Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year's Eve!

As 2009 closes, I'm thinking about what kind of year it was and about how profoundly grateful I am. Last year at this time, I saw my first movie after the hospital, Slumdog Millionaire which didn't thrill me like The Wrestler did, but I was out in the world again which meant everything. The year is what the coaches call a rebuilding year; I spent a lot of time finishing projects, planting seeds. On my desk, there's the glass orb from my mother's old necklace with a mustard seed inside it. I don't remember how I came to get this particular piece of jewelry, but I remember loving it as a child. For all my mother's external toughness, she had a core fragility and distrust, and she never quite could believe other people's love for her, but she kept trying which is something. Which makes me think of Solomon writing that a living dog is better than a dead lion. Every moment gives us a chance to rewrite the script, to try harder, to love better. How glad I am that I still have a chance!

So I dedicate this last entry of 2009 to all my loved ones who accept me as I am, flaws and all. One of my favorite pieces of advice is that you have to give people the vices that accompany their virtues. And through writing this blog, I give you some access to the vices, the virtues, the whole catastrophe. And I can't begin to list all the kindnesses done for me over the year by friends and strangers. I got my wallet returned after leaving it at a post office. Someone flagged me down handed me my camera at the airport after I left it on the seat. In low moments, a friendly comment on the blog gets me through the day. When I arrived in Detroit many years ago, I had to navigate the city alone in a crappy car with a donut tire. This was before cell phones or GPS systems, and I barely had any money. The guy at the gas station on Mack Avenue gave me a free map that his tow truck drivers used. I walked outside into a light October snow, the dying light of the afternoon. Opening my map, I realized I could go almost anywhere. Friends were all around me, waiting for me to recognize them.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't look where you fall, but where you slipped." African Proverb

Cocktail Hour

The J Spot (for my dearest Jodi!)
one part Godiva white chocolate liqueur
one part Three Cherries vodka
one part hot chocolate
garnish with a cherry

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy New Year's Eve from me and Baby Grouchie!

Monday, December 28, 2009

Dreams Of Russia And You

One of my favorite calls for submissions came from a now defunct feminist magazine called The Gaze. "We don't want any stories about what a prick your boyfriend is or your eating disorder or starving yourself for your prick boyfriend." Guess what -- I got a poem accepted about my prick boyfriend, but the language was so abstract that people thought it might be about communist Russia. Seriously. Which is not the worst metaphor for that particular relationship. I got married many years ago on the anniversary of Wounded Knee which is today. Strange that I remember the anniversary of a marriage that dissolved many years ago. I was always failing what my buddy Hank referred to as Symbolism 101.

Another favorite submission call is from a magazine called The Struggle which claims not to need plot or character development (fine if you have it! they write), but is mostly interested in labor versus management. The man against the machine. This most excellent journal hailed from my fair city of Detroit, but I never got accepted there because although I'm a labor union girl all the way, none of my stories were the man against the wicked greedy corporate world. I don't know; it's not my thing. I'm not very political in my writing even when I try which is seldom. I'm more interested in the sad damaged world of my own myths, the ones I was born to and the ones I create, a ghost dance to bring back the lost, to find myself.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't do anything by half." Henry Rollins

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Insatiable: A Young Mother's Struggle With Anorexia Erica Rivera

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! Will spend today and tomorrow catching up on correspondence (my fancy word for email) and if you have questions, send them in! I'll be donating the money to Backwaters Press for their current fundraiser.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Lost In Translation




There was hope that things could be, if not

altered, perhaps the course not quite so

relentless, slow death in the end not

being quite slow enough. Our last night

together we watched Willie Nelson sing

at Billy Bob’s, and a woman stopped

with a basket of roses, a final gesture

of sweetness. I took them home where

they died quickly, so red they looked

black, dried blood clots, unchanging

in their message -- you can keep me, but

I will harden, I will dry up, I will become

something else, their only obligation in being

what they are, what they have ceased to be.


