Monday, June 30, 2008

After The Rain



Hi everyone! So thankful for all the marriage advice (love the tips from Laura -- hey, in my opinion, three is the charm and that's when all the wisdom comes) -- I'm going to pass it along to my Ang. I'm going to my dear friend Jill's wedding this weekend with her gorgeous Uncle Shawn (known to you readers as Bamms) -- so I'll be posting pictures from that as well. I've been working on Second Day Reported so I'll be posting excerpts from that for the rest of the week. Thanks for sticking with me!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

My Best Friend's Wedding



My best friend Angela is getting married. Any wedding advice for the new bride? The last time I got asked this question myself was about ten years ago at a bridal shower, the first and only one I ever went to in the fair city of Detroit. I said something about not giving up anything you felt passionately about because you'd resent it and the groom wouldn't remember your sacrifice in time. But now I don't know what the hell I'd say. So I leave it to you, dear readers! I'll be blogging from Mexico for a week during the blessed event so there should be lots of great pictures, mostly involving the wicked demon rum/tequila/etc.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Unjust. How many times I've used that word, scolded myself with it. All I mean by it now is that I don't have the final courage to say that I refuse to preside over violations against myself, and to hell with justice." Lillian Hellman

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: Short Cuts

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Saturday Is All Right For Fighting



Hi readers! Thanks for all the great comments and e-mail from this week. I should have them all answered by Monday. And no, I'm not converting to Islam as should be evidenced by the above picture. Still a Catholic, but always interested in people of all creeds who preach love, acceptance, and charity instead of judgement. I'll see you tomorrow, my dears. Am enjoying Isabella Moon right now -- will get back with a review soon!

Friday, June 27, 2008

Our Establishment Is Clean



















I Eat Here All the Time

Our establishment is clean, the waiter
says to my friend Hank. You will find
no bugs.
Hank looks up from his menu,
setting his magnifying glass aside and rolls
his mostly blind eyes at me, as if to say, not
this shit again. I know, Hank tells him, I eat
here all the time
. I remember in high school when
our French teacher taunted him during class.
Can you spot land with that eye-glass, Pop-Eye?
she’d ask almost every day. The next year
her husband dove into a pool and came back
up to the surface paralyzed from the neck down.
When he saw her wheel him around campus,
he’d take out his eyeglass and watch, saying
I think I can see land, Michelle, I think I see land.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I know a man who gave up smoking, drinking, sex, and rich food. He was healthy right up to the day he killed himself." Johnny Carson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking coffee table book suggestion: Edie Factory Girl Nat Finkelstein

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday! Thanks for all the lively comments of the past couple of days!

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Conscious Sedation


















Stockholm Syndrome

At the pool I overheard someone say,
I think conscious sedation means you
know what's happening to you but you
can't feel any of it. I took it as a life and
true to my mother's warning, my face
froze with the expression, and I couldn't
change it, a captive to that awful numbness.

I wish someone who loved me
would kidnap me, a little girl I knew
once said. She begged me to take
her hostage which meant I held her
as she struggled to get free, but not
really. The game, it seemed, could
last a long time without any rescue.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I'm not trying to stump anybody... it's the beauty of the language that I'm interested in." Buddy Holly

Cocktail Hour
Drinking summer cocktail suggestion:
All Tomorrow's Parties
one shot of vodka
one shot of peach schnapps
Serve over orange juice and ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Intention Is Everything


"The highest value is mercy; the worst sin is breaking hearts," said Maulana Zainulabedin Kazmi, a modern day Sufi saint. I know because I wrote it down in my Blythe notebook last night as I listened to him at the Chinese Cultural Center, an industrial building with office lighting and some rickety chairs in a cavernous room where Maulana sat on pillows, accompanied by a younger Sufi friend in training. How I got there, I do not know. I'm not one to go out at night very often, I don't like events that are cultural or threaten to run over two hours, or involve bringing bottles of olive oil to be blessed. But there I was, olive oil in hand, Virgin Mary holy water in the other with about fifteen other people waiting to hear whatever there was to hear, mainly that God is most loving, most gracious, the way to God involves love and sacrifice, to lose one's life is to gain it. And that intention is everything. I cannot say what my intention was that night, except that my intuition told me to go.

