“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.
“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.)
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
The principle purpose of this post isn’t going to be about what you think it’s going to be about.
You read the word imagination in the title, but actually I’m going to talk about the word in a different way.
And so this little exchange will be a good example of how the mind works when Mercury is retrograde. Or rather what we see about the nature of our habitual mind and the way it works. Which is usually predictable and reactive — thinking but not really understanding.
Mercury retrogrades are a fortuitous time to foster understanding, because the power of the mind is more potent, more engaged and present. In fact, compared to its normal rhythm, the mind is liable to feel overloaded with Mercurial quicksilver.
So what I’m talking about here is this:
You read a word, it triggers an association but it’s the wrong association. The impulse travels along an old, worn groove in your brain, but it’s not the right groove. You end up where you didn’t expect to end up.
And this is why when clients talk to me about how to best align with Mercury retrograde I advise: “Pay attention, things won’t be what you think they are going to be.” Meaning, your old way of seeing everything in the same familiar way is unplugged right now. Read more
“We are not stamped at birth with our destiny, nor even our personality — there is no imprinting — but, being the person we are, we are born at a time that announces who we are.
Our destiny may be indicated at birth, but its realization lies in the future — indeed tragically it may never find complete fulfillment.
It is a pity that the idea of destiny has almost completely slipped from human consciousness, thanks to the propaganda that physical causation is the only causation in town, so that everybody must look to the past for meanings. The answers must lie in the genes, or in the childhood situation, and so on. Some of the answers may indeed be found there, but the true significance of our journey — like all journeys — lies in where we are going, not where we are coming from.
Aristotle wrote in the fourth century BC that the ‘nature of man is not what he was born as, but what he is born for.’
And I like this quotation from Nietzsche: ‘Our destiny exercises its influence over us even when, as yet, we have not learned its nature: it is our future that lays down the law of our today.’ ”
– Dennis Elwell
from Astrology is a Foreign Language on Skyscript