Gaye Mack’s Blog

NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART-DISCOURAGEMENT AND PERSEVERANCE: THE REALITY FOR ASPIRING WRITERS

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Articles, Worth the Read, Writer's Work 2 Comments

Like a bad cough you can’t get rid of in the winter, discouragement and perseverance are part of the package for any aspiring writer who dreams of their work being valued by someone other than their mother.  My guest for this post is the best-selling author of The War of the Roses, Warren Adler.  Warren’s piece on ‘Rejection and Renewal’ is a reality check.  The reality is that it takes more than just WANTING your creativity to land somewhere other than on a forgotten USB stick or in garage boxes…that ‘the road less traveled’ is fraught with discouragement and one that demands perseverance.  For readers, it gives a peek into the prelude of that book they love.

THE PRELUDE

 You’ve spent months, perhaps years, composing your novel. You’ve read and reread it hundreds of times. You’ve rethought it, rewritten it, and revised it, changed characters, dialogue, and plot lines. Writing your novel is the most important thing in your life. It has absorbed your attention, almost exclusively. Both your conscious and your subconscious mind have been obsessed with it.

You have read parts of it to your friends, family, former teachers. Most think it’s wonderful. You have finally considered it finished. Armed with optimism and self-confidence, you obtain from the Internet a list of agents and begin to canvass. You agonize over whether to send your precious manuscript to one agent at a time or to a number of agents.

THE  DIVE

 You choose the first option. Just in case, you send it electronically, unsure of whether or not this is now standard practice. You have high hopes. You are aware of the massive changes in the publishing business, but have chosen to take the traditional path as your first option. Waiting, Waiting . . . Weeks go by, then months. The agents are, you believe, reading it in the office, passing it around, deciding to take it on. You live on such hopes. Finally you call the agent’s office. They haven’t a clue as to who you are. Somehow, they are reminded and search through the piles of manuscripts in their office, find yours, and send you back a standardized letter, perhaps out of politeness made to look like an original. Well then, you tell yourself, it is only one agent’s opinion.

You send it off to another agent. A letter comes back swiftly, similarly worded. You get bolder, send your manuscript to two agents at a time, then three, then every agent you can find. Nothing happens. “Good luck on getting published,” they tell you. “Not for us.” Sometimes there is a personal, scribbled note that says something nice and you live in its glow for days. More Waiting . . . Years go by.

IF AT FIRST YOU DON’T SUCCEED…

 You start another novel, but you are less optimistic now, less confident, unsure. You tell yourself you have not paid enough attention to the marketplace. You begin to analyze what is selling, what is not selling, what is being published. You read books on the best-seller lists and are certain you can do a lot better. You try to use these books as a guide to what is selling and you write accordingly. Nothing helps. You are continuously rejected.

Then . . . you begin to read on various websites about how you can publish your own books and get them marketed on electronic venues. Some sites promise that they can get your book in front of movie producers for a price. Some say they have the magic to make you a successful career novelist, again, for a price. For even more money, you will be told how best to market your book. You debate the idea and as your pile of rejection letters mount, you give it a try. You spend money. A book is produced in print-on-demand format and an E-Book is created and placed on every electronic sales venue on the net. Your family buys copies and sends them to friends. It is even reviewed in publications that review self-published books, yet again for a price. There is a word or two of praise in the review and you send it around to the media and everybody you know. Unfortunately, there is little or no sales, no afterlife.

THE CRASH

Despite your confidence in your ability, despite the fact that you truly believe your novel is certainly worthy of publication, you feel the full impact of rejection and failure. Try and Try Again . . . Still, you cannot shake the certainty or your talent. You write another novel. Perhaps a third. Perhaps more. You go through the same process. Again and again you are rejected. You begin to question your ability, your ideas and your talent. Is it a fantasy, an exercise in unrealistic aspirations? You are becoming embittered. Your dream is crashing.

If you are fortunate, your wife, husband, partner and family stick by you, continue to encourage your dream, help you keep it alive. Other realities begin to chip away at the dream. You have financial obligations. Your kids are growing up. You are losing out in the job market. Others are moving up in their jobs, while you are falling behind. You feel lost, adrift. Rejection after rejection has beaten you down. You see this as the end of your world, the end of your hopes and aspirations. Your high hopes and self-confidence in your own talent is petering away. What now?

