Virgo 1° (August 23)
Somehow I got ahead of myself in the degrees department, I should have skipped some days over the last couple months, and now I’m like four days off, so I will wait until Sunday to remedy this, which is good I get some days off (for bad behavior). Anyway I have some notes to record…
Taylor Kitch, loving this sign actually from a evolutionary standpoint can be like given a clean slate to start again. To negotiate being a spirit in the material world, with an animalistic self. That is why a shepherd, living among animals is a good metaphor that develops the narrative.
I would ask Kip if he’s lonely . Also Dave. What motivates him? What scares him? He does tend to be alone after all. Also let’s face it people will read this to try to fix others. Starsky and Cox will ask them not to do that. Talk about the trans thing in the intro as well.
Intro notes. How to read the book as a whole. Will have Extra. Plaents in signs you could do this exercise (found on page 9) First of all anyone can do all the action items in this book regardeless of your sign because everyone (as your birth chart suggests) has all the signs and houses in them. Your sun may be in Leo but your Moon might be in Pisces. And you can choose from the following menu. For more specificity and hopefully more fun and fulfillment there are two additional ways you can pick action items from other chapters. First planets in signs. And also by house, and in both cases you will need to know your birth time and get your chart together.
The following blocks of text are exceprts from my first year of Blagues, nos. 731-735. I am reading through all of my Blagues, five per day, and posting some samples here. Now, in my sixth year of writing this Blague, by the time I get to my seventh, I will have journeyed through all the daily Blagues of my first five years. If that’s confusing I apologize. Year seven, I’ll only have to read through year six, once a day.
Okay so where was I? Oh right. I was bleeding all over the nurse and just handed her my bowl and bag. As expected, the ambulance came and I was whisked off to the Valley Hopsital in Ridgewood New Jersey where one if not both of my parents arrived. I really don’t remember much. The gash in my head was as long as a caterpillar and they had to sort of cut or shave some hair on the left side of my scalp and I took a good number of stitches. Like a lot. It looked like I had had a lobotomy. I just realized that word actually means the removal of a lobe. Yikes. And my face was messed up. My nose was broken and my hole face was just a swolen mess. But somewhere in my mother’s mind this was adding up to an opportunity.
To say that I had a face that only a mother could love would be opposite of the truth. I’m not sure if anybody other than my mother loved my face but I don’t think people generally didn’t. But what became apparent is that, given her drothers, my mother would make a few changes. Now, I had already been diagnosed by my ear, nose and throat specialist whose office I believe I visited weekly with some kind of ailment regarding that triumverate of chronic sickness, with: a deviated septum. There had been talk about fixing it at some point. And why not. I had inherited the hook shape of my mother’s button nose only I inherited the size of my father’s prominent Roman one. Taken together, in drag and green pancake, I would make a very good wicked witch of the west. I was rail thin in my teens to boot.
So plans were being made. I was home ailing. And Spring break was imminent. We went to see Dr. Bagli who would be operating on my nose. Why was he a plastic surgeon. He was not unknown to me as he had twelve children and every grade, practically, had a red haired Bagli kid in it. My sister was close friends with one of the daughters. There was a son two years older than me and a girl in the grade behind me. They also lived next door to a close friend of mine with whom I casually walked over into the Bagli yard to play tennis as they had their own courts. I did mention Dr. Bagli was a plastic surgeon and though people didn’t flaunt their times under his knife we lived in an area of New Jersey where the ladies lunched and did little else. Anyway, I remember it went like this: “The doctor is going to reset your nose, fix the deviated septum and, ‘while his in there’, just remove the little bump.” The little bump? You mean the top of my hook which in minature looks so cute on your face, Mom. That’s right. Okay sounds like a plan. To be honest I was getting a bit psyched to have my nose reset in such a way. Did I think I was getting a nose job? Maybe, but it all sounded dandy and very Goodbye Columbus to me. I really didn’t like my looks so maybe this would help my confidence in that regard.
