What’s Your Sign?
And how *you* is it?
I have four astrological signs tattooed on my left forearm.
They’re contained in three interlocking circles, a triple Venn diagram, with me (Gemini - the twins) in the middle and my three children circling around. Leo the lion, Aries the goat, Cancer the crab.
I’d been thinking for a long time about getting a tattoo to celebrate and honor my children. But, me being me, I didn’t want to settle for names or dates of birth. I wanted something symbolic and layered. Something that wouldn’t fall out of trend like the lower-back tattoo I got when I was 17.
So, naturally, I chose their signs.
I’ve been fascinated with the Zodiac and with astrology for as long as I can remember. These stars, and the personality traits they seem to represent, are the perfect blend of things both known and unknowable, visible and unseen. Horoscopes, they’re something different. They purport to predict a changing future. But your Zodiac sign is a description of who you are—oftentimes a confirmation of what you and those closest to you already know.
I’ve read dozens of descriptions of the signs throughout the last 20 years, from pages long to a mere sentence or two, and all of them have held not just a kernel of truth about who I am, but a whole cob full of kernels. And there’s something fascinating about the idea that the alignment of the stars can, often with unnerving accuracy, predict the core of who you turn out to be.
My nephew and my daughter were playing the other day—I’m sorry, hanging out; I forget they’re nine years old and far too cool to play—and they came out asking about signs. “You’re an Aquarius?” I asked my nephew, and he nodded. “Do you identify as an Aquarius?”
I could see he didn’t understand the question. I slid my phone out of my pocket and pulled up a random website with descriptions of all the signs. I read his out, and he nodded along, and by that point I was locked in because now they wanted to know the characteristics of everyone else in the family. And we have just about one of everything.
I saved mine for last, because I’m a mom and that’s what we do, and when I got there I couldn’t even finish reading aloud because I was laughing uncontrollably. My daughter took my phone and read this:
Have you ever been so busy that you wished you could clone yourself just to get everything done? That's the Gemini experience in a nutshell. Spontaneous, playful, and adorably erratic, Gemini is driven by its insatiable curiosity. Appropriately symbolized by the celestial twins, this air sign was interested in so many pursuits that it had to double itself. You know, NBD! -Allure online
I don’t even have to say any more. Adorably erratic? It me. Insatiable curiosity? I often tell teachers at trainings, as I describe the path that has led me to my current role, that I’m the girl you call if you need to do something but don’t have the background knowledge. Because I’ll learn the background knowledge and just do it for you. And cloning itself? OMG can we do that yet? Because seriously.
Of course, I do absolutely nothing differently because I have this knowledge. I couldn’t, even if I tried. But I do enjoy finding new ways to confirm what I already know about myself, and the Zodiac is more reliable than any MBTI test I’ve ever taken.
I’m thinking about creating a dossier for you loyal readers that describes each character in the book—and, of course, it will include all their astrological signs.
What about you? What’s your sign, and do you feel it accurately describes you? Let me know in the comments below!
What’s Exciting Me?
Obviously, this section will be dominated by When We Were Mothers for the next few months. Several Advance Review Copy readers are reading the novel ahead of publication. My husband found one more typo, and that’s all. I’ve gotten some amazing feedback on the book, including that it should be a Netflix or Hulu feature and that it was spookily something that could actually happen (but we hope never does). The cover designer read it, loved it, and is working on covers. The layout designs are taking shape. And I’m mostly settled on a mid-January publication date (more on that in the coming weeks).
Also, I have a commitment from my favorite author to write a cover blurb for me, and her name carries some weight (and a really prestigious award or three). This feels like a big deal.
This is such an exciting time!
What’s Entertaining Me?
We finished the first season of The Wire last night, and we’ve grown to really like the show. I can name almost all the characters (not so much the cops, but I’m working on it) and the corruption the show highlights—and how easy it is to corrupt people—is frustratingly familiar. I also noticed some really beautiful writing moves, which is, for better or worse, impossible not to notice now that I’m an author.
We finally started the new season of Umbrella Academy, and it’s as entertaining as ever. We got to watch the transition from Vanya to Victor, which was so gradual and yet so quick, so complicated and yet so simple, and beautifully succinct from a writing standpoint. And we got some chuckles because, after all, the show is a dark comedy.
I also got back to reading a memoir I started in England, called Without Warning and Only Sometimes. Another good one on the memoir front, so far. I can’t remember if I told you about Finding Me by esteemed actor Viola Davis, but even if I did, it’s worth repeating. What a great story of shifting identities. The book also talks a lot about racism in not just Hollywood but even in the craft of acting—what kinds of works are taught at classical schools, what kinds of roles are casting for dark-skinned Black people (“Almost all the roles I auditioned for were drug-addicted mothers.”), and how these things have evolved (or not) during the time she’s been acting. I highly recommend this one.
What’s Enlightening Me?
Nothing much to report here - just really feeling at peace with my decision to move forward with self-publishing, and seeing signs everywhere that I’m making the right decision. Case in point:
I rambled a bit today. Sorry about that. I’m in a few different places at once right now. Have a great week and I’ll see you next time.