My new column Astrology for Men, Oblique Strategies, and my revelatory Shuffle Synchronicities. (And Miles Davis' secret to the universe).
Astrology for Men
I DISCOVERED DESIGNER and sartorial Renaissance man Dan Snyder about three years ago while scrolling through Instagram.
Amidst the same ole same ole suddenly a photo of a gorgeous blue, gold, and green plaid shirt appeared on my feed. I was wowed by the daring mix of colors and the fabric’s rustic weave—enough to stop and order the shirt on the spot.
Later I did some deep diving about Dan’s entire Corridor line. And became a fan.
Dan’s command (and sensitivity) to color, texture, fabric, cut, line surprises me each season. His designs are a wild combination of retro-future-now-ness, that are also 100% comfortable to wear. (I need a bigger closet).
I’ll provide periodical astro commentary for men each season. (But gals can read the columns too). My choice for the name of the column was a bit tongue in cheek. And as I note in my intro to Astrology for Men:
“Although the planets, Sun, and Moon are beyond gender—over time a language developed in Western astrology that borrows heavily from psychology, with its concepts of the feminine and masculine—the yin and yang qualities—of life. Of course, these characteristics are not the purview of any one gender. Men and women contain a mixture—or perhaps neither as we’re coming to understand in our current cultural moment.”
And then get your boyfriend a new Zodiac t-shirt.
BONUS LINK: Dan’s 7 Men’s Essentials.
Mistakes are magic
THE MINIMALIST MUSICIAN Brian Eno once told himself: “Honor thy error as a hidden intention.” Over time he collected a stack of these random insights—each fashioned to spur new creative possibilities (or bust blocks). And along with the artist Peter Schmidt he created a sort of word-based Tarot deck called Oblique Strategies—subtitled Over One Hundred Worthwhile Dilemmas.
Over the years I’ve worked with Eno’s suggestions to dissolve snarls I’ve become mired in. (Not just with writing but with life in general). Some of my favorites:
• TAPE YOUR MOUTH
• GO OUTSIDE. SHUT THE DOOR.
• REMOVE THE MIDDLE EXTEND THE EDGES
• USE FEWER NOTES (WORDS)
• IF A THING CAN BE SAID IT CAN BE SAID SIMPLY
• DO NOTHING FOR AS LONG AS POSSIBLE
Once when I was irrevocably jammed in putting together a paragraph in my new book I got out the cards and drew:
I moved away from my desk and started slapping my belly, thighs, knees, shoulders, and then my ass—but in time to the rhythm of Donna Summer’s Bad Girls which was playing through my headphones at the time. That final boot on my butt landed me back in the seat and straight into an epiphany related to my characters.
In the spirit of Venus’ recent entry in Sagittarius, experiment with your love (Venus) of freedom (Sagittarius) and get yourself a deck of these cards.
BONUS: At the bottom of this post I’ll share Miles Davis’ quintessential secret for absolving any sort of block in the creative act.
THE OTHER DAY writer and music maven Dave Cowen invited me to take part in his Shuffle Synchronicities Substack. The premise: Pick one of your music playlists on Spotify (or wherever you stream music from), hit ‘shuffle’ and then do a close read to connect the dots between your real life and how the music, as a soundtrack, mirrors your current path. (I highly recommend trying this, especially if, like me, you like playing with divination).
What did The Young Rascals, Azealia Banks and Laurel have to tell me? Well, it involved my new book on The Beatles, performative woke-ism, and Saturn transiting my 7th house.
What a wild combo. But then so is life. You can read my delineation here.
I CAUGHT THIS bit of wisdom in Netflix’s excellent documentary on Miles Davis, Birth of the Cool. This was Miles’ way for resolving any sort of muddle he found himself in while playing or composing. He reminded himself that:
“The note next to the one that you think is bad...corrects the one in front.”