For the past few weeks, I’ve been attending a fiction writing class.
It was a complete accident, actually. I through it would be creative writing of all kinds – and wanting to develop my creative nonfiction writing, I signed up.
At the first session, when Jane – the facilitator – introduced the course contents with topics like character development, scene-setting and plot, and started animated discussions about our favourite childhood books and the elements of good fiction, my initial thought was ‘ooh shit, I’m in the wrong place’. I’ve never had any desire to write fiction, and always assumed I didn’t have the imagination for it.
Then I thought ‘what the hell. I’m here. Let’s see what happens’
I decided to use tarot cards, because of course. Need a character? Draw a card. Put two ‘people’ cards in a room and see how they get on. Need a plot twist? Draw a card. Stuck on someone’s backstory? Draw a card.
At first it was bloody painful. My attempts at natural dialogue were so embarrassing I *literally* burned them. But bit by bit, my confidence grew, and last week, I wrote my first ever (very) short story! It’s about the Two of Swords and The Hierophant and a mysterious key.
I don’t think I’ve written a great story, but I am chuffed with myself for sticking with it and writing anything at all!
I promised myself that however rubbish/cringeworthy/amateur it was, I would share it here. Because hey, you’re all lovely people and I know you won’t judge, or laugh at me.Or if you do, that you won’t crush me by telling me so.
So here’s part 1 of The Magic Key…
The older woman shrugged. And then she smiled, a big, wide smile full of a real hearty kind of joy and Corrine saw all of her fillings and felt a tiny bit afraid, without really knowing why.
She looked away, dropping the key into the deep pocket of her coat. When weird, witchy old women stop you in the street and give you rusty bits of junk, it’s best to make a fast exit. You don’t want to get drawn in to any of that drama. She turned to leave.
‘I know you’re afraid. But really, there’s no need.’
What was she even talking about? Corrine hunched her shoulders, pushing her thick woollen scarf up further around her ears, and quickly stepped away. She didn’t have time for this.
Later, when errands were done and the house was tidy and there was nothing to watch on Netflix and the cats were fed and out and she felt god damn listless inside, Corrine did something she almost never did. She got back into her coat, wrapped that big scarf around her head and shoulders like a shawl, and headed out.
It was a clear, freezing January night. The pavement seemed harder than usual, the trees seemed more limber, somehow more human. She couldn’t see the moon, but she could feel it, up there, somewhere. She realised she had forgotten her gloves. Where was she even going?
Now there was a question. One that Corrine had been asking herself for ten years, though perhaps ‘avoiding’ would be a better word. After the upheaval of moving north, the razor-sharp loneliness of no goodbyes, the silence of that journey, the emptiness of those first twelve months and the daily effort it had taken to clean away every last glimmer of the south.
She dug her hands deep into those big coat pockets and took a deep breath. And there it was, suddenly in her hand.
It wasn’t a pretty key, like the ornate iron antiques people collect. It wasn’t even particularly big. It was long, silver and tarnished, with a small, hard loop and a roughly-cut, labyrinthine blade. It looked like the sort of key that a caretaker would have on a big loop. The sort that would open up the bin store or the stationary cupboard.
Corrine weighed it in her hand, enjoying the sensation of balance in her hand as she walked, and noticed with surprise how warm it felt against the icy cold of the night.
A drink. That was what she wanted. Which was odd, because it was a Tuesday night and she wasn’t exactly drinker and besides, she didn’t have any friends and what was she going to do, sit in a bar somewhere, all alone?
The key glowed a little warmer. And then… no, it didn’t. Did it? Did it twitch in her hand? Corrine stopped beneath a streetlamp and stared. She felt like she was holding a mouse or a butterfly, something delicate. Something alive. It seemed to be pointing.
She turned and heard music. That kind of scruffy, raw, local-band kind of music that so often you wish would finish so you could just enjoy your pint in peace but which today seemed friendly, comforting, somehow. She grasped the key tightly and felt it’s strange warmth pulse through her hand.
I’ll share part two soon…
Meanwhile, look out for more posts about tarot and creative writing throughout this week!
Do you write fiction? Do you use tarot to inspire your stories? Let’s hear all about it!
I’m a 30-something writer, artist, tarot reader, and perpetual explorer of the space between thought, feeling, and action.
I believe that spirituality and ritual are for everybody. I’m about the journey, in all of its messy, non-linear, chaotic iterations. I am excited by anticapitalist business and living with my whole entire self present. I use tarot cards to bring forth hidden truth, and ritual to affirm my commitment, over and over, to my ever-shifting path.