Thursday, January 31, 2013

advice about another blog

So, writing the answer post last night got me thinking a bit, and I decided to start using a new tag on this blog: free-form reading. Going to use this for readings that are meant to be more in-depth/focused than the 'quick draw' or 'day draw', ie. just randomly pulling a few cards, but in which I do not use any kind of formal spread and let the cards just sort themselves out as they will. As I wrote, with certain decks I sometimes like not being beholden to any predetermined card positions, and figured I might as well systematize that a bit here.

That said, I decided to do such a reading to get some advice about an idea I've been pondering - restarting the Arabic writing blog I hate created over the summer and abandoned soon thereafter.

A fairly unconventional portrayal of the Emperor, wearing a dress and a mask. His real face is turned away, gazing towards the background. We see there a silhouetted scene, a two sides of a precipice connected by a carefully constructed bridge. It was proper planning, organization and management that allowed that bridge to be built. Now he leans on a sword, something to steady him as he looks beyond the horizon, still supervising.

The long view, organization and discipline. This is the crux of why I am thinking of the blog. I was a bit ahead of many of my classmates even before I went to Tunisia, on account of having studied Arabic several years ago; even if you have forgotten most in the meantime, coming at something for a second time really does make it easier. I expected to be ahead last fall and I was - and still am, even with a new professor who is noticeably stricter and better at teaching. I understand concepts faster and am much more comfortable with many of the grammar structures and have noticeably more vocabulary. Part of it I think too is the age difference - being older and more experienced and having a bit of a different attitude towards classes and learning...

That being said, I KNOW that one of the best ways for me to practice, improve and remember things is by writing. Unfortunately, writing assignments longer than a paragraph or so are rather rare indeed. If I could discipline myself to do it on my own, I would gain much. Of course, the Emperor also points out my weakness in such thing - being organized in making time to keep doing it, not getting distracted. I know it would help build up my language skills further, but can I get the proper grip on myself? I tend to start projects and then...take ages to finish them... *cough*thatLenormandIwantto*cough*

The Queen of Cups, like the rest of the courts in this deck, is freed from the constraints of typical imagery. There are no thrones for these folks, no horses or chariots. Instead we see more natural habitats. The Queen is depicted under water, as comfortable beneath the waves as most people are above them. She carries a cup, unselfconsciously enjoying herself, being where she belongs.

Writing has long been my comfort zone - the thing I feel I am good at, the best way to work through complicated thoughts and emotions, me at my most eloquent. Apparently this extends to all languages - when I studied French I liked writing essays, and even in Polish, where my spelling is rather terrible...what I write tends to sound far more sophisticated than my typical speech.

I like writing, learning, challenging myself intellectually. Intuitively, this does feel like a good idea, something I want to do.

Whereas the majors in the Silicon Dawn by and large hew to the RWS tradition, the minors are quite noticeably more Thothy - a common theme in several Thoth inspired decks, come to think of it... In any case, the image here very much calls back to the 6 of Cups in the Thoth, titled Pleasure. We see a figure, half woman half sea serpent, her upper body in almost the same posture of enjoyment as the Queen. The cups here vary - beer pitchers, water glasses, coffee mugs; it all mixes together below. Pleasure can take many forms - the crux is her, at the center, reaching towards the light.

In terms of how to approach this project, this card advises me not to take things so seriously. Yes, in the grand scheme of things it is about building language skills, being methodical and organized in my learning, the understanding that if you really want something it is about more than just the time you spend in the classroom...but that basis does not mean I have to be Super Serious in how I go about it. It is not, after all, homework. It is not an assignment of any sort. The Arabic blog is for me, and we all know it is much easier to stick to doing something if you actually like doing it. The reason I am still writing in this here tarot blog is because I enjoy blogging about tarot cards.

So if I want to rant about the world, if I want to write silly short stories and fictional character studies, if I want to write about tarot cards even (which is another idea that has definitely crossed my mind), I can. I can include pictures, prompts, whatever. This is for me, and why not be as silly and random and self-indulgent with it as I want? As long as I am writing, I am doing things right.

Summarizing the reading up we have the first of the three 'official' Fools in the deck. The image is all black and white, its perspective jarring. This fool is a mere sketch, not even properly inked - so very tentative and yet already she is jumping off of that cliff into the unknown and uncertain. The similarly newly-sketched dog behind her yaps. You cannot see it on the scan, but the actual card subtly shows that even this first, virgin leap is not so wild an act as it may seem. Like the other fools this one too has wings, only visible when the card is held at a certain angle; in fact, the UV effect covers all of the woman, the dog, the cliff. Just sketched in they may be but they are, in that way, more real and solid than anything else...

There are three fools in this deck and yet it was this one that came up: the first, the youngest, the seemingly just barely there it. My Arabic too, in many ways, is like this. A year ago what I could write was so simple - short sentences, a few at a time.There were so many thoughts and ideas I just did not have the vocabulary to even begin to try to express. Even after years of study, language is such a tricky thing. The Polish I don't think I could ever really forget, though ability might deteriorate... though my English is far better, it was in fact the first language I learned to speak. French, though - I spent six semesters in college actually LEARNING it, after three years in high school spent going to classes learning not much at all. I can still understand when people speaking it, can watch programs and read news articles and get the gist. When I try speaking...Arabic words come out of my mouth. I struggle to find the French. My mother has the same a schoolgirl she studied Russian for years, and now when she goes to the hospital she gets her medical care at the nurses speak to her in Russian and she comprehends but responds in English because after living in America for twenty six years the Russian words no longer come. You can spend so much time learning and then watch it all spill out of your head again from disuse...

Tentative then, both my abilities and my confidence or comfort with them, but perhaps more solid than I think. Perhaps solid enough that I can engage in a writing blog where I am accountable to no one but myself, where I can go on about anything at all just because I want to. Perhaps it is time for me to take the leap and commit myself to trying. Let us rush and fall and fly.


Sharyn Mallow Woerz said...

Why not write about tarot in Arabic? The cards are such good prompts ;)
Or sign up for a word of the day email and translate that to Arabic thoughts? Or use a deck of playing cards and work on numerology?

I've had seven blogs, four of them provided a way to get something done or something out of my system.

Bonkers said...

those are some good ideas Sharyn. Thanks!

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