September 22nd, 2014

How to Write About Astrology — or Not

astrology_disasters

“Real seriousness in regard to writing is one of two absolute necessities.
The other, unfortunately, is talent.” –Ernest Hemingway

The internet has fostered the madcap idea that — given the collapse of print publishing and the world of editors and agents — everyone should be writing. Something.

Or recording music.

Or painting. Drawing. Doodling.

But — uh oh — so many can’t.

Years ago the author Toni Morrison exclaimed to whomever (whoever?) was listening that everyone in the world had a book inside of him (or her) that was just waiting to be written. Uhm, checkmate! Another author, the gadfly Fran Liebowitz, interrupted Ms. Morrison and said: “This may be true, but please don’t write it.

I agree. There is nothing more heartbreaking than when an amateur following what she thinks is her muse discovers that it’s simply the ominous groan of a foghorn declaring: “Danger! Treacherous rocks ahead. Think of your mortgage.”

One of the most egregious areas of online self-publishing are astrology blogs and YouTube videos. Holy Shit! Here we discover why the masses consider astrology disposable and relegated to the back pages of Cosmopolitan magazine.

I’m amazed when I consider my career and what was required to first learn astrology and then become a good astrologer. Where did my stamina to attempt writing come from? It was a surprise. The one skill doesn’t necessarily confirm the other. One might read a chart but can’t write about it worth a damn.

So, over time I discovered that I had a knack for writing about astrology too. The keyword is knack — and, well, unfortunately knack-ness is not something that can be taught. Grammar and speling (forget about it) and The Elements of Style can be mastered, but not the inherent nature of a knack. Slippery as a glowing fish.

Mega-million bestseller Stephen King puts it like this — which includes the “good news” and the “bad news”:

“…while it is impossible to make a competent writer out of a bad writer, and while it is equally impossible to make a great writer out of a good one, it is possible, with lots of hard work, dedication, and timely help, to make a good writer out of a merely competent one.”

The catch with the above statement is that the self-broadcasting ease of the internet has all but destroyed the necessities of hard work, dedication, and timely help. In fact the internet fosters the very conditions that hatch bad writers. Roger H. Garrison, author of How a Writer Works, describes those wayward wannabes as folks who fall victim to the “tides of phony, posturing, pretentious, tired, imprecise slovenly language, which both suffocate and corrupt the mind.”

Coupled with what I call knack (and others might call inherent talent) — and this is crucial — one must have the interest of the reader uppermost. To care about the reader and the investment of her time, this is golden. When I care about my reader I’m forced to be a better writer.

So the knack, and this sort of ‘reader empathy’ can not be taught. I’m sorry. As my mom would often say, just before pissing off my father: “There, I said it.”

If you fancy yourself an astrologer and a writer please learn how to write economically and always consider what you are conjuring in the reader’s mind that deflates or inspires his interest in astrology. Think how quickly, easily your writer’s thread can unravel into the warning signs of pre-dementia due to the nature of your subject — an occupational hazard for sure.

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August 24th, 2014

One More, the Round by Theodore Roethke

morris_bird_moonlight

What’s greater, Pebble or Pond?
What can be known? The Unknown.
My true self runs toward a Hill
More! O More! visible.

Now I adore my life
With the Bird, the abiding Leaf,
With the Fish, the questing Snail,
And the Eye altering All;
And I dance with William Blake
For love, for Love’s sake;

And everything comes to One,
As we dance on, dance on, dance on.


— Theodore Roethke

 

Opening painting: Bird Singing in Moonlight, 1938, by Morris Graves


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August 08th, 2014

New Cosmix: Summer 2014 / Part 2

summer_2014_2cosmix

It’s been the most perfect season on the island. Very Goldilocks and the Three Bears: Just the right temperature, light and mood. But my mind’s dissolving trying to wrap around the concept that summer is winding to a close.

But no prob. Music is timeless, so I’ll play this latest mix whenever I wanna feel like it’s that perfect zone right around mid-August — with the Sun hovering over my ascendant.

Like all of my cloudcasts they’re compiled to accompany creative work. Be that in the studio, the office, the garage or down in your mom’s basement if that’s where you’re living right now.

Enjoy!

mixcloud

 



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August 01st, 2014

The Internet: Astrology’s Tower of Babel

babel_astrology_bullshit

“Is not every civilization bound to decay as it begins to penetrate the masses?” –Michael Rostovtzeff

Did you ever stop to think about where fortune cookies are created?

Picture a fortune cookie factory. Naturally, there’s the cookie-making division and then, too, there’s a crew that writes the fortunes.

Now, imagine a fortune cookie factory calamity.

Let’s say that the fortune scribes become confused and all of the cookie scripture gets blended together, willy nilly, into streams of nonsense that form an infinitely long strip of paper that stretches from here to Pluto.

That endless ticker tape of gibberish is the equivalent of the massive amount of babble that passes for writing (or talking) on a majority of blogs and websites dedicated to astrology. Gigs of bandwidth are gobbled —  eyeballs scan and scrape — but very little of import or relevance is ever composed, ever consumed.

Consider Google Trends, a service of the search engine where you can choose a topic, enter it into their data mine and see for yourself how interest in astrology has declined over the past fifteen years. (And is projected to continue its glide towards the bottom in the years ahead.)

google_trends

This is not because astrology has become less interesting as a subject. No, as any professional astrologer will tell you, there has never been a better time to be an astrologer or become interested in the craft, especially as the research and published discoveries of the traditional school dovetail into the psychological and spiritual ethos of modern astrology.

No, the problem, as related to the internet, is threefold: Read more



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July 16th, 2014

Rollo May: The Catch-22 of Technology

tvexplosion

“What people today do of fear of irrational elements in themselves and in other people is to put tools and mechanisms between themselves and the unconscious world.

This protects them from being grasped by the the frightening and threatening aspects of irrational experience.

rollo_may

I am saying nothing whatever, I am sure it will be understood, against technology or mechanics in themselves.

What I am saying is that danger always exists that our technology will serve as a buffer between us and nature, a block between us and the deeper dimensions of our experience.

Tools and techniques ought to be an extension of consciousness, but they can just as easily be a protection against consciousness. This means that technology can be clung to, believed in, and depended on far beyond its legitimate sphere, since it also serves as a defense against our fears of irrational phenomena.

Thus the very success of technological creativity … is a threat to its own existence.”

–Rollo May



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