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

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16 thoughts on “My Year of the Horse

  1. Thank you Jamie for responding to my request. I wish for you all the best in 2014. My year, supposedly, was last year…the year of the dragon….but I have to think about that one. This year should be much better. I am feeling better, more rested, and I hope to be writing much more. Thank you again! 🙂

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  2. I love the horse as a totem…it is my totem of the above direction according to Native American wisdom and represents power. May this be a year of physical, mental, emotional and, above all, spiritual power for us.all.

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  3. Hi Jamie, I wish you much pleasure in taking more time to read. I’m currently caught up in learning more about the early years of our nation–not just founding fathers, but as many early thinkers/writers as I can fit into a week, which is not very many. I never knew, for example, that before Florida was a state it was the home of the Seminole Indians, who offered refuge to runaway slaves from the states of the deep south (who had no chance to get to Canada, where the further northern southern states’ slaves attempted escape to). So fascinating! Have fun with Asimov…I’ve never read him.

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  4. Jamie, Perhaps there is a balance between the two, although it is most likely highly fluid. I am wondering how listening more might affect your writing. As to me, I hope to write a bit more and listen more faithfully this year. We shall see.

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    1. I think you’re probably striking the balance with writing more and listening more faithfully. I’ll work on it. Wishing you your best writing year then, Michael. I look forward to more of your rich and rewarding work. Many blessings …

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