Antenna (antennapedia) wrote,

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The Oblique Strategies

Writers who use the Tarot to nudge them into motion creatively might also be interested in the Oblique Strategies by Brian Eno and Peter Schmidt.

This is a deck of cards with "over 100 worthwhile dilemmas". Each card has a simple statement printed on it with advice for solving an artistic problem. You draw a card, wonder what the heck it means, strive to apply something like "go slowly all the way around the outside" to your current painting, or recording, or short story. And without you noticing it, your brain has started working on the problem, thinking about it in a new way. Ideas start fizzing, and you're in motion again.

For example, the strategy I got for the claim bond story is:
Look closely at the most embarrassing details and amplify them

Which is uncannily useful advice for this story, because it got me thinking about embarrassing for whom? For the characters? For the author? What am I flinching away from writing? There's a scene I know involves a lot of embarrassment for Giles. Maybe I should push on it harder.

I keep the box of cards on my desk, because I like having the physical card propped up to look at. The Eno Shop sells decks. (I own a third edition deck, because I have been an Eno fan for ages.) Or you can draw a card online. I love giving the decks away as presents.
Tags: creativity, tarot

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