Writing Tools: Crossing Genres

blog-hop-buttonThere are two obstacles that every writer faces in one form or another: Writer’s Block and Craft Fail. These two elements are inextricably linked because writer’s block is caused by the frustrated ability to articulate the writer’s imagination through craft. If writer’s block were created by a lack of imagination, it would not be called writer’s block. Writer’s are overflowing with imagination and are only hindered by their ability to put their worlds to words. An epic Craft Fail is usually the culprit unless of course, you aren’t a true writer.

I will share with you the methods I use to overcome these obstacles. I have a degree in Sociology—Anthropology to be precise—and one of the things I learned from university, other than writing novel-length research papers, is that the seeds of each discipline of human experience may be found in all the others. In plain speak, it means that just because you’re a fiction writer doesn’t mean you can’t learn craft from poetry or screenwriting or [insert genre here].

Busting Writer’s Block

One of the most difficult genres to write is poetry and I include song lyrics in this mix. This discipline was studied among the Druidic colleges and required approximately twelve years of matriculation for one to be considered proficient. What I learned while writing poetry is that our subconscious minds have treasure troves of images and ideas that are locked away. Our conscious minds have filtered the sights and sounds we experience into hidden sectors labeled with such names as “irrelevant” or “to be examined later.” To access this treasure, I perform what is called “stream of consciousness” writing. It’s a form of automatic writing that unlocks the doors to the hidden sectors of the mind.

The average human thinks about 600+ words per minute. Compare that to the 150-200 words per minute that the average human might speak. We write even slower, even on a computer keyboard. What are we doing in all that time with that incredible amount of processing speed?

 

The speed with which our mind processes things can cause problems in listening and in awareness. It can also cause us to overlook important details.

Technique: I’ve provided you with a few links below, including a video from K.M. Weiland that explains the usefulness of this technique. It’s something I learned while in counseling because I had an awesome social worker trained in cognitive behavioral therapy who gave me homework between sessions. If you want to find out what is motivating your plot, your character, or your theme then follow these simple steps.

  1. Gather your supplies: a pen or pencil that writes fluidly; smooth, lined paper; a comfortable writing surface.

  2. Find a comfortable and quiet place to write.

  3. At the top of the page, write your prompt. A prompt is a few words about your subject. I might put at the top: Why is Erik in Boulder? or Women’s body consciousness – how does Laney express this? Even though this is steam of consciousness, your prompt is there to keep you on track.

  4. Write. Keep writing. Do not edit. Do not stop. Even if the words “I need to get milk” pop into your head, write it down.  Glance at your prompt when this happens as you continue to write. Did I mention Do Not Stop?

  5. Do this for a minimum of five minutes but if you feel you can go longer, be my guest.

LINKS:

http://thewritepractice.com/stream-of-consciousness/

http://www.wikihow.com/Write-Stream-Of-Consciousness

Application: Ms. Weiland brings up valid positives and negatives about using stream of consciousness in the actual narrative or dialogue, but that is NOT what I am suggesting. What I suggest is that you use it as seeds in your exposition, dialogue, structure and character development. Your subconscious mind is constantly gathering information and pondering the burgeoning work that is blooming inside of you. There is a method to your subconscious mind’s madness that, when the conscious mind is lulled to listen, will make immediate and world-shattering sense to your work. I’ve done this countless times, especially when my work hits a dead end. My characters’ motives take on an organic authenticity as my inner wisdom is given expression. It moves me forward and it will move you forward too. Make it work for you.

Now that you have a few pages worth of craziness, it’s time to review what you’ve written. I can guarantee that you will find gems among the dross. Pick out the things that make your belly quiver, your mind ping, and your heart swell. Your gut will not fail you. Believe it or not, this is where honing your craft comes into play. I told you they were linked! The more you do this, the easier it will be to plough through writer’s block and then if the story isn’t right, it’ll come down to Craft.

Overcoming Craft Fail

I write in several different genres: poetry, fiction, non-fiction, song writing, screenwriting, comic books, and technical. I have written poems as short as 25 words to a novel as long as 50,000+ words. I’ve read books and tried techniques from various experts in each of these fields. I’ve discovered that each genre has the same goal: to tell a story of fact, fiction or evocation – sometimes all three.

I think it is absolutely essential for writers, even those with years of experience and an arms-length of publication credits under their belts, to go back to basics. Some of my favorite books are from the Elements of Fiction Writing Series by Writers’ Digest because these books provide the “elemental” basics so necessary to a good story. They cover topics such as: Scene and Structure, Dialogue, Plot and Structure, and my nightmare: Beginnings, Middles and Ends.

