Friday, January 27, 2006

Fortune Cookie Prophecy for Writers

Tomorrow is Chinese New Year, the official beginning of the Year of the Dog. Woof.

Now I'm Italian and Irish, so the whole 12-animal rotation thing is mostly lost on me, but I'll "celebrate" with some Chinese takeout. Love my chicken with broccoli, extra spicy, but I particularly look forward to the fortune cookie. I could care less about eating is--my son usually snaps it up before it could reach my mouth anyway--but the fortune. Ah, now that I'll fight over. Lately, my fortunes all seem to slant writerly in nature; at least that's how I read them. My latest fortune predicted, "Begin...the rest is easy." I so needed that fortune. I've been slagging lately--well, perfecting the outline for the next part of my WIP, probably to an extreme level. Definitely to an extreme level. I need to continue writing the beast.

I still remember the first time I opened a fortune relating to writing. I was working as a staffer for a health magazine, craving the day I'd have the time and energy to be able to write what I wanted to write. My cookie heard my silent plea...

"You are a lover of words," it said. "Someday you will write a book."

I still have that fortune, though the ink has faded to near-invisibility. I remember what it said, though; who needs ink? That fortune cemented it for me; the Chinese God(s?) had decided I was capable of writing a book, and damn, I would have to do it.

So what is it about the power of fortune cookies? I guess I ingest them the way others do horoscopes, reading in them what I want. But I think we can make prophecy--whether on a little slip of paper, an online link or some other way--powerful if we decide to.

I poked around a little to learn more about Chinese astrology and read that people often clean their homes on Chinese New Year, physically and spiritually ridding themselves of any fusty past-year karma. So how do we writers apply that to us?

* Clean up your desk. Remember what the surface looks like.
* Sort through your leaning-tower-of notes. Type up the unique ideas; chuck the boring ones.
* Rededicate yourself to your WIP. If you did this on January 1st, consider this your second chance, or your reinforcer.
* Write something. Write it better.

Remember, all you have to do is Begin. The rest, as the Chinese cookie makers say, is easy.


Blogger Kathleen Bolton said...

I'll admit it, I'm a sucker for the zodiacs, both Western and Eastern.

I was curious about what the Year of the Dog could bring, and I found the following (via Google):

"The Dog is an ethical and idealistic sign, and the year that bears its name will also bring increased social awareness and interest in society's less powerful members. Any tendencies to take, take, take will be replaced by a widespread sentiment of generosity and selflessness. In general, we will all be imbued with the Dog's keen sense of right and wrong. You can also get a feel for the year to come by checking the compatibility between your Chinese sign and the sign of the dog -- the better your compatibility, the better your year."

Check your Chinese sign here at this fun website:

4:36 PM  
Blogger thea mcginnis said...

I was born in the year of the dragon but as my sign entered the year of the dog, i'd not expected my scaley tail to be nipped and bloodied by the hounds of my future. but even a dragon is not a law unto herself....not even for the end prize of a large and glistening diamond - a personal favorite. I'd sigh right now, but i might singe you blog.

3:58 PM  

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