a backpack.

Wishing I spent a little more time researching and maybe any time at all with checking measurements, but whatever. Here it is. I’m typing on it now. It’s weird and I keep making massive amounts of typos, but what you don’t see is how it raises in the back and has an ever-so-soft pad to support my wrists. THAT feature is currently saving my life, i.e. my hands.

Not sure if I’ll keep this beast. If any of you readers have a suggestion for a better keyboard, please leave it in the comments. I was hoping for something I could travel with. Something that was natural to type on. This thing feels like learning all over again. It’s not very intuitive and I just… I’m not sold.

Anyway, this post is getting away from me.

Harness the power of these two queens this coming week, you’ll need them. These two are my favorite queens and together they are quite potent. I identify with these two most, or maybe I idolize them- whatever, No matter. They are Her; confident in thy economic standing. And Her; sure of thy place in the world.

Risks no longer apply to these queens. The are not struggling. They are simply saying, “You have the means- no question. No worry. Step out into the world and own it.”

On a very serious note, if you’ve been lost in illusion, connections coming and going; you feel more tired, something is aching, you feel lost and confused- that’s just your body adjusting to the changing times. We’re all going to come out of this OK.

October will feel more clear. We will all know where we’re going and who we’re taking with us.

Go get a massage. Pamper yourself. Don’t worry about the cost. It’s of no consequence. You need this.

For the musical selection this week, a track that took off like a rocket and gained a whole lot of traction on the way. Join your fellow recluse and dance like no one’s watching to Oliver Nelson ft. Kaleem Taylor – Ain’t A Thing.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

Scriggler: the “Soundcloud” of writing platforms

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Robin Wood Tarot: Ace of Cups

Thy cup runneth over!

In the context of this blog, when I pull a card I’m thinking about some aspect of the writing process. What I’ve been stuck on lately is time. Seems like I haven’t enough of it, like I’m scrambling, yet I’m paired with this feeling of floating in some stagnant abyss, bored and barely moving.

Ace of cups is a card of fulfillment, conception, socializing, love, having all your emotional needs met. This card is the harbinger of joy. This card says, good times are coming. It says, things are getting done, even when we don’t feel like they are; all those efforts are adding up, filling your cup, and they’ll pay off.

That’s why I’ve been sharing sample chapters lately. When I’m feeling stuck, it’s helpful to change gears and ready something for public viewing, to put my foot down on over-editing and say, “Hey, this is done enough for feedback. Submit, walk away and move on.”

Things don’t have to be so official, they just need to be alive, living, as in- you’ve got to share it, get it out of your mind, off your own computer, out of those disorganized chapter files and let it breath in fresh air, under fresh eyes that are not your own. The hope is, by watching how people respond to this or that chapter, you’ll know better what to keep, what to expand on, what to throw away.

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Sharing could change the direction of your story, give you new ideas where to take your characters, and inevitably, your readers.

Sharing takes bravery. It means that you’re opening yourself up to a world of strangers; a wealth of others’ thoughts and emotions. And what a wonderful world-wide-web that sharing has been made so easy, that there are various platforms out there to aid us.

For me, that platform is Scriggler.

If you aren’t privy to the site yet and you’re a writer who’s in love with words and simplicity; maybe you want to share but your blog doesn’t get much traction and all those other sites just confuse the process, distract you further- Scriggler may be for you.

Having tried to integrate myself with Medium in the past, I knew what I did and didn’t want in a writing platform. What I didn’t want, was super shiny and official. I didn’t want it to look like a news feed. I didn’t want to be drawn into others’ stories (even though that’s an important part of it) but right now I’m just thinking of the writing process, my process, and I need to strip away all the distractions. I downloaded Scrivener (helpful software for organizing a manuscript) about the same time I signed up at Scriggler for much the same reason- I wanted something that aided the writer, spoke to the writer, fed the writer, encouraged the writer. Writing is about writing, aesthetics be damned; functionality, yes, but save me the distracting package.

So what is Scriggler?

Scriggler is a cultural, political and intellectual melting pot – a place for exchanging not only stories and poetry, but also ideas, perspectives.

It came about nearly 3 years ago today as an experiment, a concept fueled by founder Dmitry Selemir’s own need for a writing platform that simply didn’t exist yet. His inspiration? Soundcloud.

This was surprising information for me, a musician and a music blogger. Soundcloud is a platform I use daily and currently, can’t think what I would do without it. Their model has changed the way digital music is shared; redefined the industry for a whole crop of aspiring artists, listeners, bloggers, and the like. Knowing this now, I’m not surprised why I was so drawn to Scriggler’s platform.

