Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

To all my lovelies out there, Happy Halloween! I'm wishing you tricks and treats and everything delightful.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Devil's Night From Detroit!

Hey everyone! Happy Devil's Night from Detroit City! Hope you're having a great Friday -- back at you on the big Halloween day.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Made In Detroit

Busy in the Halloween spirit! Hope you guys are having a good week. Question for today -- favorite horror movie? For me it's a toss-up between Carrie and The Exorcist. Also enjoy watching The Omen.

Monday, October 26, 2009

It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown

Watched It's The Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown tonight and plan on doing a longer post on it tomorrow! Hope you guys are having a great Tuesday!

The Shortest Story I Have Ever Written

When Love Dies

I said I felt bad, but what I meant was that I was mired in a state of emotional poverty, a spiritual wilderness of the like I had not seen before and he said, Pass the Twinkies, will you? I had a plastic Twinkie the Kid outfit just for them, but I never took the time to put them inside it, you see, never cared enough. That might be the only explanation you need.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If you don't hurry up and let life know what you want, life will damned soon show you what you'll get." Robertson Davies

Cocktail Hour
Okay, I cannot get into Heff's Bar and Grill for some reason. What's with the Studio 54 business, Heff? Where do I go for a review of the current Playboy?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Those Days In Texas

Hi everyone -- hope your weekend is going well! Here's an older poem (well, about a year old anyway) Back tomorrow with another post.

Those Days In Texas

When we got old,
we were going to live
on an island. I would
still have great legs,
and he would know
a thousand more blues
songs. We’d gossip, our
favorite past-time since
childhood, and he’d turn
a blind eye to my faults
which would be easy
since the doctors said
he’d be completely blind
by then anyway. When
we talked about this,
we lived next door to
each other in shitty one
bedroom apartments, walls
so thin you could hear
the wind even when it
wasn’t blowing that hard.
He barely made it into his
thirties and died in another
cramped apartment, this one
in Philadelphia, and when I
think about those days
in Texas, poor as we were,
having nothing but our youth,
I’m pretty sure that was the island.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I don't really think in terms of obstacles. My biggest obstacle is always myself."
Steve Earle

Cocktail Hour
Cocktail question: Favorite retro cocktail?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Friday, October 23, 2009


Happy Friday! Hope all is well -- I'm going to post a new story this weekend along with some drink recipes and decorations.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Nightmare On Elm Street

Tis the season to think about the slasher films of my youth, those long ago sepia-colored days spent in trailers watching such classics as Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Halloween, and all the Friday the 13th movies. Not to mention The Nightmare On Elm Street franchise with its creepy ass Freddy as a warning of all the bad things that can happen when you're not paying attention. Even thought I was kind of a classic final girl in some ways (flat-chested, brunette, and able if called upon to tell a tale of survival), I always liked the stories behind the monsters. Take Jason, a poor man's Norman Bates. Jason has Mommy issues with a capital M and takes them out on teenagers who dare to dabble in the dark illicit side of life on his turf. Or Freddy, a child killer who was conceived from a gang rape -- he carried the horror with him, a genetic legacy of sorts.

Once someone asked me who in the hell thought this shit up? Somebody very rich now, I replied. And the proverbial million dollar question -- why are the teenagers always so stupid? Again, have you met any teenagers lately? As Anne Lammott points out in an essay of hers, the gospels never even touch on Jesus as a teenager. We need not know all. I both loved and hated being that age -- the awkwardness was epic, the emotions out of proportion. But I did love the freedom of scaring myself sick with a few other girls in the middle of the night while the mother in charge was working the night shift at the hospital. Her gin bottle sat on the counter, a forlorn symbol of loneliness and exhaustion. Or maybe it was just a bottle of Beefeaters. I do tend toward the dramatic! But we never touched it one way or another; we didn't need those potions then to transport us the way we would later.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"One of the ways I think I gain fodder for characters is by watching people." Edie Falco

Ccoktail Hour
Okay people - just saw an ad for Dr. Drew's Sex Rehab. This looks really good and will placate me until Celebrity Rehab returns.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Jesus in Plastic

Hi everyone! Working on a story which is a final draft of an older story that finally came together. The good news is if you're like me and keep telling the same story, one will finally work, I think. Back at you tomorrow!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009


Another excerpt from How To Own and Operate a Haunted House. Thanks for reading!