REALITY

No Magic Pill. If you’ve read this far without your stomach congealing, I suppose you are awaiting some prescription offering a magic pill for coping. Sorry, there isn’t any available your corner drugstore, and you won’t find it here. Luck—that strange, illusive, heaven-sent burst of good fortune—has not fired a missile in your direction. Not yet. 

You have three choices:  

The first is personal surrender. You’ve been on a fool’s errand following an adolescent dream. Time to throw in the towel and concentrate on your day job. At least you tried.

 The second choice is postponement. You weren’t ready. You needed more experience of life. But you continue to believe it will come. Some talented people are late bloomers. Give the dream a rest. Wishing won’t make it so. There are enough popular clichés to give you courage.

 Now, for your third choice, the clincher. It is not recommended for the faint of heart: never give up. Never, never, never. It may be impractical, unwise, foolish, pure madness, but if you truly believe in yourself, your talent, your ideas, your calling, your personal mission, why not, as Lewis Carroll wrote, “go on until the end, and then stop.”

It Takes Determination and Perseverance To do this requires a monumental ego, total self-confidence in your talent, and an unshakable belief that you have been anointed with the right stuff. You will require obsessive focus, singleness of purpose, a draconian ruthlessness, and total devotion to a belief in your artistic ability. Fancy words, I know, but with the absence of luck, you will need these attributes to sustain you through the process. What this means for the true novelist is that he or she must continue to soldier on, keep writing, keep trying, taking the increasingly painful hits of rejection after rejection until, well, until someone out there catches on…or doesn’t.

We are all waiting for Godot. Sometimes he comes.

warren adler

Warren Adler

Best-Selling Author and advocate for aspiring writers

 

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SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE AND THE WORLD OF SPIRIT

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

 

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here, mainly because I’ve been focused on my ‘ historical fiction work in progress,’ A Flight of Doves and my Evolutionary Astrology practice.  However, a few weeks ago I was asked to write a piece on Sir Arthur Conan Doyle for the Chicago-based, Love is Murder writer’s conference newsletter.  For the past fourteen years, this popular conference has featured a ‘Ghost of Honor’ and so it is that for the forthcoming February 2015 conference, the creator of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, was selected.  

As I state in the article, my guess is that the majority of Sherlock fans are unaware of the very real ‘spiritualist’ side of Conan Doyle, although in several of the stories if one reads between the lines, such clues do creep through.  In any case, for those of you wanting to read ‘more about it,’ I’ve posted the article here.  Who knew? 

“Come, Watson, come!” he cried. “The game is afoot.” Few Sherlock Holmes fans wouldn’t recognize these words from The Adventure of the Abbey Grange, published in 1904 by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. However, how many devoted fans know of Doyle’s fierce involvement in the spiritualist movement of his time? Surely not a majority.

If we take a closer peek into this side of Conan Doyle’s life, we learn he was an avid enthusiast and supporter of psychic research for many years. Among his activities were tireless lectures across the UK and America in which he promoted the cause of spiritualism in addition to his extended tenure as president of London’s College of Psychic Studies (founded in 1884) where his portrait prominently hangs alongside his predecessors and successors.

Without question, however, a major aspect of Doyle’s influence in spiritualist matters was his post mortem series of messages via the well-known English medium, Grace Cooke. Delivered between January 27, 1930 and June, 1932, Arthur Conan Doyle’s messages revised the fundamental core of spiritualism having to do with life, death, illness and healing—a somewhat complex story that starts in Paris.

Briefly, in the mid-1920s a small group of Parisian spiritualists established themselves as The Polaire Brotherhood. At the time of their formation, the Polaires came into possession of the Force Astrale, an oracle believed to have originated with the Sages in the Himalayas.

When news of Conan Doyle’s death reached Paris, the Oracle gave the Polaires an extensive message: Conan Doyle, now in world of spirit, needed to correct some inaccuracies regarding the subject of spiritualism. However, in order to accomplish this, a Polaire Brother needed to travel to England and meet with Lady Conan Doyle, who would introduce him to a well-established medium—someone specifically chosen and trained to receive Arthur Conan Doyle’s communications.

