Saturday, August 26, 2006
Men Act and Women Appear
I once attended a Halloween party where a beautiful young girl was dressed as Jackie Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas, pink suit, pillbox hat, blood-spattered clothes, fake brain around her neck with a string. We were close to Dallas at the time, a place that has never really washed the stigma of Oswald off itself entirely, and I wondered what her story could possibly be. She had a much older man at her side, and it was clear they were in a fight, the kind of tense party truce where couples aren't getting along, but they've already accepted an invitation and feel stuck, with the party, with each other, with life itself. The girl became the opening image for one of my stories -- I tried to imagine her relationship with the date and the worst possible ending for both of them, where you feel equal sympathy for both their positions, no easy task. I gave the man a dead wife and a beautiful teenage daughter; I gave her a haunted violent past that she chooses to reveal that night. The story turned out to be about ghosts, but of course, I didn't know that as I was writing it -- all I knew was that it was Halloween in Houston, Texas and the city would still be in a swamp-like heat wave and the decorations would act as props for their own melodrama.
Anyone who knows me knows my great love for Halloween. It's not something I can explain except to say that it's during my favorite season -- fall. And it's a day in which you are able to express parts of yourself that are usually buried. I have been all sorts of things for the great day -- as a child, I was a devil, a princess, Snow White. I have been a woodland spirit, a Playboy bunny, and Medusa. My mother used to ask me a question every year before the day -- Do you want to be scary or pretty? It was years before I figured out I could be both.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When women let their hair down, it means either sexiness or craziness or death, the three by Victorian times having become virtually synonymous. " Margaret Atwood
1 3/4 ounces of Vodka
5 ounces of orange juice
2/3 ounce of Galliano
Serve over crushed ice.
Benedictions and Maledictions
Men Act and Women Appear
I have asked you what you are thinking
and you say nothing. We are both sad
because that is true. Once upon a time
you'd make something up. Love bestows
newness, life takes it away. We become
more ourselves each passing year, lonelier,
less willing to change. What is there
to say? I don't need rescuing from myself
anymore. How does it feel to be out of work?