Translate the Soundcloud model into something suitable for writers sharing their work, and that might be a way to view Scriggler.

Scriggler‘s interface charmed me immediately- a white page with random scribbles on it. Posts are simple squares that arrange themselves in the center of the home feed. When others post a piece of literature (story, opinion, poem, essay, whatever) only the pertinent details are visible: the title, the author, the tags, the views. There are no images to pull you in, initially. You won’t even find the traditional “following for following” set up. Scriggler is organized to “foster interactions around the content,” says Dmitry, who went an atypical route with Scriggler’s launch; bypassed media coverage, publicity, and simply, shared. And while they’ve gone through many changes in the past two years, it was this initial act in vulnerability that has gotten them where they are.

 

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Scriggler founder, Dmitry Selemir

“In part this was perhaps due to lack of experience,” admits Dmitry, “in part – we wanted to get something out there, test it with the real users and hone in on the formula that would really work.”

And things are still changing. Dmitry has modest expectations about what the platform is and where it may go, but he also has a grand dream, that it solidifies itself as a launching pad for writers finding their way in the digital world; that it remains a place writers stay for years, life even. In this way, Scriggler hopes to build a solid community, shape the future of a global collective of writers.

What’s the big difference between Scriggler and everyone else?

It’s all run by the audience. There’s no editorial staff making any attempts to flavour what gets promoted. “Everything is less driven by the topic or genre or locality and more by what material you interacted with positively,” says Dmitry.

And it has to be mentioned that Scriggler operates on a fraction of a fraction of the small change left after Medium’s budget. “It makes it more difficult to build new things,” Dmitry says, “but at the same time we are accountable to our members alone and not to our investors (since we don’t have any).”

They have just added a donate button, letting those who use and appreciate Scriggler be the ones who make it a better place to be.

For readers heading to Scriggler to discover new writings, the experience is a little like records hunting. It takes work, but finding that gem is totally worth it.

But here’s the real clincher that sets Scriggler apart:

For writers, they do something that no other platform ever has – they promote every work you upload, personally, on twitter – sometimes twice.

For an introvert like me, self promotion has always been my biggest challenge. For my blog that maybe reaches a handful of people, posting my work does little for number of views. So going from 4 views to over 300 is HUGE. Not just huge for gaining an audience, but MASSIVE for confidence levels- those necessary doses of encouragement every writer thrives on.

But it can’t be all on Scriggler. Think of them like that Ace of Cups, a helping hand, filling you with the tools to progress even further on your path to, what Dmitry likes to call, “authorpreneur”.

To maximize your experience on Scriggler?

Content strategy.

“Think through your content strategy and make sure that while your posts are not pure promotion – it’s still easy for people to follow up, go to your website or blog, see your other publications and books, sign up to your newsletter etc.”

The other big thing is engaging, which can be a struggle for many of us already pressed for time, but one cannot receive without giving. Engaging leads us to knew avenues, new connections.

A key piece of advice is in comments, meaning, your comments on others’ work. Comments are highly publicized on Scriggler. “Each comment is a projection of your overall image,” stresses Dmitry, “make sure the comment is interesting. Something trivial is likely going to play against you.”

And if you wish, Scriggler also allows you to create clubs or join clubs started by other users. This can help you find your audience.

As far as imagery, like I said earlier, there’s none to distract you on the home feed, but within your own submission one can get creative, embedding videos, widgets (for example Soundcloud tracks) and images, which can be helpful in promotion via social media.

For myself, Scriggler has been a game changer. I have found my audience widening with every post, I have found myself through these interactions becoming more brave, more engaging, upping my own content of which I spread fairly evenly along my own channels. Most importantly, Scriggler has shown me what is possible. With their help, I’ve been able to up my own standards of where I can take my writing career.

Sometimes all we need is a little push – in this case, a digital one, from Scriggler.

So in light of this very full Ace of Cups, I raise it to Scriggler and dedicate this post as a token of my appreciation.

But don’t just take my word for it. Head there and see for yourself what Scriggler can do for you. Get on board, you might find you can’t do without it.

Oh, and while you’re there why not Scriggle me? :)

This weeks’ musical selection to pair with all this abundance of joy- an artist called, JOY.

Be well, love often and en-JOY!

 

 

When the Bee Stings

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“Speaking your mind has consequences,” said the bee, quite upset to have blown into my face during my morning bike ride. His bite was quick. His aim was true.

“Touché,” I said, plucking his legs from my lip, “now we all are stung.”

Karma, I thought. Someone didn’t like my story.

Undeterred, I didn’t stop. I didn’t go home. Not yet at least. Kept riding toward some truth, wherever it was leading me.