I also use the Story Structure Architect by Victoria Lynn Schmidt, Ph.D., which is broken out into several units of structure including: 5 Dramatic Throughlines, 6 Conflicts, 21 Genres, 11 Master Structures, and the 55 Dramatic Situations. If you are stuck, this gem will pull you out of the quicksand and fish out your shoes to boot.

I also use the following Writer websites:

Writer Unboxed

Helping Writers Become Authors

Live Write Thrive

Write To Done

This is just the beginning of great ideas, commentary on craft, and online support you can tap into as a writer. But don’t stop with just fiction! There’s all kinds of websites out there for Flash Fiction, Screenwriting, Poetry, Blogging—you name it! And you don’t have to write in that genre to get awesome ideas. We’re all trying to do the same thing: tell a great story.

I’ve also been expanding into the screenwriting genre. I’ve taken two free classes from Screenwriting U that were absolutely fabulous. One was the “21 Steps to Rewriting Your Screen Play” and the other was an introduction to the Mini-Movie approach. Both address structure, which I find to be my main stumbling block. I’m not writing a screenplay at this moment, but the advice and information in both classes translate nicely into fiction writing, comic book writing and even the technical and non-fiction aspects.

Don’t be afraid to cross-pollinate your writing. Try new things that excite your imagination. Go back to the beginning and look at your craft from a different angle. Reacquaint yourself with the basics from another perspective. You’ll be grateful you did.

I’d like to hear about the writing tools you use. Leave a comment below with your favorite way to overcome writer’s block or hone your craft. Writers from all genres are encouraged to share. Stay Calm and Keep Writing!

From The Jerk to A TOOL

“A couple of people have asked me about my ‘complicated relationship’ status. I just want you all to know that I’m in a relationship with me. It’s complicated, definitely, but I’m the only one who has to put up with my crap <laughs>.” ~my FaceBook status on January 21, 2014.

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The explanation behind my status is this:

I came into this world alone. I’ll leave this world alone. Out of all the people on this spinning planet, I’m the only person from whom I cannot escape. I am the only person I go to bed with every night.

And yes, it’s complicated because at the heart of everything, I’ve discovered that I’m The Jerk.

والهزه (The Jerk)

I’ve forgone the chair, the magazine, the lamp and the matches, but I’m sure you’ll forgive me.

“I don’t need anything except this. And that’s it and that’s the only thing I need, is this. I don’t need this or this. Just this ashtray. And this paddle game, the ashtray and the paddle game and that’s all I need. And this remote control.” Navin R. Johnson

I’ve been carrying around these three things for a while thinking I need them.

The ashtray is my ego. My ego contains all the dirty lies I tell myself to get along in this reality. It’s the voice inside my head that tells me how awesome I am.

The paddle game is the pointless up and down or back and forth of old habits. It’s the voice inside my head that tells me what an absolute loser I am.

The remote control only has two channels: the ashtray network and the paddle game network. All ashtrays or all paddle games, all the time.

None of these relics from 1979 serve the unnamed something that has been growing inside of me like a strange, night-blooming flower. This beautiful and fragile flower doesn’t have a language yet and I’m trying to find words for it. We could call it awareness, but it is bigger than that. Meanwhile, the ashtray is trying to beat it to death, the paddle game is trying to choke it out, and the remote control is charging pay-per-view.

I have never in my life felt as awkward, naïve and stupid as I do now. Every insecurity I possess has bubbled up to the surface, like a bad B movie on Blue-Ray with Dolby Surround Sound. If you understand my experience, if you feel these things, then I would love to commiserate. If you don’t feel things like this, welcome to my strange and frightening world.

If I’m going to change things, the best way to start is to reframe the problem. I think I will look to music for that, preferably something heavy and gritty-ah, yes, here we are. Instead of being The Jerk, I am now a:

TOOL

Whichever way you look at it, a TOOL is a useful thing but it needs to be fashioned and purposed
(to hear the song and see the actual lyrics, click the picture).

(The following is my paraphrase using lyrics  from “Forty-six & 2” by Tool off the album Aenima)

I’m shedding my skin, picking scabs again, and all at forty-six and twos. I’ve been wallowing in my own chaotic, insecure delusions. Contemplating what I’m clinging to, I know this means that change is coming. Live not the lie, kill the remote, Abandon the ashtray and paddle game to die in the truth, learn, love and do what it takes to step through the outside turning in.

