Monday, May 31, 2010

We Are All One

Coming to you on another Memorial Day weekend, hoping that everyone is enjoying what I consider the start of summer. Here's me and my sister Beth wishing you all lots of summer fun. But most importantly, I'd like to take this chance to thank all those who serve in the military -- past, present, and future. I grew up in a town that had a big military base during both World Wars and the Vietnam War. The motto for Camp Wolters was "We are all one." This could not be more true. My dad was a sergeant in the Army and the motto of his unit was "Blast Away!" On this day, along with every day, I extend my thanks to those who have given their time, hearts, and sometimes their lives for our country.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Rest In Peace

Rest in peace, Dennis Hopper, Gary Coleman, Art Linkletter. This week has been a bit on the death-drenched side, both in reality and celebrity news. Thanks for the comments on the whole how long can you blame your childhood for the crazy shit you do issue. I'm working on a longer response, but I've been a little down for the count with all the madness of the week. Happy Sunday!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Screen Memory

Am working to get caught up, but I'm grateful for your comments yesterday on the whole dating rules. I laughed about Chris's blonde comment -- ain't that always the way! And Charles -- I'm with you on having very flexible if any rules. Love doesn't work that way, I'm afraid.

Question for today inspired by the Jesse James' interview claiming that his abusive childhood was to blame for his current behavior -- how long is the statue of limitations on blaming the past for the present? Do you guys buy that particular excuse? I haven't formulated a thoughtful response to this issue, so I leave it to you until Saturday when I will post again. Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Robert's Rules Of Order

No kids, no cats, no redheads, no Disney. These were my friend Hank's rules for dating. You know what? God laughs at rule. The first woman he was serious about (read, slept with) had two kids, four cats, bright red hair that she had fashioned into dreadlocks, and a hatred for Disney. One out of four ain't bad, right? I liked his first girlfriend; she was cool. She was about ten years older than us; she'd had a life, several lovers (both male and female), two failed marriages, a dormant drug addiction, and a really beautiful house with grown up furniture. Around her I felt ready to take out my Cabbage Patch Kid doll.

Given Hank's stellar example of following his own rules, I had my own set but I never articulated them. The only thing that stayed the same was that I didn't follow mine either. What about you guys? Any deal breakers in love? Did you ever go back on your own rules?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Wisdom is knowing what to do next, skill is knowing how to do it, virtue is doing it." David Starr Jordan

Cocktail Hour
Full moon tonight . . .

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Still catching up on email from flu spell. Hope you guys are all staying healthy!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Damage Deposit

I just read that the Amityville Horror house in New York is on the market. As a Detroiter, this property is a bit out of my range, but it does beg the question -- who would buy such a place? Spaces, I believe, carry energy. I have a friend who lives in an apartment where an elderly woman was strangled. The apartment contains the energy. I loved one house I lived in, but the basement spooked everyone. My friend said it looked like the kind of space where bad things happened. Eventually I learned someone hung herself in it. Bad things, indeed. I was the only one that didn't get the creeps there. I felt a strange kinship to the dead woman, to her problems and pain.

When I was thirty, I lived in a generic place I hated, weighted down by possessions and a relationship I no longer wanted. The space seemed hard to endure. I missed the way the ghetto from which I had moved looked, I missed the energy of the streets. I had traded beauty for a nursing home level of security, a nursing home energy. A million times safer according to almost everyone, I felt my spirit start to die. The relationship followed suit as soon as the damage deposit was returned. We got almost all of it back, only charged for a blood-like stain near the couch, from where it came, no one could remember.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"A writer is someone who can make a riddle out of an answer." Karl Kraus

Cocktail Hour
Anyone have a favorite summer cocktail?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?

