Spiders and storyweaving

Over the last couple of weeks, I have encountered spiders regularly in my bedroom. One spider at a time. It’s been a long time since I’ve lived in a house and so I haven’t really encountered spiders very often in my adult life. (During the emptying of my old apartment in November and December, I found and dispatched a number of spiders from the dark and dusty recesses of the various clutter-filled cubby holes, but that was in conjunction with a whole lot of other multi-legged undesirables; otherwise I hadn’t encountered more than a handful of spiders in my own home in my entire adult life.)

I’m not afraid of spiders — in fact, an old boyfriend had a pet tarantula that I held and let crawl up my arm. (As an aside, if you’ve never held a tarantula, you really should at least once in your life. It’s a most remarkable sensation — their “feet” feel like the hook side of velcro, which is not at all what I expected. And it tickles.) But I don’t like the idea of spiders getting into things they aren’t meant to be in, like my hair. So I have difficulty letting them remain in areas where that is a possibility. I’ve tried to explain to them that there’s an entirely empty bedroom next to mine that they are welcome to take over, but they seem to like mine best. It’s not a good mix.

During all this, and despite the fact that I’ve long considered getting a spider or spider web tattoo, I’ve never considered that perhaps the repeated presence of the spiders might have a more symbolic meaning. My weekly class with Asia Voight last night featured one of my favourite authors, Dr. Steven Farmer. He spoke about power animals and spirit animals and about learning to recognize when the repeated presence of a particular animal brings a message for you. While I was listening, I decided to bring up the Spider card in his “Messages From You Animal Spirit Guides Oracle Cards” iPhone app:

Trust the creative spark you’re feeling, and express it through writing stories that inspire and enlighten.  The pulse of creativity is especially strong right now, triggering a not unfamiliar and compelling desire to express yourself through creative writing. Whether or not the tales you weave are true, whether they’re based on actual experience or the imaginings of your fertile mind, each day sit yourself down and pour out the words that come to you. Don’t ponder each sentence or paragraph; just write whatever wants to be written through you. To inspire and enlighten others, you don’t need a profoundly complex tale. Start by describing a personal experience, one where you gained some insight that may also be useful for others. However, don’t focus on how people will respond to your story; instead, just enjoy the process of writing without judging your work or yourself. […]

Associations: Creativity, wisdom, weaving, balance, storytelling, writing, connectedness, inspiration, femininity, nurturing, communication, imagination, individuality

It touches on two things that have been on my mind lately: blogging and continuing to work on the novels I started for past 3-Day Novel contests:

  • Blogging: I didn’t write much in this blog after Maci died because, well, I just really couldn’t put what I was going through into words. Since the move, I’ve been wanting to write more here, but I’ve been conflicted. This blog has always been my general, all purpose blog. I’ve tried to keep most of my spiritual and writing ramblings to other blogs I’ve created for those purposes, but that hasn’t been working for me so far as it has led only to dozens of half-written and halfhearted draft posts strewn across all of the blogs, with few actually published. I don’t want to split myself apart like that any more so I’m going to reintegrate myself into this one blog. And I’m going to start trying to post regularly — perhaps even daily like I did before. I do have thoughts to share that might well help someone else, and if not, the writing is the thing. If it only helps me to sort things out, then it will have done its job well.
  • Writing: When I moved, I threw away most of the books I’d collected over the years. The relatively few books I kept tend to fall into three categories — spiritual, technical writing or grammar, and creative writing. The technical writing/grammar books I kept because I expect to one day go back into technical writing and many of the books I have are hard to come by today; the spiritual books are relevant to my current intentions for my life; and the creative writing books speak to my long-held and newly-renewed desire to write and publish (even if on my own) a novel. Today, I received my participation sticker for last year’s 3-Day Novel contest and a pretty hefty discount offer for this year’s contest fee (30% off). So I signed up again. Between now and then, I would like to revisit some of the other stories I’d begun for past contests and finally get them written. One in particular — one that speaks to the interconnectedness of all things — seems to want to be written now and so I think I will start on that one. One of my biggest difficulties with past contests is that I lacked the discipline to sit down over a 3-day long weekend and try to write an entire novel. By making a commitment now to write at least something every day, perhaps I will be able to succeed in September. More importantly, the stories already bursting to be finished will be that much closer to completion and release into the world.
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5 thoughts on “Spiders and storyweaving