Aveam speranţa că lucrurile ar putea fi, dacă nu

transformate, măcar nu chiar atât de implacabile

pe parcurs, la sfârşit moartea lentă nefiind

totuşi destul de lentă. În ultima noastră noapte

împreună l-am văzut pe Willie Nelson cântând

la Billy Bob’s şi o femeie s-a oprit

cu un coş de trandafiri, un ultim gest

de tandreţe. I-am luat acasă, unde

au murit în curând, atât de roşii încât păreau

negri, cheaguri uscate de sânge, neschimbători

ca povestea lor – poţi să mă păstrezi, dar

mă voi întări, mă voi ofili, mă voi transforma

în altcineva, având singura datorie de-a fi

ceea ce sunt, ceea ce au încetat să mai fie.

Hi guys! Here's one of my poems in Romanian in a new wonderful journal! I'll be back with you later today, but until then, enjoy.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Day After Christmas

Hi everyone! Hope the post-Christmas hangover (literal or metaphorical) isn't too bad and that everyone is relaxing and having a good time. Here's some of my nearest and dearest over the holidays -- notice the cool pink shoes that Steph got for Christmas. They are sold to support breast cancer awareness and this year's pair is called The Stephanie. Seriously. So here's to Steph's recovery, to happy holidays, and to a great 2010. 2009 was a bit of a rebuilding year as the football coaches say (at least for me), and while I'm not Pollyanna, I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be looking up. More tomorrow!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas to all my beloved friends! I adore you all and so look forward to comments, to going out, to seeing what you all write. Thank you for making my year special. It's a white Christmas here in Texas, and I'll be posting more pictures of Grouchie and his snowman.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve From Baby Grouchie!

It's a rare Texas Christmas Eve with SNOW!!!!!!!! Baby Grouchie is wishing you guys the best day ever. Snow is my very favorite weather in the entire world, and I always consider it very good luck when it does snow, a sign from God that all is well. (Okay, it snows a lot in Detroit and maybe not all is well, but still -- I love it, both the snow and Detroit.) Back later with more little Christmas wishes. Much love to you all, Michelle

Merry Christmas Eve!

I took this picture last night on my way home from mischief and merriment with my Texas friends -- Angela, Darci, Steph, and Beth. It's all so Valley of the Dolls without the pills and booze. Okay, one margarita in the spirit of full admission! The night was wonderful, full of fun, laughing, presents, everything good. I'm ever so grateful for all my friends, for my dear friends on this blog, and for everyone I love and who loves me. I'll be posting pictures as the day progresses. Merry Christmas Eve to all!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Dark

How much do we know about anyone? That seems like the most interesting question that comes from the relentless celebrity coverage of 2009, the deaths, the secrets, the love affairs, the plain old affairs, and everything else. The questions of identity and image, personae. The peculiar loneliness that afflicts us all in an age where we are more connected by technology than ever. I couldn't believe that I heard the Miles Davis song "Generique" on the Dolce and Gabana ad featuring Matthew McCounaghey. I like old Matt, but he's just not worthy of Miles Davis! Nor is television, particularly an ad for cologne. And why do men need fancy colognes anyway? High Karate and Polo was good enough for the boys of my youth.

I listened to that song every night during my first couple of years in Detroit, staring out the window of my upper flat, thinking about my future. My much older boyfriend would be asleep early, and I'd sit up next to my computer trying to dream up other worlds just like I do now. I didn't know who I was, and I still don't. But unlike then, I don't much mind the mystery. Each day, I'm more myself, a self I can choose to reveal at turns or not. Magic, mystery, the dark. The days now are gradually becoming longer, and I don't much care what the weather is doing as long as the sun stays out of my way.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Any genuine philosophy leads to action and from action back again to wonder, to the enduring fact of mystery." Henry Miller

Cocktail Hour
Reader question of the day Christmas Eve or Christmas Day? Christmas Eve for me.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

A Formal Feeling

At the end of a big project, a formal feeling comes . . . Seriously, it's a strange feeling when you finish something. I always vacillate between relief, excitement, and a low-grade despair -- what do you do next? When you're in the midst of work, all you can think about is what you can do when you finish. When you finish, all you can do is wonder what to do. All those ideas don't seem as good as when you can't get to them. Human nature, just like when you have no money and can find a bunch of items to buy and when you have money to burn, nothing appeals. Tomorrow I will rally and write again. But tonight, I wish my characters goodbye one last time with both joy and sadness.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Every time we love, every time we give, it's Christmas." Dale Evans

Cocktail Hour
Tomorrow I will be making an appeal for Backwaters Press. Watch for it!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Port Of Call

The last excerpt I'm posting here of How To Own and Operate A Haunted House. Thanks so much for all the encouragement, comments, and for reading.

