Today’s oracle poses at bit of a challenge. At 27° Aries the divined Sabian Symbol for the day is Through Imagination A Lost Opportunity is Regained. So lets ask ourselves, quick, what pops to mind as our lost opportunity(s), first thing off the top of our heads. And then we can set our mind to creatively revisit the so-called failure and find a new inroad. I remember some years ago, we accompanied our friend JK Rowling to Harvard where she was giving the commencement speech, which of course was brilliant, and entitled “The Fringe Benefits of Failure, and the Importance of Imagination.” In it she speaks of how what she considered her own epic fail stripped away the inessentials to focusing on the one thing she wanted to do most, write novels. It’s an inspiring read. And it’s most fitting given today’s oracle which asks us to allow loss to inspire our creative imagination. If you’re like me, more than one opportunity pops to mind but, perhaps, also like me, they may be of a piece, falling under a larger umbrella.
I started writing a paragraph about the history of specific failures but deleted it. Seems the wrong tack. But let me cite a few examples: For years we wrote horoscopes for magazines and their websites. It was quite lucrative and was our bread and butter. We had really high-profile gigs like Paris Vogue and The Daily Beast, which never had a horoscope before and not since. But as publishing changed and print magazines began to shrink in size or fold, horoscope pages were the first to go. So the column idea “failed” as a means of income. We thought screw this. We will write a horoscope for free every week and just offer it up as a tithing to people. As a result our weekly Haute Astrology column is very popular and though it doesn’t pay financially I know that it benefits us in other ways; if nothing else it keeps us connected to people interested in our unique perspective on astrology and planet moves.
The failure of our column business—at one point we were writing upwards of six to eight different daily, monthly, weekly horoscopes at one time—also freed us to explore our talents as personal consultants. And now, a decade on, this is the most thriving aspect of our professional lives; and nothing gives us greater joy than helping people in their journey of self-realization. It has also cultivated those extra-sensory gifts of ours to which I’ve alluded in this blog. So that’s a big win-win.
And, speaking about that umbrella under which seeming disparate things might fall: I realized that our nighttime pursuits of performing in clubs and theaters, and even the founding of the Afterglow Festival, which we did in collaboration with John Cameron Mitchell and others, and our quite serious private consultancy with clients all fell under the larger heading of “lifting people’s spirits.” And whenever I feel that I’m wearing too many hats or stretched too thin or teetering into Libran dilletantism I check myself with that phrase. Is what you’re doing lifting spirits? If the answer is yes than I’m on the right track.
We had a decent success in publishing Sextrology and I’m most encouraged by the fact that it still hasn’t achieved its “tipping point”; it’s a boon to know someone hasn’t heard of the book because that is a potential new reader. That book is a success story against all odds. People say publishing has always been a nightmare industry; I entered it with the whole fantasy of getting a great advance and writing out at the beach, which we managed to do. We like to say we got the last real advance in publishing before the polarization occured whereby only celebrities (in whatever field) were given money and others peanuts or worse. But this celebrity obsession is true across the board. And when they are famous for nothing? Why do we care if some junior Kardashian got her lips plumped up amid denials of plastic surgery. It’s like we always want superficial people to complain about. Shouldn’t this sort of thing have ended with guillotine-ing Marie Antoinette? Did I mention Stella is related to she who lost her head?
