Friday, April 30, 2010

It's A Beautiful Day In The Neighborhood

Hi everyone -- it's a beautiful day in the D and I'll be back with photographs from around the way soon! My friend Cal is a true yogi (unlike me who just takes the class from time to time) and said in a workshop he heard the following quote which I thought I would share: "You think you're stuck with your body? Well, buddy I've got news for you. Maybe your body feels stuck with you." Something to think about when indulging in the standard body hatred. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Fashion Forward

Thanks for all the well wishes on finishing You Are The Camera. Special thanks to Lana for the good fortune! And I totally agree with you on the Jack K. issue -- don't get me started on those wretched commercials for cancer centers that "care" when your local doctor tells you that you don't have very long to live. Note the "results not typical" caveat after the inspirational story of surviving Stage Four pancreatic cancer.

At any rate, I'm worn out, worn down, and ready for the wrap party! In lieu of the light posts I'm usually wont to do about assisted suicide, sexual violence, and death, I'm going to opt for something a little more serious. It's no secret that I love clothes. So who are my fashion role models? Well, here's a partial list culled from television:

Lindsay -- main character on Freaks and Geeks. 1980 in metro Detroit. Army jacket and jeans. Good low mainentance look.

The women of Dark Shadows -- this is perhaps too obvious to even mention.

Joan on Mad Men -- I have a theory that of the women who watch this show, most either relate to Betty or Joan. I like Betty, but I love Joan and would kill for the necklace she wears dashing around the office.

Maude -- yes, you heard me. Bea Arthur is just that cool.

Morticia on the Addams Family -- again, maybe too obvious to mention.

Adriana on The Sopranos -- sometimes too much is just enough.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“When I hear somebody sigh, "Life is hard," I am always tempted to ask, "Compared to what?"” Sydney J. Harris

Cocktail Hour
I'm enjoying evil little packets of something called Vibrant Cleanse. My friend Cal called me on my bullshit on this one, stating that I "in no way, shape, or form have any desire to cleanse" and referred to them as "hunger-strike packets" intended for weight control. Busted. Even so, no worries. I'm not doing any master cleanse and giving up food.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, April 26, 2010

It Is Finished

Hey guys -- thanks for all the great comments on my You Don't Know Jack post. In strange news, the good doctor's deathmobile was scheduled to be sold on EBay tomorrow and then got yanked for "policy" reasons. (See comment on my Hemlock post.) Interesting. In the good news category, I've pretty much finished You Are The Camera. Thanks for all the support over the past year. I realize that writing a book takes as long as it takes which is about twice the time you thought it would take. (conservative estimate -- in truth, it's probably three times the amount of time) Without you guys encouraging me, I might have given up the proverbial ghost. I think of Gloria Steinem saying that she likes having written, not writing itself. That's not entirely true for me, but I understand it. My tendency is a desperate desire to be finished a long time before I've worked out all the problems, a wish for the appearance of completion and wholeness that bears no relation to reality. I'm guessing I am the only person on the planet with this problem, but if not, feel free to share. I'm working on an acknowledgements section so I'll post that soon. As for tonight, Nurse Jackie continues! I'll be back tomorrow with more!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Hemlock Society

As a child, I wanted to join the Hemlock Society after reading Jean's Way: A Love Story, a book about his wife's terminal illness and assisted death, by Derek Humphry. My parents put the kibosh on that idea because there was no such group in Mineral Wells, Texas, and I was only ten years old. Instead I was allowed to do the puppet show for Vacation Bible School. It wasn't the same, but I enjoyed acting out little performances and waiting for Jesus to return from the dead as we were charged with acting Holy Saturday and Easter. Where is He, I could imagine the disciples saying, with lots of Monday-morning quarterbacking. But I never lost my interest in end of life issues for the mortals. As a Catholic, I know I'm supposed to say that all life is precious if those irritating You Can't Be Catholic and Pro-Choice bumperstickers are to be believed. Guess what, you can. You can go to mass on Saturday night and watch You Don't Know Jack afterward and deeply admire the crackpot ways of Jack Kevorkian. Maybe it's genetic -- my mother sufffered greatly from cancer throughout her life and always said she wanted to call him if things got too terrible.