So Spring break was spent letting my black eyes heal which they said would take weeks but really mine healed in a matter of days. And they gave me what I believe were Percocets which neither parent monitored and I found went really great with a few puffs of weed. On top of that, my recovery was spent pretty much alone. My parents had had plans to go to Hawaii and my evil sister was in a manic upswing that saw her out every night partying with a fast paced coked up crowd (I can now say in retrospect) that was centered around a notorious bar, called Espositos, also in Ridgewood. I had been given a new set of crepey pale blue pajamas so I’d look together in my mother’s mind in hospital. So I lounged around the house in a state of narcotic bliss checking my profile in the mirror from time to time as the swelling went down. But I have to back up.
When I came out of the anesthesia post operation Bagli camed to check on me to explain what had happened and what to expect in the healing process in regard to my bandaged face and at what intervals I could begin the slow unveiling over the coming weeks. My mother hovered comic-ominiously, with a canary eating grin on her face, as if she were bursting to brag about something she knew she should keep concealed. In the movie version of this, the scene is shot from a behind-the-bandage p.o.v., looking up at Mom and Dr. Bagli looming. The doctor made some comment about my chin. How’s that. You made a little incision where? And what was that about silicon? What’s happening? Well, my mother said in her most faux dulcet tone, the doctor needed to add a little bit to your chin to balance things all out. At the time that sounded benign, but now, thirty some odd years later, I wonder if said silicon hasn’t slowly oozed into my bloodstream and rifling my body with cancer. I never thought I would have to consider my face to be a source of faulty infrastructure.
The irony is that the “work” I had done was so subtle nobody noticed except for Dan Leuwen who sat next to me for four years in home room and had a photographic memory of my profile. He was a rather fat kid who wore the brightest possible preppy colors, colors turned up, no socks in winter, feet stuffed into Topsiders or Bean Blutchers. He read the New York Times at his desk every morning with coffee, a precursor of the young conservative characters we would soon see in John Huges films or in Michael J. Fox’s Alex Keaton character on Family Ties. “Did you get a nose job?” Dan asked. They fixed my broken nose which was messed up after the bus accident so no, yeah, I would have replied.
Meanwhile, what bus accident? Nobody had known about that. We were late to school that morning and most kids were already in the building by the time Jeff swung his Jeep between busses. I’m now guessing that we must have been hit by a departing bus and if there were kids on an arriving one, they would have been quickly ushered into the school, nothing to see here. There had been no announcement of the accident over the loud speaker. Friends I spoke to in the aftermath of the accident while in bed at home waiting for Spring break to arrive had no clue until I told them what happened. The school seemed to what to keep it all very hush hush.
Knowing my father, who would never miss the opportunity to somehow profit on my misfortune, must have made some kind of deal. And, now that I think about it, he must have made some kind of deal with the Siegels next door whose son was obviously to blame for my injuries. I will never know what the terms of that might have been.
It was probably May, now, weeks after returning from Spring break, some with tans, some with new faces that nobody seemed to notice. (In truth my nose ended up somehow reverting back to its hook shape over the years, just as my teeth moved back out into a more buck position after the years spent in braces. The corrective medical measures of the seventies and eighties, apparently, weren’t meant to stand the test of time.) Anyway I was sitting in homeroom one morning when the vice principal knocked-and-entered the room and just said two words, my first and last name. My homeroom teacher, Mr. Caruso, who looked like an opera singer, actually, and spoke in a booming voice, delivering jokes and sermons, a wise wise-cracker, every morning, motioned at me then the door in a sort of combo point-snap-go combination, no words, and I was out the door, shut, in the hall way with the very tall vice principal.
“Under the circumstances,” he said, as he reached into his pocket, “I’m giving this back to you.” And that was all he said as he handed me my small black wooden bowl and nearly empty, cloudy, sticky baggie of not very good pot. Thanks? What else could I have said.
Starsky + Cox are best known for writing books I guess. And yet it’s been a while since we’ve done so, but for our yearly Haute Astrology weekly horoscope books. Publishing has always been such an uphill battle. Editors at publishing houses I find are not on the whole very happy people. And most agents lie for a living. It can be a lose lose for anyone in any profession who has an agent unless you’re a super star because the agent’s relationships to the publishers, in this case tend to be more important than the agent’s relationships to the author, despite the fact the agent makes money off the author. It’s just that an agent needs publishers in their lives to sell books by an author who is typically, to their mind, a dime a dozen. There are rare instances where agents actually have blood running in their veins that wasn’t sucked out of other people’s, but on the whole they are leeches. Especially at the big agencies, which is why we dumped ours at WME about seven years ago after writing our second book and being lied to by our “team” of agents who, at that agency in particular, are completely devoid of souls.
