Ten of Swords

Just as the Ten of Cups showed joy overflowing, so the Ten of Swords fills us with pain….[But] The situation is not as bad as it looks.

Seventy-Eight Degrees of Wisdom, Rachel Pollack

Writing is touted as a difficult task.

In the past three months, I’ve written a Game with a friend (a secret project that is currently on release 0.8 “Samwell” out to beta-testers), an unpublished novelette called A Return to Magic, and a published piece on Vocal.Media, “The Boarding Party”.

It feels painful to not write, and when you sit down to write, the agonizing over perfection is always a problem. But the situation is never as bad as it may seem at the time. I mean, if it hurts not to write, you pick-up a pen and your journal and voila, blank page. If that is agonizing, you simply put them back down and move along. The only key ingredient of successful writers is that they keep writing.

My aunt, who also writes, has a brilliant story from her writer’s group where they have a Zoom presentation on writer’s block. Well… the number one way to get over writer’s block is to write. Write sitting down, write standing up, write dictating into a recorder, write on your phone, write in your journal, write on your blog, write write write write.

I mean, go for a walk, listen to stimulating music, read stimulating passages, arrange and rearrange your knickknacks, whatever, but to actually beat writer’s block you have to write. That is why the ten of swords: because beating writer’s block is the agony. It is easier to talk about not writing than to actually sit and write.

That’s the only real source of agony: actually starting and ending a work.

Here’s the secret truth… no matter how hard it may be for me to start and finish a piece of writing, we both know that’s the only real source of agony: actually starting and ending a work. The blissful energy that goes into each word and punctuation mark and little dangling white space is a joy! Word-to-word there is little agony and little pain. It is in the spaces between not writing and writing and not writing and writing and not writing that causes the agony. It is the conditional, the between the actual condition of writing, that breaks writers and would-be practitioners.


In 1998, I found the Miniatures event which had been shuttled off from the main building of GenCon in Chicago, Illinois in August.

I am a witness. I see things and then I cannot help but create lies about them. The mystique behind finding something that was hidden or lost, that should not have been lost, is a trope that fuels my fiction.

In 2004, I found myself wandering back into Ontario, Canada after half a decade abroad and nine years of career-avoidance tactics.

I write. I pummel pages from paragraphs, paragraphs from sentences, sentences from words. The pen is mightier than the sword.

In 2022, I find myself writing once again. Life fuels fiction for me. Everything is about the emotional state in which I find a familiarity with the characters I write about.

In a world of conformity, I bludgeon fiction into exploring possibilities. Maybe one day you will read what I have written.