When I got to Michigan, Jack Kevorkian's trials had begun, a media circus. The man people called Dr. Death had assisted one hundred and thirty people by this time. The details of his rise and downfall are played to perfection in You Don't Know Jack. Al Pacino plays Jack K. with all his quirks on full display, so much so that you never see Al Pacino. Is Jack Kevorkian likable? Yes, in that way that crazy people with a mission are. Do you want to go to the Big Boy with him? Maybe, maybe not. Nobody longs for the day in which the suffering becomes too great to want to live. The scenes in this movie that made me cry were the ones in which real footage from people seeking help from Jack Kevorkian were shown. The worst of the lot was a man that Dr. Kevorkian turned down, a clinically depressed paraplegic who had doused himself in gasoline and set himself on fire. Jack refused to assist him in suicide, given his depression. Human suffering, like the poor, will always be with us. Those brave enough to stare into the abyss of it, well, they will always be in short supply.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You will always be fond of me. I represent to you all the sins you never had the courage to commit." Oscar Wilde

Cocktail Hour
HBO Suggestion -- enjoyed the second episode of Treme. We'll see if it makes it to my trinity of goodness -- Hung, Californication, and Nurse Jackie.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy birthday to Al Pacino!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Snake Farm

Another excerpt -- more soon!

“Don’t be afraid, Shelley,” Mother said, using her affectionate nickname for me. Nobody except her ever called me Shelley, and she never used it except when she was trying to be sweet. I’d offered to accompany her in hopes of buying some unusual Christmas gifts for my friends in Michigan. But once there, I didn’t think it was a great idea.

Harlon had worked at the farm for a couple of years and none of the people Mother knew when she was young and selling snakes still worked there. Harlon told us a lot of them had died from the acetone used to make the paperweights. “They think it gave them cancer,” Harlon reported.

I wondered if this had affected Mother. She looked so frail among all the snake merchandise, her weight plummeting post-surgery, her face drawn and tired. Now she relied on a steady stream of Vicodin to get her through the day. Much of her time was spent in her darkened bedroom watching television, the set surrounded by tiny stuffed animals that Beth had bought to make her feel better. Mother enjoyed The Sopranos and documentaries about people who had undergone violent transformations.

She looked happy in the snake farm, but I could tell she wanted to get home. “I think I’ve seen it all,” she said as I paid for a dandelion encapsulated in a paperweight.

“I don’t know how the guy does it so that the dandelion looks like you’re just about to make a wish,” Harlon said. “Seems like it would get all fucked up in the goop surrounding it.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Once you've been really bad in a movie, there's a certain kind of fearlessness you develop." Jack Nicholson

Cocktail Hour
Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper, Dr. Pepper!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy belated birthdays to Nick, Iggy Pop, and today is Jack Nicholson. The Taurus cycle begins . . . Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

My Plot Is Thickening

Hi everyone -- hope you're having a good week. Like Snoopy, I'm busily typing away and trying to address issues with plot. My favorite definition of plot comes from the great noir writer Jim Thompson: Things are not what they seem. If you write or do something else artistic, what parts do you struggle with the most?

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

The Mayor Of Detroit

Hey guys -- here's a bumper sticker that got made a couple of years ago when the former mayor of Detroit got caught in various debacles. Today he's facing the music yet again. I'm still working away -- back soon!

Monday, April 19, 2010

Lost Satellite Reception

My least favorite writing prompt or question is What is your most embarrassing moment? I mean, really. How the hell am I supposed to narrow it down? Oh, put more simply, do I talk about what is really embarrassing -- sins of pride, arrogance, acts of intentional cruelty, petty jealousy, poor boundaries, a default position of aggrieved disappointment when things don't work? Or do I settle for the time when my GPS went off during mass because of a dying battery and kept saying Lost Satellite Reception every few minutes while I desperately tried to alternately turn it off and when that didn't work, bury it in my purse while pretending that I didn't know what was happening?

I like the symbolism of the last moment and had to laugh when I was safely back in my car, cursing the GPS and sad that I had missed large parts of the homily about the fig tree and how it was given a second chance even though it bore no fruit. I think about that little tree a lot, you know, about how it didn't do anything. I sympathize with the dude in the Bible who buried his talent because he was afraid. Fear of damn near everything ruled my life for a long time. When I stepped out of that cycle, I realized that the wreckage was everywhere. I had lost my way in a proverbial dark woods. So you unbury the talent. And you wait until reception returns and the direction is clear.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Think. The big fucking picture." Tony Soprano

Cocktail Hour
Hung being filmed in the Diego Rivera room at the DIA today -- too cool for words! Can't wait until the show returns.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Marci continues to make progress -- thanks for all the good thoughts.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Instant History

Sunday reading for my dears -- see you tomorrow.

