Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas Eve!

Merry Christmas Eve to you and yours! 2011 has been quite a year, but here we are at the end of it. Hope all my dearest are having a wonderful day and sending lots of love to you all! XO, Michelle

Friday, December 23, 2011

Loading Mercury With A Pitchfork -- A Review Of Young Adult

Young Adult, starring Charlize Theron and Patton Oswalt, is the best movie I've seen in some time. Written by the fantastic Diablo Cody, Young Adult follows the ill-conceived plan of Mavis Gary to return to her hometown of Mercury, Minnesota to regain the love of her old high school flame shortly after receiving a birth announcement telegraphing his happy life with his wife and infant daughter. She's a ghost writer of young adult novels, a series about the most popular girl in school, but more importantly, she's a stunted alcoholic that spends her days in a hungover stupor and her nights in a haze. It's hard to make Charlize Theron ugly, but she manages to pull off the morning after many too many with just the right details -- guzzling Diet Coke, ignoring her tiny little dog, watching reality television. The movie makes no judgement on her lifestyle, but presents her as is, a lonely woman on the verge of forty who doesn't play nice with others or herself.

Upon her return to Mercury (she lives in Minneapolis, presented as the big glamorous city), she runs into an old high school acquaintance, Matt, who was the victim of a brutal beating in high school for his perceived homosexuality (he's not gay, hence the dying of interest in this hate crime) and recognizes her soul sickness as a fellow traveler in the margins. He serves as witness to her crash and burn in her pursuit of her old love and provides a soft landing spot for her pain. We see his acerbic kindness as she does -- an antidote to the brutality she inflicts. Unlike Matt, life hasn't forced her to live with her pain so she develops a massive addiction to anesthetize it. We end with Mavis finding no easy answers, no reform, no moment of hope. Instead, she finishes the final book in her series, a voiceover that gives a sense of a new beginning. But Mavis is twenty years out from high school. She's at a crossroads of her professional life, but without the hope of turnaround. But it's not bleak either -- she's been given a view of her past through various lenses (the most affirming to her is Matt's sister who glamorizes Mavis' life much like reality television gives a viewer a glimpse into the stars' "real lives") and allows her to leave feeling good. It's not what we or even she knows of her actual existence, but this pretty mirror gives Mavis the courage to continue, a great insight into the way life is right now -- if it looks good to others, it's fine. We need not worry about the actual in our virtual age. We know ourselves through how we appear to others, through a glass darkly, a dynamic Mavis knows a little too well.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Yes, Heff -- Hung is cancelled and I am weeping! I can't believe it. Why, oh why? (rending hair right now). Enlightened is still here, thank goodness, but why did they take away Ray and Tanya? Sadness. Sigh. Blah.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hi Everyone -- Back In Black And White!

Hi guys -- I'm having a little trouble with my blog and archiving, permissions and otherwise. Please do not think you, my gentle and lovely readers, are excluded from anything! I'll be back tomorrow with new work. Does anyone have advice for saving old blog posts? I'm trying to condense my copious past to make room for the present . . . please advise!

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Happy Birthday Shawn!

Here's me with my dear friend Shawn. Happy birthday Shawn!

Dear readers, sorry to be out of touch lately. Real life has caught up with me and virtual life has suffered. But it's beginning to look a lot like Christmas and more blog posts are on the way! Question of the day? What are your favorite and least favorite Christmas presents?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Some Of Us Are More Alone: A Review of Enlightened

People, myself included, love to say they don't mind being alone. Inevitably these people, myself included, have never really been alone. Of course, they may have been single for a year or alone for a weekend, only a bag of Funyons and reruns of the The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills for company. But as Tyler, the work friend of Laura Dern's Amy, the main character of the wonderful new HBO series Enlightened, tells her, Some people are more alone. Enlightened, created by Laura Dern and Mike White, written by the sublime Mr. White, offers us a glimpse into the heart of middle-age, dashed dreams, and cubicle despair.

Reviews of this show have been mixed which I believe can be attributed to the fact that this show feels too real and makes the viewer uncomfortable. There are no laugh tracks or gun fights to relieve us. Amy doesn't deal drugs or work in a bustling emergency room. Instead we start with her returning home from a new-age rehab called Open Air. Determined to put her very public breakdown and her messy affair with her boss behind her, she moves in with her mother (played to perfection by Dern's actual mother, Diane Ladd), she's forced to take a demotion from being a buyer in her large company to computer drone in the basement which she describes as a "warehouse for carnival freaks."

