Monday, October 09, 2006

The Spooky Art


I'm a creative writing book junkie (from the highbrow -- this is how I did it and I'm Norman Mailer! The Spooky Art, which isn't half bad if you can get past Norman doing his Norman Mailer imitation to the new-agey this is how you can tell your own personal story as a fairytale, soap opera, mime show). What better way to avoid writing than to read about how to write better? Lucky for me, I've almost exhausted all the popular ones and truth be told, I've gotten at least one good thing from all of them, a tip that made the go of it easier, something to pass along to my students, or a writing exercise that offers up something other than the pedantic describe this room if you were a) a child, b) a fixture on the wall, or c) an animal. Don't get me started on point of view animal.

My favorite exercise of late comes from a book called Now Write! about writing a ghost story. Sucker that I am for Halloween, you'd think that I had lots of horror stories written, that I would love the gothic forms. This would be wrong. Despite my love of the slasher movies of yore, I can't produce one. The only blood on my page is the blood running out of my eyes when I'm not writing well. The exercise urges the writer to figure out what kind of ghost would pick him or her to write his or her story. The idea is that the ghost, while being distinct from you, is someone with whom you share something, a correspondence as it were. While I feel it's safe to say that there are a fair number of people haunting me, I'm not sure who would choose me, and Halloween is almost here. I'm feeling pretty haunted these days -- I suppose that's a start.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"All poems are love poems." Raymond Carver

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: All That Jazz

Benedictions and Maledictions

A Monday morning question for those want one: If you wrote a ghost story, what would your ghost be like?

10 comments:

AP said...

Knockout photo, Michelle. Fave ghosts: Casper, Canterville and Hamlet's father in both Shakespeare and the Mel Gibson version of the melancholy Prince of Denmark.

The Cineast said...

"All that Jazz" is such a trip. "It's showtime!" I'm going to rent it.

The Explicator said...

Carver's quote about love poetry makes me think of some William Carlos Williams minimalist poetry that I had no idea was love poetry until I started teaching it. The line that comes to mind from "This is just to say" is "so sweet and so cold." Cheers,with a double shot of Amoretto on the rocks.

paul said...

O Mighty Isis ghosts crowd the younh childs crowded eggshell mind love poems writing's hard Foxy Lady on red bed feeds the head hearts song on fire R2 C2!

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle,
Another truly charming and super view and post, as always. You are so lovely and fun. I would like to be inhabited by the ghost of Gregory Peck and together we could take you out to Forte in Birmingham perhaps? To you only, bravo!

JR's Thumbprints said...

My ghost would be solid in form but would lack personality--perhaps a four millimeter stone, reeking havoc on one's insides. Sort of like an alien.

Cheri said...

My ghost would be a personal demon, a thought that comes back to haunt someone. Yes, it may seem cliche, but past experiences that have been repressed can often drive people into madness and that in itself is quite terrifying.

Bela Lugosi said...

I don't drink...wine.

Bela Lugosi said...

The children of the night.

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