Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Storytelling for Beginners

Last night I read my fifteen week old daughter a story using tarot cards as a starting point. I put my creative writing degree, my tarot reading skills and my years of experience in comedic and dramatic improvisation to work with the hopes that I would succeed in entertaining an infant. I used my copy of the Hanson Roberts deck, a collection of rather benign images on shorter card stock, perfect for baby's ever growing hands. I concentrated and shuffled as best I could while Belle impatiently demanded her bedtime snack (I had planned to read Belle her story while we nursed). I pulled The Hanged Man, The Hermit, Page of Pentacles, King of Pentacles and Strength before I panicked.

I had an actual question in mind when I shuffled the cards. I had to eschew that to make the story make sense. I didn't know where to start. I usually throw cards in one top row of Past, Present and Future, with the bottom row as the Advice. The cards don't always fit into that particular mold. Sometimes they want to be read right to left, from the center outward or with the very last card as the answer. With this in mind, I started with the Strength card, casting myself as the fair maiden with a subdued lion as my familiar. I heard myself ramble in many parts of the story. Belle, the chubby cheeked chow hound, stopped nursing and listened intently. I eventually got to the point of the story: Poopy the eighty year old Hermit received the funding he needed from Princess Belle to release the star from the lamp, call The Hanged Man off the tree and introduce him to Princess Belle. They all lived happily ever after. Here's to my next storytelling effort!

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