And yet a writer would like to write books and have them published. Happily our writing is based on a practice that we can perform every day in person (or on Skype) with real people, and we are fortunate that we have an outlet for our thoughts and feelings on the subject with which we have become synonomous and that we actually make a difference in people’s lives, one divine soul at a time. And there are myriad other spokes to our brand, thank Goddess.Yet there is always that gnawing feeling to write another book in which to represent the evolution of our thoughts since last we published a weighty tome. So, starting New Year’s Day this year I sat down to write a book proposal, drawing on notes we’d been making over the years, and I completed it in a matter of days. And then what? I thought. I guess I have to “find an agent”, a notion that was most repellent.
In the meantime, I could hand the book to a couple of key friends in the business to get their feedback. I reached out. Crickets. I reached back out. And received some vague though helpful responses. Oh well. The truth became clear: I don’t feel like actually looking for an agent. I suppose, over time, I would peruse the acknowledgment pages of books I liked to see what authors had which agents and maybe I would reach out to this person or that over time. When I had the time. Which I don’t have much of. And anyway, I’m just happy I wrote the proposal because it helped order my thoughts. And we can always self-publish, although, despite the direct cash in hand from reader to author, less the amount to Amazon or iTunes, there is nothing like having a physical book in hand. Especially in hard cover.
Sextrology was supposed to be in hardcover. We only found out accidentally from our publisher after it had been all edited and was “in house” being prepped for publication, accidentally. The editorial director we worked with at Harper Collins accidentally cc’d us on an email sent to her boss, the publisher, who played good cop to her bad. “Don’t tell them it’s not hardcover” she wrote one fine shot day. WTF? Oh, we decided it would be better as a “trade paperback” just one of several uphill battles we had to have with the company during the lengthy writing period and preparation of our first book which, we told them, was going to be a game-changer in the astrological genre. We’re going to break the mold we told them as we wrote the book. That’s why we have a design clause in our contract. The book will be smart and chic and fashionable and funny and sexy and many other things never before expected from or delivered by an astrology book. Peole were not inclined to believe. But we did prove them wrong.
The book launched at Selfridges and Harvey Nichols in London, Edinburgh and Dublin, and Marc Jacobs stores everywhere, and at Colette in Paris and at similar shops in Geneva and Zurich and other cities and at Barneys New York when it was still something, with Simon Doonan decorating the windows on a Sextrology theme. Parker Posey came to the Barneys event which was funny and confusing to fans of Will and Grace on which she portrayed the manager of Barneys at the time.We did radio and tv in the US and Europe, we ultimately wrote columns for every publication and website from Paris Vogue to the Daily Beast. Sextrology made quite a splash. Several different production companies tried and failed to build a tv show around us, both in the U.S. and, ironically, mostly, in the U.K.. Ari Emanuel at WME physically handed our book to Charlize Theron with whom Stella met as she, too,wanted to produce a show about us but, once again, agents in the form of WME got in the way. That’s a long story in its own right. Suffice to say they lied to both Charlize and to us telling the other that we didn’t want to do the one type of project we both wanted to do. Lying for a living.
I could go on and on and on. And I’m sure I will. I always do. But I want to get to the main point of this particular Blague which is a little bit of magic and or cosmic humor:
I wrote the book proposal. And though I had pretty much resigned myself to the fact it wasn’t going to be circulated to would-be agents because I just couldn’t bring myself to do that, it soon looked like we would have a great agent after all. Through other successful writer friends we had met this great agent years ago and have stayed in touch socially. When asked what we were up to we simply explained we had written this proposal but didn’t have the stomach to do some directed search. Well you can pretty much guess the rest. The point I’m making is that somehow just the writing of the proposal was enough. Perhaps there was power enough just in that process and in the intention alone to bring this project to light that it sent out its own beacon of unspoken inquiry. And so when asked what was up with us in book world, the very simple honest answer was all that was organically necessary to make a connection. At leat that is the hope. As we are known to say: Most things don’t happen, but everything happens eventually.