  1. Hi! I think you’d really enjoy this book, Animal Speak. I’ll copy & paste from my books & resources tab:

    Ted Andrews’ Animal Speak The spiritual and magical powers of creatures great and small. This book is more like an encyclopedia of First Nations spiritual and animal knowledge. It is incredible, an indispensable resource. It is one of the rare and few books published on a large scale that shares First Nations’ traditional myths, rituals, information on animal totems, spirit animals, covers physical language of birds and insects – there is just too much information to summarize. This is not a book you sit down to read, cover to cover. This is a book you flip through randomly, like any highly-detailed resource.

    There’s a five page section just on the myths and symbols surrounding the spider.

    • I love Ted Andrews’ books. Animal Speak has long been on my wish list, but I just haven’t ever gotten around to buying it. I really wish it was available in Kindle format* like many of his other books — I didn’t get rid of so many physical books during the move just to replace them with other physical books, you know? Thankfully, there are excerpts of the Spider pages available on the Internet.

      The story of Grandmother Spider was one of the inspirations for my wanting a spider tattoo.
      🙂

      * Yes, it’s available in NOOK and Kobo formats, but in my general experience, books are better formatted for Kindle than for the others. While I don’t know what the Kindle format looks like, the NOOK and Kobo ones have typos galore that would make the whole process of using them annoying. So maybe I’ll have to go with the physical after all.

  2. it is a huge book, and for some things like reference books, it’s nice to have a physical copy. I don’t know about kindle, but kobo is a pain to navigate through, and I’d hate to have to click to the end, look at the index, then click to the pages I want.

    Does kindle function well for reference books? We received kobos for christmas, which was awesome. We can get some books electronically that aren’t available to us physically. But you can’t take a kobo into the bathtub, and a book never needs charging.

    • There are two major benefits to having digital versions of books:

      1. You can carry more of them around in a much smaller space. I *love* physical books, but being able to potentially carry around my entire library in a single physical unit (in my case, my iPod Touch) far outweighs any visceral love I have for the physical book.
      2. You can search them. With a printed book, you have to rely on the index, which may or may not be adequate. With a digital book, you can search for a word or phrase without ever having to rely on the index.

      For most of the apps (and I presume the physical eReaders), you can also highlight text, write notes for yourself, look up words, change the print size, and translate. They also synchronize between apps, if you want — for example, if you’re alternately reading a book in both the PC app and the iPhone/iPod/iPad app, the apps will synchronize (if you want; you don’t have to) so you don’t lose your place. I read that Clear Clutter book on the bus yesterday on my iPod — highlighted some things, made some notes for myself…it was great.

      (Having experienced the PC and iPod apps for Kindle and Kobo, and the PC app for the Nook, I have to say I’m more and more a fan of the Kindle. Books seem to be much better formatted for Kindle than for the others, and I like the functionality of the Kindle apps much more. The Nook offers you the ability to loan ebooks out, something I hope the others will also eventually offer, but that’s about the only thing I like about it.)

      Yes, it’s easier to take a physical book into the bath with you and they don’t need charging, but I find the convenience of ebooks enough of a pro that it overrides the charging issue (and eReaders tend to hold a charge for quite a long time, longer than my iPod does). If you’re usually at home, then it probably doesn’t really matter, but if you are frequently out and about and wishing you had access to a reference book, having in on hand in digital form is going to be a great help to you. For example, I have both print and digital versions of a couple of technical writing reference books and I have barely cracked open the physical books — the ebooks are so much more convenient and so get used more often. I wouldn’t have said that just a couple of years ago.

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