We go to Ridgmar Mall, the first time I’ve ever driven here. Usually I’m the passenger of Mother or Melissa, but I feel like so much bad has happened that I’m kind of beyond fear, like the great moment in The World According To Garp where Robin Williams sees the plane crash into a house and claims they have to buy it because it’s disaster-proof.

“So what are we looking for?” Hank asks as we peruse the junior section at Dillards.

“Something besides these nasty-ass jewel tones. I want a dress that has some class. No shoulder pads,” I say.

Hank holds up a black and white flowered shift to his face for closer examination. “I think this rack is all way too Mrs. Roper on Three’s Company.”

“Agreed,” I say. “I already have a closet full of ugly. What do you think about this one,” I say, holding up a black sleeveless dress.

“That looks like a tank top on steroids,” he says.

I put it back and start to cry.

“This is really awful. I can’t believe she’s dead either. The whole thing is just so stupid and tragic,” Hank says, patting my shoulder. When someone turns our way, Hank stage-whispers to her, Whatever you do, don’t try the My Michelle line. They haven’t learned the art of size inflation.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"My wound is geography. It's also my anchorage, my port of call." Pat Conroy

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestions anyone? Any good holiday movies?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Let It Snow!

Hi everyone! I've been doing final final edits today on a big project and will be back tomorrow with the final installment. So sad about Brittany Murphy -- rest in peace. Loved her in Clueless and Eight Mile. Hope everyone is ready for the final Christmas onslaught. Much love to all!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Best Gifts, Worst Gifts

One of my favorite book titles is Best Pills, Worst Pills. It's not the most exciting read, but I've always enjoyed reading about side effects for some reason. In that spirit, I want to write a remix called Best Gifts, Worst Gifts. The worst gift I ever got was a bowl of candy infested with ants which kept biting me as I played Santa under the tree while everyone else sat on their unbitten asses. As for best gifts, I've gotten many wonderful gifts. (Thanks again for the absinthe, Mark!) I'm the kind of person who is easy to buy for because my tastes are very defined. But I have a lot of the difficult types on my list. So in the spirit of one week until Christmas, give me your best gift, worst gift experiences. I'd love to hear ideas, great stories, horror stories, whatever you have. More soon, my dears!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Our hearts our drunk with a beauty our eyes could never see." George Russell

Cocktail Hour
Video soon, my dears!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Greetings From The 48th Happiest State!

Hi everyone! One week until Christmas which makes me realize that I missed all the hoopla last year which means it seems doubly strange this year. I hope nobody is too stressed out with all the last minute holiday craziness. I'm going to post the last excerpt of the novel tomorrow before I turn it over to the powers that be. I read today that Michigan is number 48 on the levels of happiness index -- we rank above New Jersey and New York, but no one else. Ha! Don't let that bullshit survey fool you -- we Michiganders know how to have a good time. I'd also like to send well wishes to lovely Lana of The Dreaming Tree for a very speedy recovery. Happy Friday to all!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Drinks Optional

My dear and incredibly funny friend Priscilla reminded me of the time we went out and got wasted near Christmas, not wasted wasted, but enough (plum wine, sake, and God knows what else we were drinking at my old buddy Mark Long's party) and decided it was a brilliant idea to wake up my ex in the middle of the night and ask for his copy of the Alanis Morrisette cd, you know the one with that song about hating your boyfriend and asking all those questions about his new love, questions I won't repeat involving, well, movies. I liked the song okay as did she, but neither of us liked it enough to buy it. Hence our middle of the night stop. It was the kind of tune that wore itself out quick, like Ricky Martin's "Living La Vida Loco." But for some reason, that song had no grace period with me; I hated it on first listen. Most of the time, it takes me some time to work up to getting sick of something to the point of loathing.

