Posted in Quotes, random thoughts, Tarot, writing


Totally out of copyright map from c 1565

So begins a new segment of my blog, like unveiling a new wing of the building. I expect the furnishings will remain eclectic. With this post I have written five-hundred posts on Filling Spaces. (yeah-yeah, don’t count the other blogs, it’ll ruin the moment) Anyway, it seemed like the occasion was worthy of a little fanfare.

I wanted to write something grand and glorious to mark the milestone. Initially, I ambitiously set out to incorporate a mapping metaphor (getting lots of great alliteration here, though, eh?) and was going to incorporate all kinds of maps from fantasy novels (yanno, the whole ‘map out the future…blahblahblah’), but honestly the time got away from me and the task was overwhelming. There are A LOT of fantasy fiction maps out there, and since no doubt most of them are still protected by copyright, I thought it best not to run afoul of the law.

Instead, I thought I’d kick off the next 500 by posting some inspiring quotes to keep us all chugging along, whether it be writing, painting, making music, carving wood ducks, or whatever you do.

First up, Neil Gaiman, with some pearls of wisdom:

“If you make art, people will talk about it. Some of the things they say will be nice, some won’t. You’ll already have made that art, and when they’re talking about the last thing you did, you should already be making the next thing.

If bad reviews (of whatever kind) upset you, just don’t read them. It’s not like you’ve signed an agreement with the person buying the book to exchange your book for their opinion.

Do whatever you have to do to keep making art. I know people who love bad reviews, because it means they’ve made something happen and made people talk; I know people who have never read any of their reviews. It’s their call. You get on with making art.”

I think it’s important to keep in mind that not everyone will love what we do. All we can do is hope those who do love it will find their way to it. Some people will say nasty things to make themselves feel better, or because they think it’s very clever, or in their superior wisdom they have passed judgement on you and found you wanting. They will always be out there, there’s nothing we can do about people like that. We already know we’re striving to be our best selves, and if we fall short of a narrow opinion, what of it? On we go.

“…it’s just another one of those things I don’t understand: everyone impresses upon you how unique you are, encouraging you to cultivate your individuality while at the same time trying to squish you and everyone else into the same ridiculous mould. It’s an artist’s right to rebel against the world’s stupidity.”
E.A. Bucchianeri, Brushstrokes of a Gadfly

I would go so far as to say it’s the artist’s DUTY to rebel.

“What had happened was this. When still young, I had gotten the idea from somewhere that I might be able to write… Maybe the deadly notion came from liking to read so much. Maybe I was in love with the image of being a writer. Whatever. It had been a really bad idea. Because I couldn’t write, at least not by the bluntly and frequently expressed standards of anyone in a position to offer any encouragement and feedback.”
Paul Di Filippo, Fuzzy Dice

They (that ubiquitous ‘they’)  just love to knock us down, don’t they? Fie on them, I say. Up and at ’em!

For those days when everyone seems to be laughing at you:

“Keep away from people who try to belittle your dreams. Small people always do that, but the really great ones make you feel that you too, can become great.” – Mark Twain

And finally, a small thank you to all of you who have been my own personal cloudburst when I was in the grip of an extended confidence drought:

“Encouragement from any source is like a drop of rain upon a parched desert. Thanks to all the many others who rained on me when I needed it, and even when I foolishly thought I didn’t.”

(acknowledgements in The P.U.R.E.)
Claire Gillian

If you need more encouragement, whatever your endeavor, I strongly recommend a visit to The Write Attitude. I pop over there whenever my confidence flags or I feel like life has kicked me one too many times.

A final thought:

Eight of SwordsThis one was hand-picked, I didn’t shuffle and pull. I knew this one was in there. Eight of Swords is typically a tough card to have turn up. The Waite-Smith deck and its many clones depict a blindfolded, bound woman standing in front of eight swords that are planted point down, standing like a wall behind her. It’s feeling hemmed in, like there’s nothing you can do, unable to see a way out. Kind of what I expect the sailors on Columbus’s ships felt. Have you seen those ships? I was on a replica of the Niña once. ‘Claustrophobic’ doesn’t begin to cover it. Imagine sharing a 1900sf house with 18 people. Sitting in that crackerbox in the vastness of the ocean is like the woman who doesn’t realize she’s not totally surrounded by the swords. They couldn’t see where they were going anymore than the blindfolded woman can see she’s not totally surrounded. Columbus had faith that he could get where he was planning to go, and that’s what we must do. It makes me wonder if someday the story of his voyage will pass into myth as a metaphor for perseverance. Avast, ye landlubbers! Time to weigh anchor; we sail with the tide.

Posted in Quotes, Tarot, writing

Weekly Card Draw – Four of Swords

This is the Four of Swords from the Enchanted Tarot by Amy Zerner and Monte Farber.

