Oh Good Now This
by Susan Merson
GENRE: Women's Literary Fiction
Widowed Vivi leaves California for a new start back east landing in a college town near her old friend Vikram, now the local ‘spiritual’ leader and disappointing lover. But the two have old business which leads them to uncovering the ghosts they conjured long before and the ones that are haunting them now. Vivi reclaims her life, -- with the help of a couple different dimensions-- saying hi to the ghosts who choose to hang around, and growing a new garden and a new life.
They have settled into their chairs and Tara is tossing some cards, shuffling them and getting a feel. She flips over three cards.
“Oh, my dear. Some bleak times, past, yes?”
Vivi is startled by this pronouncement. “Well, it’s been a time of change, I’d say.”
“Change?” says Tara. “You betcha. This Tower card is about the whole thing coming crashing down. But it’s in the past position. See here? This is the present,” she shows Vivi the 7 of cups. It’s a picture of a man taking a look at a whole gallery of possibilities. “Look at him”, Tara says. “He’s got lots of things to choose from.”
“Well, that sounds good,” says Vivi tentatively.
“Not bad. Don’t get over infatuated with the possibilities. And the last one… here. The Hermit. Yep.”
“What’s that mean?”
“Oh it’s fine. Just a time to go inside and let things percolate. Inner wisdom and all that. Not a bad sentence!” Tara laughs again. “Now. Anything specific on your mind?” Tara continues to flip cards. “So,” she says. “Who is this guy? This King keeps showing up. King of Cups? He fell out of the deck twice while I was shuffling. “Who is this guy who won’t leave you alone?”
Vivi is mystified. “How did you…?’
“Oh, it’s not magic. The cards just know, that’s all. They pick up what you bring. Who is this guy?”
A Word With The Author
1.Did you always want to be an author?
I’ve always been an artist of some kind. Creative writing classes in the public schools found me at age 7. I also started as an actor around that age with nods from WWJ radio in Detroit that still did radio drama through the schools. The studio was padded with thrilling white leather and had been home to the Green Hornet and The Lone Ranger in the heyday of radio drama in the 1940’s.
I have been writing one way or the other ever since then. I’m a long time playwright, poet, memoirist and flash fiction person. Check out my bio at www.susanmerson.com
2.Tell us about the publication of your first book.
Coming from a life in the theatre, I started as a playwright and I loved the immediacy of being able to write a play and have a company of actors nearby who could bring it to life. But, when I really wanted to play with language and landscape, back story and context, I started writing more fiction. I am a co founder of the Los Angeles Writers Bloc and have developed all my work through this wonderful safe haven, peer group of writers in LA and NY. Our members have included fiction standouts Janet Fitch, Jamie Callan, Laurie Graff, most the Disney writers in the 1980’s, Emmy winner Jane Anderson, Pulitzer Prize winner, Donald Margulies, YA standouts Kim Purcell, Jennifer Castle, Barbara Bottner and many more.
My first novel, Dreaming In Daylight, a fictionalized memoir, was developed in the Bloc. It came out in 2009. My husband had just died and it was time for me to check off some of the bucket list items. Writing a novel, and more than one, was first on the list.
3.Besides yourself, who is your favorite author in the genre you write in?
I don't think of myself as a “genre” writer. I write what is called Women’s Literary Fiction these days. But, the writers who have taught and inspired me most are Colette, Willa Cather and Louise Erdrich. I love the compassionate gaze they offer of their worlds.
Each are blindingly honest in what they see and how they reveal it, but along with that honesty is the filter that they each hold from their own lives.
Colette started as a vaudeville performer after her husband, Willy, stole her Claudine books. She wrote of her mother Sido’s garden and the wisdom that she found there. (I think that’s where Vivi in my current book, OH GOOD NOW THIS, came to her passion for nature!) Colette was wicked in her assessment of the men and women in her world, as they minced and mashed their way through love and desire. Cheri and the Last of Cheri gave me enormous hope, love and perspective as I moved into womanhood.
Cather was a Midwestern, intellectual, gay woman in a time when none of those qualities were respected. Her connection to the land that bore her grounds every one of her characters and becomes a touchstone. The Song of the Lark is the story of an artist coming into her own. It was my guide map to a full, artistic life. And her embrace of the immigrant community she was born into made me understand and embrace my own immigrant heritage.
Louise Erdrich chronicles her native people, the land from which they spring and how it has become foreign to them. She understands the internal tribal rhythms that run like underground springs under her characters. She connects the eternal wisdom of their heritage with the sometimes limited realities of their contemporary lives. She knows what it is to be an eternal outsider and reminds the reader, if not the characters, of how these rhythms are forever thrumming, shoving everyone forward as best they can manage. I’m a Jew. There’s lots there for me to witness and understand about my own people.
4.What's the best part of being an author? The worst?
