Playing With Symbolism

If there is one thing a writer knows it is fear and desire. Every time I begin a new writing class I am confronted with participants who have the look of a rabbit caught in the headlights. The fear and desire is palpable as they hold notebooks with clean white pages and pens that have spent far too long sitting, lazily, in caddies that sit upon  writing desks along with other tools of the trade.

Sadly, many of the people I have worked with are casualties of formal education. They have been damaged by teachers who have told them that they have not done something right, or who have diminished the value of their work. So many have never really been provided with unconditional support. As a result, I have found that when I produce my magic medicine first aid kit and discard all the so called ‘rule books’, those who trust the process and engage, are encouraged to be themselves. Everyone flourishes, produce extraordinarily creative work and we all end up clapping one another and celebrating.

One good way to start is to ask yourself “What would the Fool do?” This is a technique called Figure Storming! In figure storming, the group picks a well-known figure who is not in the room—it could be a boss, a fictional character, or a well-known public figure—and discuss how that person would approach the problem or think about this idea.

In the book that accompanies her Tarot, Monicka Sakki Sakki explores just what a Fool, who has no idea what to do with the pencil he is given, does with the pencil. Her Fool, as all good fools are prone to do, goes on a creative journey and meets each member of the Major Arcana, ultimately triumphing and naming himself ‘Artist’.

What if I gave you a piece of paper that identified what you will be your ‘great work’? Would you scrunch it up or take few deep breaths, take the leap, play with the symbolism that surrounds us and just see what happens? Can you trust the process?

Perhaps begin by writing about taking a leap of faith or about what you have in that swag over your shoulder. Don’t worry about grammar, sentence structure or try to write anything profound. Literally just spew words onto the page.

See the words appearing on the page! See! You are no longer looking at a blank page!

Now was that really so hard? 

Playful Ways to Work with Symbols

  • One way to play with symbols is to engage in an online Tarot Challenge like ‘Once Upon A Time – A Tarot Challenge’. You can create an imaginary character, like Vlad of Vlad’s Mobile Art Studio fame, and have the character embark on a journey of the imagination.