Four of SwordsThe Four of Swords indicates a time of rest and regrouping after a bit of a rough patch. Like the Buddha, it’s a time to withdraw a bit, meditate on what’s been going on, try to heal after a hurt.

Even if you don’t meditate in the sense of sitting in a full lotus position, now might be a good time to just sit quietly, avoid excess stress (like a party you don’t really want to go to because it’ll be the same drunk obnoxious people who always show up). If you’ve been sick, take it easy on yourself, don’t keep pushing. Get some balance back in your life. Rest, reflect, now is not the time to fight a pitched battle.

I like the calm, serene blues in this card, the swords forming a sort of temple around the Buddha. It has very ethereal, restful feel to it. Like floating on a cloud, or sitting in our own celestial temple.

So, a quote from the Buddha seems appropriate here.

You can search throughout the entire universe for someone who is more deserving of your love and affection than you are yourself, and that person is not to be found anywhere. You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe deserve your love and affection.

I think I’ll carve out some extra writing time this week for myself.

Be good to yourselves and enjoy your week, my friends.

Posted in Holidays, poetry, Quotes, Tarot, writing

A Card and Sonnet for the week

So here’s our weekly card. When I pulled it, I kind of went ‘meh’ and almost reached for another deck to try again. And then I remembered what week this is. Ha. Tarot certainly has a sense of humor.

Knight of Cups

Well, it is Valentine’s Day this week. We have the Knight of Cups, the romantic dreamer, who may not always be as practical and grounded as he should be. It’s easy to get carried away with romantic notions and dreams, making decisions based on feelings rather than facts. That’s not always a bad thing, just don’t let it get out of hand.

Whether you’re in a relationship or not, Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all. Maybe do something nice for someone. Or yourself. Buy yourself some flowers, you don’t have to wait for someone else to give them to you.

Sonnet 116, William Shakespeare

Let me not to the marriage of true minds

	Admit impediments. Love is not love

Which alters when it alteration finds,

	Or bends with the remover to remove:

O no! it is an ever-fixed mark

	That looks on tempests and is never shaken;

It is the star to every wandering bark,

	Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.

Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks

	Within his bending sickle's compass come:

Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,

	But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

If this be error and upon me proved,

	I never writ, nor no man ever loved.
Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing

The Greater Part of Life is Sunshine

But friendship is precious, not only in the shade, but in the sunshine of life, and thanks to a benevolent arrangement the greater part of life is sunshine. – Thomas Jefferson

Sun Card from the Touchstone Tarot

The Sun card is exactly what you would think: Success, happiness, achievement of goals and dreams. The sort of feeling you get when everything seems to be going your way. Standing in the sunshine, basking in the wonderful warmth and life-giving light. With spring around the corner we should all be seeing more sun (well, most of us. Maybe not here in the Northwest for awhile yet). The card speaks of more than literal sunshine, it’s dreams coming to fruition, joy. Like the innocent baby merrily sitting astride the lovely white pony, sunflowers reaching to the sky, we’re about to experience abundance, strength, vitality.

White horses have been long held as sacred in many cultures, and heroes and gods and goddesses were often described as riding white horses. Even Gandalf’s horse in “The Lord of the Rings”, Shadowfax, lord of all horses, was white.


So, saddle up my friends. Brighter days are coming.

Posted in Quotes, random thoughts, writing

Annual Accounting of Stupid New Year’s Resolutions

Well. Here we are again. About a month away from wrapping up another year, and me watching in horror as my life flies by while toiling for meager wages. Yes I’m still grumbling. Yes I know I should be grateful I have a job, and I am. I just wish it left me some time to write. You may have noticed how my posting here on the blog has slowed down over the last few months. You can imagine what my creative writing endeavors consist of. :::cue screeching tires:::

Back at the beginning of the year, I chose not to make ‘resolutions‘, but instead set some goals to aim for. Well, I didn’t do too well at meeting them. Ok, I didn’t get anything done. And I should have, especially those four months I squandered when I was out of work. Oh how I wish I could have that time back now.

I did submit one story that was rejected :::sad trombone – Wah-wah::: but that’s ok. I know I’m going to get lots of rejections and honestly I kind of rushed that story and it could be better. A lot better. Feh.

So the big plan for the new year is to find a way out of this death spiral I’m trapped in. If I could figure out a way to work part-time and still be able to pay my bills… alas, that’s not very likely, is it? I feel like my whole life is work-centered: when I go to bed, when I wake up, from the minute I open my eyes around 5:00AM until I get home around 6:30PM, at which time I wash up dishes and start prepping for the next day. There’s no time left for a life.