So picking up on the previous post, I was thinking I’ll have to share my publishing history with a new agent. the question is how to give them the whole story without seeming crazing and boring them to death. I will really have to distill it all to some kind of timeline but I figure I might as well kill two birds and just diarrhea-write it all out here so that I’ll have something to distill from and anyway there are probably some funny cosmic things that will come out in the airing, and, more importantly, and most probably: I need to exorcise some of the thoughts and feels around the whole subject of publishing from which I suffer a bit from PTSD.
Where to begin: Astrology was always a hobby and a passion growing up and something Stella and I found we shared when we first met. Part of our original shared starry philosophy was hinged on the fact we felt that males and females of the same were actually very different signs—we would later articulate that as: men and women of the same sign draw on separate energies and archetypes. But we were nineteen so cut us some slack.
Fast forward another decade and we are living in the West Village in NYC and Stella is working in fashion and I am acting a bit while mainly writing for magazines and newspaper about entertainment and fashion for the most part. I would take “runway reporting” jobs in Paris and Milan to coincide with her being in those cities during fashion weeks. After hours, we would meet friends and read their astrological charts for fun. Many friends were stylists and editors for magazines. And as some moved up the mastheads at their jobs they would be in a position to hire us to do astrology features.
Wec ame up with our pennames stella Starsky + Quinn Cox (Stella Star Sky….Quinn Cox, a viable verbal massage of the word Quincunx) to disguise ourselves, mainly, from other editors at other publications I wrote for like the New York Times. After a few years of writing features for dozens of magazines one friend became the edtior of Teen People and approached us to write a regular column. We said we would if it could be a his-and-her format, befitting our gender philosophy on the subject, which was a great fit as Teen People was positioned to be the first unisex teen publication, geared to both boys and girls. It was a huge hit—both the magazine and the column. For our entire tenure there over the next several years our column ranked first among all the magazine pages with readers in market research and focus groups. We didn’t dumb down for teens, you see. We treated them like thinking adults. It was an aspirational column that kids cut out and pasted in their lockers and such.
Teen People was a huge success. At the time Ellen Degeneres had this joke where she said God’s waiting room had two publications: Guns & Ammo, and Teen People. The fact is that not just teens were reading it. It was a major guilty pleasure for adults, particularly urban influencers working in publishing, the arts, fashion and entertainment.
One such reader was Rob who had his own imprintat William Morrow. Now, the funny thing is: we knew Rob socially through a mutual close friend who died at thirty ,to whom Sextrology is dedicated—there is a major cosmic story regarding her which I’ll try to fold into this as I contemporaneously (a word contemporaneously made popular by the news of Jim Comey and his FBI memos) forge ahead, my fingers slightly ahead of my brain. I will try. Anyway we were visiting with Rob one day when he launched into praise about this horoscope column he read (secretly) in Teen People. Um, we admitted: That’s our column. After a big No Way! conversation, Rob intimated he was interested in finding these authors—us—to see if they—us—would like to write a book—would they!—us—and could we tailor it toward an adult audience and include sex and sexuality in the content. But of course. So we put together a proposal—we first blurted out the working title Sextrology on the beach with Rob in East Hampton—and he hooked us up with an agent whom we secretly called Lady Chardonnay because she seemed to perspire it after climbing the three stories of stairs to her office each time we met her—we always arrived earlier than she did.
Lady Chardonnay got a large sum for the sale of Sextrology, which I always wondered if Rob found ironic since he introduced her to us. It was a whopping sum expecially since we were first time authors and writing on the subject of astrology. But we weren’t complaining. In fact the book was worth every penny and has gone on to make our publisher millions. I should say that soon after we got the deal, Harper Collins bought William Morrow and desolved Rob’s imprint. He was gone which was scary and Lady Chardonnay (said she) tried to sell the book elsewhere before apprising us of the situation: that even though Harper cancelled most of Rob’s contracts they wanted to keep Sextrology (probably because it had sex in the title); and that we would be a “Harper Resource” book which was not great news. Harper Resource published things like updated editions of The Joy of Sex but otherwise they were kind of a dry resource book imprint at their core. Ut oh.