On our way to Detroit, Angela and I stopped at a roadside café in Arkansas, the only place for miles where we could park our U-Haul. Both starving from our steady diet of M&Ms on the road, we ordered chicken fried steaks and surveyed our surroundings which seemed grim to her and familiar to me.

“We are the only people in the whole place who aren’t related to each other. Seriously,” Angela said.

The place didn’t strike me as odd as it did her; I’d come from Mineral Wells, where indeed most people were kin to each other in one way or another, making gossiping about anyone a tricky business. Hank and I managed to keep most of the blood lines straight with occasional gaffes relating to cousins by marriage and the like.

“And everyone is smoking,” Angela said. “Do they have any idea they are killing themselves? Don’t they care about second hand smoke?”

I glanced at a thin worn woman who appeared to be in her late forties and at least seven months pregnant. She sat smoking at a table with a man who put his hand on her stomach. He looked young enough to be her son.

“I don’t know if word about the dangers of smoke has gotten out around here,” I said. I didn’t mind it so much. It reminded me of the days when Grandma Yvette lived with us and a thick yellow cloud hung over her corner of the kitchen enclave like Pig Pen’s dirty aura.

“God, what do you think their story is?” Angela asked, referring to the unlikely couple.

“Hard to tell,” I said. “Instant history says the guy is a friend of her son who became involved with her after he dropped out of high school.” Hank and I played Instant History whenever we went somewhere new. The game didn’t work in Mineral Wells where we knew the histories all too well.

Our food came, my first bite reminding me of Salisbury steak day in elementary school. Angela put down her fork after a few half-hearted attempts at ignoring the obvious. We stuck with the mashed potatoes and asked for the check.

“I’m not going to forget this stop,” she said. “Let’s get you to Detroit. It may not be great, I know it’s better than this.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When you have nothing left to burn, you must set yourself on fire." Jack Kevorkian

Cocktail Hour
Drinking new show suggestion: Treme on HBO -- missed the first episode, but looking forward to watching.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Thanks for all the good energies and prayers for Marci! I'll keep you posted on her condition. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Health Update

Health update -- thanks for all the good thoughts and prayers for my friend Marci. She suffered a pulmonary embolism and will be in the hospital for a few more days. This is me and Baby Grouchie wishing her lots of love. Obviously, this whole incident is very scary and serious, but they caught it in time. I'm almost finished with my rewrite of You Are The Camera and will probably post a few more excerpts. Hope you're having a great weekend, my dears!

Friday, April 16, 2010

Words, Words, Words

Hey guys -- thanks so much for reading the excerpts this week! Here's a virtual bouquet for your efforts. As for comment questions, Dave -- I can't remember what the princess in that long ago workshop story did. I do remember it was followed by a tale of sexual obsession about a man who kept stalking a Jack in the Box employee. Forever emblazoned in my mind is this sentence: "He kept stopping back in the Box for one last spicy treat." Gorgeous Jodi, I did live on Courville pre rat-infested apartment. Like men, I can pick them. My next place is going to be a step up, I feel certain. To the anonymous comment about why D didn't help me with the tire -- he was at work. No cell phones in those days. One had to rely on the kindness of strangers. As Mark pointed out, most of them weren't really strangers. Angels in disguise! Okay, pet peeve words -- Mark, you best not start with these either! I'm limiting it to three today.

Using impact as a verb. Seriously, I hate this one. Unless you are a tooth, you are not impacted by anything.

Fresh, as in when people say, This food is so fresh. As if everything else they have been eating is stale and old.

Nice, as in when people use it ironically. I don't know why, but I hate it when you do something stupid and someone says, Nice in that long, extended dance-mix way. Anything is preferable to this, even the old grade school bon mot, Smooth move, Ex-Lax.

In other news, my dear friend Marci is ill and in the hospital. She's the one who informed you guys of my ruptured appendix. Not entirely sure what's wrong yet, but please send lots of love, prayers, and good energies her way.