Thanks so much for all the well wishes! Am feeling a bit better today, not so down for the count. Also, I've enjoyed all the thoughtful comments on my rant against beauty pageants, hyphenated names, and vow renewal. I don't have a problem with people keeping their original last name, making up a last name, taking a husband's last name (or a wife's for that matter). (And to Lana, I like the name Gramlich. You guys rule!). My only complaint is that a hyphenated name is unduly complicated and indicates a general societal attitude that everyone can have everything at any time. I.e, I can give my child both my name and my spouse's name, I can keep my original name and also give lip service to having my husband's name. I never have to give up anything. It's also wildly impractical and unruly. If these two-named children marry, then you have four names and so on and so on. I always think two names carry a deep ambivalence built into them. That said, it's just a pet peeve. People can have eight names if it makes them happy. Like the line in the Carver story "Vitamins": "People be happy, that's my motto."

I'm still sticking to my beauty pageant issue. Why ask these girls serious questions? Why, oh why? Why not make it a spelling bee? Or maybe ask them something truly patriotic like a basic social studies question about government, along the lines of "Are You Smarter Than A Fifth Grader?" I'll be back tomorrow with a regular post, maybe smarter than a fourth grader, maybe not!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"For it is in giving that we receive." St. Francis of Assisi

Cocktail Hour
Heff is scheduled to review the new Playboy -- check it out!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Fever, Chills, And Sore Throat

Hi everyone! Am sick with the flu -- fever, chills, and sore throat. Will try to post later and answer all e-mail. Hope you're having a good weekend.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Between Performances

One of my favorite presents came from my dear friend Robin -- a stuffed animal that represents the bacteria responsible for stomach ulcers. It's cute and yellow and will make its picture debut here soon. There's a lot of debate whether ulcers are stress-related; all I can say that it seems to be the case for me. I used to get them frequently, the by-product of a certain people pleasing nature. Like the dolphins at Sea World, I lived on Tagament in between performances. Since dolphins in captivity get ulcers, I feel a special kinship with them. Forced to smile and act, they pay for it with the linings of their stomachs. If I have a spirit animal, a dolphin would be it.

I've made friends with my nature; I no longer profess to being stressed out all the time. Stress is a great covering emotion. If you're stressed, you can't be sad or happy or angry. You're just stressed. Constant frenzied motion keeps you from going deeper, where more danger may await. It's easy to entertain the crowd and medicate later. But I look at my stuffed ulcer, and I know there is a better way.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Be careful how you interpret the world: It is like that." Erich Heller

Cocktail Hour
I'm going to use this space for a couple of weeks to quote from my old buddy Hank's syllabus about what not to do when writing, as much as a reminder for myself as for anyone else. And these are very funny bits. I'm never this funny writing a syllabus.

Embarrassment Quotes, "Quote-unquote/end quote" or the dreaded "air quotes"

"I knew that someday it would be "my turn at bat."" This one sounds even worse when spoken. Putting a lame phrase in quotation marks doesn't give it the power to walk again; it merely draws more attention to its disability. If your phrase is so hackneyed that you want to distance yourself from it with quotation marks, then you know you should come up with something else. This, like the ubiquitous so-called, is another irony shortcut that has been so overused that it has lost its original effectiveness.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! Thanks to Jason for the whole "plug your product" line! My first full-length poetry collection, Make Yourself Small, is coming out this year from Backwaters Press. As soon as I know the exact date, I'll link it. As for the other two projects, I'm going through one more rewrite each and will let you know as soon as I do what happens.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Beauty Pageant

Kind of going the list route for my post today -- as I learn to plot, I'll take the list break from time to time . . . Theme for today -- Things I find to be truly strange:

-- Asking contestants in beauty pageants serious political questions. I mean, it's a beauty contest right? How old are these girls? Furthermore, why do I give a rat's ass what Miss Fill in the Blank thinks about state's rights, birth control, marriage, etc.

-- Hyphenated last names. Pick. Choose.

-- Renewing vows. For those that missed the torture that was the wedding, here it comes again, as appetizing as three day old leftovers. This one leaves me shaking my head, saying, Why God, why? Heidi and Seal do this every year. This seems disturbed to me.

