The San Antonio Public Library system has summer reading programs every summer. I didn’t know until recently that there was not just a program for kids, but one for teens and one for adults. How many books required for the adult program? Four. Any four books you want to read. Easiest contest ever, right? So sure, I entered. I figured that whatever prize – if I happened to win – would be mostly library swag, like rubber bracelets and library pencils and maybe a t-shirt. I’d forgotten about the prize drawing altogether by the time I got the phone call on Wednesday afternoon telling me I’d won.
Now, I didn’t get all that excited, to be honest. I kinda wondered if I was the only person to enter at my branch. I know a couple librarians and have been told in the past that adult entries are sparse-to-nil. So really, I may have been the only entrant. Either way, winning is fun! Especially when your prize pack isn’t just library swag. Sure, there was a library t-shirt, but there was also a gift card to Half Price Books, a coffee mug, headphones, a Fiesta medal (San Antonio tradition), and an awesome bag (just in time for NaNoWriMo prep!). Ironically, my oldest son heard that I’d won and told me that “the library guy” (no idea who that is) told him the adult prize pack was “really lame.” Methinks the child has no idea what library budgets are like, because this was well and truly beyond anything I expected!
But that’s not all! That same day – Wednesday afternoon was kinda awesome, making up for a kinda horrid morning – a package arrived for me. I’d known Jason had bought something for me, but I never expected what was inside: THE RAVEN CYCLE TAROT DECK FROM MAGGIE STIEFVATER!!!!! So of course, the very first thing I did after ripping off the plastic covering was to go digging for the Eight of Swords.
The Eight of Swords is my card. The Ryder-Waite description doesn’t do much for me – bad news, conflict, censure. Meh. This card chose me (much like a wand chooses the wizard!) after I acquired the Medieval Scapini deck. The picture to the right is of the Scapini Eight of Swords. I don’t see this as bad news or conflict. I call this the blindness card. It’s a card of paralysis – making your own prison. Because really, the imprisoned figure is held by bars so far apart that he could simply walk away, and yet, he refuses to look up. He keeps himself imprisoned.
As I said before, this is my card. I am the master at paralysis and self-imprisonment. Example: “I have four submission-condition novels that I’d like to start sending to agents. But I don’t know if I should send them all out to different agents, because what if more than one agent likes a different novel and wants to acquire? But if I only focus on one novel, maybe that one will never get chosen, and I’ll just get discouraged. And even if I do focus on only one, maybe I should only send to a couple agents and wait to hear back, because if I don’t hear back, I can’t send the other novels out to other agents in the meantime, and…” You get the picture. I can talk my way in circles over food, jobs, exercise, even which book to pick up next. It reminds me of a quote from my favorite band: “Paint myself into a corner. I really like the color.” Yeah.
So you can see why I went immediately for the Eight of Swords in this Raven Cycle deck. I needed to know. And the moment I found it, I let out an audible gasp. Not only does Stiefvater also treat this card as paralysis and self-blinding behavior, the way I’ve always viewed it, but the image includes a left hand/arm with a tattooed infinity sign on the wrist. And where, my friends, have we seen that before? Oh yeah!
I am in love.
The rest of the deck is just as beautiful. And each card has a long explanation actually tied to the art, which makes learning tarot about a thousand times easier! Fantastic gift. Totally made my Wednesday.
Lastly, while it’s not a “thing,” I am so happy to have the first cool front of the season come through. This morning, it actually got into the 60s! It feels so very beautiful, and looks it, too:
I might just have to start taking my laptop and coffee out to the porch on Sundays to do my blogging if the weather is this marvelous!