The show's painful earnestness puts us through our paces along with Amy as she remains determined to put her newfound wisdom to use while being challenged on all fronts -- an emotionally shutdown mother who prefers her flowers and dogs to people, her addicted ex-husband (Luke Wilson who also brings a scarily accurate potrayal of Levi, a man who makes no apologies for his use), and her former friends at work who now treat her as a pariah. Amy tries and tries again to make a connection. Bu her old life won't fit the new her. And her attempts to change people around her meet the natural resistance. "Don't try to save me," Levi tells her, his voice laced with warning.

And truth be told, Amy is having a hard emough saving herself. Healing in a beautiful, pressure-free setting is one thing. It's quite another to bring this zen quality into a world with watchful bosses, shopworn relationships, and the pain of ordinary life that is visited upon us all.

Amy's only new relationship is with Tyler, a fellow employee who has been banished to the basement to punch numbers all day. They form an alliance which will be tested by their differing expectations. At the midway point in the season, Tyler attempts to kiss Amy and her rebuff threatens their fragile ecosystem. When Tyler expresses his desire not to be alone, we sense his deep well of aloneness, the kind that can't be explained away by feigning a mutual understanding. (Oh, you lost your leg -- I broke my toe once. I totally get it!) Some people are more alone than others. But despite the gulf of dreams deferred, hopes denied, and endless reams of futility, we still respect the efforts of the characters to evolve, to become something more than they are. When Tyler smiles his tiny, sly smile, we sense he knows a secret. And Mike White knows one too -- the pain of being trapped and the beauty of an actual connection with someone despite all the forces, internal and external, that work against it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Thanksgiving

Here it is -- finally available on Amazon! Thanks so much for all the love and support for this book. You guys are much of the reason it exists at all. I've been absent from blogging for a bit to get myself together and work on some new projects (more accurately, wrapping up the old ones.) So how do we enter this Thanksgiving season? With Demi and Ashton on the rocks, Natalie Woods' death investigation being reopened, with the Lions looking good for the big day, with gratitude in our hearts, with Christmas looming brightly while internet articles warn of the calorie dangers of holiday coffee drinks. That said, I'm going to try and drink at least two a day just to show the joyless grinches where they can shove it.

Tomorrow -- reviews on Enlightened and Hung. See you then!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I don't fuck much with the past, but I fuck plenty with the future." Patti Smith

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Make Yourself Small

Hey guys, the time is here! Make Yourself Small is at the printers. I hope this November is finding everyone well and ready for the holidays, if one can be such a thing. I'll be posting more pictures and more commentary soon. Life is getting crazy, what with being in mourning over Kim Kardashian's ill-fated union, the Occupy movement doing its thing, and Herman Cain being accused of more than just thinking Godfather's Pizza is actually good pizza. I've been drowning in a sea of work and black clothes (if I think about how much time in my life I have spent and will spend searching for a black sweater in a pile of black clothes, I could weep -- it's roughly equal to the time it might take someone to write three books), but I remain in good spirits. More soon!

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Happy Devil's Night!

Vampire Kiss Martini
Serves 1

1 part raspberry liqueur, such as Chambord
1 part vodka, such as Absolut
1 part Champagne, such as Korbel
wax teeth, candy corn, licorice, and/or blood orange slice, for garnish

1. Layer raspberry liqueur, vodka, and Champagne in a fluted or martini glass.

2. Garnish with wax teeth, candy corn, licorice, and/or blood orange slice.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
Hold on, man. We don't go anywhere with "scary," "spooky," "haunted," or "forbidden" in the title. ~From Scooby-Doo

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Four More Days Till Halloween

Hi everyone -- I'm back! Been taking a little time for a cyber detox from the blog, but thanks so much for all the good feedback on the story trailer. My wonderful editor Ginger reads in this trailer. My voice is so awful -- I'd never dare! Now that we're in the high holy of the Halloween season, I pose the question to all -- what are you going to be for the sacred day? I've always loved this holiday given that the stresses are minimal and optional -- buy candy, wear an outfit. Hell, that's every single day except amped up a bit. I've been all sorts of things for this day -- a mermaid, Snow White, a witch, a devil, St. Lucy. I have a stewardess costume from this year, probably inspired by the retro charm of shows like Mad Men and Pan Am. I like to think we all contain multitudes and this is the day which we can all explore those options if we want. I'll be back tomorrow with some Halloween recipes straight from the only cookbook I own (besides Cooking With Dr. Pepper) which is an Avon holiday cookbook, a gift from my mother many years ago. Hope your October is going well!

