I admit it, I’m a big fan of gimmicky presents for writers: the latest craft book, a coffee cup that says “Writers Do It With Words” or a brand-new Moleskin journal. My friends and family know this and my work space is loaded with them. Many of these items are cute and useless. Some of the craft books, too, sad to say.
But the one item I use regularly is called the Observation Deck by Naomi Epel. This handy little book and card deck is full of gems from great writers and artists on everything from editing to finding inspiration in a color. You pluck a card from the deck, and look up what the card means in the book. There are quotes from writers such as Hemingway and LeCarre about the grit of writing, Plath and Ginsberg on the fickleness of creativity. There’s something comforting in knowing these great writers struggled, and empowering in reading how they overcame the hurdle.
I think of it as a tarot deck for writers. It’s uncanny how the card pulled usually will either address a problem I’m having with my writing immediately or get my mind working on a new creative path that will eventually solve the problem in the end.
In fact, I pulled a card to inspire me for this day’s post (Set Limits, it said). Then I realized that I should be talking about the deck itself. It’s a terrific tool when one is blocked.
Sometimes I bring the deck to the writer’s group I belong to. We pull a card and discuss it. It’s amusing to see how many interpretations of something like “Watch for Gesture” a group of writers will have. Inevitably we’ll go off in a tangent, inspired by the card.
Bottom line: The Observation Deck is a worthy “gimmick” to add in a writer’s arsenal. Plus it’s fun and spooky and inexpensive. I love that bit the best, cheapo that I am. :0