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The Future

dreams

As a kid, I loved reading about the zodiac. I had my mother’s dogeared copy of Linda Goodman’s sun signs. Are you familiar with it? Are you familiar with it? I read it again and again, looking for clues to understanding myself and others.

Did it help? Well, there’s a lot of rubbish in horoscopes. I can’t say that it really makes sense that where stars are in the sky will impact your life. The stars are so far away! So far! And they are indifferent to Earth and whether or not any one of us will receive an important message next Tuesday.

That said, I still like reading about the zodiac. I like thinking about how our long ago ancestors saw the world and tried to make sense of it. They imagined gods pulling chariots across the sky or turtles sleeping under the earth. Every culture has its old beliefs that made sense for their time.

I’m a Libra and I read about how indecisive Libras are supposed to be. This hit a nerve. I was (am) constantly plagued with a sense of what-to-do or what-to-choose. You can find plenty of non-Librans with this problem too, so I don’t think it has to do with the stars. Nonetheless, I saw myself in the description and it felt reassuring to know that someone understood. I think this is why the zodiac endures; we see ourselves in the description.

Star-caused or not, I am ridiculously indecisive. The question, “What do you want for dinner?” can torment me. There are so many things to consider! It’s why once I find something I like at a particular restaurant, I forever order the same thing. I don’t have the energy to put into the decision again. Too many other, truly important things need that effort.

Take for example, what to do with my writing career. The beauty and horror of the modern era are all the choices. It isn’t just between self-publish or traditionally publish. It’s platforms and social media. Try to sell stories? Give stories away? Stick to a website? Use Patreon? Try podcasting or making videos? MFAs? Conferences?

A great deal is ruled out by finances. And you have decide what suits you. I’m not very good with twitter but I feel more comfortable with Facebook. I’ve toyed with the idea of Patreon, but I may be kidding myself there. You’d think that just writing a story and looking for a publisher should be enough. Right?

It doesn’t feel that way.

I was able to decide to take the traditional publication route. And I had a publisher, and now I don’t. So after a good long time of dithering, I put the novel back up on Amazon as self-published. Now I’m looking at agents again and deciding what to do next! Which manuscript to focus on? It’s as if I’m lost on the Fields of Dithering.

Another thing I’ve considered is releasing one of my novels myself in serialized form. It worked for Dickens! Yeah…it is a bit old school. But I have a lot of manuscripts. Should I save (hoard) them? Put a couple out into the world? It would be nice to make some money for my efforts. But that sounds like believing in things crazier than horoscopes! What to do? What to do?

I wish the stars could tell me.

4 thoughts on “The Future

  1. I’m not a Libra but a Gemini; I don’t so much dither (although I often describe it that way) as fight with myself.

    Theoretically, I can actually imagine that the distant stars, quasars, etc. do exert some force on our lives; there’s so MUCH mass and energy in the universe, it’s hard to see how it could all have no effect at all. But I can’t imagine that those forces can ever be successfully analyzed by humans, let alone reduced to a simple scheme like astrology. (I know that “professional” astrologers do a lot more work — calculating precised positions in the sky and so on — than newspaper columnists or authors like good old Linda Goodman. But it doesn’t convince me, no matter how many charts and diagrams they work with.)

    Years ago, The Missus looked into other cultures’ forms of astrology, specifically Oriental and specifically, I think, Chinese. She found an interesting double level: the birth years were the familiar “Year of the Monkey,” “…of the Dragon,” etc.; but then there was ALSO an element (one of four — Metal, Fire, etc.) mixed in somehow. And each of these classification schemes was associated with certain personality traits. The upshot of this was that I could be classified as a Metal Gemini Rabbit; she was a Fire Capricorn Boar; and so on. This made for much more interesting combinations of traits than the simple 12 signs of the (Western) zodiac.

    Over this past weekend I started, well, not a new project exactly — a new twist on OLD projects: I’m revisiting some short stories which I never finished, but which I really like, with the idea of cutting them up into separately submittable SHORT short stories. Not to be published as serials necessarily — just as discrete scenes (or whatever) which can stand alone. I’m not yet convinced it’s actually doable, though.

    • Yes, I can’t imagine we’ve figured out how the stars could influence us. not with any system we currently have. Though I didn’t realize that about the Chinese zodiac. I mean, I know I’m a monkey, but nothing about the rest. Now I want to know!

      Good luck with the stories whatever you decide to do. Keep submitting!

  2. Both my parents were Libras so I get the sitting on the fence thing. I also know that they were tenacious in what they chose to pursue. I enjoyed the Blue Jar very much. I figure once you choose to publish nothing will stop you.

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