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Three Days Standard

Storylandia 4 is now on sale!  My story, "Three Days Standard" is in this issue.  Hope you guys are having a great Thursday.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Zombie Apocolypse

For this Tuesday, I start the Halloween month, most sacred of times, with a drink recipe for the infamous Zombie. The last time I had this wicked concotion, I had two and a pounding headache which has kept me from drinking them again. Still, I have the memories (of a kind) of this delicious libation.

1 oz light rum
1/2 oz creme de almond
1 1/2 oz sweet and sour mix
1/2 oz triple sec
1 1/2 oz orange juice
1/2 oz 151 proof rum

Shake all ingredients (except 151 proof rum) with ice and strain into a collins glass over ice cubes. Float the 151 proof rum on top, add a cherry (if desired), and serve.

19% (38 proof)
Serve in: Collins Glass

Monday, October 03, 2011

Make My Darkness Bright: Reviews of Dexter and Hung

Hi everyone! Sorry for the long absence -- real life (or what passes for it) caught up with me in a major way. I'll be posting regularly from here on out (fingers crossed!).

Two reviews today:

Dexter returns with our favorite serial killer, Dexter Morgan, recharged and ready for action. The last couple of seasons, Dexter has been through hell -- no surprise that this season has his examining issues of faith. Taking his preschool-age son Harrison to a Catholic school, he freaks out at the gore of the crucifix, thinking it might be too much for a child's sensibilities. He describes his own belief system as a code of things to do to keep himself out of trouble to which his sister replies, That sounds like training a puppy. Angel, Dexter's colleague who suggested the school to him, tells him that kids need to understand about "those kinds of things," meaning theology, sacrifice, and faith. After Angel's rambling answer to Dexter's question about how we know there's a God, Dexter replies, "Thanks Angel. That really clears things up." Great season opener. Dexter lives by a code, but will he start to see his morally ambiguous position as a force for the greater good instead of a personal monster, an inner darkness? The ads use Depeche Mode's "Personal Jesus" as background. I think it's a good guess that Dexter will explore his own place in the universal order.

Hung, in a opening episode titled "Don't Give Up On Detroit, Or Hung Like A Horse" begins with Ray and Tonya in a new center for women named Orgasmic Living. Both of their financial situations are bleak in backstory -- Tonya is working at Bigby's Coffee and Ray is substitute teaching a couple of days a week. One bank loan and a new idea later, they are teaching women to umm, enjoy themselves, and let's just say Ray's practicum portion of the seminary seals the deal. They're in the money at the end, but with the threat of Lenore's newfound boytoy at the end, will their joy be short-lived? Higher stakes this season give the series an added pop. Who will give in or just give up? Like Charlie the pimp said last season, Mind bullets -- bang, bang, bang!

Great quotes --
"You only have to kill one time to be a killer, baby." Lenore to Jason after he agrees to take money for sex, but just this one time

"I've been looking for you for a long time, like they do for the Dali Lami in Tibet." Lenore to Jason after seeing "the goods"

"The big guy hit the ground. Time for the runner up hottie." Vince M. after his intern faints after seeing black snakes come out of the stomach of a murder victim

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Goodbye Pine Valley

Today is the last day of All My Children which saddens me greatly. I remember watching All My Children as a child with my great grandmother, my dad, and my sister on his lunch break. Sadly, I will never work at Pine Valley University or marry Jackson, live in Hell's Kitchen with Jessie and Angie, or get my hair done by Opal at the Glamorama. Goodbye to my only soap opera; you will remain in my happy memories!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Best By, Sell By, Use By

Best By, Sell By, Use By

Stars turn to ash, that's the way
it goes. Marilyn Monroe once said,
All we demand is our right to twinkle,
but that gets old too, all that effort
in the night sky. Sometimes the night
overwhelms us, the sheaves have been
brought, our gifts received. We have
said the word, we are healed. Darkness
surrounds us as only it can.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A New York State Of Mind