Melissa, Tim, Angela Dawn, and I went to see Heathers and eat at Tim’s favorite restaurant, Fuddruckers. Angela Dawn drove me and Melissa to the theater in Ft. Worth during a huge storm.

“I don’t want to put on the windshield wipers,” Angela Dawn said. “They give me a headache. All that back and forth.”

Melissa gripped the door tightly, not used to Angela Dawn’s leaps of logic. I sat in the middle, the price for being small was to always inhabit the most uncomfortable places. Sheets of rain fell on the windshield, and I looked at the speedometer -- 75.

“I always drive worse when I go slow,” Angela Dawn said. I thought I was being subtle.

“I don’t think we’ll have to worry about being late,” I said.

“Not with me behind the wheel,” Angela Dawn said.

“I wonder how Tim is faring?” Melissa asked, having resigned herself to the ride.

I figured he’d already been sitting in the parking lot for a long time. Because Angela Dawn was beautiful and strange, Tim loved her. She dressed in clothes that looked one way around her parents, another when she left the house. Tim admired her ingenuity.

The rain stopped as we pulled next to Tim’s car. As I predicted, Tim had the aura of someone who had been waiting but wanted to seem as if he had just arrived.

“You look stunning,” he said as Angela Dawn exited our of the truck. “What did I do to deserve you all?”

I didn’t want to point out that he didn’t have any of us except Melissa whom he did not want.

“Faggot,” yelled some hooligan out of his pick-up truck window. “You dork with all the girls, you’re a fucking faggot.”

We all looked at each other as the name-caller and his friends sped away.

“I’m the one with the hot chicks,” Tim said. “He’s the faggot.”

“Excellent point. They’re probably on their way to a circle jerks in the woods,” I said.

“What’s a circle jerk?” Angela Dawn asked. She’d never gotten much in the way of a sex education.

“What we look like we’re doing now,” Melissa said, sick, I imagined, of the longing looks Captain Tim wasn’t directing at her. “Let’s go pay.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The optimist thinks this is the best of all possible worlds. The pessimist fears it is true." J. Robert Oppenheimer

Cocktail Hour
Drinking snack suggestion: Jodi's candy corn and cocktail peanuts combination -- tried it, love it!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, October 19, 2009

All Things Have Become New

My old buddy Hank used to say that you couldn't step in the same river twice, a quote he stole from Herticules -- the full one is that you can't step in the same river twice for two reasons -- it's never the same river and you are never the same man. As a person hellbent on not getting out of certain rivers, this rang of a certain sick truth. And even though the only river close to us was the Brazos, with large amounts of trash and tires and evil crimes during the night, it was my river. Oh, how we love our lore.

Some people in my hometown would learn to scuba dive in order to go on exotic vacations and enjoy the wonders of the deep. But first they'd have to learn in a swimming pool where there was nothing to see, then in the closest lake, Possum King, where there was plenty to see, none of it beautiful. I knew a local instructor; he said almost everyone who learned from him never took a vaction to use their skills. Instead they got used to looking at the trash and the man-sized catfish and the trees that grew up from the bottom. They were glad for the skill. The water changed all the time, and you could lose yourself in a rapture of the deep looking at ugly things just as you could beautiful ones.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"All fiction becomes autobiographical when the author has true talent." Jeanne Moreau

Cocktail Hour
Working on special mermaid concoction for my beautiful mermaid Jodi. It's a burden to try all sorts of alcohol to come up with the perfect drink, but I'm willing to make the sacrifice.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday and birthday to my mother, may she rest in peace. I always receive some strange reminder of her on this day or some really good news, and I expect this day will be no different. The weirdest one was the day I received Baby Cobra (Mother loved snakes) in his jar of snake wine. He still lives there and will be making a blog appearance soon. It was a gift from a student who had no idea what the significance would be.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Itsy Bitsy Spider Collection

Hey guys, hope you're having a great weekend! I'm posting a few Halloween accessories shots and the first look at my Halloween costume, the Bride of Frankenstein. I tried to do the silver bolt streaks in my hair, but the Spooky Silver I purchased at CVS was a bit of a bust and burned the eyes like hell as it dripped into them. Do not do this. Seriously. I like spiders a lot, fear snakes beyond all reason. Go figure. Will be back at you later with a new post!

