Speaking of Vanity Fair: Looking-Glass

“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to every man the reflection of his own face.” — William Makepeace Thackeray, Vanity Fair

See related post: WE ARE THE AUTHORS OF OUR LIVES. Reposted from 2016. Photos from the archives, ©2016, Jen Payne.

We Are the Authors of Our Lives

As many of you know, I’ve been a long-time fan and follower of Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology — since my early 20s, when he was an 8-point type addition at the back of the old New Haven Advocate. Now, his poetic wisdom arrives through the ethernet, always delivering good things to think on and fodder for deep contemplations.

This week’s newsletter included, among other tasty morsels, thoughts on Mercury Retrograde, change, transition, and Zen Buddhism, a poem by William Stafford, a quote from Friedrich Nietzsche, and pieces of good and redeeming social news to soothe the weary soul.

And then this, my horoscope for the week:

Cancerian novelist William Makepeace Thackeray (1819–1875) is famous for Vanity Fair, a satirical panorama of 19th-century British society. The phrase “Vanity Fair” had been previously used, though with different meanings, in the Bible’s book of Ecclesiastes, as well as in works by John Bunyan and St. Augustine. Thackeray was lying in bed near sleep one night when the idea flew into his head to use it for his own story. He was so thrilled, he leaped up and ran around his room chanting “Vanity Fair! Vanity Fair!” I’m foreseeing at least one epiphany like this for you in the coming weeks, Cancerian. What area of your life needs a burst of delicious inspiration?

Well, funny you should mention it, Rob.

For the past month, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on my new book, Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story. But something has kept me from saying Done! and hitting Send! I wasn’t sure what until…

Vanity Fair! Vanity Fair!

A brilliant piece of inspiration that walked into my consciousness just two days ago and handed me the keystone. Handed me a beautiful, odd-shaped addition that holds the whole story together — thank you Brené Brown’s Rising Strong. Done.

Now one might think that sending a new book off to press in the throes of Mercury Retrograde is risky, but let’s consider it brave, shall we?

Brave because not only is Mercury Retrograde a dicey time for all things technology and communication, but also brave because Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story is a sweet piece of creative non-fiction, a true story deserving to be told by this writer who finally decided to claim it as her own.

Watch for more about Water Under the Bridge, due out this spring!


I overcame myself, the sufferer; I carried my own ashes to the mountains;
I invented a brighter flame for myself. — Friedrich Nietzsche


 

YOUR SUPPORT IS APPRECIATED

Copies of my new book Water Under the Bridge: A Sort-of Love Story can be pre-ordered now, click here. Books are expected to ship by the end of March 2020. (Sales processed through Words by Jen of Branford, CT)

 

 

Post ©2020, Jen Payne. IMAGE: Writing, Zhang Xiaogang. Blog title is a nod to Brené Brown’s “Manifesto of the Brave and Brokenhearted,” from Rising Strong. Horoscope text from Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology. Book cover art by Sarah Zar.

Cape Cod Sunrise, Almost

The sun’s gone missing, darling,

and you, two thousand miles away right now,

are missing too

and yet there we are

walking that Gulf Coast beach

pitch dark, single file, you in the lead

as always

pulling me along

as we giggle stumble across the shell-full sand

that one angel feather
……..that stabs itself between my toes

before we find a place

to lay down our blanket,
……..sip hot coffee,

knee against knee and

arm against arm

like sisters

quiet and waiting

waiting for the start of a day
……..that never comes, save for

gray against gray and

pearl against pearl

until we make our way back

holding hands and laughing at the folly

 

For D, xoxo. Photo ©2019, Jen Payne. For more poems about life reflected in nature, please purchase a copy of my new book WAITING OUT THE STORM. Click here for details.

dance to the absurdities of life

“Rubble is the ground on which our deepest friendships are built. I have survived so much loss, as all of us have by this time…my parents, dear friends, beloved pets. If you haven’t already, you will lose someone you can’t live without, and your heart will be badly broken — and the bad news is that you will never completely get over that loss. But the good news is that they will live forever, in your broken heart that never heals. And you come through. It’s like having a broken leg that never heals perfectly, that still hurts when the weather is cold — but you learn to dance with the limp. You dance to the absurdities of life; you dance to the minuet of old friendships and old loves.”

— Anne Lamott, Plan B: Further Thoughts on Faith

 

IMAGE: The Dance, Paula Rego. For more on death, grief and finding a way to dance, please purchase a copy of my new book WAITING OUT THE STORM. Click here for details.

the sky remains

“Through the empty branches the sky remains.
It is what you have.
Be earth now, and evensong.
Be the ground lying under that sky.”

— Rainer Maria Rilke

 

Photo ©2019, Jen Payne. For more on death, grief and finding a way to dance, please purchase a copy of my new book WAITING OUT THE STORM. Click here for details.

not till we are lost

“Not till we are lost, in other words not till
we have lost the world, do we begin to find
ourselves, and realize where we are
and the infinite extent of our relations.”

— Henry David Thoreau

 

Photo ©2019, Jen Payne. For more on death, grief and finding a way to dance, please purchase a copy of my new book WAITING OUT THE STORM. Click here for details.