Monday, June 9, 2014

Tarot readings

I've decided to get back into reading Tarot, at least over the summer, because I enjoy it and money is always a good thing to have.  Here's what I just wrote to put on a flyer for a local psychic fair:

I bought my first Tarot deck in Little Five Points at Crystal Blue in 1989, having learned with a deck that a friend gave me. Four years later, I started reading at Underground Atlanta. I have given readings and workshops all over the Southeast and beyond. I teach classes on traditional Tarot, meditation, using archetypes to create your own divination tools, and traditional Southern folk magic (sometimes called hoodoo, root work, or conjure). I do house blessings, cleansing, and problem-solving. With 20 years of experience and a broad range of interests, I incorporate old and new, East and West; I am conscious of world culture while staying rooted in traditional Southern folk ways. I still use the same Tarot deck I bought in 1989, and I find the learning process never ends.

E-mail me at tarotintheatl at gmail dot com to schedule a reading.  You can also follow me on Twitter @AtlantaTarot to find out where I'll be hanging out.

Reading length

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

All writers should go to New Orleans

Screw New York; it's too expensive, getting more so by the minute, and it's cold.  I know that's where all the agents and publishers are; they need to see the error of their ways and move to the French Quarter. Don't they know that writers are poor?  They certainly ought to, considering.

No doubt some smartass will point out that the French Quarter is not exactly low-rent, either.  But as expensive as it is, it is not remotely in the same class as Manhattan, which is reaching the point where even being a multi-millionaire is simply not enough to live there. Besides, there's such a thing as actual value derived from qualities other than the price tag on your real estate, which New Orleans in general has in spades. And there are other neighborhoods that are actually affordable and relatively close by the French Quarter, which is not true of anywhere in New York that I have heard tell of.  The closest reasonable rent to anywhere in Manhattan is Vermont.

Look:  In New Orleans, you need never lack for material.  It is literally just out there walking around, tending bar, waiting tables, and chatting amiably with you on the street corner, big as life. People are interesting here.  They have character.  They have a lot of it. 

And they are very friendly.  As I was walking down the street towards my hotel (reputedly originally owned and run as a boarding house by Marie Laveau), some folks were sitting on their front stoop taking the air.  I said hello (because I too am from the South) and they asked me where I was visiting from and "what brings you to the Quarter?"  I explained about my writing project and they allowed as how "there's lots to write about here, that's for sure."  See?  They know.

Even the street hallooing is of a different character. I was greeted while walking along Burgundy with "Heyyyy pretty in pink!" but it did not perturb me.  It was neither vulgar nor threatening; it was rather delivered in tones as if the speaker felt that it would be nearly ungentlemanly to let a woman walk down the street without applause.  Another complete stranger winked at me.  This rarely happens in Atlanta.  People are very friendly in New Orleans...The street life is riotous and legendary, even when there isn't a festival going on. When there is, it's practically transcendent.

And yet, it is also a place with many little enclosed oases, courtyards that can be barely glimpsed from the street or not at all, where it is possible (I know this from experience) to have a quiet conversation even at the height of Mardi Gras.  Your typically introvert writer can go out, sample the panoply of life's rich pageant, and then scuttle back into his or her hidey hole. I personally am currently sitting in my aforementioned historically awesome hotel room, with the French doors open to the balcony which overlooks the courtyard below, where I can hear the tinkle of a fountain (and the HVAC unit, but whatever). The cool night breezes can come wandering in. There are many, many good restaurants within easy walking distance, and many of them stay open quite late, so if I decided to stay up all night and write I could probably find sustenance or inspiration whenever I needed to.

What I am saying is, it's a civilized place. So civilized it is also well debauched.  As a matter of fact debauchery is something of a primary export, as it were.  Consequently they have good booze, good music...and good coffee, all things that are important to the writerly life.

New Orleans is a good place for a writer.  That's part of why I came.  I wish I could stay longer, in fact.  I guess I'll have to come back.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Writing on a train

You may have heard that Amtrak is giving out writer's residencies.  I thought this was a completely, utterly entrancing idea and obviously meant for me in particular.  I applied.  But then I thought...what if they don't pick me?  I NEED THIS.

So, I decided to do it myself, via Kickstarter.  My plan was...and ride on the Southern Crescent from Atlanta to New Orleans and back, working on a short story.  (And maybe some other things, but mostly short story).  I chose that because I have half a dozen short stories lying around that need finishing.  And a novel, but I am pretty sure I can't finish that in two days.  And I am notionally a fiction writer, after all, even though I habitually commit poetry and other indiscretions.

My project was funded in about eight hours (Yay Internet!) and I received enough to also pay for a hotel room (important, as the train coming back to Atlanta doesn't leave until the next morning).  So then...I will be leaving from Atlanta early tomorrow morning, writing all the way to New Orleans, spending the night in the French Quarter (aka the most awesome and delightful place in North America, possibly the world), then writing all the way back.

I won't have Internet for most of that (probably for the best) but will post frequent updates via Facebook and Twitter.  I may do some v-blogging, at the behest of a friend, but upload times will be slow.

Here's where to find me:
Sara Amis on Facebook
Sara Amis on Google+
My YouTube channel

Many thanks to the people who made this project possible:

Mark in New Orleans :)
Christine Kraemer
Eric Cooper
Lyn Bilodeau
Jonathan Chaffin
Brendan Myers
Andrew Flenniken
Miranda Harrell
Roger Beckett
Joshua Graham
Shawn Crawford
George Felis
Lee Sittler

If you are late to the party but would like to help out (a girl's gotta eat beignets and étouffée, y'all), you can still donate to this project via PayPal:

I am so excited I'm not sure I'm going to be able to sleep tonight...but I better, because tomorrow I have writing to do!  ON THE TRAIN!!!