It’s a gift to be able to bring into this world that which is born of another. That is, making real the unreal, making known the unknown.
It’s a gift to be in the flow of the information that comes from the polar star and heads to the center of the planet. To feel the transmissions coming through, and be practiced enough to pick them up when they have my name on them.
The worst? A matter of perspective. Being an artist, being an author is a job, a task assigned. It may not be my job to define the present moment or the most commercial truth that the marketplace wants to lionize. My job is to write and transmit what is mine. And to offer it to the world which may or may not be ready to hear, ingest, digest and be moved.
Some feel the job is to write what will sell. Know the elements of a best seller. I have learned, maybe the hard way, that the marketplace is not our friend. It is a landscape that we enter. If it resonates with our truth, hooray and great fun. But if not, then we must decide what we are after and what we were put here for.
I lived in Los Angeles, the land of great talent and great hustle. When those two elements came together for great success and recognition, great! When they missed each other, artists lost their bearings. And the reason for their work. So I am mindful of balance. Telling the truth in as artful and honest a way as I can, and maneuvering through the marketplace which may or may not embrace me.
5.What are you working on now?
I am inches away from completing a third draft of my new book that explores the last four years of the Trump regime and what it did to us all as Americans.
Here’s the logline:
Annie Simon, is a writing teacher and a mother with an estranged son who she fears is dabbling in radical politics. To “do the right thing”, she volunteers for the Hillary 2016 campaign in Michigan where she is overcome with frustration and impotence in the face of the political process, and how that plays out in her own life and the life of the country. She learns that sometimes things can be brought home to heal, but sometimes there can only be radical acceptance.
Look for it next year. Announcements on my blog www.susanmerson.net
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susan Merson began her career as an actress on and off Broadway, in television and film. Co-founding the LA Writers Bloc in 1985 with award winning writer Jane Anderson, she has mentored writers through the Bloc and through her private and university classes in Playwriting, Life Stories, Writing as a Spiritual Practice, Tarot for Writers and the popular VOICING Series. Her short fiction has been featured in The Jew in America, Nice Jewish Girls (Penguin), The Worcester Review, the Chicken Soup series and several other online platforms. As a playwright, her award-winning plays have been performed internationally, including her 8 solo plays featured and used as example in YOUT NAME HERE: An Actor Writers Guide to Solo Performance. (Amazon). Long form fiction available on Amazon is her award-winning blog, WHEN THEY GO AND YOU DO NOT and her first novel DREAMING IN DAYLIGHT. OH GOOD NOW THIS, her newest novel launches 12/1/21. She is a tarot reader and counselor, a maker of quilts, clothing and whimsy. Susan is a humble mother and a proud resident of New York City. www.susanmerson.com
SUSAN MERSON AUTHOR: https://www.facebook.com/susanmersonauthor
The author has also done a series of five videos regarding the use of Tarot for writers (for more information, visit her website):
1: Author/ teacher Susan Merson (OH GOOD NOW THIS/ Amazon) explores Tarot to jump start your writing. TAROT FOR WRITERS #1: INTRODUCTION
An introduction to using your own intuitive powers to tap into the resonance of Tarot images, packed with archetypes and symbols, to jumpstart inspiration for your artistic projects.
**CORRECTION: The Raziel Tarot Deck is designed by artist Robert Place with commentary by Rachel Pollack. https://youtu.be/LGONsfOayJg
2: Author/teacher Susan Merson (OH GOOD NOW THIS/Amazon), explores TAROT cards to jumpstart your writing, TAROT FOR WRITERS #2: LANDSCAPE
Explore the landscape of story. Entering the world of the card offers visceral clues to the landscape of your writing. https://youtu.be/Mwq9x-I9oQE
3: Author/ teacher Susan Merson (OH GOOD NOW THIS/ Amazon) explores TAROT cards to jump start your writing. TAROT FOR WRITERS #3: CHARACTER.
A brief exploration of character and how to find their first basic journey. Look deeply at the character clues in the cards and throw three cards to begin their adventure. https://youtu.be/CuovTNQ5ztk
4: Author/teacher Susan Merson (OH GOOD NOW THIS/AMAZON) explores TAROT cards to jump start your writing. TAROT FOR WRITERS #4: WHAT STORY SHOULD I WRITE TODAY
On pulling cards to intuitively discover the story, the genre, the themes and the major turning points of a new story. https://youtu.be/eHm0mVSNaPo
5: Author/teacher Susan Merson (OH GOOD NOW THIS/AMAZON) explores TAROT to jumpstart your writing. TAROT FOR WRITERS/ #5 TIMELINES AND DEEPER DIVE INTO RELATIONSHIPS
Timelines and going deeper into relationships with pro and antagonists. The more cards you draw the more information you can gather. https://youtu.be/EClPq0e-H70
Susan Merson will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.
a Rafflecopter giveaway