I think it’s safe to say that I’m doing everyone a kindness by discouraging anything other than friendship at this time. Maybe after I’ve softened the old armor and cleared the way, I can come out the other side and consider the possibility of something more.

However, I will not complain or stomp my feet if the Morrighan tells me to quit my whining and dumps a hot, metal dude on my doorstep with the instructions: “Open at your peril.” I may be a hot mess right now, but I’ve learned to never refuse gifts from the gods.

An Open Letter to A Creep

Dear Creepy Guy at the Bar:

I’m thinking you might be a nice person. I’m thinking your mother loves you. Very much. But somewhere along the line she failed to teach you how to approach people. Or maybe it was an oversight on your father’s part. I speculate equitably.

Since the fine art of conversation, which is often learned through osmosis from our elders, has eluded your ken, I would like to present you with a few ideas about how not to interact with women – especially in bars. If you follow these rules, you might be able to talk to a few without them leaping off chairs or ducking under tables to get away from you.

its running away

1. Walking up to a woman only to stop a few feet away and stare is considered threatening. If you’ve worked up your nerve to come that far, introduce yourself and risk possible, but hopefully courteous, rejection.

2. Women who are interested in talking to someone, male or female, smile and make eye contact. If she refuses to make eye contact with you, she is telling you to leave her alone. The frozen deer-in-the-headlights stare does not count.

3. Just because the karaoke DJ announced a woman’s name to the entire crowd doesn’t mean you have made a proper introduction and can use that name as an opening to ask her inappropriate questions about her personal life.

4. Lurking is rude and threatening. It is exponentially creepier when you make sure she can see you coming before stopping mere inches from and directly behind her.

5. If she turns her back to you when you approach, she is giving you the opportunity to save face and walk by.

6. If you aren’t invited to move and talk comfortably among the people that are so obviously part of the woman’s social group, don’t wait until she is alone to corner her.

7. Following her from one end of the bar to the other when she is trying to get away from you is unequivocally threatening, especially if you stand between her friends and her.

8. If a gentleman in her social group makes the appearance that he is with the woman in question, assume that she is with said gentleman. It’s none of your business what the relationship happens to be.

This is not an exhaustive list. I understand that social interactions can be awkward or opaque or strange, and I am able to move beyond those moments because I too seem awkward, opaque and strange (to most). But your behavior was out of the ordinary and constituted the only fly in last night’s ointment of a very good time.

My wisdom is that the experiences we have externally are reflections of the way we experience ourselves internally. So ask yourself, Creepy Guy at the Bar, what would drive a woman to leap from her chair to escape you? What are you chasing that you can’t seem to catch?

Because I’ve asked myself why I didn’t just glare at you the first time you so rudely lurked in my specific direction. I wondered why I waited until I just couldn’t take it anymore before telling you to “go away.” I finally had to ask myself, why did I exhaust all the polite social cues before acting when my gut told me to stare you down? What creepy part of me am I too afraid to confront until I’m cornered?

A Manual on Women: Page 367

Women remember things. We make decisions based on how we feel. Don’t think these are a spur of the moment decisions, either.  Each memory is a point on a microcosmic tally sheet. Much like Maat weighs a soul’s heart against a feather, so too does a woman weigh the good experiences against the bad in a relationship.

On a woman’s subconscious tally sheet, a man could take her on a Caribbean cruise and that would earn him one point. The woman would then go on to grade the man for his behavior during the cruise. If he is attentive and romantic, he earns points for each gesture. If he’s distant and dismissive, he loses points.

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This could cross the sexes but I know I do this…

Conversely, a man could never take a woman on a Caribbean cruise (or buy her expensive jewelry or exotic flowers or fancy dinners) yet every gesture he makes shows such an abiding affection and respect and desire for the woman that a bouquet of handpicked flowers, a walk in the park, and a homemade dinner would earn him more points than the man who dropped cash for a cruise. It’s about the quality of the experience.

My sister-in-law expressed it nicely after she had gotten over a miserable head cold. She had volunteered to make 300 sugar cookie children all with piped sugar accents. Then she fell ill. She had baked the cookies but spread before her were 300 unfinished children-shaped treats and she was overwhelmed. Without being asked, my brother showed up “with a smile and his piping tube.”  This was after a hard day of work on his part and helping with the children. She even posted a picture, and I could see the delight on my brother’s face as he saved the day for the woman he loves.

