By Kristin Kozlowski
Photography by Gina Young
For one solid year, I meditated to the lunar cycle—a great activity if you’re into self-discovery—and was surprised six months in to find that my writing life synced up to the ebb and flow of the moon around the earth, the earth around the sun. Once I was in the habit of paying attention to the arc of darkness into light and back again, it was easy to see how my writing life mirrored the night sky’s pattern: how the muse came to me during the dark nights of the new moon, handing me stories like treats, words that made me sit up straight and take notice; how my words were stunted under the glow of the full moon, as if the reflected light was a magnifying glass, honing in on all of my flaws.
In my metaphysical practice, it was easy to see how the sun’s exposure—or lack thereof—of the moon’s surface can be a metaphor for ourselves, how the moon can hide from us sometimes, and can’t others. But the effect of the lunar energy on my writing life was more subtle, more nuanced. It was true that I had a hard time hiding during the glow of the full moon, a hard time hiding self-doubt, hiding disappointment in how little I’d accomplished in my writing journey. The full moon became a self-sabotaging force that spun around every 28 days, smiling like the Cheshire cat, mocking me again and again.
And yet the new moon—it’s faint circle in the night sky—brought with it the energy of springtime, of joy and laughter and renewal. Anything was possible under the new moon. Everything. My creativity was unbridled yet easy to access. It was powerful and contemplative and energized. My metaphors were tighter, language leaner, confidence stronger. Everything made sense under the power of the new moon.
Soon, I began to yearn for the new moon and abhor the full. I bathed in the creative nurturing of one and sulked under the blocks of the other. I crossed my arms like a petulant child and blamed the moon for doing this to me. But, eventually, the monthly meditations wore on me the way moving water wears on rock; that is to say, they changed me.
I began to see that I could use the lunar energy to my advantage, both the part I liked and the part I didn’t. I kept creating new work under the new moon. That was the easy part: staying the same. The real change came during the full moon. At first, I made the decision not to expect any new writing to come during this time, or at least, any new writing worth anything. I spent the days leading up to the full moon and the days after—as many as I needed—revising what I’d already created, paring down pieces, criticizing every line the way the full moon criticized me. I held up each of my pieces to the magnifying glass of the full moon and watched them squirm.
For a time, this worked well. It became a new pattern for my writing life, a new cycle, one of creation and destruction. I lived like the forgotten Goddesses of civilizations lost, creating and destroying in equal measures as my hands allowed. I thought that this was it, that I’d figured it out, that I’d solved the puzzle of my creative life. But as with all things, more change came.
As I shifted my mindset—my writing patterns, my habits—the energy around me shifted as well. The full moon didn’t block my creativity as much. The days that I spent void of ingenuity lessened and lessened. The cycle of self-doubt eased its grip. It was as if the energy of the full moon—once I’d noticed it, labeled it, claimed it—couldn’t stand up to my scrutiny. The stumbling blocks that had once frustrated me slowly fell away. A new path emerged, one with stones where boulders had been. Visits from the writing muse lasted longer and longer. The plague of self-sabotage dried to a trickle.
I write under a new cycle now, one where I feel the sting of self-doubt much less, where I feel the untamable energy of creativity much more. I still divvy up time to create and time to revise, but I can be more flexible with that time now. I’m on my own schedule, not tied to the ebb and flow of the moon around the earth, the earth around the sun. I’m not bound by the energy of a rock in orbit. I’m free.
Kristin Kozlowski lives and works in the Midwest, U.S. Some of her work is available online at Flash Frog, matchbook, Vast Chasm, Pidgeonholes, Lost Balloon,and others. Her piece from Cease, Cows, “Salty Owl”, is included in The Best Small Fictions Anthology 2021, and “What’s the Opposite of Thief?” from The Birdseed was nominated for Best MicroFiction 2022.