4-swords-cosmic.jpgSo, basically I’ve just been freaking out, looking at my Amazon numbers every five minutes and going, Oh my God, nothing’s happening. Oh my God, it’s going DOWN! The curse, you know, of the midlist author. One who hasn’t been discovered by Oprah or Stephen King.

So tonight’s the MEWS party at the Diva Lounge, the whole Montclair literati is there (except Warren, who’s off covering Hillary), and Pam yells out over the crazy noise, “Why don’t you get a Tarot reading!” and I say to myself, Yeah, why not? But then I almost punch out the Tarot reader before the reading even starts.

Thing is, I’m used to the Rider-Waite deck and she’s got the Cosmic Deck and all the images are different. I want to know what her cards would look like in my deck, and she raises her eyebrows like your doctor would if you said you just read this article on the internet. Like she doesn’t need any interference from amateurs. Please, move over and let the professional psychics do their work. It doesn’t matter what I think the cards mean. And further. Rider-Waite? Pul-leeese. That’s a beginner’s deck. She actually says that.

Anyway, it’s not just the cards, she goes on. It’s the whole vibe she gets from me and —

“But,” I protest. “You already think I’m an asshole!”

She just smiles.

Anyway, I go ahead. I mean, she’s a jerk, but it’s only money. What the hell. And then she gives me this totally dead-on, 100% amazing reading.

First card she shows me is the Queen of Swords (this tough-ass lady holding a sword in front of her), and then Judgement, and she says: “This is it. This is your whole challenge in life. You” — she points to the tough-ass lady — “have all these defenses up. On your guard against everything and everybody. Like you have to pay careful attention at all times. And your whole challenge in life is to let that guard down.”

She points to the Two of Pentacles, and stops. Well, she says, sometimes I am able to drop that whole defensive thing. Maybe when I’m writing. The card shows this guy walking carefully along a beach like he doesn’t want to step on something sharp and I’m thinking about my recent stay at VCCA and how I completely got into the writing in a truly profound and poetic way. Yes, she’s right! Sometimes, I do! Sometimes, I’m really on a wave of trusting the universe!

But (and herein lies the rub), these two parts of me are at war. And then (like proof!) she shows me The Chariot: two horses, one black, one white, pulling in different directions. I’m split apart. Holy cow, this lady has my number. I pull out my “Fear and Yoga in New Jersey” bookmark (which I’ve stashed in my pocket for networking/marketing reasons). Because she’s absolutely right, she doesn’t have any idea how right she is. Here’s my new book. And here’s that war. I am split. Half fear, half yoga!

Oh yes, and I’ve lived all these other lives and I can draw on them at any time, like accrued interest in some ancient account that goes back to the dawn of time.

Well, it goes on. I’m left-brained, only interested in commercial success (those Goddamn Amazon numbers!) and that (according to the Tarot reader) is like the least important thing of all. It’s not success that matters. It’s the work you do while you’re here. In this life, presumably.


And then there’s the Four of Swords, these guys sitting in the desert, and all their swords laid out in front of them on a blanket. You see, she says, I have to put both sides of me in the same space. So they’re not always at war. Like Business Debbie and Writer Debbie have to put down their swords and sit down together and make friends. Or at least sit there next to the blanket and listen to the water buffalo.

Well, all I can say is it did make me feel better about the Amazon numbers. That doesn’t mean I’m not going to e-mail the hell out of all my lists, especially all those people who asked me to join their Linked In networks, and beg, bully and cajole them into buying my book. But it still makes me feel better. After all, I may have known Oprah in a previous life.