I tell people I got into this gig because I like to work in my pajamas, but the truth is, this gig suits me because I am extremely comfortable in my own company. I have many awesome friends (hello, friends!) whom I treasure and who are very tolerant of the fact that I have to spend huge swaths of time all by myself to function as a sane and healthy human being.
So what am I doing now? Packing for a giant mystery writer conference. Where I will have drinks with my editor and pontificate on some panels and smile brightly for photos and make conversation with complete strangers for five days.
So...I am utterly unsurprised that the Chariot comes parading into the spotlight this week, bright with starry garlands and roaring with fanfare.
The Chariot is about ego, after all, and one needs a strong and supple ego to function outside of one's comfort zone. Egos get bad raps nowadays, with a lot of pop psychology and pseudo-spiritual gurus going on and on about transcending one's ego. Which is all well and good in a metaphysical sense, but if one is going to make tracks in the mud and mayhem on the actual, real world, one needs an efficient and capable container. And that's what the Chariot is all about—finding a stable container.
I explained why this is especially important for writers the last time the Chariot rolled into our readings:
A solidly structured ego is a necessary vehicle for your will, especially if you want to take your creative work into the marketplace. Or share it with an audience. Or make it in the first place. The ego is a protective container for all the parts that must be open and receptive and somewhat soft (like our beating hearts and whirring brains). It mediates the forces that move us forward. It prevents the chariot from getting stuck up to the fenders in a sand dune. It keeps us on the right track, moving forward.I'm trying to remember this as I pack. Because when I find ways to support my ego, I feel much more comfortable actually being myself. And that means I'll be much happier—and much more successful—in the long run.
This week, the Chariot is here to remind you that while you are on the sacred and soulful task of sharing a creative project—or your creative self—with the world, be clear about your boundaries. There will always be rejections and acceptances, pans and praise. Which means you must, as Rudyard Kipling reminds us, "treat those two imposters just the same."
Remember who's holding the reins of this particular chariot. Hint: you are. Which means you are not the chariot