While chatting with a friend yesterday, she told me that some strange occurrences were taking place at her work. She said the lines of communication had been going haywire all day. Interpersonal communication was being affected, as evidenced by misunderstandings and mistaken intentions. She explained to me that it was because Mercury is in retrograde. What? I wanted to make sure she was communicating properly with me. Sure enough, I had heard her correctly. Not content with her explanation, I opted to do a little research and find out about this retrograde thing. Here is what I found.
MERCURY RETROGRADE: Mercury itself rules how we think, adjusting everything related to thoughts, concepts, ideas and communication. When Mercury retrogrades, we find that many parts of our life are being revised. Thus anything started during this time will ultimately be taken back or even revised further, making for a high-frustration time. This will be especially true with changing our minds, reviewing new ideas and our communication being improved and honed so not to be misunderstood.
Now, I’m not going to go so far as to say that she was right, but it did get me to thinking (a dangerous concept, I know). How can we, as writers, make sure that our styles of communication are being properly received and interpreted by our readers? We are writing for them, after all. It is easy to hide behind the notion that our writing is for us, but let us be truly honest, we write so that we can affect others. As such, we need to constantly reevaluate what we say and how we say it lest we run the risk of alienating our readers. D.W. and I have had many a knock-down drag-out about this very issue.
Let me give you an example. When describing my eyes, I would say they are deep orbs of chocolate intensity, rich and dark as fertile soil. D.W.’s eyes are muddy brown. I have a stentorian oratory style and a penchant for the verbose. D.W. is loud and talks too much. You see, both examples are true, but it is all in the way the message is communicated. We need to understand our audience.
Need another example? Ok. “I love you like a friend.” Have you ever heard that one? What we have to ask is, what was that person trying to communicate with those words? I contest that “I love you like a friend” actually means, “You are not as attractive as the person I really like, but I will hang out with you when they aren’t around.”
Or how about this little gem, “It’s not you, it’s me.” No … it’s you.
We say these things because it is easier than facing the truth of communicating difficult or uncomfortable moments honestly. When we write, we must understand who it is we are trying to reach and do so truthfully. We can’t talk over people, using large words and pretentious language to try and wow or dazzle our readers. They see right through it, and as such, probably won’t be seeing anything we ever write after that. We also can’t hide behind cliches and easy outs when the truth proves difficult. Sometimes the truth lies in being strong enough to know what to write, and what to leave unwritten … in knowing what to say, and what to leave unsaid.
Has Mercury’s retrograde motion affected you in some way? What kind of misinterpreted communication have you experienced?
This is your community, we want to hear from you.
Gatia returned the telescope to her eye and looked on. At this distance, she could see he was cloaked and dressed completely in black. What a fool, she thought. Whoever was stupid enough to cross the Mesas in black deserved to have their purse taken. He had thick saddlebags, so that was promising. The horse would fetch a fair price, or if nothing else, would make an equitable dinner.
~Necromancers’ Pride (deleted excerpt)