Lady Doyle, a hard-core spiritualist herself, was already acquainted with England’s famous medium, Grace Cooke, as plans had been made for Grace and Arthur Conan Doyle to meet. Sadly this never happened due to his sudden death, but ten days following his passing, Grace visited the Doyle home and at this time, Arthur Conan Doyle delivered several personal, very detailed messages to his family.

Thus, when the Parisian Polaire now in England approached Lady Doyle, wheels were rapidly set in motion. On January 27th, 1930, Grace Cooke, her husband Ivan, the Polaire Brother, Lady Doyle and two of Lady Doyle’s children, met to hear the first of what would be the several extended messages from Arthur Conan Doyle as predicted by the Oracle back in Paris. Delivered through Grace, Conan Doyle’s instructions set forth a complete reinstatement of spiritualism, illness, healing and life after death. Today the connection between Grace Cooke and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle live on through the globally known White Eagle Lodge, which Grace and Ivan founded in 1936 at the direction of Grace’s own spirit guide, White Eagle

*For a more complete picture, including Arthur Conan Doyle’s messages, see Arthur Conan Doyle’s Book of The Beyond—White Eagle Publishing Trust, 2nd printing 2006.

 

220px-Conan_doyle

SIR ARTHUR CONAN DOYLE -1859-1930

 

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A PEEK INTO THE VATICAN’S MEDIEVAL PAST WHEN ASTROLOGERS WERE REVERED

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

A recent article by Edward Snow sheds an ‘interesting’ light upon the high, spiritual value in which astrologers were held by medieval Rome.  Sadly however, ignorance, fear and religious control issues proved to be the death knell for this sacred science. Fortunately  in more recent times, wiser perspectives are bringing legitimate astrology to forefront again.  Through the lenses of evolutionary, cartographical,  financial and medical astrology for example, outmoded, fear-mongering myths are finally being relegated to the dungeon.   Snow’s article is certainly ‘worth the read!’

Saint Peter’s Basilica an Astrological Triumph

When the Holy Father and other sixteenth century leaders of the Roman Catholic Church sat down to plan construction of Saint Peter’s Basilica in Rome the first person they reached out to was not Michelangelo or any of the other architects or designers who worked on the project.

“Saint Peter’s Basilica is considered by many to be an enduring affirmation of a centuries old theology and a grand example of Renaissance architecture. Astrology may not come to mind immediately for the millions of visitors who take in the spectacle of the awe-inspiring building each year, but construction of the church was in fact begun on a certain date and at a precise time chosen for its astrological significance,” says Mary Quinlan-McGrath, a professor of art history at Northern Illinois University (NIU) and author of Influences: Art, Optics and Astrology in the Italian Renaissance.

Quinlan-McGrath writes that before any work began the astrologers of Pope Julius II established that the horoscope for the start-up of construction (April 18, 1506 at 10 a.m.) correlated with both the horoscope for the presumed birth of the world and the birth horoscope of Christ.

“The locations on the horoscope chart of the Sun, Venus and Mercury indicated benevolence while that of Saturn and Mars suggested power and longevity.  Jupiter’s location was propitious as well, promising wealth,” she observed.

Quinlan-McGrath says Pope Julius II and his Renaissance architects believed that “the concordance of the heavens and the radiation emanating from the cosmos provided protection for the building at the time of its founding and, in turn, the building would continue to radiate these powers upon the people associated with it over the centuries.”

In the current era, modern astrologers aren’t likely to go along with the date their medieval counterparts used for the birth of the world.  And the date divined for Christ’s birth is suspect as well.

However, despite these factual stingers, most contemporary astrologers would probably agree that Vatican astrologers did an excellent job of finding an enduring electional chart for the start of construction.

Using modern computers, astrologers can swiftly pull up a birth chart that displays the heavens precisely as they looked on April 18, 1506 at 10 a.m. in Rome.  The planetary alignments on that day were exceptionally harmonious – with one notable exception.

Medieval astrologers used the sun, moon and visible planets in their calculations.  On the Basilica’s electional chart the major stressful aspect is a hard, right-angle alignment between the sun and Saturn, with Saturn dominantly controlling that space on the horoscope wheel astrologers look to for insights on financial matters.

