I have always been a painter. My father was a painter. He was part of the Manhattan Starving Artists Movement of the nineteenth fifties, the guys in the middle of everything but still on the outside. My mother was an artist’s groupie. We lived pretty penniless while Dad went for his Master’s in Art History at NYU. I was in the unusual and boring position of having to repeat first grade due to inconsistencies between Virginia and New York about when you are allowed to start school, so I spent after school studying with Dad. I learned the name, the artist, the location and the date of every picture in his art history books and we played “Name that Piece”, “Where are We Now” and “What Time Is It?” Dad’s favorite artist was Tommaso di Giovanni. a.k.a. “Masaccio” (which is Italian for Ugly Tom) born in 1401. He came out of nowhere, studied in no school, belonged to no guild, yet, he was the first painter to employ perspective and changed painting for all time since, yet he died penniless and homeless in Rome at the age of 27, either of starvation or poisoned by a rival artist depending on who you read. So, I learned how the art world was and has been for a long time and I decided I didn’t really want to be a part of that world. I do my own art for neither money nor notoriety but because it is something I enjoy.
My writing is something different. One strange afternoon my sister and I were invited by my father’s mother’s mother’s to come into her room, a place we were never allowed, and she sat us down and very seriously told us she was going to tell us about the family secret. I was quite young at the time but my sister was older and great grandma was in her nineties when decided she needed to warn us while she still could. She didn’t think anyone else would. She explained we had to be very careful in life because we had bad blood. That was why her daughter had married beneath her. No one in good society in Baltimore would have her because everyone knew she was related to that dreadful, no good, alcoholic, gambling, drug addicted, lying, scoundrel, Edgar Allan Poe, and we had better beware of alcohol and gambling and drugs and lying because all these weaknesses were in our blood. Now, I had no idea who she was talking about but my sister did and when we were alone together she read me “The Raven” and “Annabelle Lee” and “The Bells”.
I was born in the Hour of the Wolf, the darkest hour of the night, the last hour before dawn. Mars was rising and thus I am always moving forward. The sun follows, 6 degrees later, in an exact conjunction with Mercury, known as Mercury combust, energy of the mind scattered into a thousand pieces, obsessed. And, right next door, a wide conjunction, in the second house, the New Moon in Aquarius. Now, a second house moon is always a romantic and new moons start something new but the New Moon in Aquarius is also the first day of the Lunar New Year, the new year of the Orient, in my case the first day of the Year of the Fire Pig. The day was January 23rd, often written 1/23 or 0123, the sun at 3 degrees Aquarius.
- (Shaanxi province earthquake of 1556, (Jan. 23, 1556), massive earthquake in Shaanxi province in northern China, believed to be the deadliest earthquake ever recorded. The earthquake (estimated at magnitude 8) struck Shaanxi and neighbouring Shanxi province to the east early on Jan. 23, 1556, killing or injuring an estimated 830,000 …)
The Mayan Daykeepers say I was born on Uwac Cimi, which means Six Death. Six times died means this would be my seventh life. There is an old, medieval, European tradition that the seventh son of a seventh son is the most lucky man of all. There is an old Hindu tradition that the seventh life is always a lucky life. I feel I have had a most lucky life so far. Perhaps there is something to it.
Meanwhile, Neptune, planet of fantasy and imagination, was on the mid haven, the position most observable to the world, and this is the aspect of my life presented here.