Two Years of Posts

Deal 732, will mark the first deal of the third year of this project.

Since Deal 1 on August 19, 2014, we’ve accumulated two full years of daily deals and related stories, or 731 deals. (There’s an extra deal in there because 2016 happens to be a leap year.)

In that time, we went from a single handmade deck, to a small number of commercially printed decks. The deck design was refined. And I’ve learned a lot about how not to write a story.

One of my favorite Haiku I’ve ever written came early on, at deal 3:

Raven the trickster
Crows with raucous abandon
Murder arises

And one of the absolutely creepiest things I’ve written was also an early piece at Deal 6. It was intended to be a presentation framework for a bit of bizarre magic known as an Okito Doll. It is one of a fair number of pieces that were intended to become presentations for various magic effects. The Creativity Oracle cards were originally invented to help magicians create new magic presentations, and it shouldn’t be a surprise that I’ve occasionally drawn from that well over the course of this project.

Along the way, I’ve tackled a number of deals with sonnets, many of which were also acrostics. The most recent sonnet is not an acrostic, but it is a decent example of what happens when I let the muse of iambic pentameter loose. Aside from the extremely minimalist haiku, I’ve tackled a number of other short poetic forms, including the nonnet which has become my new favorite short poem form.

Many of the early deals were done completely by hand, using the first deck of cards. When I realized how much work it would be to photograph each spread, I started modifying the software that drew the card deck originally, and extended it to draw spreads of cards in a PNG file ready for upload to WordPress. When I designed and printed the second decks, I switched the software to use the new deck artwork, and to support flipping the cards either end up to force use of the second set of words. Daily deals starting with day 257 come from the second deck.

Today’s version of the software deals the cards, draws the image, and writes the entire preview post and a template for the finished story post. Actually writing the stories, poems, music, art, dance, magic, or whatever is still left to the human, though.

Each block of thirty two tales shares one common trait: the spread of the cards. That has proved to be long enough to really get a feel for how each spread works, without feeling too long stuck on a treadmill of one single style. The earliest spreads were deceptively simple, but as the game has continued on, complexity has crept in. The smallest spreads were just two cards, and the largest so far were rings of 11 to 13 cards, each used over several days. The chaos spread requiring the entire deck tossed in the air was suggested in jest, and has never been tried, but recently the SUM Odd Cards borrowed the idea, but constrained to a virtual table top and no more than a dozen cards.

The card spreads so far have been inspired by the cartomancy traditions, especially the Tarot, as well as by ideas drawn from the Hero’s Journey. In fact, the Creativity Oracle deck itself was partly inspired by the Tarot, with a strong design goal of not carrying in the occult baggage that the Tarot does in the minds of many who encounter it.

What do I expect in year 3?

More deals, more stories, and more poems.

When will it end?

I have no idea.

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