From Loose Threads, A Garment
I haven't blah-blah-blogged for a week because I haven't had much to say. (Don't you wish more bloggers would follow this simple internal guide?) I woke up at 5:30 this morning and had an insight, so I thought this might be a good day to get back to it. The entire week past was devoted to Domestic Responsibility: I went to the grocery store more than once, did the Target/Home Depot run, visited our friendly neighborhood dry cleaner a couple of times, and painted the front porch, among other things. My daughter returned to Iraq, and I suspect my uncharacteristic interest in leaving the house was my way of managing the anxiety that comes with having your only child traveling into a war zone. I also imagine the Wet Paint sign across the front porch might keep the G-men from being able to deliver bad news, should there be any. This is how things work in my loosely constructed universe.
Aside from the wind whistling through my head, there has been a downturn in my political optimism. It is not based on polls, either, because I have been only remotely aware of their results lately. It's actually based on my observation that America identifies way too much with Dubya and my belief that Dubya needs to face the mess he's made and deal with the consequences. I won't bore you non-astrologers with the celestial details, but Dubya and America have some powerful mutual lessons to learn, and school began in earnest on 9/11. I don't see Dubya as big, strong Daddy to this nation of powerful, frightened children: I see the world about to take a Tough Love approach to a kid out of control. It may take a decade, but in the end, I think that's what will happen. And one by one, we Americans will have to learn what life is like in all those places we can't even find on the map. We'll learn what it is like to be truly poor and powerless, living in a contaminated environment subject to harsh weather patterns, unable to take safe food or water for granted. Oh, and everyone will have assault weapons. Until we learn how that's a bad thing, I think we will have the government that we deserve.
Also, I think John Kerry has been a bit of a wash. I remember back when I was very nearly a Deaniac, jaded eyes beheld me with pity and assured me that "Kerry was the only electable Democratic candidate." Kerry's a great senator and I have nothing but admiration for his anti-war stance given that he actually saw the war first-hand, but he doesn't understand that we need cartoon characters to inspire us to vote--brash, jibberish-speaking, looney types, like Dubya and the neocons. Dean at least had steam coming out of his ears, and I liked that.
Now you've probably forgotten about the aforementioned insight, but it does relate to the political preamble in that I have been thinking a lot about what we do in the world, and in particular what I do in mine. It goes back to this notion of meaningful work. Dubya was able to evolve from a guy who kicked Sammy Sosa to the curb and couldn't find oil in Texas to being president of the United States, something that should shine like a ray of hope for all of us--or at least those of us who have wealth, connections, and a pushy mother. I was reflecting on this year I've taken "off" and how it's affected my sense of "respectability." I took this time to work on something that was important to me: a family history. I did not do it because I thought my project would be published or profitable; I did it because I was interested in history. I did it because I wanted to see where I would go, left to my own discipline. The family bit has made a personally meaningful lens through which I have learned much about how my people, the "little people," experienced history from 1813 to now. Judging by the concerns reflected in the diaries and letters of my ancestors, even in war time, people stay focused on the things right in front of them: the checkbook, the cupboard, the vicissitudes of their own social standing. Indeed, these have been the things that have crushed some in my family and spurred others forward. These are the things by which we measure the success of a life.
I had to step off the gerbil wheel of consumer life and get in touch with my French ancestry to understand that I've been doing meaningful work all along. Now that economic survival has ceased to be my North, I see that I have always been a writer and an astrologer, though I have mostly denied both.
After a year of writing, I am just getting loosened up enough to truly inhabit this emerging identity. I read constantly. My mind is a humming network of questions that join territories of psychology and politics. The answers to the questions are shape-shifters, appearing in one domain as reason, in another as instinct. For a year I've felt the Venn diagram of Me and The World merging, so that inner and outer are in direct correspondence. It's an interesting viewpoint, one that I hope to articulate in the future. The simple act of writing, of blogging, in particular, has made me listen more. I've become more adept at identifying my voice and discerning it from the high-volume opinions of others whose books and blogs engage vast numbers of readers. It is an endless source of amusement for me that pundits are just now postulating that Rulership by Testosterone might be the road to ruin. I've known that since I was 12.
Astrology has been a useful map of my interior on this strange journey, with all its conflicts and confluence, as well as a way to understand the timing of events that seem to happen "out there." It has helped me to be calm and see order in things that might otherwise seem completely chaotic, and my mind, for one, seeks order. I have also studied astrology since I was about 12.
So there it is, the thing I've run from all my life: I am a writer. I am an astrologer. Totally useless in terms of income generation. Easily dismissed by people who fancy themselves rationalists. It is a comfort to me to know that no matter who is president, and no matter what distasteful tasks I have to endure to get money, I will measure my own life by growth in these areas and not on any other terms.