March 21 – April 20: Your offspring will refuse to wear the Princess costume from Grandma. Do not force it. Just give up and spare everyone any hurt feelings. You might want to “forget” to post the Halloween pictures of GI Joe, at least for now. This is all too confusing, especially for grandparents. You can journal about it later. Stop worrying. This is a new world.
April 21 – May 20: All the kids in your child’s classroom will love your little scary story. Even the teacher. Really. No one ever imagined you could draw, too! Don’t take the nonsense your child will be giving you later about being embarrassed seriously. Children’s literature will eventually catch up to you, as has happened with so many important talents before. Think Van Gogh. Think A Confederacy of Dunces. But don’t die.
May 21 – June 20: Your partner is going to suggest that you dress as Edward Mordrake from American Horror Story: Freak Show for a party. You know, the princely and sensitive pianist who had the face of Satan on the back of his head? Laugh and agree to comply – but don’t read any H. P. Lovecraft. Don’t take it personally; you are just one of those who should avoid exploring The Dark Side. It’s okay. Honest.
June 21 – July 20: The awful memories of “Trick or Trunk” shall pass. Your clever idea of printing out meaningful quotations, gluing them on toothpicks, and sticking them into cupcakes like little flags was clever. Very clever. The dumb kid who poked himself in the roof of the mouth belongs to a family that probably never reads, his mom is getting too old for those jeans, and none of them are clever. Like you. You are clever.
July 21 – August 20: Thank your lucky stars. You will be hot at the computer this month and orange is the new Christmas. Writing by candlelight will make you love yourself even more, and it will be fun to ignore the doorbell. What could be better? Hah! Who cares about toilet paper in the trees? It will melt away. Hollering only makes kids laugh. But you, you are a blossoming genius, and not at all grandiose.
August 21 – September 20: You will want to make a bonfire of your novel’s first draft. You will wonder where those homeless people get their burn barrels, since you live in a condo. The book will be exquisite when it is complete. It will bring you literary if not commercial fame, which is superior. That’s about fifteen years away. Get drunk on pumpkin martinis or something equally disgusting. Darn it, you’re still so nice. You deserve to indulge in a bit of misery.
September 21 – October 20: You will need to stop thinking about who to invite for Thanksgiving. November is next month. This month, seize the day – every day. Go for a walk. Visit a friend. Do the Zumba class; your massage therapist needs help making his student loan payment. Take an architectural tour on a random Tuesday. Clean the kitchen cabinets, or maybe just the countertops. Learn to balance a pencil on the tip of your nose. You’re not using it for anything else.
October 21 – November 20: You have been to a police station before. So, when one of your kids gets arrested for being out after youth curfew with a bright variety of spray paint cans, try to be reasonable. At least this one is creative, as compared to the older one. It could have been so much worse. This will one day become a poem. Parents everywhere will feel a piercingly powerful connection to your writing, and this entire experience will have been worth it. Everyone reads poetry, right?
November 21 – December 20: Don’t bother with that letter to the editor of Parents Magazine about the “Joys of Halloween Past.” Their readership is very busy teaching their kids to be afraid of the dark and of solitude. Hell, half of them have at least one child in the bed between them so they can struggle over territory and blankets all night. That way, everyone is safe, safe, safe. Perhaps AARP would be interested in that letter. They’ve at least got to be more sympathetic.
December 21 – January 20: You will want to give up this month. Every word you put to paper will seem like so much trash. Your agent will vacation in a place you will never be able to pronounce, much less afford. You’ll want to pull the plug on your partner’s beloved, droning public radio by “accident”. This is not advisable. Nor is licking candy wrappers and dropping them on the coffee table. That’s just nasty and passive aggressive.
January 21 – February 20: You will think that putting a razor blade next to a tub full of red-food-colored water and waiting in the closet for your life partner to come home from work will be helpful to your process. Wrong. Writers of horror (probably) do not conduct that type of research. Imagine a scream and describe it. It does not have to be real. Damn. You’re pretty cold, friend.
February 21 – March 20: You will come to realize a difficult fact that documentaries are more fun to watch than exposes. Think of Jacques Cousteau versus Anderson Cooper. No need to quit that journalism class at the community college. Just stop the masquerade. Those folks at the bar do not believe you are a journalist. You’re not even a voice-over script for an Animal Planet show about threatened sea life. These days everyone studies “communications”. Get with the program.