He wasn't thrilled, I'm sure, but we were happy enough blaring it near my Charlie Brown-like Christmas tree and telling ourselves how great the lights looked. That's the beauty of Christmas lights -- they always look good, even the small pathetic ones and even the gaudy Las Vegas blinking ones that have all the subtely of Tia Tequila. And being with your friend in the middle of the night, laughing hysterically, and singing along with a song everyone knows at least for a little while, well, that's the best part of the holidays, drinks optional. Waking up your ex from a deep slumber, as the Visa card commercial says, priceless. And even if you wake up and think about how you wish the tree looked better at night, every Christmas tree is beautiful in the glow of the winter darkness as the days keep getting shorter, as the past longer.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The object of a new year is not that we should have a new year. It's that we should have a new soul." G.K. Chesterton

Cocktail Hour
Thanks for all the great Christmas movie and tradition comments! And Jason, you can wear the Gap clothes because you do look stunningly handsome in the plaid, but we can both agree -- the commercials really do induce trauma.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy belated birthdays to my dear friends Keith and Robert! Keith is the uber-talented editor of Orchid and great writer, photographer, and all around cool guy. Robert, as you know him on the blog, is my ex-husband and also a wonderful photographer and all-around nice person, father to the beautiful Aria. Congrats to the beautiful Steph who has finished her last round of chemo! Happy Thursday to all!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Christmas Gift To You

Christmas can be a tough time of year -- obviously! I'm typing this with one of those godawful Gap ads in the background that makes me feel mildly crazy. But in the good spirit, I'm asking you guys to list favorite movies/songs/traditions. I'll be back tonight with a longer post!

For me -- Bad Santa, The Peanuts Christmas special, and Phil Spector's A Christmas Gift To You.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I sing the songs people need to hear." Etta James

Cocktail Hour
Working on a drink video this week, plus another look at the scar -- Tim is right, it's time!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! Will be up with the virtual counselling center soon -- the email for the questions is Send away and yes, Mark, you can always run a tab!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Doctor Is In

Hello all! I'm working on a new idea to add to the blog. In the spirit of Lucy on Peanuts, I'm setting up a virtual counselling booth. Instead of her requisite nickel, I'll be charging two dollars per question and ten dollars for a video answer. I'll probably add the necessary widget by the end of the week, so please feel free to start thinking about questions. Do I have credentials? I graduated from the same school as Dr. Phil and have a similar accent. The questions can cover the waterfront and can be answered privately or publicly, depending on what you want. Back tomorrow with more!

Monday, December 14, 2009


As a rule, I'm a slow writer. I don't mind this trait -- it gives me time to hone the sentences and really give stories the final touch. It gives me time to let things percolate. But lately I've been writing ten pages a day to finish a book. This can be done if you block out everything else in your life. Don't expect to wear cute outfits or go to fun places. Don't expect to be the life of the party or even marginally groomed. But even beyond these surface concerns, you're forced to plot faster which for me was a saving grace. I'm pretty good at turning a phrase, not so good at plot. From the time I started writing, I didn't understand I had to create tension (beyond internal) and conflict. Writing fast forced me to do this more effectively.

I'm in the final editing phase of How To Own and Operate A Haunted House. All the characters have come and visited me in my dreams over the last few days, as if saying goodbye. The main character told me she went to India and decided to stay. I don't know what this means as I've never been to India nor had any particular feelings about the place. But after two weeks of doing little else, I'm glad and sad to be finished. My friends are gone, to India and elsewhere apparently. I'm left to my own devices, which have never been all that effective.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I keep telling people, ignore the prison. But the prison is always there." Heidi Fleiss

Cocktail Hour
Really loved the season finale of Californication! Any opinions from those who have seen it?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Picture Perfect

Happy official start to the holiday season! I hope you guys are having a good weekend. Here's another piece (one teeny-tiny paragraph) of the now FINISHED novel. Glory hallulah! I'm going to write tomorrow on the virtues of both slow and fast writing and a little on the process with this one. Thanks for reading!

I wish I could take a picture that meant something, but the more time I spend in the darkroom, the more I realize how difficult it is to capture essence, something that can make your heart ache. The Vietnamese man having his brains blown out, the Buddhist monk immolating himself, the woman in the hotel room, bloody and dead as the result of an illegal abortion. Once I cut Daddy’s head off trying to get a shot of him and some relatives on a Hamburglar merry-go-round at a McDonald’s playground. He kept telling me to hold the camera in a different way. What can I say? I got the Hamburglar, but I lost Daddy.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stardust Memories

Hi all -- thanks so much for all the truly lovely comments yesterday! You guys are the very best. Here's a picture of me as a wee one preparing for Detroit. Most of my childhood shots are in the sun (as Dave pointed out -- from the Sunbelt to the Rustbelt and loving it!), so this is a rarity. Now I know a lot of my readers don't like Woody Allen and maybe some of you haven't forgiven him for his recent marriage. I understand. Skip this list. But in no particular order, here's my favorite Woody Allen movies. Will be back tomorrow, my dears.

