Wednesday, May 03, 2006

When You Are The Picture and The Picture Is You



For my first writing job, I took pictures of accidents. I worked for the Mineral Wells Index as a reporter and that was my beat, along with anything, that in those oh so politically correct days was considered "minority news." I was nineteen years old and there was never a shortage of accidents -- on the streets, the Brazos River, small planes falling out of the sky. I hated reporting because it involved talking to people in the worst circumstances, obviously, and it isn't a type of writing that involves any perspective -- things are still changing so much that there is no past to put them into a beautiful or horrible frame. I did love the office, though, the old-fashioned dark room, the yellowing clippings, the crappy break room with one vending machine. Seemed, well, grown-up, and I felt tired after the long weeks, the kind of strung out I associated with real life. Most of the time I had little to no idea what I was doing. Sometimes it was also a modeling job -- I served as the woman for the picture for the battered women's shelter, both a charcoal version and a photograph. The artist told me that he could took what he saw and make it look a lot worse, something I already knew how to do.

P.S. Black spot on arm is a spider bite! Shot glass has Sopranos logo on it!

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Nothing is a long time ago." Amy Hempel

Wedding Cake Martini

1/2 part pineapple juice
1/2 part vanilla vodka
splash of grenadine
splash of cranberry juice

This tastes just like a wedding cake except that you a) don't have to go to a wedding and b) it's even better than cake!


Benedictions and Maledictions

First published in Red Owl Literary Review

Last Conversations

We’d heard our old professor had hanged
himself the day after Christmas, and I told
my friend that I couldn’t imagine a violent
end by choice. He said, You never know
how much pain someone is in until it ends,
and I tried to ignore what I knew of my friend’s
life -- the windowless basement apartment,
the long cold days in Philadelphia, a city
where he’d been mugged, where he kept
a cigar box full of every charm that meant
something, his vision reduced to almost
nothing. He’d said we should ditch our
towns and try New York, and then he hung
up forever. He would have turned thirty-three
that year, the year he died, the age I am now.
We talked about everything, but I can’t
imagine what I would tell him about what it’s
like to be so alone, something he knew all about,
if the topic were to come up, which it won’t.

3 comments:

Cindy said...

Michelle,

Happy Happy HAPPY Birthday, sister! Love the new post *of course!*

xo
Cindy

p.s. hope the bite heals fast!

Bonnie said...

Happy Birthday, honey-pie!

Paul said...

Hey Michelle,

I'm a little behind the curve, happy birthday from the CC.