The Star

Our local star rises over City Park in New Orleans, December 3, 2017

I recently read about the 17th card of the Tarot deck, the Star. It’s a pretty hopeful one, coming after the Fool has emerged from his encounters with Death, the Devil, and a creepy Tower with people falling from it. I couldn’t help but draw the comparison between the Star being the 17th card in the Major Arcana, and this being 2017…

The book I was reading was Juliet Sharman-Burke’s The Complete Book of Tarot; I’ve had this book for decades, but have referenced it more and more these past few years as I focus on my writing. Regarding the Star, she writes: “The Star has always been an emblem of hope and promise; a light to steer by.” She goes on to reference the Magi following a star to Bethlehem. It seemed another interesting coincidence that I just happened to read about the Star on the first Sunday of Advent.

And I got to thinking, I realized I am personally feeling more hopeful in December 2017 than I was in December 2016, for several reasons. First, I feel a lot more confident about my fiction writing than I did a year ago. It seems I spent the better part of ’16 consumed with and worried about the publishing part of authorship. Truth be told, it felt like a distraction. I couldn’t see how I could keep all the plates spinning and finish the trilogy I had begun in anything resembling a timely manner.

Fast forward to now: book 2 is written, and I’m in the midst of editing and re-writes. Book 3 is outlined, and I’ve begun writing it. Working with After Glows Publishing has made a world of difference—they’re who I have to thank for the confidence boost.

Next, I start a new job next week as a Technical Writer. It’s with the same company I’ve been working for; but it’s outside of the marketing department. So, no more trade shows for me. Believe me, it’s a welcome change—I’ve been involved with trade shows or “experiential” promotions for roughly twenty years. I’m excited about taking on a new challenge, and having the chance to hone my word skills with a different type of writing.

Finally, I find the #metoo movement really hopeful. I try not to stray too much into political/societal musings in this space. My intent is keep it to things I have some authority over—mainly, my personal experiences and how they relate to my writing. Since I’m a woman who has worked in a corporate/business environment for many years, I definitely have authority over my own experiences in that sphere, and those experiences definitely influence my writing.

And I know this: it takes boatloads of courage to come forward and expose the bad behavior of someone who has power over you and your livelihood. Too often, I’ve seen that courage met with, at best, some temporary disciplinary action; at middling, indifference; and at worst, reprisals against the powerless. The fact that some perpetrators are now losing their jobs—their positions of power—feels like a sea change to me.

A quick aside: I’ve written here before about The Writer’s Almanac. I hear it has been canceled since Garrison Keillor was dismissed from Minnesota Public Radio. While I will miss hearing the content of that syndicated program, I was never particularly attached to Garrison Keillor’s hosting of it. I’m impressed that Minnesota Public Radio didn’t let his “brand name” outweigh the claims that were brought against him.

I’ll conclude with the December quote from my 2017 “First We Dream” calendar. It’s from Louisa May Alcott, and it seems fitting that it involves a star:

Far away there in the sunshine are my highest aspirations. I may not reach them, but I can look up and see their beauty, believe in them, and try to follow where they lead.

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