Stardust Memories
Annie Hall
Husbands and Wives
Crimes and Misdemeanors
Broadway Danny Rose
Hannah and Her Sisters
Match Point

Wednesday, December 09, 2009

The Whole World Is A Graveyard

A year ago today, I almost died. I can sort of get my mind around this knowledge, but only partially because I don't know that anyone can comprehend her own death. I can hear my dear Hank saying, That's because they're too busy imagining other people's death. He also enjoyed telling people, Homicide not suicide when they got perturbed. He's been dead for a handful of years now, and I still hear him all the time in my head as if nothing had changed. I had written a blog post every single day for two years and a year ago was the first time I missed a day. I hated missing even one day, although I have let up on my iron discipline a bit since the whole ruptured appendix debacle. A year ago today, the doctors said I didn't have a very good shot at survival. I had last rites, which was kind of cool. I'd recommend this even if you're healthy just to get it out of the way. Then I had some hope, and then the doctors finally said I got to go home (are there ever any sweeter words than these in any context? I don't think so) and hope that the sepsis didn't return. They had no real idea why I survived by their own admission. Or why nothing bad came of the whole experience -- I could have had the sepsis return or as a doctor friend told me, I'm glad you still have your memory. A lot of people have brain damage after the shock. Good to know.

But what I did get was far more than I could have imagined. All of my friends, readers, family (and most people fit into more than one category) showed me more love and support than I could imagine. I'm certainly not worthy of such love, but hey, I'll take it! I wish I could properly thank everyone, tell each person how their well wishes and small and large kindnesses brought me back from the valley of dry bones. And that you can learn to sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land, the land of illness and brokenness and return more grateful than ever.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“Death is terrifying because it is so ordinary. It happens all the time.” Susan Cheever

Cocktail Hour
Go have your favorite drink and celebrate, my dears!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! And yes my dearest Mark, the year of sickness is over. But I get a coney too!

Alive Day

Hey everyone -- thanks for all the encouragement as I enter the home stretch of writing How To Own And Operate A Haunted House. Today is the day one year ago I had emergency surgery after my appendix ruptured to wash out my internal organs. Don't do this -- it's a bad idea. The resulting sepsis nearly killed me. Surgeon's exact words: "She might make it, but it doesn't look good." I'll be writing about this later today, but for now, a very happy Wednesday to all!

Monday, December 07, 2009

Don't Stand So Close To Me

Hey guys -- thanks for all the great comments about cheating! I agree with Lana -- that level of distrust would be hard to take, as well as Jason -- a person always gets caught (the old Bible verse -- what is done in the darkness, will be made known in the light) and Chris' comment that abuse and neglect can push somone to go outside a relationship. Jodi's comment comparing the saintly Tiger Woods' fall from grace to a snowman in Texas made me laugh. Poor Tiger -- he's up to seven now, the latest a porn star. What's the old Chris Rock line about a man being as faithful as his options? Yikes. Apparently, he had access to a buffet table. Here's the next excerpt from my novel. I have five more ten page days (kind of like two a days that Texas high school coaches are so fond of in the August heat) and then I am finished. Thanks so much for reading!

Kristen told us that night if she got a boob job and a nose job, she might be able to get into Playboy someday. I could see her in one of the magazines in Shane’s fort, her picture growing more and more tattered in the elements while she had a glamorous, tortured life.

As I drive to another day in front of my Mac, making up stories out of the thinnest of facts and details, I feel boring in comparison. I’m thin with a big ass, but no noticeable breasts except when I wear a padded bra. Most of the time I got without a bra altogether, a sad attempt at a political statement that no one notices.

