Playing My Card Right


Ah, writer’s block. Never fun, and always a pain in my large-and-in-charge behind. Sometimes, writers will employ interesting little tactics to break the block and get those words flowing again, and in late 2016 my own little tactic popped into my memory, causing me to jump right onto eBay for a quick search.

I’d been in a real writing rut, mostly thanks to all the emotional upheaval I was experiencing. I deeply missed writing, but nothing seemed to be unclogging my mind and letting me focus for long enough to write more than a brittle sentence strung on fraying thread. Even when the conditions were exactly right: early morning before the girls got up, my favourite mug filled with hot coffee and delectable hazelnut creamer, wind and rain threatening the skies; I just couldn’t write very much at all. It was frustrating, and a little embarrassing that it was taking months for me to have anything to show for the struggle (although my dear friend Catherine, who writes fantastic novels and with whom I share my stories, was very understanding and patient with me).

And then, one day I remembered the Magic: The Gathering card that used to inspire me when I was a teenager.

It was a mid-September afternoon and I was sitting, as always, on “my” couch against the big window and next to the back door, which we always used far more often than the front door. Liat, Alora and I were discussing things that were successful in inspiring us artistically, which was an important conversation for us as all three of us had experienced severe art block more than once. I suddenly remembered that card, so I grabbed my laptop and did a Google image search so I could show the girls.

It was the Storm Seeker, a common card in the game. I had first seen it in an magazine ad when I was fourteen years old and working on my first fantasy novella, and something about it really struck me. With that image in mind, I was inspired for a character in the novella, and that year I went on to finish eight more–all in the same series, all typed up in a violently contrasting custom Windows 98 colour scheme.

I thought that I ought to look for the card on eBay, as having it in my possession might help me get out of my writer’s block. And it was a nice little bit of nostalgia, whether I could write again or not! A Canadian dollar and a few days later, an envelope arrived containing four Storm Seekers. I gave one to Alora and one to Liat, I used one as a bookmark, and I kept one in a plastic card sleeve to protect it as I kept it out where I could see it.

And now, whenever I play my card right, I feel a little writing boost.

How interesting is it that something so small, so simple, can have that kind of influence.


Do you have any interesting thing that inspires you to draw, paint, write, or play music?



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