When I was in the eighth grade, I traded a Bon Jovi cassette tape for a bulletin board with a musical note on it at a Christmas party. I don't know why I didn't like Bon Jovi because everyone else did and obviously, I had not seen enough of Jon Bon Jovi in pictures or on television to be swayed by his charisma. Today I saw him perform at the VH1 9/11 concert while at the gym which made me wish I had that tape. Like some people I know, the tenth anniversary attention depresses me because so much has changed in ten years. Three people I loved have died, I almost died, and while I remember the day clearly, I also remember my personal life being in a shambles, my car in the shop (Snowflake was purchased a mere month later), and the beginning of some hard times for so many who had lost people, hope, a sense of safety, and much more. I choked up a little as I continued in my slow way on the treadmill, noting that Billy Joel was a favorite of the crowd, especially when he played "New York State of Mind" and Jay Z and the Goo Goo Dolls didn't quite get the same emotional reaction. For the first time, I felt some of the spirit of the day instead of the numbness I had been experiencing, the contempt for the signs that read I Will and list things people can do to commemorate the day. I thought in a bitter way, I Will sit on my ass.

In mass last night, the priest said we have to forgive the terrorists. This, of course, is a radical message. It's hard to forgive someone who lost your favorite sweater, much less the Taliban. But the Bible is not an easy book and forgiveness, which sounds so simple, turns out to be the toughest lesson there is. The first person recorded dead at Ground Zero was a Catholic priest, a gay man, a recovering alcoholic, and a chaplain to the firefighters. He was delivering last rites when he was mortally wounded. The firefighters carried him out of the rubble, his spirit already to the afterlife. Of course, this modern day version of the Pieta breaks the heart. But it is with a broken heart, we realize how much each day matters even as we grouse about all the little irritations of our daily life. How wondrous it is, how sad, how beautiful, how difficult. But for now it's what we have. When Bon Jovi sang about how he wasn't going to live forever, but he was going to live while he was alive, the crowd went wild. It's not an easy thing to remember, but maybe that's what I will do, at least for today.

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

My Own Making

Thanks for all the great feedback on the post about the signs. I think my old sign would have read, Trapped in A Hell of My Own Making, Room For Two. Not sure what the current sign would read -- have to give it more thought! Working on a new essay which I'll post soon. Hope you guys had a great Labor Day weekend!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I dress to kill, but tastefully." Freddie Mercury

Cocktail Hour
Hung returns for Season Three in less than a month -- oh happy day!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday, Beth!

Happy birthday to my lovely sister Beth who is not pictured above (that is the troll doll Marci I recently purchased which Beth put nail polish on and cut its hair as a child -- the original Marci doesn't look quite so chilled out). Hope you're all having a great Sunday!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Are You Going To Go My Way?

Hi everyone -- hope the start to the weekend is a good one. Thanks so very much about your kind comments about the pictures -- all were taken in Detroit!

Saw two signs this week from people trying to get a ride somewhere -- Travelin, Broke and Sexy was the first one from a cute couple both wearing matching knee high striped socks and the other said, Stranded Due To Poor Decisions and Bad Men. Both made me smile and made me think what I would put on a sign to explain my life. I couldn't think of anything near as snappy as the first two so I put the challenge to you guys -- If you had a sign, what would it say and where are you trying to go?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Friday, August 19, 2011

Enjoy Your Troll

The strangeness of watching Hoarders on A&E and then going to an antique mini-mall the very next day cannot be overestimated. So much of what we have has significance far beyond its actual worth. I recently bought a friend a birthday card with a cartoon depicting the Dali Lama's birthday where he's opening a box and says, Nothing -- just what I wanted! My friend is a minimalist in all things and will appreciate the sentiment. But most people I know tend to go the opposite direction and love the physical world for its meaning -- I wore this when I got my first job, I had this since I was five, etc. Things represent possibility and hope, I thought as I trudged down the aisles of of the mall that contained stores with names such as Treasures Remembered, Time Doesn't Forget (that sounds like a noir novel title), and so on. I wanted to have my own Faulkneresque store called "The Past Isn't Really The Past" but alas I am also a minimalist and tend toward purging rather than keeping. Even so, I find myself overcome with the same urge that drives this business -- wouldn't that pink Depression tea set be cool for a party? Wouldn't that light be awesome in a house where it was the center? Lives I will never lead run through my mind. At those moments, I want to lead them, no matter how impractical. I want to be a certain kind of person. I remember the first ad that worked on me in this way, an ad for some sort of lingerie which depicted a beautiful old house on a rainy day with a record player in the background, playing sad jazz songs. I could be that kind of person! I could have rain, jazzy, clothes drying on an inside line, swaying in a breeze.

