Tag Archives: #non-fiction

On value in writing: preview

I‘m working on a piece at the moment that I’m excited about so I thought I would tease it here.

It’s about placing value in all your writing, professional & personal. & recognizing how seemingly unrelated kinds of reading & writing can influence your creativity inside writing & out.

& most importantly how to see the value in all the kinds of writing you do, & to assess it based on the value you assign to it, as opposed to outside validation, even when that’s also a part of it.

I have spent too much of my life considering a lot of my writing, even things I have written for training modules, workshops, or creative copy as ‘not real writing’. I’m in the process of shifting my attitude around this, especially because a lot of that work was innovative & while it may not be a book of poetry or essays, it was valuable in terms it what it was written for.

One thing we can say about blogging & the internet, is that it has opened the door wide for new possibilities in writing.

I’m reminded of how amazing things like time release text message novels & the popularity of fan fiction are. Endless possibilities. I love it.

Anyway, not sure exactly when I’ll be done with the article, because I have a lot to say about writing in any form to solve problems & to create value. Plus I’m researching interesting cases to stimulate ideas for how to continually make this happen in our work.

Please stay tuned for all this & more. I promise it’ll be a real treat for creative self-reflection.

© Niliema Karkhanis

About Pamela Colman Smith

An amazing artist

3 of swords card from Colman Smith tarot deck

I was inspired to do something different based on a prompt today. Instead of writing a poem as I usually do, since the prompt was thelemite, I thought I’d write a little about an artist I love whose work sometimes gets associated with the thelemites.

I don’t take an interest in the occult as defined by Alistair Crowley & company, including, by the way, several well-known British writers & poets of the time. These interests were very popular in England in those days, as were the spread of associated thelemite philosophies.

The interest in mysticism & ‘the occult,’ of the period, had to do with a number of things; including how Europeans were extracting ideas from the colonies. These included spiritual & mystical ones; as well as philosophies of cultural resistance & revolution within art movements of that turn of the century era.

Within this context, Pamela Colman Smith, a Black Jamaican & British artist, created her wonderful Smith tarot deck; the first ever to be printed in the English language. Pamela Colman Smith was an amazing, writer, designer, folklorist, publisher, mystic, & illustrator. You can read more about her here.

Today we call it the Colman Smith deck instead of the Rider-Waite deck for rightful attribution to its creator.

Of course, & unfortunately, she was neither adequately paid nor properly credited for this absolute chef d’oeuvre, cherished to this day by mystics, book & art lovers alike. Today we call it the Colman Smith deck, instead of the Rider-Waite deck, for rightful attribution to its creator.

The Colman Smith tarot deck is an incredible card set of 78 illustrations. The artwork is stunning.

I like tarot cards. But honestly, I’m just such a fan of her artwork, sometimes I can’t tell if that’s more it with me & tarot.

The depth of field in the cards’ illustrations is so well rendered, with these gorgeous fantastical landscapes. The characters, equally beautiful & compelling. Such design excellence.

There are so many beautiful tarot decks out there, & there are many I adore, but I still love the Smith deck so so much.

Ace of Wands card from the Smith tarot deck
Page of Wands card from the Smith tarot deck

Illustration is probably my very favourite two-dimensional art form, & she is such an original designer of concepts.

The Moon card from the Smith tarot deck

The depth of field in the cards’ illustrations is so well rendered, with these gorgeous fantastical landscapes. The characters, equally beautiful & compelling. Such design excellence.

I love the colour schemes & the artist’s line work. Lines in drawing & illustration, in the expressive style she uses, is an aesthetic I just love. & Pamela Colman Smith’s approach to it is completley unique & psychically sensitive.

These cards take me away every time I look at them.

© Niliema Karkhanis


For the Word of the Day Challenge prompt ‘thelemite’


Pamela Colman Smith wikipedia


Featured artworks by Pamela Colman Smith


My favourite bookstore

Probably one of the biggest influences on my writing ever is a bygone overstock, discount bookstore in a relatively small local mall I used to go to. I loved it so much anyway, but got to go there even more because it was where I did a bus transfer.

I read a lot of short plays in those days, because I like how plays look on the page, & the way the story moves along. Plus they’re enjoyable to read in commute. & of course I was reading poetry, always poetry, but like, kind of in secret.

I’ve often hidden my love of poetry, because Idk, I think until more recently, loving poetry was kind of this thing you kept to yourself. I mean, especially writing it too.

It’s still one of my favourite bookstores of all time, because it had all this like off-the-shelf lit from who knows where & why they were selling it in the first place.

I never would have read about, or even known about many of those works, had it not been for this otherwise regular brand boutique-sized, warehouse bookstore in an otherwise very regular indoor mall.

I still remember the layout of the shelves & the smell of the books there; the excitement of finding a neat, lesser-known work for $3 instead of the $25 cover price.

It was exhilarating & quietly so. The echoes from the mall, the cracking sound of carefully opening the new paperbacks & the soft thud of replacing a massive hard-back anthology; I remember those things from there more than from anywhere else I have ever held a book.

When you read like that, you learn about what kinds of writing writers have done other than their famed works, & you absorb about some of the more raw edges of their writings. You are not as pleasantly distracred by merchandising, but by sifting through the collections.

I love a certain degree of awkwardness in writing, or maybe an unfinished quality. & reading through smaller, shorter, more obscure works, you get so deliciously much of that.

The magic & mystery of my favourite bookstore, a portal almost, it stays with me. Me far way now. It long closed except in memories.

© Niliema Karkhanis

Featured photo by Jaredd Craig from Unspash

A note on notes

Tbh I’d like to note that I have gravely underestimated the value of notes. You’d think someone who calls their blog songs for now would know to focus on notes because music. But no. Because I’m such an intuitive writer (as if that wasn’t obvious haha), I kind of try not to structure my writing too much, so I’ve tended to think I don’t need to jot down ideas, remember or record fragments.

Lately, I have become a rather insatiable note-taker & find that of all the technical things about creating, notes are the most intuitive. It’s not limiting, like some writing structure stuff, because it’s your own ideas, waiting for you, kinda organized, but also open ended; so it’s more of a start than anything else, even if it’s like one word.

& beginning can be the most difficult thing. Notes are magical, because you’ve already started without the pressure, maybe on something like a colourful notepad, whether on paper or digitally.

Notes, dear blogosphere, I know you know. Best thing.

© Niliema Karkhanis