Okay, enough with the mini-rant. I'll be back tomorrow with something more substantial. Until then, feel free to share the things that seem strange to you.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It is not down in any map; true places never are." Herman Melville

Cocktail Hour
Anyone have any summer movie suggestions?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! To my dear Mark, thanks for pointing out that "Detroit Proper" isn't linked yet. PD = technophobe. Working on it!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Wheel Of Fortune

I've tried every fortune-telling device there is: crystal balls, eight balls, tarot cards, tea leaves, Chinese fortune sticks, animal teeth. I've had a lot of luck in my life, both the good and bad variety, but mostly good. I can't complain. An ancient philosopher once noted the road up and down are the same road; my dad merely said, From the shithouse to the penthouse and back again. Both trips give you insight, the only thing I ever really wanted from life, the truth I tried prying out of all those instruments of the future perfect tense. Or perhaps that's not the whole truth -- I wanted reassurance. That everything would be okay, that nothing bad would happen. And yet it did, and weirdly that was okay.

After I recovered from my ruptured appendix, a lot of my hair fell out. Seriously it did not like the anaesthesia and apparently enjoyed falling out in clumps as retaliation. My metabolism went awry, like a compass that couldn't find north. Not big deals in the long run, not at all. My hair grew back, my weight stopped bouncing up and down. I still like all the metaphysical stuff, still enjoy imagining what may or may not be. You never know where the car is going to take you. The main thing is to pay attention to what is passing outside the window.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Oh, that I had wings like a dove. For then I would fly away, and be at rest." Psalms 55:6

Cocktail Hour
Biography suggestion: Molly Ivins: A Rebel Life by Bill Minutaglio and W. Michael Smith

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! As to Tim, thanks so much for the sweet compliment on the new color. I'm about to do something new, but no worries, I'll always stay dark. I once tried blonde streaks with my dear Stacey at the helm and even she could see that there was no doing and my hair revolted against them. As for Dave, thanks for the correction in gender on the last post -- as to your suggestions for male company, I shall take it to heart. Paging Ray Drecker . . . As for castration jokes and marriage, I think you're only in a totally sexless marriage if your wife forces you to put an "I Love My Wife" bumper sticker on your car.

Monday, May 17, 2010

My Darling From The Lions

I once took a yoga class from a transgendered woman who had recently completed her process of becoming a woman. She had a sadistic streak and loved to tell me, "I know you're really flexible, but your form is poor." This was six months after I'd been filleted like a fish (description by beautiful Jodi of the J Spot!) and wasn't moving too well at all. But this woman had just had her penis chopped off; I wasn't getting a lot of sympathy. She loved to smile at us at the end of class in a creepy way, and say, "I hope everyone felt something tonight."

I did feel a lot of pain during those classes, unlike when I woke up during surgery. I could see my organs, but I couldn't say or feel anything. Mercifully, I fell back under pretty quickly. I have to say, my organs looked pretty good considering all the shenanigans through which I have put them. Eventually I changed to a gentler yoga instructor, one that wore tie dye pants and carried a lot of extra weight around the hips. My kind of girl! I didn't feel as much sometimes, but like the yogis say, sometimes awareness is more than enough.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Rescue my soul from their destructions, my darling from the lions." Psalms 35:17

Cocktail Hour
Hey everyone -- I started a small side blog called Detroit Proper which will serve as a container for my pictures of the Motor City. I won't post every single day on it, but if you ever get the longing to see the D, here it is in all its glory. Also, my VERY favorite show in the world returns on June 27th. Yes, Hung is back!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday! Thanks so Dave who pointed our the gender mistake in the first sentence. The teacher did become a woman, not a man!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Blind Carbon Copy

I can't remember the first e-mail I ever sent. Somehow this should have lodged into my brain, but it didn't. I always preferred letters, and I still stand by this although I don't write them as frequently as I used to do. Mostly I find myself writing letters when I'm on a plane, pouring my heart out on crappy notebook paper with squigglies on the side. Don't get me wrong; I love e-mail, both sending and receiving, even if I do get behind. But letters are a chance for reflection. You never regret pushing send too fast on a letter whereas with e-mail you often long for a switch to shut your computer off if you are in an altered state -- angry or drunk or armed with too little information and too much time. The list goes on and on. But letters are a different story. You have to pause to get a stamp. There is a lag time.

