Wednesday, January 19, 2011

In Which I Get a Little Rambly

Yesterday, I sent off a first draft of my current WIP to agent extraordinaire. Today I went wandering to reward myself.

I used to love walking around with nowhere to go, exploring and noticing and observing. I live a totally different life now, full of responsibilities and constant action (make lunches, walk the kids to school, go to the post office, grade papers...), so I often forget what it's like to move without purpose. The most delightful things come across one's path when there are no expectations.

So...I found myself in the next town over, walking block after block, when I spotted a shop I'd rushed past hundreds of times, always grumbling to myself that I should go in when I have a spare minute. This time I went in. On the surface the place was typical for a neighborhood filled with Victorian homes and people with money--candles, natural skin products, cutesy wall plaques with inspirational quotes. Then I looked a little closer. Some books on Native American spiritualism lined one wall. Palmistry and fortune telling the other. Okaaay, I thought. Then I spotted the Buddhas. Tarot cards. Incense. Bundled dried sage.

Then I saw the sign. "Shamanistic Readings by Appointment Only."

Holy freaking crap! What was a Shamanistic reading? I had to know. I approached the counter. The woman behind it was about the same age as my mother, with a blond suburban bob and a green sweater set right out of the Land's End catalogue.

"Who's gives the readings?" I asked. I don't know who I was expecting. A straight-backed elderly gentleman from the Cherokee nation? Jim Morrison? An ex-Deadhead who would also try to sell me some peyote?

She smiled at me. "I do."

This was my Shaman.

Turns out Shamanistic readings are kind of a guided, spiritual look inside the psyche. The focus is on answering a question, as in some Tarot readings, but all kinds of stuff comes out because the Shaman is gently coaxing spiritual energies. At least that's how I understood it. Anyway, this woman and I ended up having a great conversation about creativity, aromatherapy, life in general.

I didn't get a reading (Um, Shamans are expensive--even ones that look like they crochet instead of hang out in sweat lodges.) but I learned some things I can file away for that witch book I'm working on AND I scored some medicinal grade peppermint essential oil (great for focus and concentration.) All in all, a success.

There's a part of me that sees these excursions as a waste of time (You could be writing, Miss Flaky-pants, the little voice tells me.) But today I'm going to see them like a Shaman would: opening one's soul to the world.

And what's wrong with that?


  1. Loved this post. Want to go visit that store ASAP!

    And also, congrats on the new draft!!

  2. We have a store like that near us, and I LOVE it! Those excursions are never a waste of time--they fuel your creativity and allow the writing to come that much easier when you do sit down. Great story! :)

  3. This WAS you working! It was research! And living! And all that makes for good writing!

    Now I know what to get you for your birthday.

  4. Waste of time? Serious? These are the things that give you color, character and end up on pages at some point. You have to LIVE to WRITE. Wander more, sister. I give you permission. And when you do write that amazing book you can include me in the acknowledgments along with Little Lady Shaman. :-)

  5. I agree -- wandering is research, and also perhaps the writing equivalent of REM sleep. Sending off a WIP is a huge job, and a little creative play is an excellent way to recharge your batteries.

    One of these days, you and I will have to wander Chicago, yes?

  6. I think it ate my first comment...but what I wanted to say is that, after you hit a big milestone like sending off an MS, you absolutely need a little creative play to recharge the batteries. Good for you, making time for it!

  7. What Ms. J said.

    I love a good wandering around the world. It's never a waste of time.


  8. You gals are wonderful. Thanks for much for justifying my wanderings!

    And Erica, just name the date...

  9. Um, I crochet. :)

    AND you are SO happy I wasn't there because we'd both be out of money! Great treasure hunt my friend.