Starsky + Cox were determined that Sextrology would break the mold on astrology; that it would redefine the genre, that we would be dragging the subject out of the occult aisle and plop it smack dab in the designer display window. We had a design clause in our contract that allowed us to direct the look. I already said it was supposed to be a hardcover but the publishers lied about that and tried to conceal the fact they were making in paperback. The publisher and editors who inherited our book didn’t want to hear how we were going to launch the book at fashionable stores around the world, that celebrities (and royalty) would attend our events, that we were going to have early adopters of the book in mover shakers, intellectuals, artists, fashion designers, and other authors who referenced our book for their own works. They certainly didn’t think that we were the start of an entire new movement which is now, a dozen years later, known as Mysticore or the Now Age. They couldn’t believe we decided what our book looked like, let alone that we were given six figures for our first foray. They fought us at every turn and made our lives really miserable. Our editor lost a quarter of our manuscript “at the gym”. Yeah, you’ve no idea the litany of issues we encountered and why? Because when you’re not a known commodity or, more acurately, a celebrity you are treated like fucking dirt in publishing. But we were undaunted. And we proved “our people” at Harper wrong at every turn.
And I performed a Jedi mind trick on them as only a Libra can: A year after publication I contacted them about our contract and said “you see this bit about ‘electronic rights’ I’d like those reverted to us—and they did it! So before ebooks became a thing we had already got the rights back to publish the ebook of Sextrology ourselves. Of course that didn’t stop our publisher, on two ocassions, from trying to publishing the ebook themselves, losing our paperwork, doubting the rights had been reverted to us, taking the opportunity again to treat us like shit before they had to eat their words. Though publishers never truly apologize. Just last year I saw a new Sextrology ebook was going to be hitting the market—from our publisher!—it was every Amazon site in every country accepting pre-orders. Do you know how much of my time went into getting them to shut that shit down? They don’t care. They get a paycheck and flop around their offices caring little about the fact they might be messing with your livelihood and intellectual property. Harper Collins, in case you didn’t know, is owned by Rupert Murdoch.
So, okay our friend to whom the book is dedicated, the person who introduced us to Rob. She died around her 30th birthday. And we all to gather at her house to say goodbye but she died before any of us got there. But we all gathered anyway for the weekend. And Rob was there and that’s where we truly bonded. There was this friend of hers from her writing program at Binghamton called Peter. We bonded all together about a dozen of us that weekend and then went our separate ways. Email wasn’t even really that much a thing. Well, when we got our book advance we bought a house on Cape Cod in a sleepy little town that hardly anyone ever goes to. There was one bookstore in town and road down to the main beach. First, before I tell you the kicker I will tell you that I saw my then ancient history professor from B.U. there. Professor Schumann was heading to the beach one day and I recognized him from 1983 when I asked him if I should try to transfer to a better school in the U.S. or study abroad in France in Grenoble. He urged me to go to Grenoble which he called the Harvard of France and so I went and that’s where I met Stella. But if that isn’t weird enough: Upon moving to this town we went to the bookstore which had just opened that same month. Of course, Peter was the owner. We had moved to a town on Cape Cod with the money we got from a book deal from Rob with whom we connected at our friend’s passing and when we got to the town her best friend from her writing program had just opened a book store there.
For our Afterglow Festival opener last year I wrote something fairly political for Stella and myself to perform, together and separately. Using the frequented Herring Cove beach in Provincetown as a metaphor for the political climate, the right and left, and their varied alliances with foreign power I wrote the following monologue for Stella to perform:
Originally performed September 12, 2016 in Provincetown as part of the Starsky + Cox “Us and Them” show:
So if you know Herring Cove beach then you know that you drive out and you get to a fork in the road at the entrance where there’s a ranger station and you can either swipe left or swipe right. And really that’s what you’re doing because: If you swipe left you enter the lefty liberal beach of the gays and lesbians. The boys and girls, well, the men and women. Well the women first because they stick close to the beach entrance; not because they don’t like the exercise but because they have so much, shall we say, equipment—folding chairs and tents and typically dogs, if not kids, and books and hats and towesls and sweatshirts and floats and games and sporting goods and dinette sets and, you know, equipment—which is in sharp contrast to the boys who are further down and, depending on the tide, will have taken the short cut to that outer beach, “the boy beach” through the dunes, traveling super light, you know, with just a David Sedaris book, a towel and a TimScapes tanktop slung over their shoulder. So even if you swipe left you encounter that contrast, that sub faction.