And the content of the two forms is very different. In e-mail, I often am writing to communicate, the way one eats merely to satisfy hunger. The audience expectation is different. In a letter, I must work to be entertaining, charming. Make connections, transitions. While a letter might not be worthy of keeping for the ages, it at least has to seem as if you put some thought into it. And another plus -- I've never sent a letter to the wrong person by accident. In the information age, things move awfully fast. Not a lot of time for contemplation. So I turn it over to you, dear reader. What's the last letter you got? Ever regretted sending a letter or e-mail? Tell all. In fact, why don't you write me a letter? (or a comment would be fine -- see you tomorrow!)

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy." Matthew 6:21

Cocktail Hour
Short story collection suggestion: Miracle Boy Pinckney Benedict

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Time And Temperature

Hey guys -- happy Saturday! Hope your weekend is a good one. I'm working on a new longer piece of prose for tomorrow, but today I leave you with two phone pictures. I remember rotary phones ever so well and still have one. Do you guys have any favorite phone memories or nostalgia? See you Sunday . . .

Friday, May 14, 2010

Welcome To Detroit

Hi everyone! Thanks for all the comments on my Wednesday post. I was one of those cling to the past and ignore the internet for as long as possible types. 1997 is the cut-off date to be considered an early adapter so Lana, your online dream journal does count! I'm the latest adapter ever. Here's a couple of shots of my beloved Detroit, Cobo Hall being the place of pain from my car show model days. Even to look at it brings back hours of standing in the same spot, saying "Welcome To Detroit."

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Your intellect may be confused, but your emotions will never lie to you." Roger Ebert

Cocktail Hour
Short story collection: Miracle Boy Pinckney Benedict

Benedictions and Maledictions
Congratulations to Pinckney Benedict on the rave review his new book, Miracle Boy, is receiving! You may know Pinckney through his books, but you may also know him through his lovely wife, Laura, whose Handbasket blog is linked to this one. The latest from Vanity Fair:

"Independent presses burn red hot this month. In Miracle Boy and Other Stories (Press 53), the Chekhov of Appalachia, Pinckney Benedict, highlights a culture in which the bizarre and grotesque are commonplace."

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Semi-Existence Of Michelle

Since this is much more long-winded than my usual posts, I'm going to take tomorrow off for my other writing. Hope you're all having a wonderful week!

I created the blog. Not my blog, but the blog. Really. Or so I am told. My friend Angela had a coed pajama party when we were in graduate school. All through college, Angela threw amazing parties, the kind of events that were a combination of Martha Stewart meets Reality Bites. On the verge of divorce, I had begun to lose weight so it was surprising that I didn’t show up at this fete in lingerie, trading on my newfound sex appeal. But I had come directly from a Graduate Student English Organization party and didn’t feel like changing. My husband stayed home to play guitar with my best childhood friend Hank who had Leber's congenital amaurosis which meant that his sight would dim with each passing year until there was nothing he could see. They called themselves the Cat and the Dog and played John Mellencamp’s “Small Town” with alternate lyrics like “taught to fear sheep in small town . . .”

I drove to Angela’s house I got a Dr. Pepper and sat down on her waterbed over which an entire galaxy of flow in the dark stars and planets had been affixed to the ceiling. A mutual friend of ours named Bryon sat down next to me, sloshing us both.

“Where is your outfit?” he asked.

He himself had gone the Hugh Hefner route complete with pipe. “And your husband?”

“Both at home,” I said.

“Who lets their wife go to a party alone on Friday night?” he asked.

“He trusts me,” I said.

Bryon snorted. “In that dress?”

