CAPRICORN (Dec. 22-Jan. 19): In *The Book of Thoth,* Aleister Crowley says that for Capricorns, the impulse to create can be so strong that it transcends logic, ignores tradition, and eschews foresight. It might even be "divinely unscrupulous, sublimely careless of result." Why is this urge so wild? The formula for Capricorn, he writes, is "the complete appreciation of all existing things . . . rejoicing in the rugged and barren no less than in the smooth and fertile." While his assessment might be a bit extreme, it does contain far more than a few grains of truth—especially as it applies to you in the coming weeks. Given the current astrological omens, I believe your will to create will be relentless, majestic, and primordial.

i kinda know where he's going with this. on author hopeful, i mentioned that the contest i entered recently finally got my hook critiqued. the response was not favorable. in fact, it right pissed me off. i think the judge was an idiot, but i also know that my hook didn't raise the curiosity and questions, nor the sense of "something larger looming" that i wanted to convey.

then again, the judge coulda just been a freakin' idiot, and i like to lean toward that opinion, personally...

but anyway, i even emailed randy ingermanson about it, the man i call the writing guru. one technique of his --one technique!-- and it improved my quality of writing, speed, and organization a thousandfold. imagine what i'll be able to do when i'm able to download his other writing courses. he's friggin' amazing.

anyway, he emailed me back only hours later:

I have never got used to rejections. I hate them, I hate them, I hate them. I got three last week and it didn't feel good.

That's part of the game. There really isn't anything to do, other than to keep going. If you give up, you lose by default. It is the editor's job to reject you. If you quit, then you are rejecting yourself, which is doing the editor's job.

So keep writing and honing your craft.

of course, there wasn't much i was expecting other than "keep trying." i really fucking hate the "buck up, camper" reply. but i know the source --mr. ingermanson-- and i know his genuine care for writers and his idealism to see all writers succeed is genuine. he absolutely blows me away with how successful he is in his idealism. i have to admire that.

oh yeah, and i printed out his response and it's taped up by my computer.

so i knew any response from him would be genuine, too, and i could take it to the bank. it was a helluva lot better than what the idiot judge said. i got a whopping one useful sentence out of their critique. i was expecting, from the definition "critique," to receive a "this is what didn't appeal to me, and this is how you can improve. that over there isn't cohesive, here's a way to bring it back into the whole." y'know, actual critique! but noooo... i got my insides ripped out through my asshole.

idiot judge. what a waste of time and waiting, agony and anxiety and frustration. total waste of my energy.

and in a rebellious, "fuck you, idiot judge!" kinda way, i decided not to drop my story for a new one, not to question whether i'm worthy of being published, and not to go back and revamp (and ruin) my wonderful, heartbreaking work of staggering genius into something that wouldn't be "such a hard sell."

fuck you, idiot judge. i'm a high fantasy writer, and i WILL be published. i don't want you reading my damn books if you have no taste, anyway.

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