Tag Archives: theme

And the third theme of 2014 is…GROWN(-)UP.

I’ve been keeping a deck of tarot cards on my bedside table (Aleister Crowley’s Thoth deck, for anyone interested in knowing).  It’s been a source of inspiration sometimes, as well as a starting point for much-needed introspection for me.  Also, oddly enough, it makes me take the time to pray.

I haven’t been a prayerful person in years, and I’m still trying to work out what prayers are and whom they serve, but it has always been my habit to say some sort of prayer before drawing a card, doing a reading, consulting someone (or something, in this case) for better perspective.  It all started when I bought my first deck of tarot cards.  I was in middle school, I think, and my mother took me to Seven Stars (back when it was in Harvard Square).  After poring over many beautiful decks I chose one that was painted in watercolors, big fat lines and blurred edges.  I had three favorites: the Star (a naked woman in a lake, surrounded in varying shades of black and green), the Six of Cups (two chubby-legged children playing with the fairies and rainbows that spilled from golden chalices), and Death (partly because I felt badass to know it wasn’t a negative message, partly because it was a skeleton with a butterfly floating from its pelvis).

In the car, my mother reminded me to put on my seat belt, then asked me to promise her that I would always take a moment to say a prayer before a reading, for the benefit of the seeker, of myself.  In deference to God or some other higher power as I dabbled in esotericism.  I took this tarot thing very seriously, and I always said a prayer.  Something solemn but perfunctory.  God, let this go well.  Or, God, I don’t mean to offend.  Something like that.

The other night I asked the air for advice, for insight, before drawing three cards to see what I needed to know at this stage in my life.

Tonight I held the deck to my heart and thought of all my fellow Kindreds, some whom I know quite well by now and others whose expressions in this project give me a better understanding of who they are and how they work.  I wished for you, specific wishes and vague, but always concentrating on you.  I drew this card:

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I had never seen the Six of Cups reversed before!  Upon reading some more about what this means, I learned this card can suggest that one is clinging to one’s past in such a way that you inhibit yourself from experiencing the present and moving into your future.

This particular guide said something that really stood out to me:

“The Six of Cups is a card of nostalgia, childlike love and generosity, and a carefree, naïve outlook on life. Reversed, it suggests that you may have had unrealistically rosy ideas about a particular stage of life, based on your dreams and ideals from when you were younger. For example, you may have always pictured yourself as married with children by 25, only to realise that once you hit 25, you had other goals in mind. Or you may be disappointed that you have reached a particular age but have not fulfilled your childhood dreams just yet.”

When I said it stood out, I mean it sang to me.  I keep making fun of the idea that, at age 30, I’m still not an adult.  My expectations of myself as a child were so huge that I may never be an adult.  And the more I complain about this, the more I realize that most people feel this way, at one time or another. But it’s not that we’re all living in the past, and it’s not that we haven’t matured (do you see how my tarot prayers and uses have changed?) – we just aren’t living the lives we expected.  And frankly, who does?

So I ask you all kinds of things: are you living up to your own expectations? What have you wanted for yourself?  Has that changed over time?  Do you feel like you’re moving forward?  How might you be holding yourself back?  And if you’d rather this weren’t so introspective, tell me this: what is a grown-up?  Who are your favorite grown-ups?  Make one up for me.

I say this as a person who just bought a Little Prince sweatshirt, as a person who just caught up with her best friend from elementary school (over drinks!), as a 30-year-old who lives with her father, as the girl who first stood up for herself because she wanted to be Peter Pan in the school play, as the college dropout who is taking an acting class simply because it is impractical.  But also as the woman who just bought a juicer, as the woman who is trying to commit more to yoga…

That’s actually all the adult stuff I’ve been up to of late, but you get the idea.  But good luck!  And let this go well.

Jess Mullen

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Week 4: Reminder

It is late at night on the day I am supposed to post the new theme.  I had played with a few themes over the last week, and decided on this one this morning.  The word reminder is not good enough at describing exactly what made me think of this theme, but it will do.  And I suppose it will keep options open, which is always a good thing.

I feel like there must be a German word for what I am thinking of.  Something specific, with at least twenty letters in it.