Friday, October 16, 2009

The Thorns Are Lovely This Year

Every year, my friend Melissa and I would start planning our Halloween party. In August. Our favorite part was the haunted house which we set up in her rec room, a converted garage that had a hot tub the shape of Texas. I enjoyed sitting in the panhandle each weekend, pretending I was a spokesmodel for Halloween accessories. Her mother, whom I adored, let us do whatever we wanted, and we dyed the hot tub red and put rubber snakes and spiders in it. "We don't want people to get complacent," Melissa said. "We want them to wonder what's inside."

Oddly, we never thought to ask my mother to aid us in our pursuits. And damned if I realized it, but my house looked like the Addams Family year around with dead flowers (they last longer was my mother's rational -- couldn't argue with that one!), a tombstone (we had a spare for my great grandmother that relatives sent over from the old country -- my mother thought it was too pretty to not use as a decoration for the living room), and loads and loads of living and frozen and clear-casted rattlesnakes and tarantulas. I'm sure Mother would have helped, but man, I couldn't see the graveyard for the tombstones. I didn't know how spooky things were. I bemoaned how fricking normal I felt and how I wanted a cool name like Severin out of Venus In Furs. Little did I know, Wednesday would have been more appropriate.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It's as much fun to scare as to be scared." Vincent Price

Cocktail Hour
Has anyone seen Paranormal Activity? Opinions?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Room Full Of Bodies

Another excerpt from the new novel -- trying like hell to get this one done by Halloween!

My mother loved to tell the story of Bluebeard, the ultimate cautionary tale. Bluebeard marries a girl, his seventh wife. Nobody knows what happened to the first six. When he goes away for a week to his secret room and warns his new wife not to look inside the room. But she lets herself and finds all of his other wives butchered. In the original story, Bluebeard returns and tries to kill her, but her brothers save her at the last minute. Mother, of course, left the last part out, the saving part. She believed you were on your own in this world.

I once knew a girl whose father forced her to eat dinner from a dog bowl. “You’re a fucking dog, so act like it.” In a single line, your heart can break. I don’t know, the whole thing is fucked up from the get go, what the Pentecostals call a generational curse. If you have one, the elders of the church tie you to a metal folding chair and put their hands on you while speaking in tongues until the evil is cast out of your body.

So when I met Chris for the second time, I didn’t recognize him for what he was -- a curse, a cruelty, my Bluebeard. He didn’t have a room full of bodies yet. That would come later. I always wanted to know about the holes in the story. How does someone come to need the secret room? And how does it feel to be the secret?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When what we hoped for came to nothing, we revived." Marianne Moore

Cocktail Hour
Any of my readers wearing costumes that I should know about? Tell all!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, October 12, 2009

Siren Song

Okay, I might be the only person my age who is not at all excited about the movie version of Where The Wild Things Are. Don't leave me now when I confess that I never even read the book as a child. My mother had a strict read what's here policy which included a copy of Anthony Quinn's autobiography, several copies of Aviation Now!, and a gift copy of The Road Less Travelled. I somehow knew I didn't want to read that given that I didn't like that Robert Frost poem, preferring his more obscure, darker selections. Want to wow them at the next party? Learn and recite "After Apple Picking." Seriously, you will have people in awe. You know why? They expect Sylvia Plath. While I definitely go for the romance of the whole head in the oven, you're a fascist brute daddy, but I love you so vibe, I can't say that the poems ever stuck in my brain, feeble equipment that it is.

I think we love what we love and there's no explaining it, not pat explanations to why. I, for one, hate rags to riches stories. I don't know why, but they bore me. Except when I am getting the riches. Feel free to tell that story. I tend toward more morose material. Right now, my steady readers are going, You're shitting me, right? But I also find some incredibly hopeful moments in all of it. I love going somewhere kind of crappy and finding it beautiful. So I'll be posting bits of my new book from time to time and thanking you in advance for the feedback. It's all about haunted houses because I have never lived anywhere that hasn't been.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery." Anais Nin

Cocktail Hour
Costume suggestions?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Perfect Halloween Song!

Back this afternoon with a new post . . . This song is a perfect Halloween song or maybe the ending credits for Hung.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Dr Pepper, TX!

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! Enjoying the feedback on the new project and hoping to post some more excerpts this week along with Halloween drinks and treats.

Friday, October 09, 2009

I'll Drive Myself

More from the recent book -- thanks for reading!