I'll be back tomorrow -- tax season is done. May your weekend be a restful one!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

101 Freaky Ways To Die

Hey everyone, hope you're surviving tax day! This is another excerpt from You Are The Camera and probably the last one I'll post for a bit. Tomorrow, I return to share with you words I hate. Yes, I have a list of pet peeve words. Or maybe I'll write about that sex machine, Larry King who is working on divorce eight. Kidding. At least about mentioning sex and Larry King in the same sentence again.

I didn’t feel comfortable using the phone for long distance since David paid for it and didn’t even want a phone despite the fact that it informed him of the rare snow day and also served as our only means to contact the police. With a 911 lag time of six hours in the city proper, he might have had a point about its inefficacy. Even so, I bought phone cards with my bottle deposit money and called friends from home when I could, especially Hank who had taken to sending me clippings from various newspapers about serial killers. It reminded me of when we were kids and read stories from a book titled 101 Freaky Ways To Die! which we treated as required reading. Our favorite was a B-list actress who had taken a cocktail of pills only to drown to death with her head in the toilet. Denton, he claimed, had grown as stale and wearisome as Mineral Wells, declaring that he had become the proverbial turd in the punchbowl at most gatherings. At least he could still hear the sound of the train from his apartment which made him happy. Even if he chose to stay put for a little while longer, he knew other people were on the move.

I had five hundred dollars in my bank account, and thought I might get three hundred more from my deposit on the duplex in Denton. My car payments were two hundred a month, and I knew I could let them slide for three months before the threat of repossession loomed. For two months, I returned David’s beer bottles to get money, Michigan offering ten cents each, and I sent my resume to local colleges. There hadn’t been a lot of hope in terms of finding a job in academia given to us in graduate school so I also applied for any receptionist jobs listed in the local papers. Even though my car wasn’t paid for, it was falling apart. People in Michigan referred to it as a beater, a term I had never heard. At least I didn’t drive a foreign car like most people in Texas. Foreign cars were considered betrayal which I found refreshing. As I drove out of my neighborhood in six inches of snow, my front right tire goes flat on East Warren. I managed to get it to a gas station connected to an oil change center.

“Man, I feel so so sad for this little car,” one of the mechanics said as he surveyed my tire.

“I’m new here,” I said as two guys graciously offer to change my tire to the donut spare I have in the trunk. I was freezing, but they seemed totally unfazed in their gray overalls. “I’m from Texas and don’t know how to drive in the snow.”

“You the new white girl on Courville?” one asked.

“Probably,” I said.

“This will last you for a little bit, but you need a real tire to get around this shit.”

“Yep,” the other guy said. “Michigan ain’t no joke.”

I nodded, so grateful not to be stuck.

The man put the flat tire back in my trunk. “I’m telling you, Michigan, this state, it ain’t no joke.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass, it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself." Henry Miller

Cocktail Hour
Tonight Sober House continues -- yay!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Hi everyone -- one more day until the dreaded tax day. Thanks so much for reading the excerpts. Very soon the whole revised project will be done. My dearest Jodi will be the first to know, then all of you!

David moved in August to start the school year while I awaited my defense in October. My graduate hours completed, I could no longer teach which was a relief. Instead I worked twenty hours a week in the graduate studies office, and I worked part-time for Angela as an office assistant at the university in the computer science department where everyone had advice about my predicament.

“There’s loads of inappropriate middle-aged men here,” one adjunct in the department said. “You don’t need to drag your shit halfway across the country.”

“I think people have a betting pool,” Angela said. “Kind of like football season.”

The soundtrack to these lonely days was the Clash’s “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” Hank hummed a darker song, Queen’s “Another One Bites The Dust.” We went out to dinner a couple nights a week, grim slogs through formerly happy haunts that seemed to say, Nevermore, like Poe’s “Raven” gone awry. Even the reliable Chinese buffet that had charmed us in our undergraduate days with its cheap prices and loads of MSG had lost its luster. I pushed around chunks of sesame chicken and tried to make conversation. Hank couldn’t read the small writing on his fortunes so he always handed them to me without a word. Years ago, he got one that said, She loves you as much as she can, she just can’t love you very much. Hank laughed and attributed the sentiment to Erin, whom had left town for London and who had only sent one letter to me, imploring me in the postscript to love her as much as she loved me. I didn’t know what she meant, and I didn’t want to know.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It's very difficult to keep the line between the past and the present. You know what I mean? It's awfully difficult." Edith 'Little Edie' Bouvier Beale

Cocktail Hour
It's Restaurant Week in Detroit!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


One more section of You Are The Camera for Tuesday morning. Thanks so much for reading!