Being a feminist in the late 80s sucks. Ten years ago, I read Daddy’s Newseek every Friday, raiding his briefcase when he came home from work and cutting out articles about domestic abuse, sexual violence, equal pay for equal work. I still have the clippings. But the articles began to change, and I remember a column written by a woman who had left her first husband after reading the first copy of Ms. Now she felt stuck with the bulk of childcare while her ex dated women half his age. She dated men who made her pay for her own coffee with laundry quarters. Equality, she wrote, meant having to pay for everything while you ex-husband jetted off to Aspen with a big-breasted snow bunny half his age. She had a small head shot next to her column where she looked frumpy and worn down. It reminded me of my column, What Ever In The World Is So Wrong? Most of my teachers weren’t wild about my column given that the subject matter made them nervous. If only they had known I was sleeping with one of their colleagues, they would have really been disturbed. Don’t stand, as Sting sang, so close to me.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The first rule of holes: when you're in one, stop digging." Molly Ivins

Cocktail Hour
One more episode of Californication! Loved last night's shenanigans.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Happy Birthday Shawn!

Here's one of my favorite pictures of my dear Shawn! Happy Birthday, Bamms! I'll be back later today with another post. Until then, I hope you're having a happy Sunday!

Friday, December 04, 2009

Me Or Your Lying Eyes?

Back when I was a wee child, I knew all the signs of a man or woman having an affair -- the Lee Press On Nail clinging to a shirt, the hang-up phone calls on what is now almost an obsolete technology, the land line, the whispered intimacies at parties. It took a lot of planning to have an affair what with no cell phones or computers. You had to be where you said you would be, meetings were not spontaneous. But in some ways, I'm guessing celebrities like the beleaguered Tiger Woods were better off -- people might have suspected, but they had no proof. Like the old Richard Pryor line, even if you got caught in the act, you could simply say, Who you going to believe? Me or your lying eyes?

In an information age, you can both get away with more and less. An affair, besides the requisite attraction, requires that you create a social space outside your marriage. That's not tremendously difficult if you have a job, an email address, or access to your own car, your own phone. You get where this is going. But if you do take advantage of these luxuries, your significant other's lying eyes can be supplemented with texts, voice messages, emails, the works. If you're Tiger, you better believe that one of your lovers might have not erased your texts with the message to erase everything, wifey knows! Many people I know are enjoying the downfall of Tiger (and I thought I was the only one who didn't really like his public persona and found his story a bit sanctimonious -- note to all, this is not a judgement, just my own personal taste), I'm not feeling anything about it one way or the other except interest in the bigger questions. Why do men or women cheat?(Julie Powell, author of Julie and Julia just wrote a book about cheating on her husband and learning how to butcher animals -- not probably the feel good hit of the year, but I'm guessing I'm reading it if only for the symbolism 101 in comparing the two activities). Does having a lot of money help you cheat? Damn skippy it does. And what of the aftermath? Can this marriage or any marriage be saved after a betrayal of trust? And who are you going to believe when it's all said and done -- the evidence, the man (or woman), or your lying eyes?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You can always become better." Tiger Woods

Cocktail Hour
Thinking of going to see Precious which looks great -- have any of you beautiful people seen it?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Your Beautiful Destiny

Here's another section of the novel -- tomorrow a post on infidelity, a la Tiger Woods. Not about him, per se, but about the issues of text, voice mail, and cheating in our post-modern age. If you guys have any thoughts before or after the post, please speak oracle!

We all pile into Melissa’s Nissan, Angela Dawn riding shotgun, Kristen and I cracking jokes about being more comfortable in the back.

“So where are we going?” Melissa asks.

“To Hell if we don’t change our ways,” I say.

“Enough with the peanut gallery, Mrs. Shane. You’ve been about as useful as disconnected doorknob. Kristen, what direction do I need to go? I’m assuming Ft. Worth,” Melissa says.

“Assume means making an ass out of u and me,” Angela Dawn says.

“Ft. Worth,” Kristen says.

We get there in record time, the radio blaring out Madonna’s True Blue album.

When we get to the edge of town, Kristen directs us to Sinbad’s, a topless bar.

“We can get free drinks here,” she says.

“Hell, we can get free drinks at Woodys,” I say, referring to a Quonset hut on the edge of town that’s now a hamburger place. “Must we see naked women while sipping our delightful beverages?”

