In theater improvisation, members of the audience call out the names of a few objects, and the actors must assemble a skit based on those elements. In this exercise, the cards are the elements, and you are the actor who must bring them together on the fly.
Shuffle and cut the cards in the usual way. Hold the deck face down in one hand. Turn over the first three cards, and lay them in a row. Now, create a story around the cards. Don't try to come up with a clever scenario. Just allow any tale to unfold. In The Castle of Crossed Destinies by Italo Calvino, the characters tell their tales to each other using only tarot card images.
When you are through, set the first three cards aside, and deal three more for a new story. Or, if you like, keep the first three cards and lay out a fourth. Incorporate this card into the original tale. Continue developing the story by laying out new cards one at a time. The spirit of this exercise is spontaneous play. Stop if you feel any pressure or strain.
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