However if you were to swipe right when you enter Herring Cove you really are swiping right, except if you venture really far out, which you can only do on foot, to the very tip of the beach where you will encounter a small colony of elite, off-the-grid libertarian gays, but for the most part, when you swipe right, it’s RV after camper after mini-van after trailer, many of which are festooned with right-wing bumper stickers and “populist” propoganda or patriarcal paraphenalia like those disgusting truck balls. Just a few weeks back, On my way out to visit my gay libertarian friends, I passed one vehicle with a bumper sticker that read Trump That Bitch. Yeah that’s what it said Trump That Bitch. I always travel with a Sharpie so I added a comma after Trump and drew a quick caricature of Ivanka. (Period.) I’m not proud of it. Vandalism. It’s typically not my style. But these are drastic times and the polarized duality of our existence here is stunning. Again, especially here. And it works every which way….
….The other day, I bumped into a friend as he pedalled back from his travel-light daily jaunt to the Boy Beach, who was terribly distraught because he felt what he called his “safe queer space” was being invaded by straight people. Apparently a forty something hipster couple was trying to cross the dunes to the Boy Beach with a stroller which must have been a sight and a big surprise to them and the fellows sunning themselves sans thong upon their arrival. And I get it. Provincetown has long been a refuge for the LGBTQ community for a century but as it becomes less marginalized, which is the goal, right, it loses it’s margin, it’s outer fringe. And so, yes, though it would be jarring to see some likely well-funded artisinal chocolatier millionaire couple in what appears to be19th century garb—she in a gunny sack, he sporting suspenders and a Smith brothers beard—crossing what must seem like the Sahara with a stroller, it’s just the way, it literally goes. This is where it’s going. I tell me gay friends here: You can’t have the World of Interiors, or House & Garden or Elle Decor or Guns & Ammo come and photograph your mudroom and then expect to keep out the Brooklynite offspring of the Fortune 500. You know the expression?…I think it was Shakespeare or maybe it was Christopher Marlowe…who said: First the gays, then the girls and then everybody else? It’s true. But I’m talking beyond that, beyond that. More globally.
It way goes beyond the domestic cultural wars playing out here microcosm. It’s global. Yes the global conflict is right here, in Provincetown. Oh yes. You don’t go to other boutique destinations like Key West or Palm Springs or Asheville or Marfa and see what we see here. I mean in terms of global dichotomy as far as we are concerned, there is a split, right, wouldn’t you agree, between the former Soviet Union, still espousing many of their cold war ideals, and the rising power in the world, that is China. And of course, closer to home, we have this dualistic vision of Mexico. The right seems to be all about the once and what could be the future Eastern Bloc—and the left seems to be more welcoming of China, and they are split down the middle on Mexico. And, though I don’t have as many Mexican friends in Provincetown as I used to, I certainly know a lot of people here who hail from the former Soviet Union and, at the same time, I’m being slowly introduced to our new friends from China. And I don’t have to fly seven thousand miles to understand the historic and cultural significance of this particular brand of global dichotomy—all I have to do is stroll from here to Canteen next door for a dish of sauteed brussel sprouts in fish sauce to get a sense of the cultural waves that are occuring out there on the world stage. With all the different factions that make up the Provincetown experience, it is said that walking down Commerical Street is like cruising the halls of high school with it’s myriads cliques and hoots—but walking down the street is also, in its own way, a playing out of the great race for world power and dominion, some factions driving pedicabs, some shielding themselves from the sun with parasols, some sticking to the tar in forshadowing of the dinosaurs we are to become. (take mic out).
To view the original Sabian Symbol themed 2015 Cosmic Blague corresponding to this day: Flashback! The degree point of 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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