Sufficed to say, I have not become that kind of person. I am a person who has seen the insides of laundromats, who has waited months to stuff everything in her own washer/dryer combo and hoped it didn't come out the size of a shrinky dink. While I enjoy jazz, I never put it on a record player while it's raining. Usually I'm doing unglamorous errands in the rain, cursing at CVS and whatnot. But the magic of the mini mall did do its trick and I did not leave empty-handed. I saw Marcy! Marcy, my plastic girl mouse doll with overalls in amongst a bevy of trolls. Marcy, an Easter present in 1976. Marcy returned to me with her Proustian rush of longing. Under twenty dollars, she was a steal for such sweet gladness to return me to the past. I bought her and the cashier said, Enjoy your troll! Which I've been doing in some ways my entire life.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I've got to run to keep from hiding." Greg Allman

Cocktail Hour
Season Five of Dexter is out on dvd -- weekend planned!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Happy Birthday Ang!

Happy birthday to my dear friend Angela! This picture was taken many years ago and things have been rocking and rolling ever since. Many happy wishes to you, dearest Ang and lots of love!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

To Whom Shall I Tell My Grief

I've been thinking about the term overshare lately, what it means in a confessional time. Post Secret, a website run by Frank Warren, caters to the impulse of relative strangers to share secrets with one another, postcards that range from the banal and innocent (ie, secrets about urinating in the shower) to the truly horror-inducing (rape, death, loss, spiritual emptiness). The website doesn't have the traditional comment section to discourage the rubbernecking tendency of some who tend toward a clinical level of sensitivity, but has a community which can "chat" about these confessions. I've noticed a lot of people run the gamut of infatuation with both the website and Frank who seems like a really ordinary, nice guy who can hold many projections (Frank as evil Svengali making money for secrets, Frank as Savior who has come to unite and heal), emotions that tend to go from This has saved my life to utter despair over quality, tone, and the ability of confession to save anyone.

The truth has a tendency to feel like a bracing drink on a blistering day --heady and refreshing. Of course, there's the inevitable hangover that comes with this new high, the horrible What have I done? I have never sent a secret because frankly I can't think of one. I suppose it falls in the category of embarrassing stories -- everything is a secret and yet nothing really is. I don't mind the overshare in real life -- I know the consequences of telling someone something and weight them before speaking. Not always the case, not by a long shot. There's something that comes with age that doesn't suck! What about you guys? Tend to regret hearing or saying something? Ever been on the receiving end of someone telling you something and then regretting their confession? Overshare with me!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

Endless Summer

I've had and talked to people in various writing workshops where stories about the most .... experience are often fodder for icebreakers and other exercises. I have a tremendously difficult time with this concept. The worst for me is most embarrassing. I think both all my life is somewhat embarrassing and when I think about it, none of it really is. Picking out the worst incident in this sea of failure would require some doing. Interestingly, I talked with my dear friend Shawn the other day who had such a workshop. He said that most people talked about things that had been done to them. I tend to go the other way as humiliation isn't really embarrassing. My worst moments come in the things that I do. I can't control when other people act like asshats, but when I do, there's a sense of shame that's far worse than anything that has been done or said to me. I think I've been immunized against taking insult too seriously -- yes, words hurt, but not as much as they used to hurt. The internet age brings both kindness and insult in equal measure. So again, when I think of my answer to this question, I come up blank. To go into my deepest failings is not the ideal icebreaker. That said, I'd try it just to see what happened. What about you -- most embarrassing moments? Were you younger or older when they happened? Do they involve other people or only things you know about?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Happy Birthday To Mark!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO MARK! I would sing, but none of us need that horror show. Mark is an incredible person and the most wonderful friend a girl could ask for! Buy his books -- they've sold out of their printings, but there's more to come. The Line Between is a fantastic poetry collection. Love you much, Mark!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Five Things I Dig About Right Now

In the spirit of five things about pop culture we're torn about -- I give you a few things which I'm relieved to see go the way of all flesh and things I hope are here to stay.

