I have been writing a great deal of the time since 1985. That was when my unusually rapid nervous system finally synchronized with innovations in technology so that thoughts could fly through my fingers onto the screen — and the page. Before then, my thoughts would vanish before I could finish writing or typing. So, while I’m at heart a Luddite, I’m also immensely grateful for computer technology.
What got me started was a phone call from a man whose Apple IIe I had seen in San Francisco while visiting there as a consulting astrologer. He was getting a new computer. Would I like to purchase his old one? The very idea terrified me. I am not a computer geek, even now, and certainly wasn’t then.
When it arrived, I broke down crying. How would I ever learn how to do work on a “computer”? No one I knew had one. I didn’t even know how to set it up.
I resolved to spend one hour per day, no more, so that I wouldn’t get overwhelmed. During that hour I would dedicate myself to learning this new technology.
Within one month I was setting up clients’ astrological charts with a computer program (so much better than doing all of them, including all the math, by hand!).
And within that same month I was writing my first long piece, an autobiography of my first 30 years (the first Saturn cycle). A Soul’s Journey is an attempt to show how the soul, through gentle and not so gentle nudges over time, gradually bends the personality to its will. It was a watershed time, writing that manuscript, which I framed up using Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, and during which I focused, year after year in turn, on unearthing memories and the widening circles of meaning that strung them together. Someday I will publish it, as a printed book. Perhaps I’ll put up parts of it, as pdfs, here. I have yet to see another autobiography with that kind of focus.
Then I started to write astrological essays. And have written hundreds of them, the earliest ones published in a wonderful little magazine, Welcome to Planet Earth, now defunct. Others I published in a “Celestial Navigations” newsletter that I sent out to clients and other interested people once per month. I used to have a website with that name. All of my astrological essays were archived there. Something happened to it that I still don’t understand. . . .
In the early and mid-’90s, a few of my astrological essays were published abroad in a small magazine in England; one was translated into Spanish for a magazine in Spain. Another of these pieces ended up in an anthology dedicated to pioneer astrologer Dane Rudyhar.
From 1993 through 2012 I was a columnist in SageWoman Magazine.
Many other essays were published in one of the three alternative magazines that I’ve founded and served as editor: OpenSpace magazine, a community magazine for my home town back in Twin Falls, Idaho (1976-1978), Heartland, a peace activist magazine for the tri-state area of Wyoming, Idaho and Montana (1981-83) and Crone Chronicles: A Journal of Conscious Aging (1989-2001). This last started as a tiny newsletter that grew into a national niche publication that was featured on Good Morning America and received several Small Press award nominations from Utne Reader. (At the request of the new publisher, Anne Niven, I also served as founding editor and for awhile, columnist in its successor Crone Magazine from 2007 through 2012).
That leaves the rest of the essays, and that means most of them! Some I’ve collected into bound volumes, for my eyes only — so far.
I published one collection through my own press, Tendre Press, and called it: This Vast Being: A Voyage through Grief and Exaltation (2007). Awarded a “Best Book” winner by U.S.A. Book News in the category of, as I recall, “spirituality,” though it may have been “grief,” this volume was composed of journal entries during the first year of my grieving process after the death of my polyglot, polymath, shaman, trickster husband Jeffrey Joel. TVB was my way of memorializing this potent 12-year segment of my long life.
My main problem as a writer is that I don’t like to stop writing! So the sloggy job of actually turning around to nurture something that I’ve already written into some kind of physical form for the public has been difficult. Given my quicksilver, eccentric nature, I’m not inclined to seek an outside publisher, and both times that others contacted me seeking to publish my work ended up failures.
One was the then-publisher of Parabola magazine, who asked me to write the biography of a just-deceased woman whom I had interviewed in Crone Chronicles. When I turned in the completed manuscript a year later, he excitedly called to tell me it was “a tour de force.” Two weeks later, he called again to say that his board wanted me to recast it without an astrological framework. I declined.
The other “failure” occured when a literary agent contacted me, having seen some of my astrological essays in “Welcome to Planet Earth” — but when I sent him the manuscript we agreed on I waited, for years, while he made one excuse after another as to why he hadn’t actually set it off — to even one publisher!
I do much better as an independent agent. Which is why I “self-published” This Vast Being, and will do so again.
Meanwhile, writing this blog has been a joy. Computer and internet technology and my own seventy years of full-on living have finally converged in a way that is both easy and immensely satisfying. My job has always been to open space by observing, integrating and sharing links between Above and Below, and exopermaculture has been perfect as both instrument and avenue for me to do it. I speak, here and now, about what’s going on, both inside and outside, at all levels. The writing is the sharing, without delay.
As Gertrude Stein once said, “I write for myself and one other stranger.” Are you one?
So I’ll be putting up some of my old pieces here, from time to time. The first one I posted on December 13, 2012:
HUMAN FEAR OF THE BEAR: A Fable for These Times (sometime in the ’80s)
Here’s another one, a true story.
A CONSPIRACY OF ANIMALS (again, in the ’80s)
MEETING SEKHMET (1993)
This was first published in Crone Chronicles. In 2012 it was collected into an anthology, When the Lion Roars: A Devotional to the Egyptian Goddess Sekhmet, by Galina Krasskova.
Published in Crone Chronicles, #17, 1997, this long, philosophical and deeply personal essay chronicles my process of moving through three intensely difficult choices. aftermath.
TO BE ONE WITH THE RIVER (1990)
Published in Crone Chronicles, Spring 1990, this essay explores the dynamics within a tiny human tribe of former strangers floating for three weeks shoulder to shoulder in rubber rafts down the glorious and forbidding Grand Canyon of the Colorado.
