Considering Which Card to Start With

As I mentioned before, due to being really busy getting ready to run Curious Gallery this upcoming weekend, I’m probably not going to get to start on the art and writing for the Tarot of Bones til next week. However, I’m making plans for when I have that opportunity. One of the obvious questions is: which card am I going to start with?

It’s a more complicated question than you might think. See, my artist-brain and writer-brain work differently. The writer-brain is very linear. When I write a book, I always start with an outline, and then I flesh it out, and when I get to actually writing the book I tend to write the chapters in order. Oh, sure, I may jump around a bit as I think “Wait, this bit of info would fit better a few chapters ahead” or “I think I could say this better in the introduction instead of the conclusion”. But for the most part I want Chapter One to be done before I really buckle down on Chapter Two. And I’m likely to start writing on each card before I make the assemblage piece because I want to organize my thoughts on the card’s symbolism before I go putting bone to bamboo (or moss to wood–you get the idea.) So right now Writer-Brain is saying “Start with the Fool, and work your way through the Major Arcana. You can even do a neat archetypal exploration of the cards’ symbolism! Then you can go through each of the suits of the Minor Arcana and climb your way up those, and it’ll all be sensible and in order!”

My artist-brain is different. Artist-brain is capricious and can be swayed by the slightest of whims. Walking into a thrift shop is difficult, because when I hit the knick-knack aisle, Artist-Brain tries to convince me that at least a third of what I see should immediately be brought home and turned into art, bank balance be damned. And so when it comes to the Tarot of Bones, Artist-Brain is more likely to want to start with whatever looks shiniest or sounds like the coolest project. Right now, it’s looking reallllllly hard at the small pile of skulls I have sitting on my workbench, and thinking about deer leg bones, and considering whether we needed an even bigger pile of lichen-covered sticks from the sidewalk outside. (It’s also pouting because I told it I don’t yet have the money for a few of the pricier skulls and replicas, and of course those are the cards it wants to work on right now, dammit.)

I’m considering making both Writer-Brain and Artist-Brain happy by starting with the Fool (Coyote), partly because it’s the first card of the Major Arcana, and partly because I already have design ideas for it and most of the materials I need, which means a mostly uninterrupted creative flow. After that, though, who knows in what direction I may go? I might jump onto one of the Minor Arcana, just to make a piece that doesn’t center on a skull. Or maybe I’ll meditate and see which card pops up next.

At any rate, I’m at least as anxious to start making this project manifest as you are to see the results, and I just want to make sure my lovely event is well cared for this year before I send my attention in a new direction. So I’ll keep percolating for now, and we’ll see what happens after this week!