Grand gestures are nice, especially when it engages both participants in something authentic and enjoyable, but a woman remembers every gesture and it all adds up. Showing up with a smile to save the day, even though it’s just piped icing, means so much especially when it shows that the person cares about what is IMPORTANT to a woman.

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Are you sure about what you want?

Women and men want people around them and in their lives who add value to their experience of the world. Some of this is monetary, attached to prestige, and dependent on attraction, but in the end, they seek relationships that add value to the meaning of life. These relationships elevate, support, and nourish dreams and positive self-images.

Each present moment is part of a continuum and each experience is a metaphorical point. Experiences within experiences are also points. Your quality of life is determined by the balance between the positive and negative. Where do you want your balance to be?

Poor Adam or Why Women Lie

I’ve been thinking about the stories of Adam.  Lilith left him and Eve led him astray. Poor Adam. These two stories have sparked centuries of debate among theologians on the duplicitous nature of women. Why do women lie? A better question to ask is: Why do people lie?

How We Teach Our Kids That Women Are Liars

This article addresses the pressure from society  to view women as liars. Interestingly enough, when I looked up “are all women liars” on Google, there were pages and pages of articles about the lying nature of women. When I Googled “are all men liars,” I found a couple of articles on the first page and then all the other hits were for a movie, All Men Are Liars. My experience is that PEOPLE lie for various reasons, but hey, let’s get out that tar brush and paint in wide strokes over half the world’s population, shall we?

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I’m thinking women haven’t cornered the market on lying.

Are All Women Liars?

This was an eye-opening read because it showed a wide spectrum of how men view women. Yes, women lie. I have lied. But believing that all women lie would mean that I could believe all men are absent the emotional spectrum to have hurt feelings. I sensed crushed, male feelings in this offering and rightly so. I also sensed balanced, male perspectives. You have to read past your own biases.

Women Are Not Liars

Then there is this lovely treatise on the anatomy of feminine emotions. This rang true for me. Women have a different emotional perspective as a general rule. It is part biological and part cultural. Women are wired differently. Biologically, we serve as the vessels of humanity’s continued existence. Culturally, containing something is a far different experience from penetrating something, and the actions you are able to commit will affect your experiences and the ordering of your priorities.  The mystery in all of this is that you are in charge of how you see things.

In my journey, I’ve discovered that people lie because they are afraid: fear of failure, fear of pain, fear of success, agoraphobia (hey, don’t knock it ’til you’ve suffered it). I’ve also discovered that if someone is lying to me, more than likely s/he started lying to self first (unless of course the subject is a sociopath and I’ve dated plenty of those).

Perspective is everything. Once you understand the motivation, you can’t stereotype. You are able to stop yourself and ask, what fear is motivating this behavior? And women are afraid. Women have been afraid for millennia, but that’s a post for someone else to write.

And Have A Plan To Kill Everyone In the Room

My son posted a rant on his FaceBook. Of course we’re friends on FaceBook. I have him designated as a Close Friend, so if he so much as farts in cyberspace, I get a notification.

No, I’m not that kind of mother. I’m the kind who cares enough to say something like this (after covering my eyes and peering through my fingers to read every word):

“Boy, there are two things you should avoid doing throughout the course of your life if you want to succeed. First, don’t burn bridges in haste. Choose with utmost care the bridges you burn for they may never be rebuilt. Second, don’t rant in public. It pisses people off and you look like an ungracious ass.” In other words:

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Words of wisdom to my son.

Granted, I only said something after he came to me complaining that some of his colleagues were offended by his less-than-professional post .  He’s twenty-one.  I think every young adult should get a pass on a gaffe like this as long as the error is corrected.  He was smart enough to come to me with his dilemma.

What my son ranted about is exactly how things are, but public, in-your-face rants don’t change things. Ask the politicians seeking our votes. They rant and rave on their soapboxes, but when they get elected, they quickly discover that their rants for change are up against a much bigger monster than rhetoric can conquer. They tow the party line after a while. Those who don’t disappear into obscurity.

After some careful explaining, and validating his feelings (hey, feelings are feelings and it isn’t my place to tell him not to have them), I instructed him on the best course of action. “Son, only rant to the choir and do it before the congregation arrives.” I also advised him to take down the post. No apologies necessary, just “don’t do it again or you’ll get a reputation for that kind of behavior.”

