©April 2010 by Fabienne Lopez
Astrology Unboxed started during the Mercury retrograde in Virgo that happened September 6, 2009 through September 29, 2009. For this new Mercury retrograde transit in Taurus (from April 18 to May 11, 2010) I feel the need to stop, reflect and review some thoughts and discoveries concerning the creative process.
The launch of my blog was something of a surprise to me, mainly for two reasons. One, I did not see myself as a creative writing person. I had a blog set up in my website for three years before Astrology Unboxed was born. Now I have a blog!
First, I was hugely resistant to writing anything.
Different gremlins chorused their voices:
“You do not know how to write!”
“You have nothing to say.”
And its twin: “You have nothing interesting to say.”
And its cousin: “Anything you say is so commonplace.”
Accompanied by: “Who is going to read you?” and “Nobody gives a damn about what you have to say.”
Second, my past experiences with the writing process were not exactly gratifying. My high school and college years left me with a bitter taste in that department. Then, I’d felt incapable of expressing myself in any way, shape or form that was aligned with my thoughts. I knew I had a deep breadth and wealth of knowledge but not the words to express it all. This impediment was reflected in my homework and during finals. I was always struggling to put words in paper. As a Political Science/International Relations major, we had to write 750 words essays on a given subject in 5 hours during finals.
I still shudder thinking about those Saturday afternoon tests in college. Theoretically, I knew how I was suppose to structure my paragraphs, do transitions and conclude my thoughts. But the reality was much colder and harsher. I could feel the ideas swirling around, as millions of brightly colored fishes in the ocean, but had no net to catch them. As the 5-hour deadline approached I would spin vapid thoughts, prosaic comments and innocuous observations.
The end result was technically correct and insipid which was in turn reflected in the final grade: average. Today, I like to think of this writing period of my life “as prim and proper” and so very boring.
The whole experience left me frustrated and unsatisfied. My writing had no life. I just felt blocked and concluded that I had no talent for words.
During the Mercury retrograde of September of 2009, I found out that I wanted to express myself. Mercury (communication) was in favorable aspect to my Saturn (form, structure) in Capricorn and opposing my natal Mercury in Pisces. So, I took a writing class with Donna Cunningham [link].
Suddenly circumstances snowballed. After I turned in my last assignment with Donna, she inquired about publishing my article on her own blog, Skywriter (link). And I met Beth Barany (link), who as a writing coach, helped me become a blogger even before I had my own blog.
After that favorable period, my blogging experience was further propelled by the actual passage in the sky of Mars in the constellation Leo interacting harmoniously with my Aries Sun and highlighting the 1st and 5th house axis in my natal chart.
Now, the only thing that I want to do right is write. There is nothing else that grabs my attention quite so powerfully than sitting at my desk and coming up with ideas for posts. I even stopped reading my romance novels and watching my favorite TV reruns. The urge to write feels sometimes like an obsession. Since I do not ordinarily have an addictive personality, this is a novel experience to be so focused on one activity alone to the detriment of everything else except the most basic stuff, like working, eating, sleeping, and being a slave to my cat.
Back in November 2009, I said in my post about Mars in Leo that this transit “should push each of us to courageously stand up for ourselves and for our unique individuality, and to refuse to accept our own unhappiness about the way things are in our life. It will stimulate our ambition, aspiration, passion and the need to be recognized for our own creativity.” And that’s what I find myself doing.
With Mercury in Taurus in retrograde mode right now (late April 2010), I thought I would take stock of my first eight months of blogging. Actually the idea came for a review came from a post written by Tony Vowles in Astroblogging.com where he discusses the creative writing process.
What grabbed my attention was Tony’s emphasis on the profoundly healing quality of writing. That’s how I experienced it at first.
When my first post (will link) was published in Skywriter, it was an incredibly healing experience for me. It not only validated me, it washed away my doubts and past failures. It proved to me that I was a creative person with something to say that was valid, interesting and meaningful. Somehow, the healing quality of writing freed me, allowing for me to affirm my feelings, ideas, hopes and dreams. Writing empowered me.
Writing helped me discover my own voice.
In retrospect I realize that my voice was missing in my college years. No wonder I was frustrated and uninspired. I could not hear myself in those papers.
Discovering what I have to say, what I have to share with others, how I say it is a powerful process, intriguing and exhilarating at the same time. Intriguing because I do not know when inspiration is going to strike, how it is going to strike, what will catch my fancy in a way that I feel it can be put into a writing form and published. I discovered that inspiration needs to be nurtured. It is a slow process, much like growing a plant. You have to feed your inspiration, water it regularly, give it some TLC. For me this daily tending translates into a new way of seeing things. I am training myself to look around me and see inspiration by being connected with my environment, noticing small details, engaging with others. It feels much like a Zen Buddhist practice of meditation.
Like any practice, the observation phase of the creative process requires constant exercise. And the more you do it, the more you want to do it.
Once the inspiration has bitten you, then comes the alchemical process of transforming that inspiration into a living breathing object that interacts with you first and later on with your readers.
The alchemical transmutation of transforming an idea into an entire article so far has been very exciting. I am discovering my voice with all its nuances, rhythm, arguments and counter-arguments, its sense of humor, its emotional coloratura, depth, range, width and breadth. I am learning about my own writing style and its peculiarities — lots of images, metaphors, comparisons and storytelling, more of an informal style, like a conversation. I discovered I have a sense of humor.
I want to take advantage of the Mercury retrograde to reflect what I have learned in the past eight months. There is so much to digest from what I have learned. Also I know there is so much more to discover about the creative process. I am amazed at how far I have come since starting this blog in October. I still have the same gremlins speaking, but they seem to have quieted out as my own voice grew louder. I feel a sense of clarity about what I want to talk about and my writing style. This knowledge is now pushing me to stretch my wings and take on more challenging projects with subjects matters that do not speak to me but that I find interesting nonetheless. Can I turn that interest into something that people will actually want to read and will go “Wow! that’s interesting, tell me more about it!”. I sincerely do not know, but as an Aries I love the challenge. The picture of where I am going with this blog is still not clear, if there is a purpose, but for now I am Okay with that. Just enjoying the ride!
Photos: credit to Flickr Creative Commons