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Today's Stichomancy for Neal Stephenson

The first excerpt represents the past or something you must release, and is drawn from A Journal of the Plague Year by Daniel Defoe:

There were no less than five other grounds made use of for the parish of Stepney at that time: one where now stands the parish church of St Paul, Shadwell, and the other where now stands the parish church of St John's at Wapping, both which had not the names of parishes at that time, but were belonging to Stepney parish.

I could name many more, but these coming within my particular knowledge, the circumstance, I thought, made it of use to record them. From the whole, it may be observed that they were obliged in this time of distress to take in new burying-grounds in most of the out- parishes for laying the prodigious numbers of people which died in so short a space of time; but why care was not taken to keep those places


A Journal of the Plague Year
The second excerpt represents the present or the deciding factor of the moment, and is drawn from The Mountains by Stewart Edward White:

managed a successful jump, but Blue tumbled about thirty feet to the bed of the canon. Fortunately he was not injured. After some difficulty my friend managed to force his way through the chaparral to where Blue stood. Then it was fine to see them. My friend would go ahead a few feet, picking a route. When he had made his decision, he called Blue. Blue came that far, and no farther. Several times the little horse balanced painfully and unsteadily like a goat, all four feet on a boulder, waiting for his signal to advance. In this manner they regained the trail, and

The third excerpt represents the future or something you must embrace, and is drawn from The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving:

thought, by all who understood nothing of the labor of headwork, to have a wonderfully easy life of it.

The schoolmaster is generally a man of some importance in the female circle of a rural neighborhood; being considered a kind of idle, gentlemanlike personage, of vastly superior taste and accomplishments to the rough country swains, and, indeed, inferior in learning only to the parson. His appearance, therefore, is apt to occasion some little stir at the tea-table of a farmhouse, and the addition of a supernumerary dish of cakes or sweetmeats, or, peradventure, the parade of a silver teapot. Our man of letters, therefore, was peculiarly happy in the smiles


The Legend of Sleepy Hollow