My Year of the Horse

17th Century Mongolian Bronze, photo courtesy of the curator of The Buddha Gallery

17th Century Mongolian Bronze, photo courtesy of the curator of The Buddha Gallery

2014 IS THE YEAR OF THE HORSE IN CHINESE ASTROLOGY, which promises adventure. (Okay, I made that last bit up, but where is it written we can’t hope?)

I’ve adopted Horse as my guiding spirit. In the ethos of the Chinese people, the spirit of Horse is marked by unrelenting effort. It is characterized by intelligence and ability. The ancient Chinese thought of an able person as Qian Li Ma, a horse that travels a thousand li a day, about 360 miles or 500 meters.

A thousand li according to Lao Tzu writing in the Tao Te Ching is the journey that “starts beneath our feet.”  We would say the journey begins with a single step. My first step is this: my first post of the year and my current re-reading of Isaac Asimov‘s autobiographies, In Memory Yet Green (1920-1954) and In Joy Still Felt (1954-1978). They present the opportunity to re-experience a time and place I have in common with Mr. Asimov (the ’50s onward) and also to immerse myself in  Pulp Era of Science Fiction (magazines, 1920s/30s) and the Golden  Age (“Hard SF”- linear, 1950s) and New Wave Age (“Soft” – artistic, literary, experimental, 1960s/70s). One cannot live by poetry alone.These books also provide the chance to observe the skill and absorb the wisdom of one of the finest, most versatile and most prolific of American writers. Some say his life was dull. I don’t agree. Isaac Asimov had many adventures in life but his adventures were of the mind.

“We have two ears and one mouth so that we can listen twice as much as we speak”. Epictitus

Another way to express my plan is that this will be a year of listening (reading) more and talking (writing) less. My father – not unlike Epictetus – used to say, “You have two ears and one mouth. That’s God’s way of telling human beings how important listening is.”  So this year – my sixth blogging – there will be fewer of my own poems posted here, far fewer posts, and significantly more reviews of books and collections.  As Stephen King said:

“If you don’t have time to read, you don’t have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.”

I’ve posted a small poetry collection on the Home page (My Poetry Sampler).

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… and thus the journey continues …

May this be your best year yet for intellectual and artistic adventures.

© 2014, Jamie Dedes, essay and the rose photograph, All rights reserved