This essay was first published in a book of international tributes to Dane Rudyhar in 1996, edited by Tees Reitsma. I still notice this essay, floating around the internet. It is one of the most remarkable pieces that I have ever composed, and written in a white hot heat, as I recall. I love the subtle way I swing back and forth between the toxic “dizziness” of Wittgenstein and the healthy “dizziness” of Rudyhar . . .
“Beth told me that she no longer believes in aging. That because of this changed belief, she is actually beginning to reverse her own aging process. That the wrinkles I saw on her face are going away.
“A part of me identified with what she was saying. Another, deeper part of me pulled back, upset. Why? I’m not sure. I’ve heard others talk as Beth does, I’ve seen this view expressed in certain books too, books which I respect. But something about this idea bothers me a great deal. Somehow, it feels like betrayal. Of what, I wonder?”
This essay shown here as a pdf in its Crone Magazine format, describes my herstory with especially Crone Chronicles, and to a lesser extent Crone Magazine, and tells why and how I left all things Crone behind me. Not that the archetype of Crone is no longer of value to me . . . But, I’ve moved on!
I decided to rerun (and archive, here) this predictive piece now (August 5 2013), since things are heating up so rapidly on Planet Earth . . . Somehow, knowing that “the stars” are in alignment with what is happening “down here” is comforting, lends meaning and support, if we but attune to the oneness.
“Only a few months past the first anniversary of my husband Jeff Joel’s death, I abruptly fell into a year-long karmic relationship with a man whose dominating personality mirrored my own. Unlike my relationship with Jeff, the connection with Vince was sexually magnetic; however, I was forced to learn that Vince’s values and ethics were not compatible with mine. This essay was written about half-way through that period of mutual confusion and suffering.”
“There it is again, the relentless internal pressure. But now I am accepting its actual reality, rather than cathecting it to the surface, where in denied form, it shows as a general irritability.
“Yes, I realize. Now. Now is the time to tell him. This secret I have been carrying for centuries. This heart’s aching burden. This foul pestilence. No! No! my subconscious cries out in fear. Why change the status quo? Why introduce something which has the potential to destroy everything, leaving me abandoned forever?”
“In December 1962, when I was 19 years old, transiting Saturn opposed natal Pluto from the 2nd to the 8th house. I was in a dilemma. Two men wanted my hand. Which one would I choose?
“The crisis came one Saturday night. I was sitting alone at the kitchen table of the apartment I shared with three other college girls. The moment was crucial. This would be the last decision I would ever have to make. Marry one of these young men, and from then on he would be responsible, my life yoked to his.”
“I went out for my evening walk, as planned, and attempted to talk mysel fout of what I was feeling. Arriving back at the house an hour later, I found myself going up the steps somewhat reluctantly, despite my internal pep talk. I walked in and went to the room with the easy chair. Suddenly, the door to the basement burst open, and there was a strange man, moving fast, towards me.
“I was shocked. Rick was the sleazy man in my dreams. Not only did he look like him, he moved like him, head down, furtive. And he was coming up from the basement into the heart of my privacy, the hall off which were the doors to the bedroom, the room with the chair, the kitchen, the bathroom.
“He was coming up from the basement. He was the “Monster in the Basement” that I talk about to clients undergoing Pluto transits. The monster that, I tell them, ‘is coming up the stairs now, and no matter how much you barricade the door, he’s going to break through it.'”
“November 18, 1992. I sit here stiffly at my office desk, neck supported by a brace. I can still feel the inflammation in the large muscle in the back of the right side of my neck, though it is subsiding and the chiropractor, whom I see twice a week, says the muscle is no longer rigid. I asked him how long he thinks it has been rigid. “Oh, a long, long time!” he said. I keep the brace on because, for the past two months or so, my neck has become so unstable that it “goes out” again within hours of a chiropractic adjustment. The brace makes me feel safe, secure, enclosed. This surprises me; I thought it would feel strangulating.
“Ten days ago, the muscle inflammation and spinal instability were joined by a terrible sore throat. Today is my second day back in the office after that latest siege.
“In the in-box sits a letter from the doctor who checked my thyroid gland a month ago. I had been feeling low, no energy. My acupuncturist thought the gland was enlarged. The doctor says no, it is normal sized, and smooth, but much firmer than usual in a woman my age.
“Also in the in-box sit recent letters from my family, unanswered. The last one from my father. Within hours of receiving my father’s letter my throat was raging.”
“I found out about Katy’s return the day before I drove five hours to see her. All the while wondering what was driving me. When I learned about Katy’s whereabouts, I was in the midst of sorting through the million details of my burgeoning life, determined to get at least a few things done that day — and instead, the insane idea popped into my head that I must see Kathy. Now.
“I wrestled with this idea the rest of that day, feeling alternately excited and burdened by it. That night, having set the alarm for 7 A.M., just in case I did want to go, I woke up at 2 A.M. tossing with indecision, unable to go back to sleep. I thought, “Well, OK, that means I won’t go. I’ll just be too exhausted.”
“At the first beep of the alarm I was up, alert, filled with the familiar excitement that comes into me at the start of any journey. My body, it seemed, was deciding things this day. There was no question. I was going.
“There was to be a mini-class reunion for Katy at 1 P.M. at a hotel. I wanted to arrive in time for that, as well as see her afterwards alone, returning to Jackson the next day.
“Katy was in town to care for her dying father. In the 31 years since we had graduated from high school, I ahd seen her but once, ten years ago. My visit to our hometown had coincided with one of Katy’s rare visits home from Australia, where she had married and become a wealthy Sydney matriarch, rearing three children and showing Andalusian horses in dressage.”