Astrologers in any era would notice that the angular relationship between the sun and the planet associated with hardship and delays (Saturn) would be challenging.  And, in fact, the project was plagued by more than a century of financial woes and construction delays, Quinlan-McGrath points out.

Presumably, Vatican astrologers were mindful of the economic stressors the project was fated to face, but had supreme faith in the positive, long-range outcome promised by the electional map.

In her book, Quinlan-McGrath examines the astrological context of the founding of Saint Peter’s as well as the creation of other works of art and architecture in Rome, such as the Stanza della Segnatura in the Vatican Palace and the lavish Villa Farnesina of Agostino Chigi, an extremely wealthy banker.

She notes that astrological thought permeated the Italian Renaissance.  Scientists used mathematical measurements to chart the heavens and theologians and philosophers harmonized religious doctrine with astrological readings, making Saint Peter’s a product of its time.

“The belief that celestial forces could operate through works of art and architecture was not obscure or magical but in harmony with the philosophical, religious and scientific beliefs of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries,” she explains.

 

 

 

St. Peter's Basillica 1

                                                                        

                                                                           CONSTRUCTION COMMENCEMENT

                                                                               OF

                                                                                 ST. PETER’S BASILICA

                         

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AVOID REGRETS AT END OF LIFE- A CASE FOR EVOLUTIONARY ASTROLOGY

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Balance, Karmic and Self-Discovery Astrology, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

A deviation from my usual blog topics, I happened to come across the following posting from Huffington about Bronnie Ware, an Australian palliative nurse who turned her journal notating the most common regrets of her dying patients into a book- The Top Five Regrets of The Dying.  What I found ‘interesting’ in reading the following excerpt is that I saw this minutes after being informed that the last of my living uncles had passed away yesterday evening at the ripe age of 98.  

He was my mother’s oldest brother and the final survivor of that generation.  It’s no secret that siblings often quibble about each other’s ‘ways of being'(although being an only child I fortunately escaped this one!).  My mother and her siblings were no exception and so this excerpt of Bronnie’s gave me pause; I realized that as I read the following five common regrets, they make a wonderful case for evolutionary astrology as a valuable tool for actively facilitating our Soul’s growth while we have the time.  

Through the evolutionary astrological lens, everyone’s birth chart reveals where and how we have opportunity to make course corrections in this life from past Karma that haunts us at unconscious levels within our being.  We have time; in doing so, it’s possible to bypass some or perhaps all of the regrets Bronnie outlines from her experiences with the dying.  If you’re interested to know more about Evolutionary Astrology and its benefits, please checkout my website.  Steven Forrest, one of the most globally recognized evolutionary astrologers and my teacher, has excellent information on his site as well.  In the meantime, I’m certain you’ll find that Bronnie’s insights sound intimately familiar and that interestingly, they resonate with the core of Evolutionary Astrology!

One thing on regret before we get to the list. It’s important to remember that whatever stage we are at in life, there is no need for regret. The process of regret is one that provides nothing but suffering for ourselves as we begin to allow the past to dictate how we should feel now. Instead, we can use the past as a reference point to understand what adjustments we would like to make moving forward. The adjustments do not have to come out of pain, sorrow, regret or judgment, but simply a choice to do things in a different way. We are learning all the time, we can very quickly slow that learning process down by getting stuck in the idea of regret. When it comes to making changes, be at peace with the past and remember that each moment is a new choice.”

1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.

“This was the most common regret of all. When people realise that their life is almost over and look back clearly on it, it is easy to see how many dreams have gone unfulfilled. Most people had not honoured even a half of their dreams and had to die knowing that it was due to choices they had made, or not made. Health brings a freedom very few realise, until they no longer have it.”

2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.

“This came from every male patient that I nursed. They missed their children’s youth and their partner’s companionship. Women also spoke of this regret, but as most were from an older generation, many of the female patients had not been breadwinners. All of the men I nursed deeply regretted spending so much of their lives on the treadmill of a work existence.”

3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.

“Many people suppressed their feelings in order to keep peace with others. As a result, they settled for a mediocre existence and never became who they were truly capable of becoming. Many developed illnesses relating to the bitterness and resentment they carried as a result.”