So much of my life involves thinking about what I have failed to do for others and for myself. Guilt and blame, the opposite ends of the same short stick. But I took heart watching all who had gathered in this inauspicious place to hear of God's love and to be healed. Of course, there were some jackasses behind me who had done this on a lark and spent a good portion of the time bursting out into giggles like some manic characters in a Flannery O'Connor story, about to get the grace of God to fall down on their wicked heads. But I'm pleased to say that this was a different story. By the end, they lined up like everyone else for Maulana to heal them, to tell him their woes and hope for the best. I had to forgive them as well because they were part of this world, a world with doors that said Authorized Personnel Only, a world with crappy tinkling music that nobody could turn off, a world where I sat on the floor and chanted, hoping for what I have no idea. But I left feeling lighter and more hopeful. Even as my friend and I discussed how we bemoaned all the wasted time in our lives, the ways that we wished we'd come to ourselves sooner, I thought about how glad I was that I had come to the point I am now of accepting something simple -- God is gracious and most loving. Even when we don't deserve it, and if we're honest, we never do.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you look into a mirror you do not see your reflection. Your reflection sees you." Sufi proverb

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: New York Girls Morningwood

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Mercy Is The Highest Value


Hi readers! I spent the evening in the company of my good buddy Cal and the wonderful man pictured here. I'll be writing about it tomorrow at length as soon as I have some time to digest the entire experience. Hope you're having a great Tuesday!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Love Suffers All Things




















Love Suffers All Things

He hit me where I wouldn’t bruise
thinking, I suppose, that unseen
damage did not exist. Blessed are
those who believe without seeing,
the voice on the other end of the line,
a line being whatever you need --
something to save you by pulling
you back to shore, white powder
that takes you away from your pain,
a rope with which you can strangle
yourself. Do you love this line? Because
you will hear it over and over. Please
forgive me, I am sorry. If you think
this is me, you are wrong. I have
never been hit where it doesn’t show.


Michelle's Spell of the Day
"One can never know for sure what a deserted area looks like." George Carlin

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Where The Faces Shine Iggy Pop

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Poetry!



Dear readers: I'm going to post an invitation to a rocking poetry party (yes, that's right, a poetry party) sponsored by Backwaters Press

http://www.thebackwaterspress.com/

Hope you're having a good weekend!

Come to The First Annual Last Bash At Kuzma’s

A Fundraiser for The Backwaters Press

Our goal is to raise at least $5,000 to cover production costs for 20 books in 2008 in order to keep on bringing great poetry to a poetry-hungry nation!

Where: The Fabled Greg Kuzma residence at 118 South Boswell, Crete, Nebraska

When: July 26, 2008—a date scientifically proven in numerous independent, double-blind, rigorously controlled experiments to cure the summertime BLAHS (Boring Life At Home Syndrome) TIME: 4:00 p.m. to whenever

Friends, you’ve seen them sitting dejectedly in their cubicles, or staring blankly at the traffic lights, forlorn looks on their faces—you know what they need—Poetry! And you know how you can get poetry to them—The Backwaters Press! For nearly 12 years The Backwaters Press has been waging the fight against the POETRY VOID that threatens to engulf our nation, but you can help stop the VOID from taking over our children and ruining our families! Just as we have learned that we can be better Americans by going shopping, the National Society for Filling Poetry Voids, or NSFPV, has recently completed painstaking studies that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that HELPING THE BACKWATERS PRESS MEET ITS FUNDRAISING GOALS will be instrumental in disabling the Void! Yes, YOU can make a difference!

How to do this remarkable feat, you might ask—well, easy: PARTY! Simplistic as it may sound, the NSFPV has determined through rigorous research, conducted at our secret underground Poetry Laboratory, that if you go to The Backwaters Press website at www.thebackwaterspress.com, get your checkbook out and send in a check for at least $50, ($75 for couples) or, donate at least $50 (couples rule applies) with our secure DONATION BUTTON, that you will be able to receive tickets from the press, and a map to Greg Kuzma’s house, where you will be able to FILL THAT ACHING IN YOUR HEART FOR POETRY-RELATED PARTIES and also help The Backwaters Press meet its fundraising goals.

