Is 2016 over yet?
It isn't!?.... Fine then.

I know I'm not alone in saying it, but it's been an extremely rough year. For all of us. I've struggled to find creative energy and inspiration for the greater part of this year. I've shown up, and I've been writing, but it's all been of a non-fiction nature. Tarot studies, shadow work. I haven't shirked my daily spreads, and sitting down to do that each morning, and the associated writing, is admittedly a huge part of what's kept me going long enough for the juices to start flowing again. The trigger point that tipped me back into writing earlier last week was an album that Aleks shared on Facebook -- the soundtrack from a video game, Mirror's Edge: Catalyst. Never mind that the character on the game cover looks suspiciously like a muse of mine, from a futuristic spec-fic I've been toying with, which will likely be my next-year project.
Image link takes you to the full soundtrack on Youtube.
The music in this game reminds me of Bladerunner, which of course makes me think of the Blue District, and lyche. So the urge to return to Black's rewrite has settled back upon my shoulders. Just in time for... a week's respite from the day job before the warzone of the holiday shopping season begins in earnest.

Tarot, I've found, is a tool that serves a number of purposes in my artistic life. It helps me focus, in both mundane and creative ways. As a means of spiritual journey, of self exploration, self awareness, and self actualization, it has become priceless. I hope to, going forward, incorporate something of its invaluable essence into the archetypes and plot structures of my writing.
The Dreams of Gaia Tarot
The Dreams of Gaia deck showing off its assets.
After all, I can think of no better Hero's Journey than that of the Fool -- embarking on a path of enlightenment, ascending to spiritual awakening, only to place their soul-stuff back into their pack and leap from the cliff into the unknown yet again. This particular deck in the image above, however, takes a different approach to the major arcana, employing three aetts for a total of twenty-four, plus a null card titled Choice. The obvious parallel with the Elder Futhark has my interest piqued. I've embarked upon a "year and a day" study of this deck to become acquainted with it's unique tarot system. I'm already in love with the King of Fire (look at the tiny fefa clansman in the design, haha!) and look at those Earth avatars with the horns, exuding Asterion inspiration all over the place. This deck and I are going to get on just fine, I can tell.

Fragile Bond cover artI know I mentioned, at the beginning of this year, that Black's rebirth would happen some time this summer, or by the end of the year at the latest. This is what I get for setting deadlines, even nebulous ones. Sure, the end-of-year is still possible, a very real possibility, actually, since that massive overhaul rewrite is my Nanowrimo task in the coming month and I intend to do nothing but write over the coming week. In the meantime, however, I decided to chew up a much smaller piece of pie. Some heavy edits, though not content ones, have cleaned up the text of Fragile Bond to a point where I am actually proud with its representation of me and my skill as a writer. The daunting prospect of commissioning cover art, I'll admit, stood as one block obstructing my re-release of these much-loved characters whom I fully intend to revisit at some point. Getting them back out there, polished up and well presented, is something I fully intend to accomplish before mid-November. It's the first time I'm tackling this process on my own, though, so we'll see how I fare.