Aries 12° (April 1)
Sometimes it’s not so easy just to change tack on a dime and immediately dive into a new project, especially when that project involves absorbing its full breadth before being able to add to the further articulation. What can I say? That would be on my tombstone if I ever have one. Oh, the meaning less ness of it all. I had finally alighted on a lifestyle that suited me, in surroundings that were buffeting. Not to say I was being my best self there, but I was truly making an effort and had gotten into a strict exercise routine, and was enrolled in school, while still working and moving the larger needle forward. I’m grateful today that my choices haven’t backfired. I grateful that it is now April and not December or January. We need every bit a sense of hope an renewal as the Spring portends. Unlike yesterday, when I had no previous entries to post, today there are a ton from the five day span I was surveying today. To remind my reader, with the start, on the Spring Equinox, of this my sixth year writing the Cosmic Blague, I am reading five a day of my previous last five years of posts, which, by the time I enter my seventh year, will mean that I will have read the first five years, So that I will only have to read one a day, from my sixth year, during my seventh, which will each be a tiny anthology of those five day spans I am surveying now. If you didn’t understand any of that I cannot help you.
This morning was comprised of a little brainstorming on the TV front. I have specific ideas which I think would work best; but I also have to defer to the “zeitgeist and buyers”—already learning so much. Hoping we can make something of this in a big way. Also we got an offer today from Hachette for our new book so hopefully we will make that work. It kind of feels good and I think I can pretty easily get my brain around pulling this off. It would also entail a nice chunk of money in a world where we don’t really need that much. I made a beautiful English pea and mint soup for dinner tonight, which I’ll follow with a roasted beet and goat-cheese salad (made some cracker crumbs from Mary’s g.f. crackers which I will coat the cheese in and put in sautée pan) on Spring lettuces. For lunch we did one of our favorite tricks: crushing a bag of kale chips, like a dry pesto, to stir together with some g.f. linguine, such a quick, satisfying meal. First we spoke with our agent and decided on a redirect. So we will wait to hear back from her today, hopefully. The settlement situation is such: They want to set up arbitration and avoid court trial. I’m totally down for that direction. Probably not such a bad thing to get a little beaned and focus solely on the work at hand. We won’t hear back until tomorrow, now, but it is good news that we are back in the book biz. I am so happy for the opportunity to have a professional relationship like this one and I’m going to make sure I hit my every mark. Not wasting the grace. Not wasting the opportunity to establish a good relationship. We are so fortunate to have had our second book optioned for TV while we are offered a new book deal, while we meet clients virtually online and otherwise do exactly what we do in any case. Makes me realize how battened down our hatches typically are in any case. I’m looking forward to this time. I wish I hadn’t taken on this latest project, now, but I am going to enjoy every minute of all I’m doing and realize it all contributes.
The following blocks of texs are exceprts from my first year of Blagues, nos.61-65. I am reading through all my Blagues, five per day, and posting some samples here. Now, in my sixth year of writing this Blague, but the time I get to my seventh, I will have through all the daily Blagues of my first five years. If that’s confusing I apologize:
I remember in 6th grade, when we first learn about the Greek gods, right. I was so utterly turned on by the gods. I made myself a tunic out of old curtains I found in the attic and did incantations to Dionysus, wanting divine communion with him or else it was my inner wine-o emerging. But I was sad too because the conceit was that the gods were something people once believed in but they no longer existed. That notion depressed me to no end. But I didn’t give into it. I knew it wasn’t true. The gods weren’t dead. They were very much alive. But this was before I could articulate my reasoning: That the gods are energies personified. And energy can’t be destroyed. That we too are energy personified. Or that Mary is Aphrodite. That Jesus is Eros. And that the connection between the gods and their namesake planets and astrology and psychology and archetype and energy and theatre and temple and spirituality and the stage would ultimately wrap me up like a blanket.