If you would like to donate any amount to help CRUSH THE POETRY VOID and stand side-by-side in spirit with others who would also like to help The Backwaters Press meet its fundraising goals, the researchers at the NSFPV will understand—But if you can come to the party, we would love to see you there!!

Party highlights include:
Free, signed copies of Greg Kuzma’s All That Is Not Given is Lost
Poetry reading by Greg Kuzma and others, TBA
Music provided by Satchel Grande
Full spread of party food in the Greg Kuzma party tradition
Full array of liquid refreshments
Beautiful indoor/outdoor setting on 2 ½ wooded acres of the Kuzma home
Poetry and prose readings from The Seven Doctors Project for UNMC
Silent auction of rare literary articles, artwork from renowned artists, and other valuable items

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“If you get hung up on everybody else's hang-ups, then the whole world's going to be nothing more than one huge gallows.” Richard Brautigan

Cocktail Hour
Drinking sociology book: Unhooked Laura Stepp

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Detroit State Of Mind






Hi readers! Here's the Saturday pictures from around the D as in Detroit. Hope you're having an excellent summer day -- for us gloomsters, we can take comfort that the days get shorter from here!

Friday, June 20, 2008

You Don't Clean Your Guns














Here's another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading! I'm a little past the halfway point for those who have asked.

The first time I heard a gunshot, my mother’s boss had killed himself on his birthday because he discovered his wife and his best friend had been sleeping together. We’d all gone out on what I imagined was a yacht (in fact was a really big ass boat) and his wife served all the kids New Coke. I broke my two year ban on carbonated beverages (even then I loved my masochistic deprivation). We all agreed that New Coke sucked and hoped they’d go back to the original. As for the party wore on, the boss went into the bedroom beneath everyone and put a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. At the funeral everyone said he’d had an accident. The church couldn’t contain all the mourners, some of whom stayed on the sidewalk in the unrelenting August heat.

“Some accident,” my mother said. “You don’t clean your guns with your mouth.” She turned the air-conditioning in the care, way up high. “I hate that fucking New Coke,” she said. “I’m going to buy all the old ones I can. The new stuff is too sweet.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“I just tried to come up with some honest songs. What I was writing about was real plain stuff that I wasn't sure was going to be interesting to other people. But I guess it was.” John Prine

Cocktail Hour
Drinking book suggestion: Everyday Drinking Kingsley Amis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy first day of summer! Thanks for the question from Rob about the Virgin Mary. The short answer is yes. The long answer -- a post for next week.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Boilermakers



Another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading!

For a bit, I bartended at a bar called The Blade and Wing, a rundown shack on the edge of town. A well-known Vietnam vet hangout, I mixed a lot of boilermakers, whisky shots dropped into beer. Even though I longed to create something more complicated, I liked the simplicity. The guys would munch on peanuts that the owner insisted we soak in jalepeno juice (It makes people drink more! he assiduously concluded as if any of us needed help on that score) and stare at the minimal d├ęcor -- a few nods to Nam (an old jack hung up over the bar with an embroidered map of southeast Asia that said, We were winning when I left), stuff like that.

When Soldier of Fortune listed it as one of the top ten hang-outs for Vets, that brought in the college boys from Ft. Worth looking for a fight. If they talked enough smack, their dumb asses could usually find one. The bar remained windowless and dimly lit no matter what the hour. When someone walked inside, the sun would burn through the door, making the beer bottles shine like jewels. Outside during the Christmas season, the owner would display a blow-up nativity scene. The wind often blew hard, but the scene never moved, weighted down by what I could not imagine.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Failure seldom stops you. What stops you is the fear of failure." Jack Lemmon

