Monday, May 30, 2011

Frustrated by Rejections? Change Your Angle: Week 7 with Tarot's Fool

Tarot's Fool has been on his journey for weeks now in his quest for success and fulfillment. What lessons has he shared with us so far? The ones that we know, deep in our hearts, are ours, as we journey toward our own Holy Grail of writer's completion?
1. the importance of joy in the endeavor
2. knowing that magic and luck are ours, but are not a matter of chance—they come from belief in ourselves and in the unknowable
3. the necessity of alertness, bravery, even aggression and bravado
4. the compensating necessity of self-reflection and avoidance of foolish assumptions
5. the all-powerful significance of love in our lives, whatever form it may have, and its overwhelming value to us even as it takes us from our chosen path and throws us to the winds of growth and change.
Previous posts in The Fool's Journey are listed at the end of this entry.

Wow, that seems like a lot. It seems like enough. This is where many novels end, right? With the discovery of true love and how it opens up a whole new, thrilling but scary (in its unkowableness) future?  But guess what. This Fool is far from the end of his journey. Because he's not the novel. He's the seeker. He's the writer.

Last week we left The Fool in a deep sleep on the barren terrain he must cross to reach the tree line on the horizon. He's eaten his last morsel of food, drunk his last sip of water, and fallen into an exhausted state of near oblivion, but he's dreaming of victory.

At mid-morning he's awakened by a disturbance in the Force. No, it is the Force. Or so it seems.

There, a mere few feet from him, are two tremendous steeds, one black and one white, pulling a gold and silver triumphal cart with an armored warrior in it.  The warrior is staring at The Fool, challenging him to wake up and get on with it.  This is The Chariot.

"Who are you?" The Fool asks, wondering if he's still dreaming. But the water from the flagon the Charioteer hands him is real enough and he begins to feel its renewal rush through him as the warrior answers.

"You've asked what is the best way to defeat an enemy," The Charioteer says, as if it's obvious why he's rolled up in his Chariot.

"Yes, I dreamed of victory," The Fool says as he stands. "You see, I've followed a different path than I thought I would, a better path, with not just flowers, but fruit and dancing and . . ."

The Charioteer holds up his hand (enough backstory, already). "What enemy do you face?"

"The prince of this kingdom has barred my way to the tree line at the edge of his property; he's thrown me into this barren land filled with cracks that a person could fall through, and never be heard from again! (agents are raining down rejections, some of them not even telling me why, and the mega agent who was interested says that even though my writing is good, my protagonist's arc is shallow. Shallow! If he'd just take me on and show my work to the editors at the publishing houses, he'd see who's shallow!)

The Charioteer nods. "I can help you." At this The Fool perks up, the scowl slides from his face and he  stands still in front of the warrior, alert to the message to come.  The Charioteer gazes at the midmorning sun for a while, then says, "Have you ever tried to swim against the tide in the ocean?"

"Ummm," The Fool says.

"If you try to swim forward, into the tide, you go nowhere." The Charioteer waits until he sees he's been understood, then goes on. "The tide will pull you back; the harder you swim against it the more exhausted you get, and then you go under and drown."

The Fool stares at The Charioteer, riveted.

"There's only one way to win," The Charioteer says. "You have to swim parallel to the shore, and come in diagonally, slowly enough not to sap all your energy."

The Fool hates the idea of appearing to be, well, a fool, but he has to know what the heck this means. "That sounds good, but I don't really understand," he says meekly.

"It's like fighting in a chariot," The Charioteer says. "To defeat your enemy, you have to come up alongside him." There's a glimmer of understanding forming in The Fool's eyes, and The Charioteer continues.  "See," he says, nodding at his beasts. "Your steeds keep you moving, but you must use control and provide direction to achieve victory." When The Fool is obviously pained with trying to understand, he tries again. "Think of your enemy and yourself as dark and light." He points at the steeds again. "You must make them pull the chariot together, in harmony. It's down to you."

"Ah, I think I understand," The Fool says. (That mega agent will be so impressed with the changes he makes to strengthen the protagonist's character, not to mention the new killer story twist that's connected, that he won't know what hit him! Or, if he won't look at the ms again, it will be his loss, there're other mega-agents out there.)  "Thank you!" The Fool says to The Charioteer, "I think I know how to win my war now."

He turns toward the tree line, but The Charioteer stops him and says, "One more thing. To win, your confidence in your cause must never flag."

"I understand," The Fool says, feeling stronger by the moment, and feeling the pull now to the forest. "Anything else?"

"Yes, never forget that victory is not the end, it is the beginning."

The Fool mulls that over as he strides toward the trees in the distance. Victory is only the beginning? Well, whatever that means, he's ready for it. He's never felt more determined.  And that pull he's started to feel . . . there's someone waiting for him in the forest, he's sure of it.

Links to Fool's Journey posts:  0—The Fool1—The Magician2—The High Priestess3—The Empress4&5—The Emperor, and The Hierophant; 6—The Lovers
My interpretation of The Fool's Journey as it applies to the writing life is my own, but the journey is long-established from a variety of sources. Those I've relied on most heavily are:  TAROT BASICS by Burger & Fiebig, AECLECTIC TAROT by Thirteen, and EVERYDAY TAROT by Fairfield


  1. Linda, I love the fools journey. And quite honestly I'm thinking this could be the next novel idea. A brilliant idea sliding up along side it. Not from behind, not head on... but parallel. I'm feeling a working with and not against is our message. But my favorite..."...victory is not the end, it is the beginning." I love this. And, we have to be careful for what we wish for, we might just get it.

  2. Ah, Karlene, if only you could sit The Fool down and chat with him, you might save him some time and trouble . . . but we know he has to make this journey on his own and will only learn the lessons and emerge truly triumphant if he experiences each step for himself.

  3. Victory is only the beginning, so very true! That's something that strikes particularly close to home for me right now. :)

  4. I thought you'd pick up on that, Heather! Yes, victory first, then the next critical part of the journey begins.

  5. Yep, querying does take a huge act of bravery. Too bad I'm a coward. :D

    Soon you won't be able to call the fool a fool. He's getting to be one wise dude.

  6. Yes he is, Stina. Very perceptive! Next week marks his entrance into the fulcrum that allows him to go from a material quest to a spiritual but still pragmatic one. I'm just trying to keep up.

    I don't think you're any sort of coward I've ever come across, btw. Get out there and QUERY!!

  7. Thanks Linda...

    Giving us he courage to move on and start our next beginning.

    ALSO, thanks for you suggestions on my first page. I used them and actually changed the first two lines.

    "One moment I’m my Dad’s personal punching bag, and the next, well, I’m a pawn in his maniacal master plan. That is, until Danny discovered my secret."

    What do you think?


  8. Wow, Michael, that is a major change in your first two lines, and I LOVE it!! Powerful and intriguing. Nice. (and thanks for commenting, too!)

  9. This journey is EPIC.

  10. Yes, Laura, you are so right! Odysseus/The Fool. Odysseus/The Fool. Hmmm.