Passersby stared. I noted bewilderment upon their faces.

6 miles into my journey the swelling had morphed, felt like it was going down. It was then that I rounded back toward the south trail, road home like my life depended on it.

Must get back, I thought. Might lose photo op.

Ne’er a thought of safety.

I thought only of words, obstacles and ragged determination. I thought of the fine line between knowing when to filter myself and knowing when to be unabashedly me. I recited silent apologies for all I’ve done and all I’ve yet to do. I forgave myself, everything. I forgave the bee.. which was actually probably a wasp. Truth be told, I was never even mad at it. Seemed so natural to be stung.

Upon arriving home, shock was looking in a mirror. My worries had been unfounded. The swelling had not gone down, but increased. I was/am horribly disfigured.

Let’s not make this for naught.

If you have yet to read my latest sample chapter, please check it out and give me some feedback  https://scriggler.com/DetailPost/Story/44727

Now, I wonder if I should take a Benadryl…

 

Form over function

 

emporer

The Emperor from Da Vinci Tarot and The Hierophant from The Robin Wood Tarot

Going into this week, the advice/energy I received was The Hierophant. Because I felt like it, I drew a clarifying card from my other deck, The Da Vinci deck. I received The Emperor.

There’s a quiet frustration I feel when I receive these cards. I’m not sure why. They are very powerful energies being that they are Major Arcana cards which carry a massive amount of weight (over court cards or minor arcana). They are very masculine energies. They are no nonsense energies that not only know how to get things done, but demand that you better follow their lead.

Respectively, they are both of the highest order. The Emperor to his kingdom and The Hierophant to heaven. They both hold a staff, a symbol of power. In The Emperor’s hand is a small globe, symbolizing the world. To me, he’s the highest progression of The Two of Wands who starts out as an eager explorer, tools in hand, just waiting for the world to open a path to him. The Emperor is the culmination of that path. He’s seen it all. And for him, the only advice he takes at this point is that of a spiritual nature, like that of The Hierophant.2_of_wands

The question that has been on my mind is that of structure. This week I’ve been focusing heavily on restructuring chapters, arranging and re-arranging. Really, I feel more like this Two of Wands, having but only an idea of how things will turn out, tools in hand.

The Emperor and The Hierophant are stern reminders that my focus is in the right place: right now it’s form over function. Right now I have to see the big picture. The bigger picture for me, beyond story structure, is college. I’m back at it again, finishing a degree that I started in 2001. It will take me a few more years to get my BA, but I’m ready. I’ve been winging it for far too long, thinking talent was all I needed- how stuck that mindset has left me. Stuck in my life, no way to advance.

I see the outcome I want and I know I can’t have it without discipline and higher learning. But hell, I’ve been doing it and it feels so good when I do. When I turn in an assignment and I’m one week closer to my goal; when I suddenly see how this section would be so much more effective attached to that chapter- suddenly the effectiveness of my story strengthens. It’s a glorious feeling, to be making progress in this way.

Without a solid structure, story will crumble; the kingdom will crumble. Reminds me of an ICHING hexagram I drew only the day before these cards- Line 5 in Hexagram 45, Gathering Together with says,

When people spontaneously gather around a man, it is only a good. It gives him a certain influence that can be altogether useful. But of course there is also the possibility that many may gather around him not because of a feeling of confidence but merely because of his influential position. This is certainly to be regretted. The only means of dealing with such people is to gain their confidence through steadfastness and intensified, unswerving devotion to duty. In this way secret mistrust will gradually be overcome, and there will be no occasion for regret.

With these cards before me and this message, I’m reminded that I have a heavy responsibility to do this right, not rushed, not half-assed, but wholeheartedly and with a dedication to better my own talents and education along the way. If I ever want people to listen, to read, to understand, to trust that my words and my path are true I have to build upon them slow and methodically, I have to walk the walk. And I have to stick that message, that idea, that path for as long as it takes.

So, if anyone out there is feeling the weight of responsibility within their own path or endeavors, why not think a little bit like an Emperor, a little bit more like The Hierophant. If you’re path requires higher learning, do that. If you can’t advance without going back to school or taking a few courses, do that. Get serious with the work and in the end it will pay off.

And for the music, Tom Misch & Laura Misch with “Follow”. A fitting message to “follow your heart… I know our dreams are clear, don’t you know we all fear… maybe you should take the first step and the rest will follow.”

Be well, love often and enjoy.

Moving on

 

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Robin Wood Tarot: Eight of Cups

This week has been trouble. Progress, none. Seems a stark shift from the energy brought in by the Ace of Pentacles last Wednesday, but a new direction is not without the hard and unpleasant stages. Progress does not come without minor regressions.