I’m rambling today. But I don’t care. This subject inspires rambling. Rambling is the form my creative imagination takes. Back to books. We were hardpressed to write a second book. Or as our agent said: “you need a second widget.” I should have known right there that this was a bad idea and ran far, far away. The world had changed. There were no more good advances for the non-famous. What was meant to be a sidebar to Sextrology was then poured into our second book Cosmic Coupling but it was chopped to bits and we weren’t “allowed” to give gay relationship chapters equal length. “The book can’t be too long.” Don’t get me wrong, people love this book, but there is a worlds better version of this concept waiting to be published. But how to do it? Despite the fact that Sextrology is an industry success story, you’re only as good as your last book and our highly abridged sophmore effort (which maybe would have been a huge seller had it contained all the content we intended it to) pales in comparison to Sextrology. Well maybe we should take a page from Amanda Palmer’s (actual) book, The Art of Asking which was her Ted Talk and an art she has perfected, admittedly, amid some rumblings. The point is one might say we have at this junctured “failed” at book publishing or have “missed opportunities” in that field but I don’t think so. I think the way that industry treats non-celebrity writers is criminal and it should inspire my creative imagination to find a way to get our work out there in spite of traditional publishing that takes the lion share of profits. Oh, to be sure, HarperCollins has made millions off of Sextrology and though our royalties are stellare compared to most, we assuredly have not. One silver lining was our “prediction” that ebooks would be a thing and a decade ago we had those rights reverted and recently published the Sextrology ebook under our own steam. #pleasebuythisone
I know we will, via use of creative imagination, find a way to publish the (at least) dozen other books we have on our virtual drawing board. And, in so doing, I have a feeling, we will trailblaze uncharted territory, paving the way for other writers to do likewise. This is a gut instinct. We know where we’re going and so we needn’t be in a a rush to get there.
Television has been another “epic fail” for us. We have been approached by innumerable producers and networks and even Oscar-winning movie stars with their own production companies to develop a show. We also have a menu of ideas for the making of a great one. But oy. Publishing is like a neighborhood playground compared to the snake pit that is the television industry. You’ve seen the program Episodes, right? I wish I could say that the most exaggerated characters on that show were caricatures. They are not. If it’s challenging to retain the integrity of ones work in publishing, it’s near impossible to do so in television where every promising conversation and agreement devolves. It is truly comical. Just this past year, after several years of saying no to offers, after several years before that of “going out”, both in the US and UK, with sure-fire (not) show ideas: we were working with this one production company that swore they were only interested in a classy, elevated, artful concept that we could pitch to some high-class networks only to package the “sizzle” they shot of us to appeal, seemingly, to one TV exec who wanted us to host a late night sex show where we basically critiqued people fucking. Yeah no.
Yet we know that our effort isn’t for naught, just as we know energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It will find an outlet. That will be up to us. Not that either one of us have any burning desire to be on TV—we so don’t. But should the failure of these past approaches creatively inspire another way to represent ourselves, in our best light, in that or a similar medium. Well then yes bring it. I think what we are meant to glean from all of this, actually, is that failure is for winners, only regret is for losers. Dane Rudhyar gives a nod, with this oracle, to the relationship between guru and student whereby the guru sets tasks for the initiate that are designed to fail so that the novice finds a unique inroad born in his or her imagination. I would say that the guru is mimicking the action and purpose of Life and the Universe. If we achieved everything we set our mind to, we would never be inspired and we would never grow. We would never divert from the norm.
Remember how evolution works. There must be a mutation, an offshoot from the norm, via which new life thrives. When we hit a wall, we find a new way around, not just for ourselves but for others too. No is Yes. So next time someone slaps you with the former, hear the latter and find a new way. Yes is the word of creation. When others succeed where you have failed be inspired by them not resentful. When your greatest hopes are dashed realize you’re probably being saved from distress. Other’s success isn’t your success. You can’t have what other people have. You can only have what you have and you can only want what you have. That includes success. You are already successful. Don’t look at the successes you haven’t achieved. Look to the ones you have achieved.
Anything denied you isn’t yours. If it was meant to be it wouldn’t be denied you. You won’t regain that loss. You’ll gain something else. That loss was only meant to inspire your imagination—so-called loss is indeed the most powerful fuel for your imagination. In this way we not only weather, we welcome, it. A closed door of opportunity speeds your path further down that great hall toward rightful success and fulfillment. But that’s the byproduct really. What is being cultivated all the while, during this process, is your unshakable Faith, not only in yourself, but in the workings of the Universe. If you feel you could achieve a) success or opportunity, but find it denied you, why wouldn’t you move to b) or c) all the way to z) and around again to aa)? You had faith in achieving a). Is that all you could achieve? Just a)? No. We don’t keep going back, beating our head against a wall trying to succeed under hardship or duress. Success should be worlds easier than that; so we thank the “loss” of opportunity for saving us the struggle and speeding us toward more natural fits of opportunity where success comes naturally and readily. I don’t know who said this originally but Stella utters this phrase quite a lot: There Is No Loss In Divine Mind.
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