There is nothing quite like the feeling of finishing a book. You never know for sure if it’s going to work, at least if you don’t write to a safe formula.
At a couple of points I even considered dropping the last story. happily I didn’t because I think it turned out well, not just for itself, but as a way to tie together previous threads.
And now the book is done and off to the publisher, Magic Realist Press.
Here’s the current working title:
THE TAROT OF PERFECTION: EIGHT STORIES
Over the next few week I hope to post a few entries here, on subjects that have come to mind these past days while I was focusing on the book.
For now I thought it would be interesting to put in a passage I ended up having to cut from the final story. That tale, called “Master Matyas,” concerns a boy who becomes a magician because he wants to fly.
He apprentices himself to a mysterious woman named Veil, whom he assumes can tell him the secret of flying if only she will give in to his demands.
The omitted passage comes from a moment when Matyas demands the secret. Here it is:
Matyas said, “I want to fly. I was born for it.”
“No one knows why he was born. Haven’t I taught you that? What is the basis of a magician’s strength?”
“His ignorance.” He closed his eyes briefly and he remembered when she took him to the roof of the tower and they looked Above and Below, where all color vanished into light and into darkness, one as unknowable as the other. He quoted her now. “Knowing ignorance is strength.”
“But what of the other part? ‘Ignoring knowledge is sickness.’ There are things that can be known and they should not be ignored. I am sick of sickness. I want what I want.”
“There are three levels of knowledge,” Veil said, “and three levels of sickness and three levels of ignorance. Can you really be sick of sickness if you have not passed through all the levels of knowledge?”
These statements, “Knowing ignorance is strength” and “Ignoring knowledge is sickness,” come from part 71 of the Tao Te Ching, as translated by Gia-Fu Feng and Jane English.
I have pondered it many times, and written about it, in particular as two ways of doing Tarot, the way of Ignorance–reacting directly to the pictures–and the way of Knowledge–learning the traditional meanings.
The chapter goes on to say
If one is sick of sickness one is not sick.
The sage is not sick because he is sick of sickness.
Therefore he is not sick.
When I wrote my own passage above, it seemed to me that the idea of three levels of Ignorance, and three levels of Knowledge, and three levels of sickness, came as a purely intuitive leap. Now it strikes me that the lines above imply the idea of three levels of being not sick. This is something to ponder.
Hopefully I will write more about it here later.