Personally, I’ve been wanting to move on from where I’m at; physically, emotionally. Both feel very stagnant, tired, oppressing. Not to be making excuses as to why I’m not working as well as I should or being as productive as I should, but physical and emotional environments play a huge role.

Past hurts and present turmoil are raking at my thoughts, submerging my heart to the point where I cannot feel or function in the present. Living arrangements that aren’t entirely in my control are beating me down. Truly, I feel stuck, mired, yet capable. I very much know I need to move on from a few things so that I may become the best I can be- more creative, more productive, more balanced, more in control of my emotions. More of myself.

When the going gets rough, one simply has to keep moving. And here is the eight of cups to remind to do just that.

The eight of cups can be seen as a dark card. Interesting that the person in this card is depicted leaving under the veil of night, by light of the moon. Whatever situation you may be leaving might be one where others can be feeling a similar hurt. One must leave with stern resolve. Quite possibly, leaving might be safer wrapped under veils, cloaks, at night, in secret, alone. This card supports my need to move on, to abandon, to start over, maybe with a new job, a new city, a new home, a new approach. It’s no coincidence that I’ve been feverishly pursuing all of these things, trying to create a new opportunity.

Look at the way the figure in this drawing is situated where it looks like another cup should be. Leads me to believe that maybe they’re simply leaving on a journey to find that ninth cup. Once we breach into the nine of cups, after all, there are pleasantry’s and enjoyment; a jovial feeling of fulfillment.

In this particular card from The Robin Wood Tarot it depicts a flock of geese flying in a typical V fashion past the moon, heading in the same direction as the cloaked figure. Makes me feel like this “moving on” is a natural reaction to a seasonal or cosmic shift. Because of the geese, I also feel like this card might be telling me to move before winter hits. I feel that to an extreme.

The eight of cups says, karmically, there’s nothing more to gain by staying. There’s a method that’s no longer serving base needs, an emotional state of being that has exhausted the mind and body. I do feel it, I feel exhausted and my work has suffered because of it.

The good news is, the eight of cups is not all doom and gloom. Unlike many cards in the deck, here at least the image depicts movement. Where there is movement there is change.

Poor conditions are temporary. The uncertainty we feel moving away from something or someone familiar is temporary.

If you notice the staff in the figure’s hand you’ll see it’s reminiscent of the suit of wands, as if bravery in a new creative direction is required to make this moving away, this change, successful. The figure is heading away from uncertainty, away from the unstable energies of the moon, water, the emotions; dreams that have no bearing on real life- off to find something consistently true. Truth, like mountains are hard and jagged. That said, what lies ahead of this moving on won’t be an easy road to navigate, but hardship is necessary when lessons need to be learned.

Only in movement can we change a situation for the better. Only with effort can we land on solid ground.

Seen in another way, maybe I need to be less emotional about my writing process, this memoir in general. Maybe when I open up Scrivener with all my new daily fears of inadequacy, maybe I need to be more objective. The entire theme of From the Other Seat is about movement, moving away from a situation; moving in a vehicle, moving over land, travel; both emotional and physical. It’s about ending somewhere true, a position that feels honest and real. In a sense, From the Other Seat is about having too much of a good thing and how in shedding, stripping away, finding that one true thing is more fulfilling than all those other things that we thought we needed.

The eight of cups is about that journey to find the “one true thing”.

Leaving a stagnant situation or starting a day of writing feels to me a similar challenge. The question being, how on earth to begin? Literally, all we’ve got to do is put one leg in front of the other, one word after another. With that small exercise alone, look here, suddenly I have a new blog post. In no time, and with effort, I will have a new home as well, a new job.

I know this will resonate with a lot of you. I hope that you find the strength to leave behind situations of your own that are no longer serving you. Karma has closed that chapter. There’s nothing more for you there.

Here’s to moving on and here’s the mix I was listening to while writing this post. It’s a long, chill, and introspective one to keep you company along your own journey.

Be well, love often and enjoy!

The beginning is the end is the beginning

Ace of Pentacles

This is a blog about my process, my writing, my journey. A journey that’s been wrapped up in music since that long ago day I befriended the poetry of words; words that are so musical and magical to me that I can’t do without them.

My words, my music, and the very fiber of my being have always been guided by a fascination with the stars, the planets, and metaphysical whispers.