On the matter of how plain old Tim became Captain Tim. One night Tim circled my house, hoping to spot Chris’s car. Melissa and I caught him doing this a lot on weekends when he came home from Texas A&M. Even though it was a long drive, distance meant nothing to Tim who prided himself on being able to find anyone without being informed of his or her whereabouts. The term stalking had not yet entered the lexicon so we called this behavior clever or bat shit depending on whether or not you wanted to be found.

So one night, old Tim circled no less than twenty times, hoping to find a reason to stop. His car was gray, the kind of gray that blended into the world, Tim in the gray flannel car. Melissa and I sat by the window and counted.

“Maybe we should flag him down,” Melissa said. “You know, like stand in the middle of the road waving a white hankie.”

“Who is surrendering in this scene?” I asked.

“I am. To his charms.” Melissa squirted on some Poison she’d dug out from her enormous Dooney and Burke purse.

I sighed, remembering that I had encouraged this crush, imagining if Captain Tim dated Melissa, he would be around Chris all the time. But it hadn’t worked out that way. At least Melissa was open to the idea of love, saying that even though Tim was no Mr. Universe (Melissa was fond of understatement), she liked that he was older, smart, and could quote endlessly from Mystery Science Theater and Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Given her propensity for Star Trek, it was a dream come true.

Except that it wasn’t. Captain Tim seemed petrified of any girl that wasn’t Chis’s date or his sister. Chris’s last girlfriend, Amy, had thought that the two were one in the same, hot with jealousy over Nika. I thought back to Cathy and Chris in Flowers in the Attic. Romantic. Amy didn’t appreciate my observation that this situation would be mighty convenient and save gas money on car dates. Paranoid and distraught people seldom enjoy attempts at levity.

Despite the stupidity of the hankie idea, Melissa persevered and we went outside to flag him down. On lap two, he stopped and parked. Melissa’s mother, Janice, was schedule to pick us up in an hour to go to Red Lobster in Weatherford, the fanciest place we could get to in half an hour. We invited Tim despite his weirdness about food. He rarely ate anything except chicken tenders from Chicken Express or peanut butter and jelly that he carried with him.

“I’ve never been,” Tim said. His family favored Panchos, a greasy Mexican buffet where each table was outfitted with tiny Mexican flags. When one finished the goodness that was scooped onto the plate in the buffet line, you raised your tiny flag and asked for more before the lard had time to stop your heart or at the very least inflict a severe case of the runs.

“Am I dressed okay?” Tim asked. He looked like he always did -- a pair of high-waisted relaxed fit jeans and a white t-shirt, bright white sneakers. For special events, he would sometimes don a t-shirt with the front of a tuxedo imprinted on it. I had a Polaroid picture of him wearing this novelty and a sombrero at El Paseo for his last birthday. Sober no less.

“You look awesome,” Melissa said, her voice a few octaves higher than usual. The girlish affectation threw me. I noticed Melissa had unbuttoned the top two buttons of her blouse at some point. Dear God.

Janice arrived in her huge blue Cadillac, a car I’d been enjoying since fifth grade, my small body like a pinball in the backseat.

“I’ll drive myself,” Time said. Given his plethora of hang-ups, his refusal to ride with anyone else except Chris didn’t come as a big surprise. He could plant himself somewhere for hours as long as he knew he could leave when he wanted. I wondered what that would feel like.

Mother and Daddy took me and Amber to Red Lobster a few times a year. We’d both order off the Little Sailors menu, the same dinner each time -- popcorn shrimp and French fries. Even though I was past the children’s menu, I still ordered the same thing. As did Tim.

Janice didn’t say much about Tim coming along. Unlike my parents, she didn’t have to worry that each new person would break the bank. If she noticed Melissa’s crush, she also notices that Tim’s interest lie elsewhere.

“It’s like a ship in here,” Tim said after we all ordered. “I feel like I’m the captain of a ship.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The story of life is quicker then the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye." Jimi Hendrix

Cocktail Hour
Any suggestions for costumes? Mark has suggested the Bride of Christ, I have stuff for the Bride of Frankenstein, and there's always Shelley Duvall in her role as Wendy in The Shining. I look to the rest of you . . .

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday! Will let you guys know news on Screen Test when I do.