Cocktail Hour
Drinking television suggestion: Swingtown

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Stranger To Nothing













A Stranger To Nothing

The first time I tried to leave my husband,
I broke my kneecap, felt it crumble as
the thin blade of my rented skate went
out from under me. It wasn’t a big love.
He was someone to do things with while
my insides rotted away with thoughts of my
rape years before. My leg healed, I got away,
found a big love, a man as accessible as the dead
are, less in fact, told myself that it was okay.
You can’t get everything from one person.
My mother said that. She didn’t even try and her
divided heart never healed. She became accustomed
to the ways of darkness, the light that shines in it.
Forget everything, the darkness says. Try nothing.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“It's an eerie thing. My childhood is being washed away.” Richard Simmons

Cocktail Hour
Drinking sociology study suggestion: Girls On The Verge Vendela Vida

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! A special thanks to the beautiful and brilliant Laura Benedict for the shout out! I'm going to discuss her wonderful novel next week -- watch for it, my honeys.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Clothes Left Behind In Hotel Rooms














Clothes Left in Hotel Rooms

You miss them, that’s a given.
they represent carelessness, passion,
what you once were. Maybe you
don’t think of yourself that way
anymore, as someone who tucks
things away and forgets them because
who wants to think of all you’ve
lost? Not me, not today. I’m going
to be the person who finds something
someone threw off in a fit of joy
and didn’t mind losing and I’m
going to think, it’s a miracle -- this
fits me, even if it is a little big.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You can have either the Resurrection or you can have Liberace. But you can't have both." Liberace

Cocktail Hour
Drinking book suggestion: Normal Amy Bloom

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Happy Birthday To Robin!



I'm going to write more later, but I wanted to wish my dear friend Robin a happy birthday (two days late!). Happy Birthday, Miss R!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Last Big Show



Dear readers,
Happy Father's Day! I'm posting a poem in honor of my father, almost four years into the next life, the other world, and yet still very much in my heart. Happy Sunday to all! Am way behind on all correspondence -- will catch up by the end of the week, God willing!





Last Big Show

On his last morning, my father drives
himself to work, tired from a two-week
air-plane sales show. Even so, he listens
to Fleetwood Mac on the cd player, turned
up loud. Before he leaves, he writes on the dry-
erase board -- Good to be home! Last big
show. Days later, picking through the debris
for what was his, almost nothing remains
except the battered rims of his sunglasses,
a pocket knife. My sister identifies the face
of the watch his friend, the pilot, wore,
still working. It’s like an advertisement,
we think, this three thousand dollar
extravagance that lasted through a final
confrontation with a power line and all
that charred earth. The evidence bag of dirt
and litter yields nothing more, just this -- small
unconvincing proof that time has not stopped.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Saturday!


Hello readers!  Happy Saturday to all.  I've been engaged in some wild antics this week, (ha!), but I'll be back at you tomorrow with much love.  Happy Saturday, my dears!

Friday, June 13, 2008

You See Things in the Darkness





Hi, Readers! Here's another installment from Second Day Reported, suitable for this Friday the thirteenth. Thanks for reading.

In the fifth grade, I begged my mother to buy me Flowers in the Attic. The cover piqued my interest -- a blonde-haired girl's face peeking though a glossy black cover. On the back, the blurbs said, Such wonderful children! Such a beautiful mother. Such a lovely house. Such endless terror! The book's bizarre premise went something like this -- the monster is the oldest daughter in a family of four children. When her father dies, the mother has to return to her rich parents to live. The children must be locked away in the attic so that the mother can find another husband. Madness ensues and the two oldest siblings begin a consensual incestuous affair that continues through their adult life, three sequels in all.

When mother caved in, I read the book over and over, sympathetic and enchanted by the whole claustrophobic world. In the novel, the kids cut out different construction paper flowers to indicate the changing of the seasons. Even in the most suffocating of worlds things changed. Years later I would learn that V.C. Andrews had been confined to a wheelchair for much of her life because of injuries related to a fall down some stairs in her twenties. She lived with her mother all her life. Though she rarely granted interviews, she did tell people that she always knew she'd be crippled as an adult because as a child she'd seen her reflection with a pair of crutches. She'd write at night in front of a mirror to harness her psychic energy. You see things in the darkness, she said. The narrator leaves no boundary intact. In this world, much like the real one, anything goes.


Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Friday the 13th! Rest in Peace, Tim Russert.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

The McDonald's Touch



Hi Readers! Things are hectic this week! Here's another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading!

I took my most hidden business to this room, including my first short story "On the Razor's Edge," a cheesy little piece of thinly-veiled autobiography that featured a troubled teenage girl on the edge of suicide, driven to it by her mother's neglect, evidenced by bringing home lukewarm McDonald's burgers instead of cooking a real dinner.

While I was righteously pissed off at my mother for lots of things, the McDonald's touch was pure fiction. I preferred fast food to almost any other, particularly the vile concoction that haunted much of my childhood -- LaChoy chop suey. LaChoy makes Chinese food swing American! sang their commercials and Beth and I would cry when we got word that we'd be having it for supper.

"On the Razor's Edge" never catapulted me to the literary success I had hoped it would, but it did garner one reader -- my mother. She caught me printing out a copy on our crappy dot matrix and seized upon it. "You don't like hamburgers, huh?" she said. I felt awful. As a girl, she'd been locked in a truck with her dog Sheba every Christmas while her parents drank themselves sick in some bar. They'd bring her a burger at the end of the night which she'd share with Sheba. No toys, no tree. "You're grounded for a week," she said, returning my story. The written word was just as mighty as all the religious folk said. You have one tongue and two ears, I often heard. "That's because God wants you to listen twice as much as you speak." I thought about my mother as a child riding in the back of her father's truck and hoping for a piece of free gum from the gas station attendant. She had a lot of cavities and the sugar hurt her teeth, "Even so, I loved it," she said. "Pain meant nothing to me." When my own life hit that particular road, I'd remember her words, not knowing whether to laugh or cry. I was her daughter after all.

Michelle's Spell of the Day

"Love conquers all things except poverty and toothache." Mae West.

Cocktail Hour

Drinking summer cocktail suggestion: Singapore Sling

Grenadine, gin, sweet and sour mix club soda, a touch of cherry brandy.

Splash grenadine in a Collins glass. Add gin and chilled sweet and sour soda. Add cherry brandy, leave unstirred, add a maraschino cherry on top.

Benedictions and Maledictions

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Sex, Sex, Sex



Thanks for all the helpful comments about sex scenes for my "Sex, Sex, Sex" talk about writing and the joy/misery of sex. I'll be back at you tomorrow with a complete report! Happy Wednesday!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Those Lights We Call Stars



Going to post one of my favorite Raymond Carver poems today. Back at you tomorrow with something new! Happy Tuesday!

Tomorrow

Cigarette smoke hanging on
in the living room. The ship's light
out on the water, dimming. The stars
burning holes in the sky. Becoming ash, yes.
But it's all right, they're supposed to do that.
Those lights we call stars.
Burn for a time and then die.
Me hell bent. Wishing
it were tomorrow already.
I remember my mother, God love her,
saying, Don't wish for tomorrow.
You're wishing your life away.
Nevertheless, I wish
for tomorrow. In all its finery.
I want sleep to come and go, smoothly.
Like passing out of the door of one car
into another. And then to wake up!
Find tomorrow in my bedroom.
I'm more tired now than I can say.
My bowl is empty. But it's my bowl, you see,
and I love it.

Raymond Carver, The Complete Poems

Your Stage Name



Saw a very thin young woman in a t-shirt the other day, one with a set of ribs painted on it. You, no doubt, could see her ribs through her skin as well and she smoked in the summer heat, to kill hunger pains, I imagined, always the fiction writer. An older woman passed her on the street, thin as a Dachau victim, looking wretched and sick, an image of the future had the girl been paying attention. How strange, I thought, to wear the inside brokenness on the outside, but then again, not really. Our pain is often written on the body whether by choice or nature.