In an effort to think of what I could offer a daily blog, how I could share my process, what exactly my process is, I thought of divination. For years, I’ve sought wisdom through astrology, consulted the tarot, and have had many a conversation with the ICHING. These are just things I do. Have I gotten skilled enough to share what I’ve learned? Not exactly, though I have given a few tarot readings to close friends and family and they seemed satisfied. Mainly, I do it for me, a restless spirit always searching, always listening, looking and asking for guidance. I tell my very skeptical family that Spirit is math, just like anything else. It can be measured and weighed in the medium in which it’s revealed. Spirit is an intricate equation that we all tap into, add to, subtract from, transmit and absorb.

Astrology might be the only map one needs to make educated decisions, but other forms of divination like Tarot and ICHING speak to a more fine-tuned need for guidance. Questions like – Where should I go with the next chapter? What is my major conflict? How should the story end? For many of these questions, divination is my guide. It’s something I do to feel grounded; to keep on track. Everyone has their method. I take bike rides, too. Exercise is a form of divination. Exercise could be seen as a practice in becoming one with the divine; to perfect the body, to become powerful,  thereby becoming god-like. But more than the physicality of it, exercise conjures hidden thoughts and ideas. Any form of exercise loosens something in the mind; opens channels more equipt to translate the ethereal.

My writing process is weighted in deep introspection and careful wordplay imbued with the immensity of my feeling. What I put out into the world means a great deal to me and “daily” anything seems… an after thought, frivolous, exhausting. It is exhausting. In the past, I’ve tried this before and exhausted myself with myself. Truth be told, I still have a book to write. Why am I wasting my time and energy on a blog? Modern day publishing is the real answer; the need to have an online presence. But there is something about pushing oneself to share, daily. There is value. Typing this first post does, in a small way, makes the journey more real, less inside my head. I have shared it, therefore, it is fact.

How fitting then, for me to draw this first card for this first post, the Ace of Pentacles.

First a word about Aces in a reading: “The Ace is the dominant type of card and pulsates its energy over the whole reading. While most cards tell your story of when their impact was felt, is being felt or will be felt in the future, any Ace describes the whole story and is present in each chapter.” keen.com

While the Ace of Pentacles has a variety of dynamics, pertaining to this post one the resonates with me the most is that it is a card of results. Pentacles represent the earth, money matters, things that ground you, can stagnate or stabilize. It is a powerful card that asks to mediate on your roots, “firmly plant yourself back on your path in order to see your result realized as you desire… what you are ultimately attaining.” auntyflo.com

It is a card that begs you to focus on the foundation, keep a schedule, generate results. This can carry over to health, business, love. In this case, I think of this blog, this book I’m writing. There is a definite need for a schedule, a focused effort to stay on task. If I can do that, I will finish. The Ace of Pentacles assures that- that there is the energy there to finish. The Ace of Pentacles is a new beginning or at least a refreshed approach. It reminds me that this is a productive period, saving for the future, good fortune. It represents stamina, dedication, and hard work. While all these things come hard for me, the Ace of Pentacles is here to tell me it’s not impossible, it just takes a bit of effort.

With that, here is a bit of music I’ve been listening to while writing. Chroma Bay, a trio from London. What I like about them is that this is their first released track and fits in great with the energy of the Ace of Pentacles. A great reminder that whatever we dream, it certainly may seem impossible, but with a little love, a little hope, a lot of effort and a little magic, amazing things can come of it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Protected: From the Other Seat (First Draft)

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HNQO feat. Bip – City Lights #23 today on Beatport’s Deep House Chart.

This is a project I’m pretty proud of so please check it out and keep supporting!! Thanks all <3

http://www.beatport.com/track/city-lights-feat-bip-original-mix/4075685

My Society

Got some new designs up at Society6. It’s too bad you can’t get different colors for the pillows, but next time I’ll know to make some images with color. As always, I update these works every so often. Keep checking back!

merch

Hideout Festival 2012 (Hot Creations pool party) | Jamie Jones


Jamie Jones (Hot Creations) at Hideout Festival 2012, rockin the first track I made with HNQO – City Lights. Crowd explodes.

The Martinez Brothers DEMF 2012

DEMF 2012 I was there as media. Catch my review of the Martinez Brothers via Indie Shuffle. Caught on camera ^_^ oh lord that was a fun weekend.

WDET showing some love


Pretty damn good playlist to be a part of. Thanks WDET for showing a fellow Detroiter some love this past Sunday. Tune in all, dunno if they got me on rotation, but wouldn’t that be cool:)

Rai Knight – Thank You Vengeance (Official video)

Rai Knight – Persistence (Official video)

Persistence from Rai Knight on Vimeo.

Rai Knight – REVIVE DETROIT PLAYERS PARTY

REVIVE DETROIT PLAYERS PARTY from THE WORK on Vimeo.

 

Rai Knight – New New (Official video)

Rai Knight at 95.5

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