It’s okay to be angry about how the world is. It’s okay to want to change things. There are even places where rants are effective  (like in songs or comics or IDK, the arts in general – think Spaced Repetition), but you have to consider the audience. Subliminal messages work better. Subtlety will slay the biggest foes. And my personal favorite, kill them with kindness.

My son doesn’t realize it yet, but I’m managing his career. He will not get the opportunity to make mistakes with such spectacular regularity as his mother. I can crash and burn. My gaffes are expected, even anticipated, but he has a pristine field of opportunity out there and I want him to soar much higher than me before he takes another nose dive. Hopefully, I can head him off at the pass before he jumps.

Creating Your Life

I like lists. They make me happy. They keep me focused. Lists are my friends.

I tell my sons to make lists. They haven’t discovered the wisdom of such a simple task, but isn’t it the simple things that offer the most satisfaction?

Caroline Miller, in Creating Your Best Life, swears by them. My bucket list came from her book. I think that book was the doorway into the crazy and amazing life I’m currently living. Lists help us focus on what we want in life–our goals. Lists help us break down those goals into meaningful steps. And it may take a little while, but if you follow those lists, you’ll get where you want to go.

I enjoy reading other people’s lists. There is one going around Facebook right now that requires people to list a certain number of facts about themselves. The number is assigned by the person whose list status you “liked.” I received 25 and I list them below (with tongue-in-cheek) so that you can get to know me better.

  1. I’m a MILF not a Cougar. Remember, it’s all about mystery.
  2. I want to live in a house that can travel anywhere.
  3. I’m Irish-Italian with a touch of Viking, Greek, and Egyptian.
  4. My life is mostly 3Ws: Working, Working out and Writing.
  5. I’m trying to fit in the 4th W, making Whoopee, but haven’t found the right person yet.
  6. I’m a published author as of 2013 but I’ve been writing coherent short stories since I was 12.
  7. I’m an introvert but that only means I need to recharge alone after I’ve hung out with awesome people.
  8. I love to sing karaoke and my bucket list includes an entry that I will sing karaoke in one major city of each state and the District of Columbia.
  9. My job lets me travel all over the country. I’ve met fabulous, interesting people and have managed to sing karaoke in CA, GA, FL, CO, VA, TX and MD (I just started this bucket item last year).
  10. I’m pagan.
  11. I’m a Jesus freak.
  12. I’m also the Morrighan’s hand maiden.
  13. I’ve embraced the mystery of sex-blood-death.
  14. I am a metal junkie.
  15. I do not care for donuts but I like meat, mead, metal, coffee and Mr. Krasman’s metal reviews.
  16. My son is an awesome drummer for Xstrophy who will be playing the Fishhead Cantina in Halethorpe, MD on 11/23 and yes, I will be there, probably selling merchandise.
  17. I have a wicked sense of humor.
  18. I’m too smart for my own good.
  19. My cat’s name is Mr. Hanky the Christmas Pooh in honor of the cat who preceded him, Pooh Bear.
  20. My other cat’s name is Research & Development (R.D.) because he is an idiot.
  21. Both my cats are from a rescue shelter (they make the best pets).
  22. I enjoy doing things that scare the crap out of me emotionally because it reminds me that I should live instead of giving a crap what others think.
  23. My favorite song right now is Get Over It by Battlecross because they must have met my ex-boyfriend and thought he was a complete douche as well.
  24. I think life is hilarious.
  25. I took a Brief Strengths test that ranked the 24 human strengths in order based on my answers. At #1 was Courage/Valor because I am a great person to have at your back. At #24? Humility.

 

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Singing my little heart out!

 

I encourage you to comment. Pick one of the following numbers: 3, 5, 7, 9. Tell me that many things about yourself. Dig deep. Say crazy things that you know are true, things that you dream about doing, things that scare you witless because what would [name of influential person in your life whom you don’t want to disappoint] think?

After you’re done, I want you to look at that list. I want you to put a star next to one of the items that you think is important enough to pursue. I want you to put exclamations after it on the post. I want you to paste it on my blog, right here, in big bold letters, that this is something you’re going to do or that you’re going to cultivate within yourself.

Once you’ve made your choice, go do it. Make your lists. Wade into the fray. Give your battle cry. I’ll be cheering you on. This blog has your back.

Sex+Blood+Death=Truth

For my next life, I will be a heavy metal musician. Hopefully, by the time I reincarnate, my gender will only determine if I purchase the baby-doll tee or the straight up Fruit of the Loom screen print from my favorite bands. I will write potent, mind-altering lyrics thanks to this current life as a writer. I will be born into a musically-inclined family, hopefully a great grand-something of Mike Mangini or Ann Wilson or Sully Erna. I will play every instrument including the vocals.