But I remember 6th grade, the last day of school before Christmas vacation, it was snowing, we couldn’t go out for recess. There was no real school work to do—no point starting new lessons. We played fuzz ball. (The class divided in half throwing a softball size pompom like those on the top of our winter caps across the room and if you didn’t catch it you were out. I was typically out pretty quickly.) Then I think we rearranged our desks. And it was a half day. And we were just sitting quietly with our hands folded. It was bittersweet because our teacher Mrs. O’Shea was moving away and wouldn’t be back after vacation. I remember accidentally calling her Mom one day when I raised my hand. That was excruciatingly embarrassing. As if I needed any other reason to stand out like a sore thumb from the rest of the class. But I was always the square peg. Going against the grain. So, 6th grade, waiting for the bell to ring and free us for Christmas week. Hands folded on our desks. Mrs O’Shea with a teasing smile asks the class if we are looking forward to Santa visiting which induced a group groan because 6th graders no longer believe in Santa Claus. So as the class sputtered and moaned and rolled their eyes in a cacophony distilled to a single phrase: There’s no such thing as Santa Claus, I….raised…my…hand…and said: Hold on. I believe in Santa Claus. Loader moans now with threatening jeers. And I don’t recall the exactitude of the Linus Van Pelt solo argument I launched into; but I know it had something to do with the fact that Santa Claus must exist because so many children believed in him down through the centuries and if that many people believed in Santa that he must “exist” on some level, just like the one God whom everyone believed in without seeing and who, I was a bit peeved, replaced my beloved Greek gods whom I loved so completely, just like that one Dick Sargeant replaced that one Dick York as Darrin on Bewitched, my favorite show. I didn’t know Santa Claus was Wenceslas was Saturn was Old Father Time was Father Christmas. Just like I didn’t know that Endora on ‘Bewitched” was Saturn’s wife Rhea Cronus and that Endora meant endure and personified the Capricorn energy of preservation and conservation. I just knew that if every one of those snot-nosed muggles in my sixth grade class, for whom I had a natural contempt, could swallow the fact that their mainly Christian all caucasian father son and holy ghost existed then, by Christ, I could make a strong argument for the existence of Kris Kringle, with a K, like the Kardashians, our modern false gods, all too readily worshipped. And I remember Mrs O’Shea making this face, [sic.] as if to say, sounds reasonable; and 24 sets of other children eyes fixed upon me their gaze melting from bah humbug into a happy gratitude that their childhood belief, so newly vanquished, could be, at least for this moment before the bell was to ring, so magically restored.
I worked in Paris in 1985-86 at Passion magazine, which was a super big format magazine and we would have vendeurs who would swing by the offices to pick up big stacks that they would then sell on the streets, in the parks and gardens, in outdoor cafes and even in restaurants, walking through crowded bustling rooms of conversation and scraping cuttlery and tinkling glasses, Passion along with Interview and City and whatever else might be on offer. Before I got a job at the magazine, I too sold them on the streets for a day but I was terribly bad at it so I was grateful I was hired for an actual job in the magazine. I did though hand them out to front row faces in the fashion shows which in those days were in tents in the Tuileries not at the as-yet Carousel du Louvre. I remember handing a copy of Passion to Princess Caroline at one of the shows, saying, “here you might as well have one since you’re in it”—there was some story on her. I was always off-handedly addressing people that most people treated with uber respect and kid gloves. It was the eighties, and I had a socialist ax to grind and authority issues. Some years later, during a book signing for Sextrology at Colette, Princess Caroline would attend and tell Stella and myself, “I’ve heard so much about you.” Really? Okay.
There were several vendeurs of Passion; the most ubiquitous and prolific was called Jean-Yves, I believe (pictured below) and one of them was this African guy who’d I see here and there around town, in furtive glances, out of the corner of my eye. He was very dark skinned and small and had a shaved head and was usually hidden behind these large magazines he was holding up. One evening Stella and I were out to dinner with a crazy friend of ours called Vivian whose outfit for the evening was a pair of mens striped flannel pajamas. It was the eighties. I can’t remember where we were having dinner, somewhere in the sixth arrondissement; and this fellow through the restaurant and I grabbed his arm and asked in bad French “tu vend Passion”, to which he responded “mais oui”. I explained I worked at the magazine and invited him to join us, which he did. He ordered champagne and I remember thinking that he must do pretty well selling those publications around town. He said his name was Jean-Claude he was from Cameroon and that his father was actually something of a tribal chief. Very interesting. He was highly educated and spoke English and French superbly and after we killed the bottle of bubbly he invited us to a club privé called Le Flashback. Off we went.
The place was dark and filled with poseurs and you had to purchase a bottle of something which would be placed on your table and you would pour and mix your own drinks. For some god awful reason we got a bottle of gin. The place was packed the dance floor filled with couples and, as was not unusual in France, single people dancing with their own reflections in the mirror that squared the entire room. I noticed Jean-Claude was behind Vivian with his arms wrapped around her cupping her now naked breasts as they writhed and I caught him in profile and suddenly realized, what a cotton picking minute, this isn’t the magazine seller after all. As horrible and probably racist as this sounds—I promise you it wasn’t—I had mistaken this small African dandy for the often facially obscured vendeur. But, uh-oh, when I asked Jean-Claude if he sold upper-case Passion he said “oui” thinking I meant the lower case sort.
