8 of Pentacles

This is the second year I have chosen a tarot card for the year. Last year my card was 7 of Pentacles, and it made good sense that 8 of Pentacles should follow (not all the cards flow this way).

For a very truncated version of card meanings, I’ll pull from astrology.com. “The Seven of Pentacles is one of the minor arcana cards that represents patience, diligence, and hard work… [it] is a reminder… to be patient and… continue working.” The 7 of Pentacles is about hard work and faith. “Have faith that [your] efforts will bear fruit in the future.” Each year I try to find new ways to dig deeper into my writing practice and rededicate myself to it. Each year I think, maybe this will be the year.

Here’s how I see it these days: I will never be the author who puts out several books a year, or even a single book each year. Like Harper Lee, I like to think I’ll be the kind of author who puts out one or two really good books in their lifetime. And I’m comfortable with that. I’m a slow, plodding, perfectionist and where my writing is concerned, I err on the side of caution.

In this case, it flows naturally that the card after 7 is 8. “The Eight of Pentacles is another minor arcana card that represents hard work and determination… It signifies that the person is in a period of intense concentration and focusing their energy on mastering a skill… [It] is a reminder… to remain focused on their goals and work hard to achieve them.”

I’m working on the book until it’s done. However long that takes. I want to dissolve into this work with complete flow and dedication. Whatever it takes. And I want to feel like I’m prioritizing it the way it deserves, which I never seem to do adequately enough to satisfy my high standards.

“Together, the Seven of Pentacles and Eight of Pentacles tarot card combination is a reminder that success is achieved through hard work and patience. The querent needs to remain focused on their goal and be willing to put in the effort required to achieve it. This combination is a sign that success is within reach, and the querent needs to keep working hard to achieve it.”

I believe it, I receive it, and I will continue my hard work.



I have been considering three contenders for my word of the year for 2024. (Check it out here if you want to know more about choosing a word of the year.) I had narrowed my choices to: solitude, quietude, and stillness. As an extrovert and a caregiver, I tend to (0ver)fill my time with friends and family and helping others. It’s great fun! But, I rarely get around to spending time by myself being still or quiet. As a writer that doesn’t work well. As a person who wants to journal or meditate, that doesn’t work well either. So, with chaos all around me, I’ve been feeling I’d like to try to cultivate a little time and space for peace and some zazen. But I’ve been having trouble selecting the final choice. It seems that still and quiet suggest one another, and maybe solitude (and the Sacred Alone from my hero Susannah Conway) suggests them both. I decided Jan 1 wasn’t going to work for me this year and gave myself some grace to explore the terms more fully.


I started exploring the words. First with definitions. Then with images. Then with quotes. I’d like to share a few of the best ones I found. Please know that none of these images or quotes belong to me.

Potential 1:

Potential 2:

Potential 3:

I found that, while solitude and quietude have some fans, stillness is a way of life that others have written books about. There are countless quotes that employ the word. And there are many, many visual images of what we as people think this concept looks like and feels like. I appreciate that there’s deep well to explore that comes along with this single word. There is enough content, enough material, to take the year exploring. So I have embraced this choice and chosen stillness as my woty 2024. But I wouldn’t have reached that place without exploring all three, and I think quietude and solitude will continue to be supportive concepts I return to throughout the year.

Have you chosen a word? How did you go about it? Do you feel good about your choice? (If not, you can always pick again!)


Honorable Mention:

Honorable Mention:

2023 reads in review

In 2023, I read 55 books.

I ask that you forgive my later-in-life obsession with Stephen King. I avoided him in my earlier years for fear of being frightened and only recently discovered the joy of his masterful story-telling.

Of the 55 books, 38 were fiction. 17 were non fiction.

Of the 38 fiction, authors were:

New to me authors 8
Nnedi Okorafor 6
J. R. R. Tolkien 4
Octavia Butler 3
Anne Rice 2
Manga/Graphic Novels 2
Murakami Haruki 1

Of the 38 fiction, books included main characters that were:
Black 17
Autistic 8
Queer 7

Of 38 fiction, genres were:
Horror 14
Science Fiction 10
Fantasy 6
Western (Dark Tower series) 5
Magical Realism 3
Modern Lit 1

Of the 17 non fiction, books were:

self-improvement 9
craft 6
memoir 1

Of the 55 books, 14 were re-reads. 41 were new reads.

Of the 55 books, authors were:
white 40
Black 10
Asian 5

Of the 55 books, authors were:
men 29
women 26

Obvious holes in my reading for this coming year? Need to read works by Black men, Brown people, Latin people, non-binary people.

Happy Reading in 2024!

Word of the Year

Why choose a word (or phrase) of the year? Because unlike a resolution, you can’t fail an idea. A concrete goal might be “lose 20 lbs.” You could succeed or fail at that. But a word of the year provides a direction for your compass. Maybe that word would be “health,” if you’re looking to become healthier, but maybe it would be “let go,” if the idea is to get rid of elements in your life that aren’t serving you any longer. See how it’s different? I like to think of the WotY as a gentler, kinder guide than the more militant new year’s resolution.

Here’s a quick review of all the words of the year I’ve chosen and why:

2017. habitual = habit + ritual. I wanted to take the activities I enjoyed and make them more sacred. I wanted to celebrate those things I did regularly rather than criticize myself for when my discipline lapsed. Reading, writing, cleaning, exercising.

2018. get up and go. I was active and I wanted to stay active. This was an exercise year.

2019. grind. I loved the double meaning of grind being a workout word as well as a coffee word. This was also an exercise year.

2020. realize. I wanted to “realize” — to make real — my dreams. The forever dream is to publish a book, which I didn’t do that year, but I did start a writing group, which gave me the accountability I needed of deadlines and expectant readers.

2021. step. As y’all likely remember, everything felt difficult that year. But I told myself that I could focus on one step at a time. Just write a little each day. Just tidy a few things. It doesn’t have to be perfect to be worth it.

2022. stride. Keeping with the forward movement and picking up the pace. I felt a little more empowered to keep going strong. This was a writing year.

2023. reach. I love that reach means “to try” and also “to achieve.” I chose a tarot card this year as well, the seven of pentacles, because it’s about trusting that the hard work you’re doing is good work and that it will pay off in the end. As I see it, this is the Trust the Process card. Don’t lose hope, don’t lose faith. Keep on keepin’ on.

Thanks for reading. I hope you choose a WotY that works for you. Remember, you don’t have to pick it by Jan 1 and you don’t have to keep it if it isn’t working–change it up any time! Love, Jobe.