4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.

“Often they would not truly realise the full benefits of old friends until their dying weeks and it was not always possible to track them down. Many had become so caught up in their own lives that they had let golden friendships slip by over the years. There were many deep regrets about not giving friendships the time and effort that they deserved. Everyone misses their friends when they are dying.”

5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

 ”This is a surprisingly common one. Many did not realise until the end that happiness is a choice. They had stayed stuck in old patterns and habits. The so-called ‘comfort’ of familiarity overflowed into their emotions, as well as their physical lives. Fear of change had them pretending to others, and to their selves, that they were content, when deep within, they longed to laugh properly and have silliness in their life again.” 

 

astrology-image

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RELIC OF JESUS’ CRUCIFICTION CROSS FOUND OR MORE OF THE SAME?

Posted on by Gaye Mack in Ancient Legends of Great Britain, Gaye's England, Scotland & Wales, Worth the Read, Writer's Work Leave a comment

 

Admittedly, the time frame here is far earlier than the 12th or 13th centuries I’m used to exploring and writing about, but yesterday’s piece in Huffington  was just too good to pass up here for those of you who missed it on Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus and every other social media outlet on the planet.  This said, once again a flurry of active speculation amongst archaeological and religious academics pitted against the faithful is sure to escalate.  As I’ve commented earlier, it seems that we’ve entered an era of, to borrow Hilary Mantel’s latest book title, ‘Bringing Up the Bodies‘(and everything with them), non-stop

Recent memory zooms to the controversy over remains now concluded to be England’s diabolical(depending on your point of view) King Richard the III.  This excavation was closely followed by discovery of remains speculated to be those of England’s more venerated king, Alfred of Wessex (the jury’s still out on this one as far as I know.)  Nevertheless, the contemplation of ‘what if’ continues to intrigue us.  However, it’s important to keep in mind that discovery of and hawking of, ‘authentic relics’ which are nothing more than fakes is big business that’s older than Methuselah that continues to flourish around the globe.

Still, every time such events are splashed across the media, many of us yearn in hope beyond hope that the real deal has been discovered…it does happen. As for the current ‘discovery’ at hand, we’ll just have to wait…but who knows?  There are so many treasure ‘truths’ waiting to yet be discovered and questions answered…Excalibur, the Grail, the mystical portal protected by the Sphinx, Nazca, Atlantis, Avalon, the pyramids, Stonehenge

In the meantime we can muse on the latest news from Huffington, et al:

“Archaeologists working in Turkey believe they have found a piece of the cross that Jesus was crucified on.

While excavating the ancient Balatlar Church, a seventh-century building in Sinop, Turkey, on the shores of the Black Sea, they uncovered a stone chest that contained objects that may be directly connected with Jesus Christ.

Excavation head Professor Gülgün Köroğlu definitively stated:

We have found a holy thing in a chest. It is a piece of a cross, and we think it was [part of the cross on which Jesus was crucified]. This stone chest is very important to us. It has a history and is the most important artifact we have unearthed so far.

The stone chest has been taken to a laboratory for further testing. However, the appearance of the chest suggests that it was a repository for the relics of a holy person, according to the team, who showed reporters at the site a stone with crosses carved into it.

Many churches claim to possess relics of the so-called “true cross,” though the authenticity of the items is not fully accepted by scholars and scientists. Protestant theologian John Calvin noted that, “if all the pieces that could be found were collected together, they would make a big ship-load,” referring specifically to the cross. On the other hand, the 19th-century French archaeologist Charles Rohault de Fleury supposedly said that all of the cataloged relics would only make up less than a third of the mass of a roughly 12-foot-high cross.

But what originally happened to Jesus’ cross, and why has it turned up now? Legend says that Emperor Constantine’s mother, Helena, found the cross in Jerusalem and distributed pieces of the wood to religious leaders in Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople.

Balatlar Church, built in 660, has proved an especially rich dig site, as Köroğlu mentioned that in addition to the stone chest, her team has found the ruins of an ancient Roman bath and more than 1,000 human skeletons since they started working in 2009.”

 

tintagel castle

King Arthur’s domain?

Photography©Gaye F. Mack, Inc.

 

 

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