I nodded. Our conversation turned to writing and here’s where it gets murky. To this day, Bryon claims that I told him to keep a daily journal. I have a hard time imagining this because I never kept a journal myself. I tried in the half-ass way I tried to balance my checkbook, a method that resulted in estimating how much money I had in the bank and trying not to overdraft. I closed the account and went to another bank with the ideas that I would do it all better this time. My journals had no purpose. I didn’t believe in writing for myself. The concept struck me as odd, like performing a perfect routine in front of empty bleachers.

“I knew I wouldn’t write it if no one saw it,” Bryon told me years later. “So I started an on-line journal,” he told me years later.

I remembered his journal, The Semi-Existence of Bryon. Angela, his great unrequited love at the time, played a role as did other people we knew who had their pictures on his site, detailing our roles in the soap opera of Denton. I never followed it, being a technophobe who held onto my dad’s IBM Selectric for as long as it worked. I fancied myself in the tradition of Erica Jong, Judith Rosner, and Sue Kaufman. Nevermind that they were famous, Jewish, and lived in New York City while I was unknown, Bible Belt-haunted, and hailed from Mineral Wells, Texas. I had not seen the handwriting on the Facebook wall, did not know that writing would change forever.

I admit I thought Bryon was full of shit when he told me about being the paterfamilias of the contemporary blog which almost everyone has, even babies! But I looked it up on Wikipedia and sure enough, he and his on-line journal are listed. Now there’s a thought -- Wikipedia. My access to encyclopedias as a child consisted of a set of outdated medical ones that listed contraception as “vaguely criminal, mostly certainly tawdry.” Even though I wasn’t drinking in those year, I still don’t remember our exact conversation about keeping a journal, but Bryon is sticking to his story.

When I started my blog, I didn’t know how ubiquitous the form had become. I knew my friend Trent had one and made a lot of money with it. I once read that the only times you can do something for a long time is when you don’t know how hard it is or when someone tells you it’s impossible. Or maybe when you come up with the idea yourself, long before you know it.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Joy is prayer - Joy is strength - Joy is love - Joy is a net of love by which you can catch souls." Mother Teresa

Cocktail Hour
Memoir suggestion: The Sky Isn't Visible From Here Felicia C. Sullivan

Benedictions and Maledictions
Welcome back to board, Chris! Good to hear from you from the islands! Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


The first time I got an obscene phone call I was twelve years old. My sister Beth and I were listening to Simon and Garfunkel's "Baby Driver" and the neighbor from across the way called and breathed into the phone, saying a few nasty words that I had only heard uttered by my Grandpa Charlie after he started in on the Jack Daniels. Of course, we didn't know the neighbor was watching us through our screen door through his glass one across the backyard so Beth called him up and told him we were getting obscene phone calls and that there was a dirty bird in the neighborhood. His first reaction was that he didn't do it, the tip off.

So I walked to another neighbor who was mowing his grass and told him what had happened and said, I'm not scared. After all, I am a fatalist. This became the neighborhood punchline for many years to come. I failed to see the humor since after the past lives psychic I went to at the Ramada Inn Psychic Fair told me that I had been Nietzsche's lover, I had been reading on his theory of eternal recurrence. I didn't understand it, but I still enjoyed it, much the way I read John Gardner's On Becoming A Novelist. It made me feel like I was a long way from the kid with the weak eye who people thought might be touched, a long way from the girl who shook her Etch-A-Sketch so hard to erase her mistakes that she always ended up hitting herself in the head, all the while telling myself it didn't hurt, that I wouldn't mess up next time.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"If only we'd stop trying to be happy we could have a pretty good time." Edith Wharton

Cocktail Hour
Nurse Jackie is the best show on television right now -- watch it!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday! Birthday wishes to my dear Stephanie!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Protest Shots

Hey everyone -- okay, I gave fair warning on these pictures -- not for the weak of heart. I realized the day I planned to post them was mother's day which seemed, well, inappropriate even for someone who has done an impromptu partial striptease to an LL Cool J song at a St. Patrick's Day party. Don't ask. It will end up in a novel. Anyway, I took these shots outside of Cobo Hall at the NAACP Freedom Convention. I'm pro-choice, but I thought the protesters themselves were pretty interesting. Rather than comment on anything political given both a lack of depth of knowledge (not that it stops anyone on the news so far as I can tell and yes, both sides are guilty of this), I prefer just documenting it. I'll be back tomorrow with a more traditional post and pictures of beloved Detroit this weekend. Happy Monday!