I know people around the world live in far worse conditions, without food or clean water or medicine or education or heat…  Is that it? Is that the yardstick for success? I’m not living in the gutters of Calcutta, so be happy and get over it?

To an extent, probably. But nothing was ever achieved by anyone who simply accepted their lot in life and gave up.

“A window of opportunity won’t open itself.”

– Dave Weinbaum

If you need me, I’ll be over here hatching some hare-brained plot.

Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing

I’ll Take One World, Please

The World from the Victorian Romantic Tarot

Served up with a lovely side of flowers.

The World card indicates pretty much what you see: Being on top of the world, having things come out in your favor, your plans coming to fruition, cause for celebration.

The best and most beautiful things in the world cannot be seen or even touched – they must be felt with the heart. — Helen Keller

A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world. — Oscar Wilde

I wonder if Wilde really thought of that as a punishment. Some of the most compelling moments in my life have been watching the sun rise. It was one of the things I loved about my commute to my last job, cresting the hill in the road and seeing the sun about to rise above the hills, the different and stunning clouds in the morning, or the fog laying in the fields below. I always meant to pull over and get some pictures but never did, in the rush to get to work on time. Plus that stretch of road was two-lane, and there really wasn’t any place to pull over except into private driveways. Alas. Maybe some weekend on the bike.

Have a great week, everyone!


Posted in 20th Century/Modern Classical, music, Quotes, random thoughts


Perhaps a counterpoint to my last post, this is soothing, rather than distressing. I woke to this on the radio the other day. Music at that hour, when I’m not yet fully awake, has a profound effect on me. I am unable to move, even to roll over and check the time, lest I miss a note. I would have been late for work if it came to that, waiting to hear the credits for the piece. I know of Arvo Pärt, I’ve heard other compositions of his, but somehow I’d never heard this, Spiegel im Spiegel (Mirror in Mirror). It’s been haunting me for days, and you  know what I do when that happens: I blog it. You must hear this, and enjoy the breathtaking photography and lovely quotes in the slideshow. And if, like me, music can move you to tears, have the Kleenex handy.

After that, everything else sounds like a jet engine. Come back to the world slowly.

Posted in art, Quotes, Tarot, writing


I had a request to use this deck so this week’s card is from the Baroque Bohemian Cats deck (3rd edition) from Baba Studio. This is a wonderful, whimsical deck of anthropomorphic cats dressed in rich garments, with backgrounds taken from locations in and around Prague. Cats, sumptuous fabrics and Prague, what more can we ask for?

The Strength card. Typically on most decks Strength features a woman subduing a lion, or sitting contentedly with one. The Strength card is about our inner strength, subduing our own baser instincts and becoming better for it. I found a couple of quotes I liked about strength and wanted to share them.

The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places.”
Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms


This one made me a little misty-eyed:

Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won’t either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself you tasted as many as you could.”
Louise Erdrich, The Painted Drum LP

I feel like I’m going off to battle every day when I go to work now. Somehow I have to believe I have the strength to get through this.

Be strong, be brave.


Posted in Quotes, random thoughts, writing

Happy Birthday to Oscar Wilde


Legendary wit born today in 1854, Oscar Fingal O’Flahertie Wills Wilde (16 October 1854 – 30 November 1900)

Oscar Wilde quotation page.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation.

Something ironic in posting a quote there.
And I like this a lot:
It is what you read when you don’t have to that determines what you will be when you can’t help it.
Posted in Halloween, Holidays, NaNoWriMo, Oregon, photography, Quotes, random thoughts, writing

October’s Turn

“There is no season when such pleasant and sunny spots may be lighted on, and produce so pleasant an effect on the feelings, as now in October.”
–  Nathaniel Hawthorne

October is the golden month, with the trees changing but the days are (generally) still sunny and dry, and warm, even though the nights are starting to turn colder. Even here in Oregon we have pretty reliably good weather for most of the month. Today was stunning, 80 degrees and sunny, with the trees turning gold and red and leaves piling up all over the yard. I don’t think it could be any more perfect.

I need to get busy with the Hallowe’en decorations, I haven’t even dug them out yet. Soon, though. Not to be a downer, but before the bad weather starts, it’s time to check through emergency supplies, stock up on batteries, candles. If you have pets make sure you have pet food on hand in case stores are closed or you can’t get there. Keep emergency supplies in your car: flashlight, tools, flares, blanket, shovel (you can get mini folding ones), and so on. Do it now while you have time and before you need it.

In the meantime, enjoy the weather, plan some winter projects. I’m skipping NaNoWriMo again this year, I really think my NaNo’ing days are over. I have enough writing projects to keep me busy for a long time without creating new ones, and I really cannot squeeze it in this year with this job I have. I will find time to write more regularly, though. My daimon is ever present and inspiring, and encouraging. Have  a great week, everyone.