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MYRA: In My Random Death, I talk about the time we met and the impression you made on me. It was like a speed date with an editor; we only had five minutes. Your spiky, pink-colored hair disarmed me, but I was impressed by the meticulous markups you did on my five-page hand-in for the 805 Writer’s Conference. You have a PhD in English, are a published author, and an editor, which accounts for your attention to detail. Can you explain a bit about your process?

BARBARA: Yes, it was like speed dating. I met with a dozen or so authors whose sample pages I had edited. Even with sample pages, of course, I always pay close attention, not only to what I call “gooder English” (a phrase I stole from a singer named Charo and began using with engineers when I was a technical editor) but also to logical thought and clarity. I’ve worked with more than 300 very smart people who may not be good writers. One of them, when I explained about adverbs, said, “So that’s what my sixth-grade teacher was talking about.” Whether I’m editing fact or fiction, I pay close attention to detail because I want to help my author produce the best possible book he or she can. That’s why we worked so closely together. We both worked hard, too, right?

MYRA: You like to work with an author who is engaged in the editing process of their manuscript. You’ve mentioned some clients don’t care and just dump their stuff on you. In my case, I cared a lot. We passed through my manuscript three times, looking it over, word for word, using track changes, with me accepting and rejecting your edits, as you questioned mine. I describe it as you weeding my flowers and pruning my trees. You did it without disturbing the voice of my garden. Is that usual for an editor?

BARBARA: Yes, I like to use the metaphor that an author is planting a really big garden and broadcasting seeds all over the place. My job is to weed the garden and possibly trim the trees. That’s what I did when I worked on your book. I weeded out, for example, some of your Canadianisms, like those clichéd “eh’s,” and some redundancies, too. You did indeed care a lot, and I’m always glad when an author pays attention and asks questions. My changes are not always perfect (duh!) because sometimes what I’m reading doesn’t quite make sense, so in editing, I can only give it my best shot. Sometimes I guess wrong. You (like other authors who pay attention) worked hard to clarify what you meant. That helped me, which helped you create a better, more readable, better written book. Brava.

MYRA: Thank you. To tell my story, it was a treasure to work with someone like you, who has the depth of the esoteric, the mystical, spiritual, the goddess world, and can grasp the legal mind at work, as well. I wasn’t your first lawyer as a client, and you’ve written about books on esoteric subjects. Your background as the venerable leader of a spiritual group can help others describe what seems indescribable. Can you speak to that a little?

BARBARA: Many thanks for your kind words. I’m still not sure I can “grasp” the legal mind, but I have worked with enough lawyers to understand that I should not mess with the legal jargon. What I can safely edit is the lawyer’s everyday writing, which was the content of most of your book. (Your descriptions of appearing before the U.S. Supreme Court were fascinating.) I majored in English literature for two graduate degrees, then started reading history to put the literature in context, and then somehow expanded my reading to esoteric, occult, and spiritual topics. That was maybe forty years ago, and I’ve never stopped reading. I’ve edited many books on esoteric wisdom and/or New Age philosophies, including at least two books with new ideas about the Tarot. That’s why our email conversations were so much fun. We’re on a lot of the same wavelengths. And that’s why I’m looking forward to working with you on your next book. Bright blessings!

Street Tarot
Street Tarot

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Updated: Apr 20, 2023

Let's discuss our first notion of a couple. In the midrash, or ancient commentaries on the Torah, the Myth or Legend of Lilith claims she was God's initial attempt to create a female companion for Adam. Like him, she emerged directly from God's divine fiat, and not from her husband's rib.

This aspect of co-equalness soon caused trouble in Eden when Lilith blew-off her husband's sexual advances. She found Adam's prior habit of coupling with animals uncouth. Researcher and author, Barbara Walker, in her tome, The Woman's Encyclopedia of Myths and Secrets finds an additional factor. Adam wanted Lilith to lie beneath him in the 'position favored by male-dominated societies'. Repulsed by his fetish, Lilith fled the garden. God heard about the marital breakup and sent two angels to convince her to return. She refused, now enjoying erotic sex with the 'heathen gods' who allowed her to sit atop them, while in the act of lovemaking. A position known to be more pleasurable for women.

From the ancient Rabbinic perspective, Lilith was the first truly 'mean girl'. They characterized her as bothersome to men for giving them nocturnal emissions and claimed she whisked off babies during the night and sucked their blood. One suave, womanizer I knew in law school referred to modern day, Lilith-like girls as, “Psycho bitches from hell”. He explained, “Men are drawn to the icy, aloofness and unpredictability, figuring their neurotic behavior suggested a highly charged sexual nature” He opined that out of sheer emotional exhaustion or to play it safe with a more docile female, these men eventually married ‘the girl next door types’. Eve, as it t’were.

Adam's second wife was cloned from his rib, rather then emerging directly through a divine utterance. God learned from the past mistake and created Eve a more temperate and demure female. That is until she bite the forbidden apple. Then she became a mean girl too. Punished for her tragic act, she was banished from the garden, along with her husband. Certain death awaited both of them. He would toil in the fields, while she looked forward to hard labor when giving birth.

In the kingdom of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, Adam and Eve were destined to have two sons; one brother who murdered the other.

Our everyday world of lovemaking and suffering, mirrors some of the same duality of Lilith and Eve. Male and female alike, we can do acts of kindness for one another. But we can be mean spirited too. Back when I was six or seven years old, doing mean things to my otherwise good friends, meant knocking on the front door of their houses, then running away to hide before it was opened. Mean, maybe. Certainly it was a childish prank.

Admittedly there is scope and degrees of meanness. However, kindness is kindness. Even if it's just smiling at someone to boost their spirit, or giving flowers to someone you love.

Street Tarot
Street Tarot

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