At last, at last, at lonnnng last, the companion book to my Tarot of the Zirkus Mägi is finally completed, in the can, and on sale now. This was easily the most painful aspect of my whole “tarot journey” and I’m pretty much ecstatic to have the thing behind me.
But it’s more than just the book: and it comes with a sense of both accomplishment and sadness to note that my time with the Zirkus Mägi — at least my active, creative time — is now done. Of course I’ll still be spending some time promoting the finished product, something I need to do with all my various creative “children,” but the time of actual work, of The Making, is All Out and Over, to paraphrase one of the card meanings.
This brings to mind an aspect of work that faces all creative people at some point: the issue of Completion.
In one facet or another, I have been actively working on the decks and their offshoots for (conservatively) the past twenty months. That’s a fair chunk of time to be focused on a thing: it takes me about that long to write a novel. The Tarot of the Zirkus Mägihas been one of the most significant projects of my creative life, and now it’s done. Complete —
Finishing something can actually kill a creative person. The wise writer, the wise artist, has another project already in the works that they can take up immediately. This can mean the difference between a smooth transition from Route 66 to Highway 99 — or driving off of a cliff.
Just Starting is the hardest thing that any creative person, no matter their discipline, has to face. It’s a lot like trying to start your car when it’s ninety below zero out there. Everything inside you that needs to be flowing in order to accomplish the work is frozen up harder than an Ice Palace.
So, when you’re faced with the situation of having to start something new while you are simultaneously in free-fall over the ending of your last project, a project that may have been the primary focus of your life for some considerable time… this is a recipe for disaster.
You must have another project already In Progress when you finish something major. It’s the only way to avoid what could become a catastrophically fallow and depressing period.
In my case, I have two, and a third in the wings. And thank goodness for that. As an alcoholic, the last thing I can afford to have in my life are Empty Days.
Take a moment to look back and savor the completion, yes. Take a moment to pat yourself on the back for Having Accomplished Something, and even allow yourself to feel the sense of wistfulness that naturally comes when something that you have been intensely focused on for a long period of time is finally ended. But be sure that you have something else in motion so that you can grab hold and keep right on plugging along. Not following this simple rule will have consequences that some artists never overcome.
Meanwhile, over there in the sidebar you will already find links to the “new” projects that will keep me going. This is one god-damn time in my life where I have been a Good Boy Scout and am fully prepared with something to get me through the let-down.
Good fortune to you on all your great works, my friends.