In any case he wasn’t a gigolo and he and I actually became copains, hanging out smoking hash and drinking at his fancy Saint-Germain-des-Prés apartment. I once invited two French guys I’d met in my neighborhood, Jean-Luc and Phillipe, to hang out there with me. We ended up, as guys do, even ones who basically don’t know each other, wrestling, which in this case consisted of Jean-Luc, Phillipe and I each diving at Jean-Claude in turn whereby he would handily pin us with one move or literally throw us across the room. He was like a tiny Cameroonian super hero it was astounding. And the manner in which he defeated our moves with ease made us laugh hysterically as we exchanged glances of disbelief while, you know, being chucked into a wall. None of this of course has anything to do with the Sabian Symbol today at 3° Gemini which is all about “Formalism” but so what, it’s my Blague and I’ll blab incessantly if I want to. I will add this, that in a twelve-fold sequence, Gemini rules this oracle and given it’s rule of the third astrological house, it is associated with boon companions and all kinds of merchants, especially street vendors of newspapers and magazines. So there.
I am doing my own returning, in the next couple of days, to Cape Cod where I can’t wait to get sand in really uncomfortable places. I have always needed to live near an ocean and have been very fortunate that I have for most of my life. I was speaking with a client recently about recapturing the spirt of ones salad days. The misteltoe and holly in the image are sacred and ancestral, and I think they ask us to examine what those elements are inside of us. How do we get back to our own source of being. It certainly isn’t through nostalgia but something deeper and more primal a connection. These are themes in the show we’re currently writing for sure. In this fish bowl world in which we live, where everybody is watching everybody posture and post visual and textual snippets of their life on social media, directing it to appear a way, trying to manipulate others’ perspective of them, it only makes me crave a simpler, more anonymous time when, if you had to reach me, you had to catch me at home on the phone, now quaintly referred to as “the land line.”
Of course I am saying this in a post that will appear on social media. And I wish more people liked the Facebook page for the Cosmic Blague but I really shouldn’t care. The whole purpose of this endeavor is to return to, first, the source of these daily Sabian symbols but also to whatever wellspring of stories these symbols might trigger. Whether writing or performing or producing or what have you there is that soul-crushing risk that there won’t be an audience. But it can’t stop one from soldiering on if you have some calling to express yourself. I do think our popular culture has torqued the balance to the extreme; such that the same handful of celebrites get all the attention; the sad fact is that this trend is mirrored even in what are meant to be non-commercial forms of art and entertainment; it can all seem like a popularity contest; and if you’re not designed to be so over-the-top needful of attention or worship—as many popular artists and personalities are, even in what’s left of our (or any) subculture, you won’t get it. The same downtown performer who bemoans the loss of a true avant-garde artistic community is the same one who goes on tirades that they don’t get enough press, awards, or attention from the media or gentry at large. You can’t have it both ways. I have always thought that such self-professed “down and out” people who protest too much about the evils of celebrity or wealth would be the first to jump at the opportunity to have them, and they would be just as bad as any kardashian [sic.]—I am of the mind that the lower-case “word” kardashian should be introduced into the English language, meaning: an entitled, vapid greedy, venal no-talent who seeks fame for fame’s sake and is devoid of any spirituality, compassion or sense of proportion; it could also work as an adjective given its -ian suffix.
So perhaps we don’t know what it means exactly to return to a source or our own individual source but I think we know what it isn’t, and what elements of our own personal or collective life represent being as far from a sense of honest purity and spiritual power as can be. So maybe we start there and just keep backing off these things in our own life. For some it could be as simple as cancelling cable, or only using social media for professional or philanthropic purposes, or turning off any means by which we can become polluted or manipulated by such powers seeking to create a certain want in us that manifests in our buying products or into political or religious or other kinds of ideology. We can’t totally isolate that’s not good. But we can stay away from people who play the game of making others feel less than or are constantly and desperately trying to represent their lives to us as somehow better than our own. I think another aspect of returning to the source is finding your true tribe which for me means developing relationships with other nerds who are on a path toward increased self-awareness and expression in manners that lift up others not put them down for ones own self-aggrandizement. And if that means a lot of solo time en route to better communion, well, that’s what books, beach blankets and hammocks are for.
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree pointof the Sabian Symbol may at times be one degree higher than the one listed here. The Blague portrays the starting degree of for this day ( 0°, for instance), as I typically post in the morning, while the Sabian number corresponds to the end point (1°) of that same 0°-1° period. There are 360 degrees spread over 365/6 days per year—so they nearly, but not exactly, correlate.
Typos happen. I don’t have a proofreader. And I like to just write, post and go!
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