Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Joys of Working Together

The last few days, it is clear where my faith lies: with the Tarot.

Arguably, like with psychics or astrologers, tarot card readers could seem to be dead on only because they generalize enough so that their predictions or assessments apply to most anyone. This is my skeptical husband's theory. I am of a different mind. I think there is a whole host of reasons why one's day or life goes as it does, focuses at times on certain themes, and I think that there are people sensitive enough to plug in to those reasons, to call it.

Whoever does the tarot for Facebook nailed my theme of the week: cooperation. For that, he or she gets a gold star. The last two days have been the Five of Wands and the Three of Wands, respectively, both of which speak of working with others, of having faith in others. This would be the week I needed to hear that, to believe in that.

First, the theme surfaced on Tuesday afternoon, when my son Eli's report card called him out, surprisingly to me, on not cooperating particularly well with others in study groups. He is a kid with lots of friends, always hugging people and telling them he loves them. I would think he would be very cooperative?! Think again, his teachers told us, sympathy in their eyes, as we sat across from them, vulnerable, our behinds slipping over the sides of the small,child-size chairs.

"He loves to read," the more senior teacher said, "he's always got his nose in a book. He's a very independent learner, which is great...but...We need him to be able to work well in a group situation or with another kid and he's really not that interested."

Sheepishly, as one often does as a parent, I felt fully to blame. I am the same as Eli, working best alone, efficient, not having to stop and consider someone else's schedule or thoughts or accommodate them. It is why I am a writer.

But, it turns out, as with all creative endeavors, to find any audience for my efforts, I have to build a brand, to market myself. I have tried pathetically, mostly through Facebook. I recently put together business cards and even a few silly postcards I have peppered around neighborhood cafes. But, I realized this week, just as my Tarot card reader did, that I need help. I cannot do it alone, at least not easily, not well.

As I pondered the possible foolhardiness, the hubris, of reaching out to a crack team, to a web designer, a publicist, a photographer, my Tarot card reader offered assurances by way of the Five of Wands: "Reorganization needed. Seek out others to help you in reaching goals. Listen to others' advice. Possible to rely soundly on others now to help you. Teamwork."

Hmmm, I thought. Not well written, more like a fortune cookie than a quotable philosophy, but the ideas were eerily resonant, relevant.

Okay, so maybe gathering a team might be more sound than stupid. I was buoyed as well by a conversation with a friend who wants some help crafting a pitch for a client and I thought I would like to write about her idea myself after brainstorming with her about it. It could be a great chance to barter skills. The Tarot, again, gave me trust in my instinct, albeit not in particularly precise language.

"Group dynamic capable of working together for a common purpose...growth possible if all parties have equal investment," the Three of Wands said.

Today, I put my trust in the Tarot's wisdom, the wisdom that allowed me to feel good following my own instinct, and staged a photo shoot of myself, for my new website, for the many magazines and publishers who are and will continue to come calling:) "It is important to invest in success, right?" I wrote to the super-talented photographer in a decisive, let's-do-this e-mail.

I wrote it slightly tongue in cheek but earnest all the same. As W. Somerset Maugham said, "A writer has to be both playful and serious at the same time..." Such was the theme of the day, the quote I flipped to as I sought wisdom from my favorite writer in the panicked moments before putting myself out there.

If nothing else, we all had fun, the crack team of makeup artist, photographer, photographer's assistant and my friend, the publicist. They all got big gold stars they wore on their faces, on their shirts as they coaxed and cajoled me into comfortable smiles and poses. Cooperation is key, it's the only way to move forward, even if you know not what lies on the path ahead.

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