Thursday, February 01, 2007

Change Pose

When I was a model for a beginning figure drawing class, I'd occasionally run into someone who'd seem startled to see me and kept looking at me as if to place me. I didn't recognize you with your clothes on, the aspiring artist would eventually say, once they figured it out. It happened once at a Mr. Ghatti's Pizza Buffet and the guy working the line said, What is it that you do? I had on oversized t-shirt with Ziggy on it saying, Why Me?, blue leggings, and some high-top Reeboks which I thought really fetching (not a good look, to be sure, but it wasn't the Ritz). I didn't mind the work -- I'm good at being still for long periods of time and nudity eventually became as erotic to me as the aforementioned outfit. Clothes or no clothes, I'd already fallen madly (emphasis on mad) with the art professor, a troubled and talented man who slept with damn near everything that moved. Change pose, he would say after a time, and I would. Life seemed luminous with possibility.

I never got to see any of the figure drawings of myself and for this small mercy, I was glad. Aren't you curious?, a friend of mind asked. Umm, no. Was not in the least. All the drawings, I suspected were different. Nobody sees anything the same way. I could only hope they were kind with my thighs. As for myself, I can't even draw a convincing stick figure. In my drawings, the head is always too large for the body and the arms come out for days, while the legs are tiny little stubs. If I'm feeling really ambitious, I put a bow and a ponytail to signify a female and some short, ratty hair for a boy. In my pictures, the sun has a smile on its face even though in real life, I never allow it to touch my skin.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"I'm responding with the only vocabulary I have to extraordinary and ordinary situations around me." Sally Mann, photographer

Cocktail Hour

Drinking music suggestion: White Blood Cells White Stripes

Benedictions and malediction

Thanks for all the sweet comments about the dress in the last photograph. At this point, I'd have to consider it vintage. My friend mentioned in an earlier post (the one who dressed like me) had the dress for a long time and had grown weary of it so she loaned it to me for a first date. I loved it so she gave it to me. That was over ten years ago. The dress has to be almost twenty years old at this point.

As to Jason's great question about whether or not people being in love and/or lust with you is a good thing or a bother, I'd say for me it's always lovely (except when they're stalking you and going through your trash, both of which have happened to me) and an affirmation of everything good. Also, a writer always courts this kind of attention -- people fall in love with your work, your jacket photo, your biography, and your world. If they didn't, you wouldn't sell any books! I do know people who don't like it, who think people who love them are stupid and annoying. I don't get this attitude at all except that it probably stems from a self-loathing that gets projected onto the one who loves. Okay, enough of the Freud stuff! The only thing that ever pisses me off is when someone tells me, Smile, it's not that bad. Umm, how the hell do they know? If people want me to smile, they will say something that is funny!

67 Days until The Sopranos airs!


Denny Crane said...

You're in my force field.

Short bus and Special said...

You could work at Hooters, two!

Dorothy Parker said...

When Scott was drunk, He would come on to a tree if he desired it.

Whistler said...

SO creamy!!

Thomas Eakins said...

Perhaps we could arrange a sitting, Michelle. Or, any other postition would also be splendid. At your convenience, of course.

Andrew Warhola said...

Any nude with you would blow my mind.

Short Bus and Special said...

We're thinking of and open blouse dust jacket pictures right now! Front and back, two!

Anonymous said...

Michelle, considering the guns, the pale skin, the experiences, and the clothes, why aren't you a character in a Laurel K. Hamilton type series? Or are you?

Laurell said...


Anonymous said...

uhhhhhhhhhhh if you can tune a piano how come you can't tune a fish?

Does it get any funnier than that? Are you smiling?

Nude figure model,bartender,professor with doctorate, poet, novelist, what else goes on the resume?

The Walking Man would have been a nude figure model but it wouldn't have been his thighs he hoped they were kind with in their sketching.

Is change pose a euphamism for change position? Because Miss your resume shows you've changed positions quite a bit and that I believe is the luminesence of life.

You know sometimes when we talk the glow in your untouched by the sun face is almost blinding to me, but that is not because of the affection I have for you, it is because of the warmth with which you have accepted all of your experiences and the way you share your self through these tales of memory.

It must feel pretty good to have a dress you know was sown when you were only eight years old too.

Ah well as I have always said when you are done saying what you have to say and have nothing more to say then stop saying things.



Clayton Moore said...

RIP Molly Ivins.

Jay Silverheels said...


Laura said...

I used to do alot of sketching when the boys were little. I hardly ever draw anymore, I don't know why. I could never pose for a class like you did though. I'd be afraid everyone would start pointing and giggling at me or something.

paul said...


Tim said...

Hey Michelle,
I can relate to your not being able to draw, I'm the same way. My oldest sister is an artist, and most of the other girls in my family are really talented in that way too, but not the guys. Someone just asked me the other day if I could paint like my sister. When I said that the artistic gene skipped me altogether she said "Oh, well I'm sure there's SOMETHING you're good at". She doesn't know me very well.

I really envy all those people who got to sketch you... all I can say is "wow"!

Anonymous said...

I once took a cartooning class, but that one didn't include nude models.
Just a little old man in a denim shirt who had a long ZZ Top beard (he was the instructor, not a model of any sort). Now that I think about it, he sure looked like a cartoonist.

By the way, totally hip dress from yesterday's post.

Anonymous said...

I've never had the kind of love you described Michelle, but I do get an incredible amount of admiration/wonder/hate/jealousy because of my height.

I've heard people whisper about my height behind my back. I've had short men give me Napoleonic attitude. People don't like to sit next to me on the bus. Tall people have told me I make them feel small.

That's the closest I can come to what you are talking about.

Anonymous said...

I confess. I used to work at (a) Ghatti's Pizza. I was'nt there for the Pizza. Guess I should return your trash. Did not tell me a thing about you. Maybe it was'nt your trash? After I return it you'll know. Oh, one more thing. The painting ? I'll return it too. Something else I stold. Not to worry, though. By now you know. I'm pretty much harmless. You have long fingers. I noticed that early on. Can you palm a basketball?

JR's Thumbprints said...

Nudity, are you kidding? After my melanoma diagnosis, I was often seen in an indoor pool with a swim shirt on. The more I covered, the better I felt. I suppose that would make one hell of a drawing too.