Thursday, October 08, 2009


Thanks for all the great comments yesterday! Working hard to complete a short novel and enjoying it. I'll be posting more tomorrow so stay tuned. Sit back, make yourself a Vampira, and get ready for the greatest holiday of the year.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I did not know how to paint or even what to paint, but I knew I had to begin."
— Margaret Atwood

Cocktail Hour
The Vampira

1 ounce Centenario plato tequila
1 cup mango fruit nectar
½ ounce freshly squeezed lime
2 ½ ounces freshly squeezed blood orange juice

Fill a tall glass with ice. Add tequila, nectar and lime. Mix. Carefully spoon the blood orange juice over the top and don't mix so it drips down like blood.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! And hi to Dave, love the analogy in your comment!

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Not A Given

New scene I'm working on in How To Own and Operate A Haunted House -- thanks for reading!

Captain Tim wore a dickie and served us spaghetti on the ancient Cornell plates that my parents received as wedding gifts. I tried to cast back to a time when these plates were a chosen and not a given.

“For the lady,” Captain Tim said, setting my dinner before me. It didn’t look awful. I had taken heed of the warning Chris had proffered about his first girlfriend’s attempt at such a meal -- she hadn’t known to drain the grease off the hamburger meat after cooking it and the whole concoction swam in grease no matter how many times she’d strained it.

“And for the man of the hour,” Captain Tim continued. I looked at my sad attempts at making my parents’ dining room look like a bistro. Tim smoothed his dickie and set down the bell that Mimi had used to ring when she needed help.

“Ring if you need me,” Captain Tim said. “I shall retire to the living room to catch some light entertainment.”

Chris and I began to eat, illuminated by a tealight placed in a holder covered with angels that looked as if they had Down’s syndrome. The theme music from Sanford and Son wafted into the dining room. I thought about the episode where Fred tries to stop Lamont’s wedding. And about Chris’s mother Darla’s honeymoon story where Chris’s father brought his best friend Earl along. Just for that, she told us, she started flushing her birth control pill down the toilet, one each day. Such was the lovely conception story. They divorced a few years after Chris’ sister Nika was born. I’d never heard the name. When I looked it up in the OED at school, I found out that it meant victory, but the empty kind that you use up all your resources to get.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The only advice I can give to aspiring writers is don't do it unless you're willing to give your whole life to it. Red wine and garlic also helps." Jim Harrison

Cocktail Hour
The Vampira tomorrow -- perfect hangover cure, not that any of you guys need it!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Have Some Fun!

Hi guys! Thanks so much for the well wishes. Am getting back to myself and will return tomorrow full steam ahead. I'll leave you with this thought -- best writing advice I've received in the last month -- have some fun with it! I was getting entirely too morose and serious. I think we as writers and artists all work very hard and can become demoralized easily. Remember to step back and enjoy yourself.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Fall On Your Own Sword

I've never watched all that much late night television; I'm either asleep or out doing something productive like drinking. But I watch Letterman from time to time and truly enjoyed when Anne Heche was on, giving him hell about being married and calling her ex "a lazy-ass." A lot of people got their collective panties in a wad over her statement, but come on -- haven't we all been there? A little too honest in the company of many? And what is humor if not hostility? Like Lenny Bruce said about the crucifixion, It was just a party that got out of hand.

Well, Dave himself has had to turn his wit upon himself, fall on his own sword, and has come out funnier than ever. For those living under big rocks, he's being blackmailed about having sex with some of his staff. Not exactly a shocker to me -- here's a man who waited nearly twenty years to get married to the mother of his child. And has a lot of money. And power. He also looks like a thin version of one of my exes. Evil. But still funny despite our assessments of his conduct as moral or not. Columnists are predicting he will alienate women. Really? I kind of doubt it. If we've put up with him for this long, much like his long suffering wife, we'll probably see him through this storm.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I had no idea this thing was televised. Boy, is my face red." David Letterman

Cocktail Hour
Drinks for Halloween soon . . .

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Bride Of Frankenstein

Hey guys, feeling a little under the weather this weekend, but am looking forward to the week ahead and finishing up my new project. Now that we are in the best month of the year (October, fall, no worries about icky holidays yet, just the kind of zoned out bliss of Halloween treats), I'll be posting recipes, drinks, and costumes. And, of course, the regular posts about everything under the sun. As for costume ideas this year, I'm thinking the Bride of Frankenstein. Any other ideas?

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Henry the Hatter

Hi everyone! Working on drink snacks for the weekend. Any suggestions? Also, wanted to wish lovely Cheri a happy birthday! Hope everyone is having a good week . .