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.