I once saw a television show where a woman mutilated herself with thumb tacks. "I am forbidden to go into Office Max," she said. "It's my trigger. I start to feel faint if I pass one." All those tacks waiting and whatnot! So much mystery in the ways pain finds us. I was once in a bar where a very drunk woman in an old-looking wedding gown sat down next to me, Blanche DuBois come to life. "My marriage is over," she said. "I should have stayed with my first husband. The second is a disaster." She couldn't remember anything so the conversation kept circling around the predictable loops. She gave me a fake name, Marissa, and told me it wasn't real. "Your stage name," I said. I looked around the bar, but there was nobody around. Like so many plays, the audience seemed to have left, leaving the actors still performing their lines as if it were a full house.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I photograph the things that I do not wish to paint, the things which already have an existence." Man Ray

Cocktail Hour
Drinking summer cocktail suggestion:

Silver Cloud Room

Lemonade
Two shots of vodka
Strawberry puree
Serve over ice.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Sunday Morning Coming Down



Hey all! I'm in the midst of work right now, but will be back with a new post tomorrow. Hope you're having a wonderful Sunday!

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Saturday Night's All Right For Fighting


Happy Saturday, dear readers!  I'm working on a big picture project and will start displaying it soon -- within a couple of weeks.  Until then, much love on this Saturday, Michelle

Friday, June 06, 2008

Tom Collins, Harvey Wallbangers



Another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading!

I have almost drowned three times. The first time was late at night, the summer when I was six years old. My childhood love, Lance, my sister and I were playing in my parents' above-ground pool while they entertained inside the house, the days of Tom Collins and Harvey Wallbangers. In an attempt to show off for Lance, I dove into the pool despite it being shallow, the deep spot being barely five feet. I had an ear infection that sent me into dizzy spells at odd times. As I positioned myself on the edge, I felt a wave of dizziness and dove anyway. Because of the darkness, I couldn't find the top of the pool and spun in circles mere inches from the surface. Lance pulled me to the side where I clung to the plastic sides, gasping.

"Are you okay?" he asked. "It looked like something bad was happening."

"I'm fine," I said, willing myself not to vomit. "I just like spinning in circles." He believed it and in time so did I.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Detroit IS Hockeytown, assholes." Random sign on side of a house

Cocktail Hour
Drinking suggestion:
Power Play
one shot of vodka
one dash of lemon
one dash of lime
one pinch of sugar
Served in a teeny-tiny chilled glass.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

The Body Of Christ



The Body of Christ

My sister and her boyfriend drove to Corpus Christi
to see if they could get along alone. They couldn’t.
He spent an hour each night on the phone, a band
of fat rimming his boxers, speaking in baby talk
to his mother while my sister watched a movie
on the other bed. When they returned, my sister
wouldn’t see him, said he’d become too familiar,
that all she could see was his flesh, the way it rose
and fell when he sighed, the way it became all too real.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't play what's there, play what's not there." Miles Davis

Cocktail Hour
Drinking suggestion: Keep celebrating the Red Wings victory!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Rest in peace, Bo Diddley! Happy Thursday to all!

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Go Wings













Hello readers! Here's a little tribute to Detroit winning the Stanley tonight! Back at you tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Nothing To Write Home About



Here's another excerpt from Second Day Reported. Thanks for reading!

During our middle school years, my best friend Melissa and I watched Hogan's Heroes every day after school. We set ourselves up on Melissa's waterbed with Cokes from Dairy Queen and shortbread cookies, little delights filled with chocolate called Magic Middles. Surrounded by her stuffed animals, we'd relax, done with the horrors of classes, relieved to be by ourselves. On her huge bedroom television, we were transported to a German POW camp. It didn't seem that much different than Mineral Wells and it didn't seem strange that it was a comedy. Some of the most awful situations lent themselves to a certain gallows humor. I often wondered what the actors did off the camera. Even as a child I viewed life as a series of compartments, some more secret than others. I could identify with Colonel Klink -- I know nothing, I see nothing. So much of my life was nothing and already I grew adept at the characterization, telling people that there was nothing left to say and nothing to write home about.

