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  • Writer's picturePeggy O'Donnell

Paying Homage to Laurie Colwin

Updated: Jul 5, 2023

Photo credit Miranda Knickerbocker

I have read many books over the course of my life. One of my all time favorite writers is Laurie Colwin. So when I picked up the New York Times on October 26, 1992 and saw her photo in the obituary section I thought the paper must have made a mistake. She was only 48 at the time and had an 8 year old daughter. She died of an aortic aneurism in her sleep. She would not be writing any more books, although two would be published posthumously. It was the event that made me realize my own mortality. I had really given it no thought up until that point. Laurie was born in Manhattan on June 14, 1944. (Birth time on file with author) Laurie wrote a good deal about food, in her novels, short stories and her two cookbooks. The Lone Pilgrim is one of my favorite short stories (in a book that is titled by the same name) by Laurie. I can't tell you how many times I have bought and then given or lent out this book. Here is an example of her writing, setting a scene of domesticity, as she house sits for friends. "For example: A big yellow moon; the kitchen of an old house in an academic community. On the window ledge a jar of homemade jam, a pot of chives, a cutting of grape ivy in a cracked mug. A big dog sleeps in front of the stove. If you open the window, you feel the crisp October air. An apple pie or a loaf of bread is in the oven, and the house is warm with the scent of it." Laurie has the perfect chart for a writer with a stellium (multiple planets) in Gemini, the sign of the writer, straddling the seventh and eighth house of her chart. She has a Mercury Uranus conjunction* in Gemini the 7th, which makes her a writer with wit, a very special gift. It helps that these two planets are sextile mars in Leo in the 9th house of publishing. Her Sun in 23 Gemini in the 8th conjunct Venus in Gemini in the 7th and she did have a penchant for writing about affairs. Venus in Gemini can be prone to having more than one lover at a time. Gemini is considered a double bodied sign. Her Sun was also conjunct Pallas Athena, the Goddess of wisdom and also of urban life. Laurie wrote a great deal about her native New York. She also had Sun conjunct Saturn in the 8th house, marrying Juris Jurjevics, a publisher in 1981, so in her late 30s. He was born April 26, 1943. With Sun conjunct Saturn marriage can be delayed. True to her 7th house in the chart ( house of marriage) she married a Taurus who had a close Venus Saturn conjunction in Gemini. The only planet in the bottom half of her chart is her Moon in Aries in the 5th house. This makes the Moon a very important planet in her chart. Aries is the first sign of the zodiac and in the 5th house of children, can indicate one child. Laurie gave birth to her Aries child on April 13, 1984. Her book "Another Marvelous Thing* contains a story about this birth. Ceres in Aries was exactly conjunct her Moon in the 5th on the day of the birth. Uranus in Sagittarius was trine her natal Mars, ruler of the 5th house. Laurie's progressed Moon was at 21 Virgo in exact sextile* to her natal Ascendant at 21 Scorpio. And Venus by progression was in Leo in trine* to her natal Moon in the 5th, a very common childbirth aspect. Her progressed Ascendant was opposite* to natal Venus. Moon in the 5th house also gives a love entertaining and Laurie did this on a grand scale even when she lived in a very tiny kitchen. You can read about this in her cookbooks Home Cooking and More Home Cooking which combine recipes with great wit. Laurie's chart shows a Virgo midheaven. Virgo is a purist and so it is not surprising that she would shop around to find the best ingredients. Many cooks have Virgo strong in their chart. They actually enjoy the process of making things from scratch. Laurie had Scorpio rising, which is known for passion, and those who knew her attest to her passion. One of her books of short stories, Passion and Affect, even contains the word in the title. There are many love affairs in her books but mostly she had a passion for life. Sadly that life was cut short as Pluto crossed over her Ascendant at 21 Scorpio on October 24, 1992. Pluto can be what is hidden and an aneurysm is not something expected. I know she has many loyal fans, but I have noticed that the Lone Pilgrim is now hard to obtain in print. I think Laurie would have liked it for her books to stay in print. The covers were lovely and you would expect to find them in the beautifully decorated home of one of her characters. *conjunction is when two planets are close together in the chart within a certain number of degrees* sextile is when two planets are 60 degrees apart, give or take a few degrees. * trine is 120 degrees apart, give or take a few * opposite is 180 degrees apart, give or take a few

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