Thursday, December 28, 2006

Family Redefined

In Gore Vidal's new memoir, he states that he feels compelled in every piece of nonfiction to describe where he is writing from, the lay of the proverbial land. I'm sitting at my dad's old desk, surrounded by Snoopy figurines I have purchased for him over the years, two in Halloween attire, and one in a plane surrounded by Woodstocks who ride on the wings like an episode of Peanuts meets the Twilight Zone. If I look up from my furious typing (ha!), there is a map of the world with push pins in places that my mother travelled and a poster of Tony Soprano from Season One that says, Family Redefined. There's a yoga ball to the side should I feel compelled to roll around the floor and try and regain/maintain my girlish figure. Should I need to research the history of aviation, I'm in luck -- volume after volume exists, all the Time Life books, Jane's Fighting Aircraft, and The Lore of Flight. There are pictures of my family all around and some of me in high school where I wish someone had explained the importance of eyebrow plucking. Alas, such is life!

I suppose where you write changes what you write -- at my home, I have a very private office in which I have surrounded myself with things I love and find beautiful or arresting, objects that push me into the past. At my dead parents' house, I find that I think even more about the past because the artifacts are all around me. And the house is haunted -- lights flicker, stereos turn on and off at will, and I hear the sound of windchimes day and night. And Tony Soprano watches over me as I write, his entire family in the background, both the living and the dead, whispering in his ear what has happened before and what will happen in the future.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"You let somebody move in with you, you make all these little compromises to smooth things along, and the next thing you know, you're on some macrobiotic diet and you're listening to Joni Mitchell." 200 Cigarettes

Cocktail Hour

Drinking movie suggestion: 200 Cigarettes -- this is by far my favorite New Year's Eve movie ever!

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Thursday! Sissy Lynn, pictured above, is my sister's dog. The t-shirt she wears was a gift from me in an attempt to turn her into a goth despite her propensity for the pink collar.


Anonymous said...

Sopranos is the bomb. What a great source for creative inspiration!

The Walking Man said...

Having never seen one single episode of the soprano's i can't comment on te protective factor that the family offers. Never having been protected by my family and never having had much need to protect my own kids it would be a strange feeling.

But the ghosts, in my life, I carry with me everywhere because like the wifes dog , [who's penchent is for pee and poop breaks at two in the morning which of you try to ignore she will sit on your head and threaten you], a sort of sopranoesque gesture I know they [the ghosts] have a need to get out once in awhile and see new things until they choose the place of rest.

For about the past 6 month's except for small pieces of verse i can not write at home anymore surrounded by the familiar, it's not the general clutter that leaves enough room for the mouse and keyboard or the lack of desire. I think it is more that when i want to write a piece longer than three hundred words I have devolved into needing to be in different un-familiar surroundings.

Fiction I need to write in a place I know is temporary and can be discounted in my mind as having never existed when I am done. "Time Train" for example is damn near done at 52k (some more flash is needed but those stories will come) words and not one piece of the edit happened in the familiar, even though the tale of it is closer to my heart than anything else.

Now, this moment I am surrounded in a new coffee shop with smoking and WiFi and strangers, nothing familiar about the place except for the Greatful Dead recording onto my hard drive. The artwork on the walls i have never gone and looked at and the tables are utilitarian and you have to get here early enough if you want an outlet or you run on battery power and that is as familiar to me as i want this place to become.

They want to begin a crowd of open mic poetry at least once a month, when the barista found what i had been doing the last 18 months i never even let her finish her question about being a host before i demurred.

I think for me the shortest way to say it is; i now need the unfamiliar to be around me to write fiction of any length. Even in the edit because it is fiction I need to be in that place where no one knows my name or gives a rat's ass about what i am doing and for that i kind of regret that I lost my home as a place to write because for the most part all of the words that came from me came that spot but on the other hand maybe what Vidal was trying to tell us is that he is in an unfamiliar place and he finds that a comfortable place to write from.

Peace Michelle

Looking forward to seeing you soon and hearing the tales from this trip.

paul said...

Cajun Q rockinMama
R2 C2!

JR's Thumbprints said...

I write on napkins and scraps of paper. No wonder my stories lack cohesion. But you are absolutely correct, ideas come from somewhere!

Don't be afraid of that little doggy, Michelle.

Ace Ventura said...

I taught one of my dogs(his name was Fibonacci)how to sing "Home on the Range." He was so smart that he taught my other dogs how to sing this same song. But this was way before Letterman's "Stupid Pet Tricks," so Fibonacci didn't become famous.

Inspector Clueso said...

I zink you fabreekate zis Fibonazi story, eh? Was zis ze dog zat smokes and whistles as zee same time, eh?

Special said...

Michelle wearing black panties. Covering tender vittels.

Aarfy Aardvaark said...

Arf, arf, arf.

John Ricci said...

Dear Michelle, that is such a smashing shot my dear. And a lovely post as always. As it must be sad to be surrounded by so many artefacts of departed loved ones a sad Bravo!