Melissa and I would look at each other during the course of the show, clink our Dairy Queen cups together, a celebration of survival. "I think people lose their eyesight as they get older so that they'll look the same to their spouses as they did when they were young," she'd say. A nice theory, I thought, but I didn't buy it. People seemed to age way too fast. Even the characters on the show. Had I any idea of what their real lives were like, I would have understood. Some of the actors on the show were Jewish, a few had been in concentration camps. One of them said, "Who better to play a Nazi than a Jew?" Life could be recast, this much I was beginning to know.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“For everything you have missed, you have gained something else, and for everything you gain, you lose something else.” Ralph Waldo Emerson

Cocktail Hour
Drinking hangover suggestion: Okay, the Red Wings lost last night to the wicked, wicked Penguins in the third overtime. As one of my friends pointed out, the whole town has a hangover today from the sheer exhaustion. Solution: one Bloody Mary, one two hour nap. Here's hoping for a victory tomorrow!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! And much love going out to Flip Saunders who got fired today from his position as the coach of the Detroit Pistons. I always liked Flip who really cared about the team, stressing so much that he aged as much as a president during his tenure. He even got shot at in Detroit while out with a "lady friend." (That's the newspaper term, not mine.) If that doesn't mean you should be here for good, I don't know what does. Flip, you will be missed!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Wherever We Go



Poem for today -- first published in Confluence. Back at you tomorrow with a ground-breaking post about Hogan's Heroes.

Wherever We Go

We are everyone in our dreams, even
the dead or so say the books, the ones we turn
to when we struggle with the images
we can’t shake, 1001 Dream Meanings
and its variations. The smart ones forget
the meanings and play the numbers assigned
to each type of symbol, endless combinations
with their promise of money and possibility,
enough to cling to as the days pile
on top of each other like snow, making
everything more difficult and more beautiful.

Once a childhood friend said to me
of our small Texas hometown, Wherever
we go, we always know there’s somewhere
worse, and I thought of it as his parents
flew his body across the country to be buried
in the exact place he’d struggled so hard
to escape, a place where the snow comes
down so seldom as to be a miracle, covering
everything with a blinding white for only
a little while, just like when my friend was born
during a freak snowstorm in March. What
are the odds of that? he’d ask, but it wasn’t
a question. He died with his dreams, those small
moments where everything appears to glitter,
if only for a second before it all disappears.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I stop and look at traffic accidents. I won't hang around, but when I hear something is terrible, as bad as it is, I've gotta look at it."
Norman Lear

Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Blonde On Blonde Bob Dylan

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Go Red Wings -- win the Stanley tonight!

Sunday, June 01, 2008

A Different Story



Was watching television late last night and saw Padma Lakshmi, an actress and model (not to mention chef), but I knew her best as Salman Rushdie's ex-wife, the last in a line of many and the press deemed their union ever so generously as Beauty and the Beast which must have pleased Salman as much as having a fatwa on his head for all those years. And in an odd bit of synchronicity, I saw an article on Salman today about his woes with the ladies. "Girls want a wedding, not a marriage," he wrote. "Love is unrealistic. When you fall in love, realism goes out the window." As for Padma, she dedicated her latest cookbook to him one week before leaving him, proving that public acknowledgment sometimes signals the kiss of death for a romance. Witness Jodie Foster -- after acknowledging her long-time girlfriend for the very first time in a public speech during their fifteen year relationship, she left her mere months later.

I've read a lot of Rushdie's work and have no use for his beautiful scarred (a gorgeous long cut down her arm from a car accident) ex-wife's cookbook. But she seems like his intellectual equal in many ways and the Beauty and the Beast comments totally off the mark. Who wouldn't want to be married to the author of The Satanic Verses? All kidding aside, she dedicated a bunch of recipes to him which is better than nothing. If my mother is to be believed, anyone can follow a recipe. Whether or not they want to, well, that's a different story, one that's likely to cause trouble in some corner of the world at the very least.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
I used to say, 'There is a God-shaped hole in me.' For a long time I stressed the absence, the hole. Now I find it is the shape which has become more important.
Salman Rushdie

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: In My Skin Kate Holden

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!