Then it dawns on me and Melissa that Kristen works at Sinbad’s which explains how her money crisis of yore was solved so quickly. Stealing twenty dollar bills from her dad’s wallet wasn’t going to fix everything. But shaking, as the boys have taken to saying, what her momma gave her does. Although the reference to a mother in this case seems insensitive. King of like when Hank’s dad calls him George after the cartoon, George of the Jungle. As in, Watch out for that tree!

Angela Dawn, despite her name, has no revelations even when Kristen tells us her name is Myra for the time being. What kind of stripper name is Myra?

“Fathers lock up your sons,” the DJ yells as we walk in the door. “The most beautiful lady you’re about to see is Destiny. As in yours for the next few minutes. Give it up for your beautiful Destiny.”

Onstage there’s a pellucid-looking girl who swirls around the pole while Def Leopard’s "Pour Some Sugar On Me" blares from the speakers. For not the first time, I think how lucky Melissa is to not have to get a summer job.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I don't want people to know what I'm actually like. It's not good for an actor." Jack Nicholson

Cocktail Hour
Special thanks to all who notified me that the link yesterday didn't work and a very special thanks to Mark who found it. My hero! I'll repost it in a bit and all you guys can vote for the friend of my dear Angela.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! And thanks for all the great comments -- all is well here, thanks for asking, Chris! I'm on a ten page a day schedule to finish the novel by next Friday so it's a bit of a gruel, but I look forward to that final day and the joyous cocktail hour at the end of it. And Dave, no disrespect to anyone in the AIDS Day post -- but I will always find those protesters (Westboro Baptist Church and more specifically, the Phelps family) so disturbing and disrespectful, I'll never understand why they do what they do. But the pictures are back! And thanks to my beautiful Jodi for worrying about my safety in picture taking of our fair city. And I'm wishing all of you a wonderful week!

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Hi there!

This is from my dearest Angela -- check it out and help her buddy out! Back at you later with more thoughts, addled as they may be.

A couple months ago, I was contacted by J Leggio of Briefcase Blues to write a jingle for a Safe Auto jingle contest. The request was simple: "please write a Safe Auto jingle in the style of the Blues Brothers." Well, here it is:

"Play it Safe" Safe Auto Jingle
Performed by Briefcase Blues

Music and Lyrics by Graham Richards

The voting continues through January 31st, 2010, and last year's winner had over 30,000 votes. Any help from friends and family would be greatly appreciated. MULTIPLE VOTES ARE ACCEPTABLE, anyone can vote repeatedly up to once per HOUR. If you have a moment to click on the link above and cast a vote, it takes a couple seconds, and there is no registration required. The winner nets a contract with Safe Auto.

More Detroit Shots

Back at you this afternoon with a music recommendation from my dear Angela!

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

The Beautiful Room Is Empty

In honor of AIDS day, I tried to do a little research on the most odious of all groups, Westboro Baptist Church, known as the God Hates Fags church, but my computer wouldn't let me open any of their websites for some reason. Good computer! Where do these nuts come from? Where does anyone gain such surety of their position? When AIDS came on the scene, I decided to volunteer at an AIDS support center. My only credential was that I had read Edmund White's The Beautiful Room Is Empty. This was enough. There weren't a lot of people signing up in those days. AIDS was pretty much a death sentence at that point, and I spent a lot of time wondering how dying people could act so normal. Presumably if I were dying, I would spend every single moment in a panic. Such is the stupid way the young think.

Of course, I learned a lot during my time there, as anyone with two or three brain cells would. I learned how good people are, how strong. How petty bullshit still matters even in the most dire circumstances. How afraid a lot of people are of everything and how fear makes people mean -- note the God Hates Fags website, the protests at funerals. I remember my last day at the center, packing up groceries from the food bank to be distributed to those in need like I usually did. I knew I would miss it, and I still do.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The capacity for getting along with our neighbor depends to a large extent on the capacity for getting along with ourselves. The self-respecting individual will try to be as tolerant of his neighbor's shortcomings as he is of his own." Eric Hoffer

Cocktail Hour
Twinkle Twinkle (the first of the Christmas shots)

one part Irish Creme
one part Creme de Menthe
one part grenadine
Layer with a spoon so that the colors stand alone.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!