I only say this because I’ve always been that kid who walked the outskirts of every known group considered acceptable by mainstream society. I would jump up and down trying to see what was going on in the middle of all that respectability. Only to discover that I didn’t want any part of what I had seen after crawling through the maze of legs. Ugly things can happen beneath a smiling veneer.

When I’m reborn, I will explore the things that everyone else is too afraid to discuss in voices above a whisper. I do so now, but in my next life I will start in my hell-raising youth. I will shout it out from the rooftops, not for attention, but because my compassion for humanity insists that I tell them the truth: sex, blood, and death. Everything else is but a variation on a theme and sometimes that theme isn’t so pretty.

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VASTUM: One of the many reasons why I love metal – click on the picture to read an album review authored by Brian Krasman

We are created through sex. We are born in blood. We die. The cycle repeats. In between these events, many try to pretend that sex-blood-death isn’t happening. The very clouds are borne of the intermingling of air and water.  Rain is birthed. The clouds disperse. Repeat. It is a beautiful, divine cycle and we are meant to be part of it.

How is it that humanity can ignore the cycles of life: the passion, the rage, the fear? Yet humans do and with cowardly abandon. In that very non-act, the twisted psyche is born and fed. Every known avatar has come bearing the tidings of sex-blood-death. Some have been laughed at, some have been murdered, but most have been ignored. And the illness grows.

I am no stranger to sex-blood-death. Neither is anyone who reads these words. Perhaps like me, you have embraced the dark truth. You have given it a name and yet still acknowledge its mystery. There is a freedom here.  A freedom to follow passion,  to speak truth, and to tell the stories that must be told. \m/

Photojournalism Exhibition

I.O.’s aside:

I’ve always been amazed by the stories that photographs tell. When written, so much of a story’s possibility is confined by the words chosen. Perhaps this is why ancient oral traditions such as the Druids were so set against putting their lore into writing. Then again, certain Native American tribes saw photography as a soul-stealing activity. I think both the Druids and the Native Americans had valid points in that the truth of what has been captured can be altered. Think of history being written by the victor and the female body being digitally enhanced. But there is something about the photographer as storyteller that has always captured my imagination.

Written in the Stars

It’s supposed to get even more interesting on November 3, 2013 with the New Moon eclipse and Scorpio and Mercury Retrograde getting all comfy-cozy in the 12th quadrant (house) of the sky. Karma Brewing, that’s how Urania’s Well describes it and she’s saying this New Moon eclipse energy went into effect approximately 30 days before the actual event. She explains it better, so click the link:

BREWING KARMA

Interestingly enough, the 12th quadrant of the sky sits across the cusp of my 6th (Public Service) and 7th (Partnerships) houses (because when I was born, that’s where the fixed houses aligned with my chart). I went through the furlough like a good federal worker (6th) and I became more active in social media (7th) as my writing got a kick start. I’ve been building relationships in the public sphere for the 30 days prior to November 3rd.

But Urania predicts long-term effects. She warns of deep karmic issues bubbling to the surface and cautions her readers to deal with the issues as they arise.  I have an issue that leaves me paralyzed. I know what to do but I don’t want to do it. I have many reasons not to do it.

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Mercury, you keep coming back to haunt me!

I am a dark, family secret. In my reckless youth, I would have revealed all the gory details if given a golden opportunity like this and damn the consequences. And now that 44 years have passed, the consequences of this secret are laughable.  What concerns me is the possible upheaval of tidy mental worlds. Beliefs are such inflexible and tenacious things and I lack the energy to deal with the fall out of other people’s choices.

This secret is one of the reasons I have been brutally honest with my children. I don’t want them to constantly look over their shoulders wondering when the other shoe will drop. For me, the other shoe just dropped. New information has come to light. The shock is like being mugged in the back alley of a reasonably safe, suburban neighborhood.

My choices are: ignore the information or follow the thread to the center of the labyrinth and face the big, ugly Minotaur that awaits. Ugh. Of course, I am brave to a degree of stupidity that would make Evel Knievel flinch—I speak in emotional terms not physical.

I’ll confess, though I’m dithering about to do or not to do, I know I will do. I can’t help myself. This is my nature. I rush in where angels fear to tread. I leave chaos in my wake and only those things strong enough and flexible enough to survive will remain.