Sunday, May 09, 2010

Happy Mother's Day

Another Mother's Day almost come and gone, a complex holiday as far as holidays go --my mother (our mother -- the adorable girl pictured with me in this shot is my sister Beth) has been dead for almost a decade, leaving me with a complex legacy of her vivacity, charm, damage, and darkness. I loved her and miss her, but sufficed to say, I have not entirely made my peace with what her life means. I am not a mother myself so I'm left with an incomplete frame. But I've written about her before, so I'm going to turn my attentions to the complexities of the day starting with an incident in a check-out line on this Saturday.

A young clerk is wishing everyone in line a happy mother's day -- the two gay dudes in front of me, me, the older woman behind me. The older woman grimaces and says, I guess I'm a mother to my cat in a bitter voice. The clerk did not appear to catch the implications of his good tidings -- not any of us are mothers (not the gay dudes who if they have children probably consider themselves fathers, not me who merely said Thank you as if I were receiving an award, and not the woman buying celery and cat food behind me) and might have well, ambivalent feelings about that state and might be hurt by such a comment. As for our own mothers, we might have had tough relationships with our mother, be mourning our mothers, or any other myriad of possibilities. We've had to endure at least a week of commercials, flower arrangements, advertisements for mimosa brunches. I didn't mind the young man's comment -- I take any good tidings well except for Congratulations on your pregnancy which I got a lot when I had a swollen diseased appendix that made me look about three months along. Please take note -- I don't care how pregnant a woman looks, do not "congratulate" her on a pregnancy unless you see the baby coming out through her vagina. Seriously. But perhaps it's best to hold the generic happy mother's day until you know what's what.

That said, I'm glad we have a day to celebrate mothers, probably the hardest thing anyone ever does. The sacrifices even the worst mother makes are more than most of us make in our life and the best ones do so much work that it makes my eyes cross just to think of it. If you're missing your mom, I wish you consolation. If you are a mother, I wish you grateful children and a splendid day. If you like two of my dearest friends, have children who have died, I send you all my love to get through this day. If it's complicated, well, no worries -- on this blog, you don't need to stress. It can be any type of day you want it to be.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"The hardest thing to learn in life is which bridge to cross and which to burn." David Russell

Cocktail Hour
Coney restaurant suggestion: American Coney downtown

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 08, 2010

Open Container

Hey guys, started writing poems again -- yay! Since finishing You Are The Camera, I took a tiny little birthday break from writing which seems to have helped the sanity a lot.

Open Container

I could have thrown them myself, but I saved
them for you brats
, Charlie says of the beer
bottles that litter the bed of his truck. Grandpa
could have been selfish, but no.
My sister Beth
and I throw them on the highway as he drinks
and drives. There’s no law against drinking beer
on the road so long as you ain’t drunk
, he says
and he never seems to be. Just a bit, well very.
He left us nothing but his guns when he died. He’d
sold everything else in the trailer. Years later,
Beth and I pick beads out of a cage at a restaurant,
each color meaning something different. She gets
blue, wisdom, and throws it back. I don’t want
that shit
, she says, and we laugh. She doesn’t bother
picking another. I know. Once the bottles were gone,
they were gone, shattered across miles of roads, Charlie’s
dead soldiers in pieces where they glittered waiting
to puncture those unlucky enough to travel the same path.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Any time you see a turtle on top of a fence post, you know he had some help." Alex Haley

