A Mere Human Among the Madness


I love to write.

When I am in the writing flow, the words roll off my fingertips as if a direct channel between pure inspiration and my computer keyboard has taken me over. My ideas transform into rhetorical passion. All I'm required to do is cordon off the necessary time, arrive with open-minded concentration (and a bound-and-gagged inner critic), and let it gush forth, non-belabored.

It's that 'cordoning off the necessary time' part which has infringed upon my writing practice as of late. This has been a gradual infringement, I suppose, increasing over time as all my other professional ventures have both thrived and grown in responsibility demands. And it's only intensified over this recent season, with the mid-2010 cardinal-climax astrology stirring up an 'everything, all at once' acceleration of simultaneous developments in multiple areas of life. In this climate, 'cordoning off' anything has been nearly impossible.

Pause. Break. I have just interrupted the interval dedicated to writing this very thing you're reading right now to respond to web designers, review resumes, promote my work on Facebook, read the news, place orders for tarot decks and ritual knives, and steal a couple gulps of coffee in between. These are all essential elements of the professional positions I hold (well, maybe not the coffee)… or, more accurately, of the roles I've created for myself to quench my self-starting entrepreneurial nature, so I know I don't have much room to complain. In fact, not a single one of the aforementioned multi-tasks I juggled in the past half-hour is something I don't enjoy doing, on some level or another.

How could I have known that each new beginning I entered into, with youthful abandon and inexperience, would evolve into so many additional activities and commitments? Such is the curse of ambition… and of subsequent success. I couldn't have known, any more than any true creative process will reveal the full extent of its final product until after its organic unfolding. We learn as we go.

Not only do we learn how to manage the outcrop of duties and chores born from our initial blind-faith creativity, we also discover what we really enjoy doing… what we are good at, and not-so-good at… what's an appropriate usage of our unique energies, or what might be better delegated or left behind altogether… what leaves us feeling that we've found or fomented a 'calling', or that we've been ignoring one, for whatever personal reasons. I note here: This recent escalation in the multi-task hustle shows me I'm shortchanging myself of writing opportunities, both the 'sit down and write' time and the compulsory unstructured chunks of inspiration-conjuring.

I am presently trying to do oh-so-many things at once, sometimes not even finishing a full sentence in this article before switching windows, sending emails, cruising colleagues' cyber-contributions, then returning to complete my thoughts… and properly punctuate them. Period. My writing process wasn't always this scattered, in those prehistoric dark-ages before the Internet and its infinite time-sucks at a mouse-click away.

I'm going to walk my dog now. This is quality time he and I spend together. I try not to touch the smartphone that's in my pocket, as JoJo and I climb the hill at Buena Vista Park, exploring the trees, greeting the other pets and pet-owners. I quietly judge those who ignore their charming animals to twitter or google or text their afternoon away. Our pets have limited life-spans, I remind myself (too often). We must enjoy every moment we've got. Sure, our purposefully-soon-to-be-obsolete technological devices may also die sooner than we'd like… but the teeming jungle of soulless data and trivial junk now appears it'll live forever. (And if it doesn't, what will we have missed?)

Excuse me while I check my email again, book flights and hotels for an upcoming trip, run astrological birthcharts for next week's clients, and switch business phone calling plans.

Behind the screens lurk real-life people. I share my thoughts to remind you of the 'me' hanging out back here behind this one. Our relationship is important, you know. Without you, I have no online reputation, no professional credibility—and nobody to read the written expressions I'm compelled to make. I appreciate you. And without me, you would lack the weekly horoscopes and other writings (insightful or otherwise) that I provide you (at no financial charge, I might add).

If it appears I'm looking for a pat on the back, I suppose I am. I will spend hours writing on topics I'm intuitively moved to convey to you; if I possess both the instinct and the communicative capacity, isn't it my duty? At times, this is at the expense of writing something more personally satisfying or meaningful. Often, I'm totally in touch with how lucky I am to have this venue. Occasionally, resentment creeps in… usually when I've received emails from strangers, asking why my horoscopes haven't been posted early enough on Sunday morning, criticizing me for veering away from astrology and daring to write what I want to write on my own website. Maybe I compose snippy replies, venting my resentment at the wrong emailer (is there a 'right' one to snip at?)… hopefully catching myself before I hit 'send' or, if not, following up with a sincere apology.

I am sorry for those moments I project my eagerness to please onto you. I'm a mere human, I mean no harm… ;)

We forget each other's humanity too often, as if the stuff we're working on is more important than the people for whom we do the work, divided as we are by voice-mail-maze compartmentalizations, self-enclosed car-interior chambers, and the ongoing disappearance of public-space etiquette. Yet, in the age of the Internet, we have simultaneously collapsed the distance between reader and writer, so that you and I are in direct communication. If I instead wrote for an old-school magazine and you sent me a letter to the editor, would I ever see it? Would I be able to respond?

I'm home from the dog-walk now, and I've got a confession to make: I checked my Blackberry while wandering through the trees. JoJo didn't seem to care, as he had plenty of stuff to sniff and chase and pee on. But I admit, I'm a hypocrite… or at least some kind of inconsistent being. I honk and yell at other drivers ('idiots!') who pause at green lights, roll through stop signs, drive slow in the fast lane or neglect to signal before lane-changes, but expect them to understand when I am lost or spacing out or searching for that one song I really want to hear right now. I snap at innocent customer-service reps, while sometimes feeling underappreciated by those customers I serve. Whose neighborly rudenesses are worse?

I shower you with self-consciously choppy excerpts from the mundane fodder of my everyday life. Is there broader meaningful resonance in these words, or am I merely exposing a journal-entry-style self-indulgence? Do we give the people what they want, or do what's creatively fulfilling for us? For proper relational balance (see also: Saturn in Libra), I attempt to do both.

Lately, I've drawn my greatest pleasures from spending quality time with the people that matter to me. Amidst the cacophony of distractions, prioritizing the purity of such interpersonal connections seems an obvious choice, though it's amazing how easily we neglect to make it. We are in relationship too, you and I. This writing exercise is my effort to reach out, to share with you the man behind the screen. Let us cherish our mutual humanity, in ourselves and each other. We all live in a yellow submarine.