The reminders I was thinking of were of the more fleeting kind.  The kinds that cause a spark or twinge.  Here are some examples…

  • When, as you are dreaming, you realize that you have the most brilliant idea possible and concentrate on soaking up every last detail, but then when you wake up you can almost hear it spilling out of your ears as you scramble to find the pen that rolled under the bed after you knocked it off the nightstand in your sleep. You are devastated.  And then, either three hours or three weeks later, someone says a word on the radio and you at least have pieces of the dream back.  And okay, maybe now that you’re thinking about it while awake, it’s not as brilliant an idea.
  • When the opening note of a song can make you travel through time to one very specific and probably uneventful day that you wouldn’t have had cause to remember otherwise.
  • When maybe you’ve had too much to drink, or were too tired to go out but you went out anyway, and weeks later you find pictures on your phone of events you thought you had dreamt.  And suddenly you remember the next thing that happened, and the next, and you either grimace or sigh.
  • When you write a note to yourself and lose it, then find it later and realize that even that is not enough to make you remember why you did that.  Why did I write “Smart Alec” in the middle of a page in my notebook?
  • When a scent brings you back to a specific time in your life, or when it reiterates that the life you are living is reality, and not just a plan you have thought of for months.
  • When you see someone write something down on a piece of paper and realize they have the same handwriting as your first boyfriend, and anyway where did that mix tape run off to?
  • When I was little I was a very eager student, who always wanted to get a word in with the teacher, whether it was a question, a related story, or an answer to a question.  Naturally my teachers wanted to give everyone a chance, so I would wait to be called, sometimes feigning patience.  How humiliating it was to finally be called upon and completely forget what I was going to say.  My mind’s eye would strain, and I could picture a window that was open, like in the school attic in The Neverending Story, with curtains blowing in the wind, suddenly shut.  Suddenly quiet.  Suddenly the thought was locked outside and I was fogging up the glass as I breathed.  In retrospect I would pray for one of these reminders that I’m talking about.

I cannot wait to see what this theme produces.  I could probably write a series of books on this.  Also, if anyone either knows the right word for this (in English or otherwise), or would like to make one up, please share!

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Week Three: Anthem

when you can’t get through it, you can listen to it*

When my favorite band announced the title of their new album would be called Anthem I immediately thought of it as a theme for the Kindred Collective. Music has been a huge part of my life since I was twelve years old and discovered this band. Since then, I’ve had many songs been my own personal anthems, many from that band but so many others. I was extra excited to realize my week coincides with the releases of Anthem (on Tuesday). How appropriate!

An anthem is a song that moves you, an ode to you that describes who you are or what you are. It’s the music that’s inside you, the themes to your world.

Tell me does it move you
Does it soothe you
Does it fill your heart and soul with the
Roots of rock and roll*

Xo. Melanie Kristy

*lyrics and music by Isaac, Taylor and Zac Hanson

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Week 3: Sage

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To propose a theme so early in a project such as this is nerve-wracking.  Ashley told me not to overthink it, to which I responded, “but that’s what I do best!”  And I’d like to say that I was half-kidding, but I wasn’t.  I am an expert in overthinking.  More than once in the last week I found my thoughts racing, swarming.  Something like this:

HOORAY I get to choose the next theme! We have had such good themes so far! I get so excited when it’s time for a new one!  And now it’s time for mine! And everyone will be so excited for my theme, which is…which is what?   Oh no, which is what? Thinkthinkthinkthinkthink.  Come on, Mullen, pull yourself together.  I mean, we had been talking about doing themes that were more like object writing, I mean this is object writing, sort of, but I’m thinking of objects – ocean, dolls, horses, glasses.  I did kind of like that idea, but I also like these broader, deeper topics, too, which are almost as flexible.  Well it’s my turn, I can choose dogs or headbands or telephones if I want, but we’re already on a roll with this broader, deeper stuff – do I really want to break that streak? But maybe other people would like to write about more concrete stuff, too.  Maybe they just need a voice.  But maybe they don’t! Maybe I’m the only one who feels this way! Maybe…

At about this point I would breathe into a paper bag.  In my mind.

This morning, I was reading “A Writer’s Book of Days” by Judy Reeves, and one word stood out to me as the solution to all my indecision.  On this week’s topic, anyway.  As you may have gathered, I am lousy at making decisions of any scale.  This word, which was not part of her prompts, allowed me not to decide.

The word is sage.  I’ve posted a picture of the sage in Taos, New Mexico, but sage can be so much.  A plant, yes, and a cooking ingredient, but also a wise person, a word describing a wise person, and so on.  This is a word that has such a broad spectrum of meaning in so few letters, and I want you all to run with it.  Sagely.

Best,

Jess

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