Cocktail Hour
Drinking movie suggestion: The Lives Of Others

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday! Am busily trying to catch up on all correspondence -- please bear with me as I untangle the mess that is my inbox. And working on all individual thank you notes for birthday gifts and wishes, but alas for now, I just say THANK YOU to all of you! You guys are the very best.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

National Day Of Prayer

I've been trying to pray since I was a little girl, trying to hear the voice of God. Of course, I attributed the rodeo announcer's voice introducing bull riders down the road to His voice which seems like a pretty good start to understanding life. You hold on for as long as you can, you hope to make it out without significant injury. I went to a lot of churches (side note to parents out there -- I went to them because no one forced me and it took a lot of work and campaigning on my part -- that which you must work for, you value) which all had different takes on what about which you could and could not pray. Fortunately, I didn't take any of these dictates to heart. I prayed about everything. I figured the Almighty could tune out the drivel like a bad AM station that played a lot of Juice Newton.

I'm still working on prayer all the time. I do the begging prayers, the thankful prayers, the hopeful prayers, the prayers for others, the prayers to change myself. I do believe St. Theresa when she wrote that answered prayers cause more tears than unanswered ones. And I don't believe everyone needs to pray the same way. Miles Davis works for me, so does St. Francis. In RCIA class (adult catechism), we were asked to contribute a paragraph about why we wanted to become a Catholic for the parish newsletter. I wrote some pretentious claptrap that sounded good, but meant very little. The answer I loved was one sentence from Mark, another student in the class. He wrote that when he felt alone and sad, he thought it might be nice to have someone to listen to him pray, that Jesus would be his friend. And no matter what you believe, it's a beautiful comfort in a hard world.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Any concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden." Corrie ten Boom

Cocktail Hour
Pictures as promised tomorrow from anti-abortion rally. If you read regularly, you know I'm pro-choice, but I couldn't resist taking pictures since it was quite the scene. Not for the weak of heart.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Rest And Recovery

Another year older and none the wiser, I write to let you all know that I'm going to start posting bits of a new story that's almost complete on Friday. My birthday was the bomb! Please forgive any tardiness on returning emails and so on -- I'm going to get caught up. Tomorrow I'm posting some pictures I took at a particularly gruesome anti-abortion rally protesting Obama's position on abortion at the NAACP conference downtown. Got the John Cheever biography and so far my favorite line, "Frederick Exley was aghast at how much John Cheever could drink." Frederick Exley, people. I saw Exley's grave in Watertown New York, where a woman at the library said, Are you kin to him? When I said No, just a fan, she said. You must be a fan of his work. There's a reason Plato kicked poets out of the Republic. Happy Cinco de Mayo!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Things I Know

In the spirit of Equire's section on Things I Know, I'm going to use my birthday to list a few things I have learned in my time on the planet. Thanks for all the sweet wishes, theme songs, and love. You guys are the very best!

Writing takes as long as it takes. If you are me, you will spend a lot of time learning this fact.

Surrender is underrated.

Friends make everything a whole lot better. The kindness of strangers also works.

A sense of humor is required for survival.

The third bottle of anything is probably a bad idea.

I love Lou Reed. My ex-husband loves Laurie Anderson. Now they are married, and we are not. The universe is a funny place.

God loves me as well as all the people I dislike. Win some, lose some.

I'm a happy person despite trying my best to fuck that up.

You can sing the songs of Zion in a foreign land.

The road does indeed end in Detroit.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Hope everyone is having a very happy day!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

May Day

My birthday is tomorrow. I'm not making a list of resolutions, goals, or making sad promises to lose weight, wake up early, or write twenty pages a day. But I do think I might need a theme song. I've been using the music from The Omen for way too long. Any suggestions? See you tomorrow, my dears!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"It takes a long time to grow young." Pablo Picasso

Cocktail Hour
Birthday Cake
1 part vanilla vodka
1 part pineapple juice
a splash of cranberry juice

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!