the year of the horse


2014 begins the Year of the Horse in Japan.  Celebrities born in the Year of the Horse apparently include Louisa May Alcott, Chopin, Davy Crockett, Ella Fitzgerald, Aretha Franklin, Sandra Day O’Connor, Rembrandt, Teddy Roosevelt, Sir Isaac Newton, Barbara Streisand, Cindy Crawford, Cynthia Nixon, Denzel Washington, Harrison Ford, Jason Biggs, Jackie Chan, Jerry Seinfeld, John Travolta, Leonard Bernstein, Oprah Winfrey, Paul McCartney, Rembrandt, Ashton Kutcher, Emma Watson, Josh Hartnett, Katie Holmes, Kristen Stewart, Kobe Bryant, Genghis Khan, Emperor Kangxi and Yongzheng of China’s Qing Dynasty.

I’ll bet Emperor Kangxi never expected to find himself in the august company of such luminaries as Ashton Kutcher and Katie Holmes.

Although I don’t hold any stock in astrology whatsoever, I do enjoy keeping up with the horoscopes that Rob Brezny provides at Free Will Astrology.  Instead of throwing out a bunch of deterministic claptrap about your love life and financial fate, his horoscopes are like surrealistic conceptual prompts (with a bit of a Northern California hippie flavor) that require active introspection and a bit of weirding to come to life.  So here’s my horoscope for 2014:

I think we humans need some new emotions. It’s true that old standards like sadness, anger, jealousy, and fear are as popular as ever. But I would personally love to be able to choose from a greater variety, especially if at least 51 percent of the new crop of emotions were positive or inspiring. Now it so happens that in 2014 you Pisceans will be primed to be pioneers. Your emotional intelligence should be operating at peak levels. Your imagination will be even more fertile than usual. So how about it? Are you ready to generate revolutionary innovations in the art of feeling unique and interesting feelings? To get started, consider these: 1. amused reverence; 2. poignant excitement; 3. tricky sincerity; 4. boisterous empathy.

I’ve always felt that the available emotional vocabulary of contemporary English has severe limitations, especially when it comes to talking about love and desire.  When you consider the greater sophistication of even the most basic ancient Greek lexicon when it comes to dealing with love, contemporary English — on the surface at least — pales by comparison.

While Brezny’s conceit about the need to develop new emotions is great, he does drop the ball a bit when it comes to his own examples, which tend to fairly basic combinations along the lines of emotion adjective + emotion noun.  Drawing on T.S. Eliot’s famous notion of the “objective correlative,” I’d like to propose a few new emotions of my own to explore in 2014: 1. marshmallow joyous voluptuousness, 2. nostalgia bottled in the smell of rain, 3. a fern unfurls in the heart, 4. the rarefied air of a bubblegum kiss, 5. our eyes vibrating wildly together in friendship, 6. the quiet expansiveness of the universe that makes all things move through us like wind and planets.

And while we’re at it, why not add some political emotions?  1. Angy resistance in the shape of an anti-militarist boxing glove that turns overzealous nationalists into harmless cotton-candy clouds at a single blow, 2. a joyously thrumming feedback wall of  dream noise that banishes trans haters and homophobes to the eternally looping, Sisyphean torment that they deserve, 3. the unlimited pleasure of watching the predatory rich being eaten by owls and later regurgitated as pellets of pure gold to be distributed among the needy, 4. the jouissance of witnessing every last vestige of racist thinking explode into a pâté of immateriality, 5.the delightful puissance of a universal three-day workweek; 6. a Key lime pie in every home; 7. the joy of morning slothfulness as a politically guaranteed right for all.


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