1 -- Conversations about how comfortable thongs are. There was a period of five years where a group of very vocal women kept telling everyone how much they preferred thongs to actual underwear and how you didn't even feel them. News flash -- not comfortable at all. For some great reason, this line of reasoning seems to have died. I don't know what this means, but in the words of Nicolas Cage in Bad Lieutenant -- I love it, I love it.

2 -- Getting movies in the mail. Netflix hiked their prices. So what? I will pay what it takes to sit on my tail. Although in my weaker moments, I miss those hour-long debates in video stores. Seriously, I kind of do.

3 -- Ads about back to school are uniformly met with curses by everyone I know. Sometimes people flip the television off, say, when Old Navy starts in on the polo for school bit.

4 -- Self-serve yogurt places. Eating an entire candy bar without realizing is so sweet. It's just sprinkles, right?

5 -- Cornell West in the New York Times. He's got his cemetery clothes on and he's ready to tell the truth. His be a thermostat (something that changes the temperature) rather than a thermometer (something that merely reads it) is priceless.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Be careful what you set your heart upon - for it will surely be yours." James Baldwin

Cocktail Hour
Documentary suggestion: The Pat Tillman Story
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Amy Winehouse 'Back To Black'

I first heard about Amy Winehouse from my ex-husband who sent me her first cd for my birthday some years ago with a note that said she reminded him of me. I've always liked Amy -- in a world of stars that get by on media persona and fancy voice manipulation, Amy seemed like the real deal. Fantastic voice, check. No competent publicist, check. Out of control drug habit, check. Excellent make-up plus beehive, check. She reminds me of another fantastic soul who died at 27, the great Janis Joplin. Numerolgists put a lot of stock into the age of 27, nine being the highest culmination of the soul. I know she's been dragged through a lot of mud, by herself and others, but I always adored her music. With beehive a little worse for the wear, perhaps I can see the resemblance my ex did. Sadly, I don't have the voice. And the voice is what counts. Rest in peace, dear Amy.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Freaks and Geeks

I have loved James Franco since the days he played Daniel on the short-lived, genius beyond belief show Freaks and Geeks. He was fantastic as Harvey Milk's love interest in Milk, made Howl watchable. So what if he sucked ass at the Academy Awards? And has the audacity to enroll in (gasp) an MFA/Ph.D/ blah blah blah prgram? Why does Salon hate him so? I read his Playboy interview (he didn't create near the snafu/fubar of John Meyer's which is nice) and then I saw an article about him on Salon, asking if he is gay and calling him a douchebag with an uneven book of short stories. Okay, Steve Earle's book of short fiction is uneven, but I don't hear people carrying on the way they do about James Franco. What is it about Mr. Franco? Is it the fact that he's my secret boyfriend (when James Gandolfini is busy, because let's face it, he's my real secret boyfriend)? Is this why all the hate?

But in all seriousness, why are some people lightning rods? I've always been curious as to why say, Miranda July, a writer and director, has an entire blog dedicated to hating her, titled creatively, I Hate Miranda July. I like some of her stories, find some of them a little precious, but who cares? Why would anyone expend so much energy on what looks like sour grapes? So readers, do you have any theories about why some people elicit so much negative emotion?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
Dialogue from Big Love -- "Margene: Why did Wanda poison your brother? Nicki: You've met him."
Cocktail Hour

Dvd suggestion: The Lincoln Lawyer

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Fairer Sex

The U.S. women's soccer team is in the finals as I type. My memory of the last time they won comes from an old ex of mine, a sweet-hearted Marine who dated a lot, but found women mystifying. When Brandy Chastain took off her shirt and whirled it around her head in celebration of their win, my ex told Hank that he wished women would always do that when something made them happy. They'd be a lot easier to read and not so difficult to discern, like a tea leaf reading. Get a present you like -- whip a shirt around your head! Enjoy a compliment -- same deal.