Hank hated the new configuration. While he had no problem with the divorce and neither Robert nor I had forced him into any loyalty tests, what had seemed ideal turned rancid. He loved me being single again, loved that he was right about the foolishness of the marriage, and glad for his friendship with Robert. They played guitar together a couple of times a week and each Christmas gave out tapes of themselves performing duets with alternate lyrics to such ditties as John Mellencamp’s “Small Town,” calling themselves The Cat and The Dog. I had briefly dated Hank’s friend Eric, a sweet ex-Marine with whom I had almost nothing in common. But David was different. Hank began to hate David even before the Detroit move was a possibility. After a particularly boring creative writing workshop where a student presented a story about a princess with the power to see through walls, Hank and I sat on the bench outside the English department, discussing the situation.

“He’s a dinosaur, Michelle. He’s old enough to be your . . .”

“My uncle,” I interrupted.

“Your father. You don’t have an uncle. You have a wonderful dad. Why do you need someone who hasn’t had a date since the Carter administration?”

“He’s had dates. Remember how he took Shelley to the Christmas party?”

“Yeah, and I also remembered how she got drunk and cried at the after party because he wouldn’t sleep with her. He told her he had to coach little league. Jesus. What a fucking moron.” Hank didn’t wear a Scruples card in his hat anymore, but I could still see him turning it around from the good angel side to the pitchfork side like he did when Robert and I announced our engagement.

“He wakes up early to run. What’s so wrong about that?” I asked.

“Nothing if you’re Forest fucking Gump. The only thing that could get me to run is if the Devil himself were chasing me.”

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Any band that is out there chasing it is doing more destruction to music then someone who is out there playing what they truly feel." Bret Michaels

Cocktail Hour
Nurse Jackie was great last night -- complications galore!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Dessert Tray

Hi everyone -- happy Friday! I hope everyone is enjoying the weekend before the dreaded tax day and also reveling in the Tiger's opening day victory. I leave you with some virtual dessert for your viewing pleasure and will be back tomorrow with my ongoing struggles with plot, rewriting, and the general meanderings you know all too well.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Just Do It

One of my favorite Onion headlines has to do with Valentine's Day -- Partner's Same Apalling Body Shoved Into Skimpy New Underwear. Today Nike debuted an ad with Tiger Woods where his dead father has a voice-over while a picture of Tiger looking remorseful flashes on the screen. I took pause -- this seems really creepy to me. To me, people. Tiger's father is saying all sorts of things about why, why, why to an unseen interviewer. We never get the context, but no matter. We supply it. Why, Tiger, did you fuck up your career, dead daddy is saying. Just tell me; I'll understand. Okay. Tiger doesn't speak and the familiar Nike swoosh appears.

The second car I ever owned came with a dying alternator and a Nike bumpersticker that said, Just Do It. I hate bumperstickers for some reason and tried and tried to get this one off, but couldn't. It seemed I was destined to drive around in a shitty car imploring me and everyone on the road to Just Do It! But what? I suppose it's an injunction against paralysis by analysis. Some people can live their whole lives in quiet desperation. But is Nike really trying to sell me shoes based on remorse for Tiger having just done it, a lot of it, in fact? I suppose so. Tiger didn't lose his contract with Nike, but he has to take this public scolding from his dead father. Worth it? God, let's hope it is to him. Same body, different lingerie.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A penumbra of somber dignity has descended over his reputation." James Atlas

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Happy Alex Lemon

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Wednesday Addams Asks A Question

It's midweek and in lieu of a post, I will ask a question -- what are your favorite blogs or websites? What form of social networking do you enjoy most and why? I'll be back tomorrow -- hope you're having a great week, my dears!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"When the solution is simple, God is answering." Albert Einstein

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Lit Mary Karr

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

It's Not Enough That I Succeed

I was at a poetry reading (against my will, I might add) a few months ago where said poet criticized my beloved Anne Sexton, telling a student that she was much better than Anne Sexton (really?) and that Sexton wasn't very good and had made herself into a sideshow freak. This poet did his reading while I tuned out (a talent I honed during the worst of the open mike nights at Jim's Diner, a tried and true hang-out during college where grad students loved to read their suicide notes in a small room without air conditioning) and thought about why writers love to put other writers down. It shows one of our worst qualities -- vast insecurity borne of loneliness and misery, a pernicious side effect of too much time alone in the bad neighborhood of the mind. If this person was trying to establish a sort of snobby credential, it had the opposite effect. So in the spirit of defending the great Ms. Sexton, I'm posting one of her poems that I love.


