I saw a meme a couple of weeks ago that placed Arizona in orbit between Earth and the sun, and while the message conjured an ironic giggle, I have been seriously thanking the stars for having a remote Muggle role. I'm an instructional designer by day (Bat Mandy by night), so after the pandemic restrictions eased, it didn't make any sense for me to return to a physical office building; I get more done from right here in the air conditioned comforts of my leggings and ceaseless coffee breath.
In spite of the heat (and sometimes the rain), I still get out and walk every single day over at the park across the street from my house. Akin to Arizona's dry, Hansel-and-Gretel-in-the-oven heat, Georgia's let's-drown-in-boiling-water-instead heat is its own manifestation of hell. Nevertheless, as spring transitioned into summer this year, I made a promise to myself and the universe that I would be present in each day and look for all the ways to appreciate this season more so than all the reasons to wish pumpkin spiced everything would hurry up and get here. As such, while on my walks this summer, I've taken photos of pretty weeds, curious animals, and other delights because they are just that: delightful reminders that living in the sweltering miasma of summer is better than not living at all.
For those of you who enjoy astrology and numerology, the Lion's Gate Portal on August 8 reminded me of a favorite memory: When I was 11, my Mama and I were walking for exercise out to the new theater (Alabama Shakespeare Festival) they were building in the neighborhood behind our apartment complex. I remember the day so clearly. It was hot and the indigo sky hosted a smattering of small, fluffy clouds overhead. I asked Mama if she knew what day it was, and she replied, "Monday?" And I said, "It's 8/8/88!" After that day, I started paying attention to how numbers showed up in my life, especially dates. I'm a "Rain Mandy" with dates. And so, every year on August 8, I remember that walk with my mother and am grateful for having a good memory and intentionally being present in each day.
And now, here's what's inside this month's newsletter:
Mandy's Musings from the month of July - My best friend and I had a Wicked adventure, and I was invited as a guest on my favorite podcast!
In case you missed it - I was so inspired by the Barbie movie that I posted a photo of myself on Instagram without makeup... *cue Psycho bathroom scene music*
Restacked goodies from Substack - where everything I post is free AND A FREE BOOK for every Substack subscriber!
New Things and Stuff - I created a journal, y'all! Check out my 78 Days of Intuitive Journaling: A Guided Tarot Journal for the Creative Storyteller
Potluck! Take a tour through all the things.
I will never stop saying it: Thank YOU for helping make my author dreams come true.
In friendship and support,
My best friend's birthday was August 1, and this year we're celebrating 30 years of friendship, so I surprised her with a trip up to Hotlanta to see Wicked at the Fox! We had a ball! Here are a few photos from the experience. Also, after the show we went to dinner, so tell me you ate Greek food without telling me you ate Greek food... Opa!
I'm over The Moon card to share that I was a guest this week on The Tarot Diagnosis podcast!🎉It was a tremendous honor to join Shannon in a conversation around tarot and storytelling, two subjects that are near and dear to both of our hearts.
During the episode, Shannon and I explored how the tarot can be used to enhance creativity, and I intuited a narrative read of the cards through a quick and easy Tarot Story Arc spread.
🎧You can listen on Anchor, iTunes, Breaker, or Spotify... and be sure to give Shannon a follow on Instagram!
🎴From the website: "The Tarot Diagnosis is a weekly podcast that highlights the intersection of mental health and the practice of Tarot. The podcast is hosted by licensed psychotherapist Shannon Knight. Join her as she pulls cards and talks psychology and healing to help listeners better understand themselves and those around them."
🖼Photo art by Shannon and me.
First of all, one of the items on my Bucket List is to own a vintage VW Bus, so every time I see them, I snap a photo. Next, at the start of my walk a couple of days ago, I happened on this smiley face little rock. It was sitting right there in the middle of the road. Now, if you don't know me well, then let me tell you that I did NOT pick it up. Yeah, it might be cute, but you have no idea whose hands have been on it... or what kind of nasty hex might be hidin' behind that grin. Nope. Hard pass. Nice eyebrows, though. Finally, here are a few photos of the flora and fauna I thought was interesting these Dog (Deer?) Days of Summer. I even picked some "weeds" and brought them home to my office. They looked like little daisies! And, no, they weren't hexed.
🎀 The Barbie movie was a lot of things. It was fun, smart, pretty to look at, hilarious, and inspiring. All the things Barbie was created to be. What I didn't expect, however, was to be so moved, so validated, angry, sad, and triumphant all at the same time. And so, I was sweating bullets and nauseous as hell to share this, but here are my takeaways...
My fellow storytellers! You can now find me writing on Substack! Although all of my offerings are free to every subscriber, I do have the option for you to pledge to support. For those of you who are pledging to support my work, THANK YOU for helping make my creative dreams come true! Here's what's new on the 'Stack:
Are you a writer who practices journaling as a means of self-care, self-discovery, writing practice, or simply for a creative outlet?
Do you also enjoy working with the tarot for creative inspiration?
Could you benefit from journaling with the tarot as a means of self-discovery, but you’re afraid you won’t know what to write each day?
Do you need a journal that is accessible everywhere you go?
The 78 Days of Intuitive Journaling is a guided tarot journal that invites you to explore each card from a creative storyteller’s point of view. This self-paced journal offers one or more questions for each of the 78 cards in the tarot that range from big picture ideas to everyday situations. Each question is designed to provoke thoughtful, holistic nourishment of the heart, body, mind, and spirit. This digital journal features tabbed pages and fillable spaces that can only be accessed on your computer. Mobile compatibility is not a feature at this time.
This interactive digital journal includes:
Creative insight into the Major and Minor Arcana.
78 guided journal prompts that include questions crafted to conjure memories and stories.
Daily Notes pages for pulling a card a day and tracking your own unique interpretations.
Digital format for saving to your computer. The pages are fillable, so please remember to save your work as you go!
Find 78 Days of Intuitive Journaling: A Guided Tarot Journal for the Creative Storyteller and more writing resources on The Intuitive Storyteller Hub, where creative writers can access tools to help hone their craft.
Here's what's inside:
Prices subject to change without notice. All sales are final. No refunds. For the best results, open and use this document on your computer. Please remember to save your work!
In her more than thirty years as a storyteller and visual designer, Amanda “Mandy” Hughes has written and designed over a dozen works of literary, Southern Gothic, and women’s fiction under pen names A. Lee Hughes and Mandy Lee.
Mandy is the founder of Haint Blue Creative®, a space for readers and storytellers to explore, learn, and create. She holds a Bachelor and Master of Science in Psychology, and she has worked as an instructional designer for nearly twenty years.
When she’s not writing fiction, Mandy enjoys the movies, theater, music, traveling, nature walks, birdwatching, and binging The Office. She is a tarot enthusiast who uses the cards to enhance creativity and foster wellness. She lives in Georgia with her husband and four sons, two of whom are furrier than the others (but not by much). Visit her website at haintbluecreative.com and follow her on Instagram @haintbluecreative.