Carte (Card) Blanche

             A suggestion to new writers warns not to quit a day job.  I found this wise, because I know only a small percentage of full-time writers that have written their way into financial survival.  But the passive-aggressive child in me likes to challenge mature advice. 

            Our grown children had flown the coop, so I took their place as my supportive husband's financial dependent.  I quit my job.  Daddy Few Bucks let me skip from weekend warrior writer to seven day a week writer.  We were used to living at poverty level while raising our family.  Unfortunate then, it was helpful now.  Since accustomed to living frugally, one income worked.  But when the writing game became harder than I thought, panic turned up the heat in my firy acid reflux. 

            That week I'd found inconsistent data when doing research on psychic read of playing cards.  My great-grandmother had used a typical deck to give family and friends peeks into their futures.  She considered this a spiritual gift.  I wanted to use this intriguing ability in a story and needed to know its history.  Great-grandma didn't do anything with cards around me but play games.  But I did remember my mother commenting that people in great-grandma's time believed her gift was witchcraft, and my uncle forbid her to read cards in their home. 

            Meanwhile when my husband and I went to the notary in the mall to get papers signed for a consolidation loan with lower interest, we found it closed, so we went to our bank.  The notary there looked familiar, especially the red hair.  The badge on her blouse introduced her by her first name.  I added this before the last name after "Mrs." on her desk plate, and confirmed who she was.  I hadn't seen her in forty years, just before my father died. 

            We signed our papers.  She stamped them, and I said, "I know you.  You're married to my father's best friend."  I told her my mother's name.

            "Oh, you look like your mother," she said.  She asked about my family, and said she tried to contact us, only to discover we moved.  "Your grandmother read Mark's cards before I met him, and told him he would marry a red head.  He was dating a girl with brown hair." 

            I went home, called my mother and told her who I saw.  Before I said anything about the conversation in the bank, she said, "Great-grandma read her husband's cards when he was dating a brunette.  That girl was crazy over him, but he didn't go for her.  He broke it off and then met his wife." 

            I hadn't told my mother about the research or story idea.  I wasn't sure she would approve, since our older relatives might read the story. 

            The fuzzy connection to my childhood I had experienced in the bank became defined assurrance with that phone call.  It silently reprimanded me to stop doubting I should be writing full-time.  

             When frustration over what to write hits, I get out a worn deck of cards.  I shuffle and play solitare to quiet my adult brain when it overthinks possibilities.  Handling the smooth game pieces opens up child-like belief in an unfinished project and gives a peek at its future.



  1. Sounds like solitare is your sanctuary. Distracting the mind that froze will return you to open prose.

    1. Sorry Dawn, the above post is by Joe Byrne


to top