Sunday, June 25, 2006

The Nothing Special

As a child, I didn't have much patience for stories except for the ones I made up and "The Little Engine That Could." (I can still see the Little Golden Book with Little Engine's story which I now recognize as a metaphor for the writing life -- a long struggle up an almost impossibly steep hill -- no wonder I was enthralled!) But for the most part, I wanted reality, facts, the truth. God only knows where that impulse came from -- in my own days, I pretended to be things more than I ever was myself. Of course, the most asked question of childhood is the easy to answer -- What do you want to be when you grow up? I never said ballerina (too much work and you had to be excruciatingly thin, although I loved the idea of possibly dating Rudolf Nureyev (before I understood he was gay) or Mikhail Barishinikov (before I'd read one too many ballerina memoirs about what an asshole he was to date)) or teacher or nurse, the answers my female classmates gave out with disturbing regularity. I said I was torn -- no shock to those who know me now, although it got many laughs coming out of a five-year old's mouth (much like when I'd report to adults with an uber serious expression, "I'm a fatalist."). My choices included two things -- psychotherapist (like Freud, I'd clarify) or a writer. Lucky for me, I started loving stories after a fifth-grade meltdown after having to do a book report on something "that wasn't true, just made-up and I can't take it and I won't like it and why can't I read another biography or book on witchcraft or something interesting." Strident might be the best word to describe my affect in those days. Anyway, I eventually decided that I'd much rather write about crazy people than treat them and it's been that way ever since.

The most interesting answer, though, to the what are you going to be question came from my friend Curtis. He said, Nothing. He'd become obsessed with Andy Warhol after seeing him make an appearance on The Love Boat and did massive amounts of research on his ways, which I always saw as touched, but Curtis worshipped because he didn't seem to care about anything except for the commercial and the base, said that if he had a television show he'd call it The Nothing Special and it would focus on his favorite subject, nothing. Years passsed and when we were in high school, The Andy Warhol Diaries came out and Curtis bought them immediately. He tried to read them, but could never get through the tedious prose. He wanted to like them, but he didn't. Still, he displayed the book on his shelf in the most prominent position, a large book filled with the thoughts of a man who claimed to love nothing the very best.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Never allow yourself to feel anything because then you feel too much." Marlon Brando

The Factory

1 part vodka
1 part clamato
a dash of tabasco
a dash of wocestershire
salt and pepper

Serve cold and use celery salt for the rim of the martini glass.

Benedictions and Maledictions

Your Comments Are Appreciated

We are a hotel at check-out time
and you are the maid, vacuuming
in the next room, collecting the trash,
stripping the bed. Everything comes
to an end, and maybe your head is in your
hands and maybe it’s on a platter. What you
have given me can be put in a small box,
one that I can take with me should I
desire. When I ask you what you want
to eat at our last dinner date, you set
down the menu, tell me it doesn’t matter,
at all, everything tastes the same here.


John said...

Dear Michelle Superstar,

Another lovely post and enthralling image. You must be the new little engine that could and can, and with so much style.


Anonymous said...

Mike & I just watched the episode of Six Feet Under where Brenda is dealing with a client, faking an emergency phone call... Mike said, "Are you sure you want to deal with that sort of thing?" I think I'm like you; I'd rather write about it! Great post & poem! Cheers, R

James said...

You're even more gorgeous now than five years ago when you taught my class. I hope you never got a tattoo or anything to ruin your skin. I regret mine especially the stupid neo-nazi bullshit to this day. I'm an idiot most of the time and have the marks to prove it. James

cindy said...

You are so adorable it makes my heart quiver. And you're such a visionary writer! Life in miniature that pertains to all.
Sisterhood is Still Powerful! So why do you think Michelle that all the feminist and womens studies books have been marginalized in favor of Chick Lit?

paul said...

Might Isis,
I'm bowing down before you. You're a real fine looking Rocker Lady.
sorry I've been upping from some bad days but I've been thinking about you and that helps me every day, and every day is a new day even if it doesn't seem that way one some.

R2 C2 Not Missing in Action today!

Anonymous said...

You're beautiful, but scary.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
I figured it's time to try a blog to avoid confusion from all the anonymous commenters. I read yours again and find it as lovely as ever. Not sure how this works yet, but learning. I am a much better reader than writer. Do email me if you wish, I would love to take you to dinner sometime.

Bravo again.

Anonymous said...

Today's double-header quote: Take another little piece of my heart now, baby. Sure. You know you got it, if it makes you feel fine. --JJ. Ain't waistin' time, to make him all mine.--JJ

Michelle's Spell said...

Love the quotes -- Janis is the best there ever was!