According to the AWP 2023 Writer’s Conference, Magic is Real

November 7, 2023
Tarot card deck for divination, magic, intuition Well, maybe that wasn't the Association of Writers & Writing Program's exact claim in their recent virtual panel discussion, but they did explore the connections between writing and divination (i.e. Tarot and other practices that seek to reveal the future. So...magic, essentially.) Magic and writing have a lot in common. They’re both acts of manifestation. Tools to explore and shed light on the mysteries of life. One might even say that writing and magic are ways we can give ourselves a sense of control in the face of the unknown. Writing and magic have terminology in common, like "practice" and "craft." These are accepted terms in the literary world, the subject of author interviews time and time again. But "divination?" "Tarot?" These words, not so much. And music to the ears of those whom Inglenook recognizes as "writer-magicians."

Writer-magicians: those who appreciate the spiritual, ritualistic aspect of writing and/or writers who love the practice, pursuit, or concept of magic. This includes, but is not limited to: intuitive and divination practices like psychic work, Tarot, and the I Ching, witchcraft, herbology, sympathetic attachments to flora and/or fauna, an interest in witches, wizards, ghosts, dragons, fairies, or anything not regularly encountered in our widely accepted view of reality.

It’s not every day that a panel honors spirituality and magic. Thank you Virtual AWP for manifesting “Divine Writing—Connections between Writing Practice, Craft, and Divination” with participants Teresa Carmody, Megan Kaminski, Hillary Leftwich, Kristen Nelson, Hoa Nguyen, and Selah Saterstrom, moderated by Michele Battiste.

Here are some favorite abridged soundbites:

“Tarot and writing are both about constellations, finding poignant patterns.” – (Selah Saterstrom)

“Divination reveals a belief that there are many worlds that shift and change, overlap and diverge, like birth and death. Writing and divination share the same goal: to help you share and obtain knowledge that seems unattainable.” – (Hilary Leftwich)

“What they have in common is the interpretive space of the reader. There’s no way to be a master; it’s about deepening the practice.” - (Kristen Nelson)

“It’s about embracing mystery. An opening up, a sense of adding to the world. We repurpose existing resources and find alternatives to power structures that might not love us back.” – (Megan Kaminski)

“[Writing and divination] are both spaces where transformation can happen, where we can trust other forms of knowing, even patterns of information across generations. Writing and divination lead to new narratives. To liberation.” – (Hoa Nguyen)

“Divination and writing connect us to lost parts of ourselves, to intuitive knowing. It’s also about surrender, even cultivating intimacy.” – (Teresa Carmody)

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