When they turn the sun
on again, I'll plant children
under it, I'll light up my soul
with a match and let it sing. I'll
take my mother and soap her up, I'll
take my bones and polish them, I'll
vacuum up my stale hair, I'll
pay all my neighbor's bad debts, I'll
write a poem called Yellow and put
my lips down to drink it up, I'll
feed myself spoonfuls of heat and
everyone will be home playing with
their wings and the planet will
shudder with all those smiles and
there will be no poison anywhere, no plague
in the sky and there will be a mother-broth
for all of the people and we will
never die, not one of us, we'll go on,
won't we?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I just get an idea and then all of a sudden I've got a song." John Lee Hooker

Cocktail Hour
Drinking memoir suggestion: Literary Life Larry McMurtry

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Permanent Collection

What happens when you finally get something you have wanted for a very long time and don't want it anymore? This is the question posed by Up In The Air, a film I just watched on dvd again and love. George Clooney plays Ryan Bingham, a man who knows himself well. He doesn't want marriage, children, or a permanent place to live. He makes a living firing people and teaching others to rid themselves of baggage. He practices what he preaches; his apartment is as sparse as a monk's cell and his backpack contains only essentials, the most important ones being those elite status cards that tell him who he is. Contrary to popular belief, there aren't that many perks to being a gold member. It's more the idea of yourself as a person who deserves more than the other unwashed masses -- that's what places are selling, not a better seat on the plane or a cookie at check-in.

Of course, Ryan changes over the course of the film. He falls in love, that transformative force. He takes a risk that he didn't imagine he would take, and it doesn't work out. He gets what he wants (reaching the ten million air mile point), but he finds it's not at all as he imagined. Even though he's most himself surrounded by strangers who know his name, he doesn't know who he is. Like the people he fires, he finds himself completely adrift, trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life. He looks at that familiar screen with all those arrivals and departures. Where will he go from here? It feels as hopeless as those without work, but it's not. He has all those miles; he can go anywhere he wants.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Anything worth doing is worth overdoing." Mick Jagger

Cocktail Hour
Drinking cable suggestion: How To Make It In America

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Happy Easter!

Hi everyone! Hope you're having a wonderful Easter weekend. I'll be back to posting tomorrow, but for now I want to take this opportunity to thank you all for reading this blog and for all your wonderful comments. Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Sin And The Art Of War

This is dedicated to Rob (check out his wonderful, thoughtful blog Thanks so much for the writing prompt!)

Most of success in anything is showing up. That's Woody Allen. As a writer, it's not the writing that's so difficult, it's getting started and making time for it. Same with athletic pursuits. And I believe so it is with sin. Most of turning away from sin is not in resisting it, but avoiding it. One can resist sin, but if you're in the position of having to resist it, much of the battle is already lost. You are already on death ground, in Art Of War terms. Much of doing what we don't want to do comes from pride, from believing we are beyond temptation. Consider St. Paul -- The thing I want to do, I do not do. The things I do not want to do, I do.

If you know yourself to any degree, you understand some of your fundamental moral weaknesses. To avoid putting yourself in situations where you will no doubt act like an asshole is the first step to wisdom. I think a major component of sin as self-harm. And if you're doing something to hurt yourself, you're separating yourself from others and from God, making yourself dangerous. The good news is you can stop. Go and sin no more. But instead of resisting sin, pushing against inward and outward flaws and temptations, why not avoid them? It's a different way of thinking about the struggle. Avoid the blows instead of trying not to get knocked out. Avoid death ground.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Being with people who make you feel alone is worse than being alone." World's Greatest Dad

Cocktail Hour
Drinking jazz suggestion for Easter weekend: Kind of Blue Miles Davis

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

April Fools!

Thanks for all the blog birthday wishes! I hope you're having a great first of April and nobody is playing any evil little tricks on you. I'll be back on Good Friday with a spell for the Holy Weekend.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I invented the feel no evil monkey." MacKenzie Phillips

Cocktail Hour
Still enjoying Dr. Drew on Sober House. Anybody else watching?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!