So to my male readers, I offer this question. Do you find it difficult to know when women are happy? I know from my male friends that it's relatively easy to tell when a woman is unhappy, but what about the reverse? How do you know when things are good?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Winning isn't getting ahead of others. It's getting ahead of yourself." Roger Staubach

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Beginners
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Double Happiness

Here's a shout out to my dear beautiful Jodi (the brilliant writer of The J Spot) for her birthday and my fun exciting friend Trent of Pink Is The New Blog for his! And my friend Bud from my misspent youth just had a new arrival yesterday -- Lila Ardell Sharp-Ballinger! And a belated birthday wish for my dear witty lovely friend Laura of Notes From The Handbasket. May this month be filled with fun and joy.

So since this is a birthday post, what would I wish all my nearest and dearest for their big days? Birthdays can be both thrilling and difficult. It's a time to take stock of all that has happened and a look to the future. Some years are hard to leave, others can be put down as a "learning experience." (Thirty-eight was a tough one for me. I did lots and lots of learning, painful learning.) First, I wish for the spirit of gratitude. Everyone from a voodoo priestess to Joyce Meyers suggests that gratitude in life is of utmost importance. I can't think of a religious or secular tradition that doesn't say being grateful as one of the easiest and most effective ways of improving one's life. This practice is both easy and difficult, to count the blessings. People disappoint us, our financial situations can be tough, our days can be spent in a haze of regret. But in spite of this and maybe in our worst times, we need to say thanks even if we don't feel it.

I once ordered a sushi roll called Double Happiness. I ordered it because of the name. My favorite roll is the Temptation (no shock there), and I loved the Marlon Brando at the now closed Nami in Ferndale. Double Happiness was pretty good. So I wish you all double happiness in whatever form you like. Lots of fun. The boat in the Raymond Carver poem about having all his friends around and lots of food and whatever anyone wanted. It would all be on his boat. No one would want for anything! So may you be on Carver's boat with me, enjoying the ride.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

This Isn't For Us

I once told my mother that airlines stopped serving peanuts because the smell of all the bags opening at the same time made some of the passengers vomit. I read this detail somewhere and thought it interesting, but not near as interesting as her response. "They need to grow up. Such babies, vomiting on a plane!" If I expected sympathy for these hypothetical nauseated passengers, none came. I had to laugh -- only my mother could get mad at someone for being sick to their stomach. And I have to admit, while this lack of sympathy bothered me in my younger years, it prepared me for the life of a writer. The horrible wounding every writer faces -- rejection. The R word. The close but not quite. The old this isn't for us. The we wish you best of luck in the future.

If you send your darlings out into the world, things happen. Like you get rejection slips that hurt your heart, wound your confidence, and wear you down. You develop a thick skin. A much needed one. You work hard. You get some publications. You feel you're over the rejection issue. Everyone gets them, right? No big deal. But then you get four in one day. On your favorite story. You tell yourself to shake it off. But it's tough. Tomorrow is another day. Maybe you only get one tomorrow. It wears on the soul. I wish I could tell you my magical formula for this affliction. There isn't one. Like a kitten on a poster, you hang in there.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't wait for the good woman. She doesn't exist." Charles Bukowski

Cocktail Hour
Anyone watching Weeds this season? Loving it!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth!

The Indie Spotlight -

Happy Fourth of July to everyone! Check out my interview on the Indie Spotlight today. Hope everyone is having a great holiday weekend -- stay safe, my dears!

Friday, July 01, 2011

Darkness On The Edge Of Town

Approaching the holiday weekend which means locking myself indoors and not coming out for anything. I hate fireworks, barbecue, and heat. It wasn't always this way. I used to only hate fireworks. The loud noises get to me. Call it a post-traumatic stress legacy or a reaction against the waste of money, but I've never seen the point, especially after my dad set himself on fire with a Roman Candle. No injury except burning up his polyester pantsuit which some might say was a favor. Even so, I've managed to injure myself with a stray spark from a sparkler. Yes, I've hurt myself with a sparkler. Really.

I learned to ski during one of these summer holidays. I haven't done that in a long time, gotten up in a snake-infested lake and tried to get a little isometric exercise. No, I'm content to stay on the edges of things. That's where I belong.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Subdue your heart to match your circumstances." Joni Eareckson Tada

Cocktail Hour
Any summer movie suggestions?

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!