East of Constantinople, West of Shanghai

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A new deck for the collection

Marie Anne Adelaide Lenormand was a very popular fortune teller during the Napoleonic era, that became (in)famous when she became the card reader and confidante of Josephine, Napoleon Bonaparte’s wife. She was also arrested for espionage – and for witchcraft, but it was hard to make the accusation stick in post-Illuminist France. When she died she left a fortune to her only heir – that being a devout Catholic burned all of her stuff, and wanted nothing to do with her, but kept the money.
Better known as Mlle Lenormand, Marie also created her own tarot deck – and I received a packet this morning containing a new Lenormand Tarot deck for my collection.

And the Lenormand Tarot is particularly interesting if you want to use the cards for writing experiments.

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A turn of the cards

I spent some time this afternoon discussing tarot decks with a friend – my collection never took off the ground (I have half a dozen decks, nothing to write home about), but I still keep an eye out for new designs and classic reprints, and so we talked, and traded suggestions.

I often say that my definitive Plan B, should everything else fail, would be to find a corner table in a pub and do tarot readings. Indeed, it’s two years now that I say I’ll go and sit at the local pub, down in Nizza, between Christmas and New Year’s Eve, order a drink and a sandwich, and start playing with my tarot – I’m pretty sure it would attract some curious parties.
And I could tip the waitresses for them to send people my way.
I say this only half-jokingly – my rationale is, if there’s people that could not write their way out of a paper bag that hold courses about writing, then what the hell, I can read tarot.

After all, I read the handbooks, I followed a few online courses, and it’s been now over thirty years I’ve been reading the cards for fun (but not, alas, for profit).

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Structure on the go

Structure is essential in a story, especially if it is a long story. Even more so if it’s being written in a loose, impromptu way – the way I’m writing Parabellum Serenade. Once the story is finished, it will have to have a symmetry, like a crystal, a rhythm like a piece of music. The trick, because I am playing fast and loose, is finding a way to provide the story with hooks, with hard-points that will be used during revision to strengthen the structure of the narrative.

Parabellum Serenade (note to self – nice title, now you’ve got to get yourself a cover) is a story about a bunch of characters that served in the army and that, ten and odd years later, come together again for one last mission, to help a friend. They will find out they are about to take a larger bite than they can swallow. So, for starters, I am using a typical set-up for this sort of stories – the Five Man Band.

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Springtime is here, time to start learning again

I just enrolled in a new course in Transmedia Storytelling – this time on Coursera, a platform I don’t like very much1 but that is offering what I am interested in.

Screenshot from 2018-03-28 18-15-26

This is the third course I take on the subject, and the fact that I enrolled means I feel like I’ll have a modicum of free time in the next weeks.
Yes, the bulk of the work is done. Hooray! Continue reading


Status report

Three-thousand and five hundred words in one afternoon is not that bad, and it is a clear sign that I’m back in the game – nothing better than clearing one’s desk to start anew.

Maybe it’s the change of season, too – the cold cold winter is over, and now the days are getting longer.

Meanwhile, new projects are popping up all over the place, and as I was saying to a friend over the weekend, I’d rather need a few six-packs of 36-hours days. But apparently they don’t make them anymore.

And the reading material is piling up – I have here a nice little essay about the Marxist theory of the Cthulhu Mythos that is really what the doctor ordered to find some distraction and possibly a few story ideas.
The Last StandAnd I’m waiting for my copy of the last Spillane book – because I’m not a fan but it was the man’s centenary, and the ebook was real cheap, and with a fantastic cover, and so I pre-ordered it.

And finally, I’ve been asked to give a demonstration of my Tarot-reading skills, and who knows, maybe I found myself a new job.

So, all in all, two days out of the Astigianistan hills were good for my health and my writing and everything else.
I should take more frequent vacations.

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Lost and found

hanson-roberts-04591A very short post – just to announce that while trying (uselessly) to bring some order to a bookshelf, I found my old Tarot deck .
Yes, the one I mentioned as lost/misplaced in a post a few days back.
It was hiding in a metal box, originally housing a bottle of Ferrari bubbly wine, and currently full of old postcards.
Clearly I stuffed a lot of odds and ends in the box while packing before I moved, and never looked inside in, ehm… five years .

It was quite a surprise.
Now if this is not a sign from destiny, I do not know what it is.

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The turn of a friendly card

2swordsI can’t find my tarot deck anymore – it’s here somewhere, but ever since I moved to the country, I’ve been unable to find it.
Misplaced, not lost.

I had an interest in the subject, in cards and divination and so on, as a kid – what with dabbling in stage magic and reading the Tarot books by Piers Anthony.
I got my tarot deck as a joke, in the mid-80s.
A set of Hanson-Roberts cards – beautifully drawn.
With time I learned how to read the cards, and I read some good books on the subject (Alejandro Jodorowski!), and so on.
Now, let me get this straight

Do you believe in UFOs, astral projections, mental telepathy, ESP, clairvoyance, spirit photography, telekinetic movement, full trance mediums, the Loch Ness monster and the theory of Atlantis?

My answer, Janine, is No.
And yet…

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