Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Secret Of The Old Attic

One of my writing journals has a cover of a Nancy Drew book on it, with one inscription on the first page -- "This seems like a strange place to look for a clue, but that's what I've been told to do." I have several writing journals which I love collecting and find myself treating some of them like the "good" china. It's too nice to write inside of it, I think. As opposed to what? A book of blank pages is a book of blank pages. Maybe it's the fear of starting something I won't finish. Ever felt that way? Or some of them exist seemingly as an enumeration of my only failings -- budget journal, exercise journal (I gave this one up), reading journal. It's tough to see things in black and white.

So why write, which is essentially keeping records. Well, it's a strange place to look for a clue, but that's what it's best for. Clues as to my mental state, my dream state, my desires. Yes, I try the whole Buddhist desire nothing route, and yes, I fail. I'm a vat of desires, regret, waste, and also some recently acquired Gummy Tummies, an evil gummy bear variation which has liquid in the bear's stomach. Quite tasty, not good for anyone probably. But who cares? So much of what I do is not good for anyone. That's the function writing serves -- John Updike said that writing his pages served as a place for all the toxins of the day. You feel somehow lighter, cleaner, less burdened. As for clues, I'm still looking, but as some people say, the journey is the thing.

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
Novel suggestion: The Leisure Seeker Michael Zadoorian

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Dead Man's Float

A little flash fiction for a Thursday afternoon. As always, thanks for reading!

You can float forever, Mother said. Remember that if you fall into the ocean. But there was no ocean where we were, only water moccasin-infested tanks in which we swam after Mother through stones to scatter the snakes to the edges. And I couldn't float no matter how hard I tried. I could swim and tread water, not with graceful figure eight motions like my friends, but by kicking as hard as I could. The only float I ever managed was the dead man's, and I could only do that one long enough to scare anyone who happened to be watching.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"You don't take a photograph, you make it." Ansel Adams

Cocktail Hour
Music suggestion: The Idiot Iggy Pop

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday! A special hello to Carnal Knowledge -- good to hear from you!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

With Dreams, With Drugs, With Waking Nightmares

The title from Allen Ginsberg, of course! I've been working on a new project and plan on posting excerpts soon. In the meantime, what has been going on with you, my dear readers? I also plan on posting some pictures of beautiful Christmas gifts and various and sundry fun things I've run into in my travels (Zombie finger puppets, for starters!). Hope you're having a wonderful week . . .

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot." Ashleigh Brilliant

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: True Grit

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Comeback

Been watching The Comeback on dvd, and it's fantastic! How did I miss this show? Going to write a review tomorrow . . . until then, happy Saturday night!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
“The key to change... is to let go of fear.” Rosanne Cash

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Please Give

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Saturday!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Suicide Is Painless

The book by Amy Chua, Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother, has been getting a lot of press in the last few weeks. The premise (I haven't read it) seems to be that Chua is a strict mother in large part due to her cultural background which produces smarter children. I love when books on motherhood are published -- no subject can people as upset or righteously indignant. I have no children so I'm conveniently out of the fray as they say, but alas, I do watch with amazement at how women beat themselves and each other up over this subject. My own mother could be classified as an interesting mother. Those who have read this blog for some time have heard the stories. She went by the dictates of Dr. Spock (not the Vulcan for the Trekkies out there, but the 70s doctor who wrote to mothers that they already instinctively knew how to raise children which garnered him millions in sales -- let's face it, there's nothing better than reading about something when someone tells us we're okay!) and her own strange brew of good old fashioned crazy. This technique worked out fine. She didn't disallow sleepovers like Ms. Chua (until the neighbor girl took a shit on the bedroom carpet which sucked some of the joy out of the enterprise), she didn't encourage me and my sister to enroll in endless lessons to hone our skills (I forced myself to every extra-curricular activity I did -- the end result? I can play the theme song to Mash, "Suicide Is Painless" on a clarinet), or sweat the small stuff or the large stuff. Guess what? We're both relatively functional adults.

What's the best way to oppress women? Put the oppressor in their own damn heads and let them spin. Let other women analyze shoes, hair, body hair, mothering technique, and sluttiness levels and judge. Men who give not one shit about much of the above (I've never had a man say, Those Prada loafers are so last year or Women should cut their hair when they get to a certain age). Men are free to watch television and drink while we engage in the ultimate Steel Cage Death Match with each other for our souls.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Trust yourself. You know more than you think you do. " Benjamin Spock

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: The Fighter

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Thursday!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy MLK Day!

Here's to the great Martin Luther King, Jr! My favorite quote from Dr. King is the one about how we will remember the silence of our friends far more than the angry words of our enemies. I remember Dr. Hollaman, the first African-American principal at Robert E. Lee Middle School putting Dr. King's picture in his office, replacing Robert E. Lee's picture to much local scandal. Hope you're having a wonderful Monday, my dears.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I'm not at the Golden Globes, not even one of the back tables, but here's what I'd wear if I was! Special congratulations to Al Pacino for his win for his portrayal of Jack Kevorkian in You Don't Know Jack. I LOVED this movie, and Pacino was brilliant as Detroit's own, Jack Kevorkian.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Another Temptation

I've seen ads for the new Vince Vaughn movie, The Dilemma. The reviews say skip it, but I've been in Vince's dilemma, to tell or not to tell someone a hard truth about a loved one who is umm, involved, with someone else. There's plenty of examples in ancient literature of this position, all of which can be summed up with the simple response that people often shoot the messenger, the grade school equivalent -- No one likes a tattle-tale.

At a restaurant once, my table ordered two temptation rolls. It's the best thing on the menu, of course, and the waitress set them down, saying, Here's your first temptation and then, here's another temptation. I texted this line to myself, as I am wont to do, as the writing angel leaves if you don't get down what you hear when you hear it. You have about twenty minutes before the angel leaves and gives your precious dialogue to someone else if you don't capture it. That's just the way it is. I didn't make the rules. So what do you do with another temptation? The table is large, and there is enough for everyone. Confession, guilt, and pain are like this as well. I once saw a confessional where the screen looked like a prop from a high school play, too small for anyone to hide behind.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"There are things to confess to the world, and things that need not be said." Joni Mitchell

Cocktail Hour
Just started watching Dexter -- how did I miss this show for so long?! It's quite good, even for the squeamish.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


Sorry for the brief absence -- life has been relatively busy and all sorts of craziness has ensued. First, I want to congratulate Trent of Pink Is The New Blog. As I watched the new episode of this season's Californication, Pink was featured! Very thrilling! Loved the episode. Hank Moody has returned in his dark glory. Favorite line of the episode -- "It's been a long life." I'll be back later with a longer post -- so far, I'm searching for a direction in writing that will carry me through 2011 or at least until all the 2012 madness, right? Ha! See you soon . . .

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Faith is like a radar that sees through the fog." Corrie Ten Boom

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Cyrus (it's out on dvd today)

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, January 07, 2011

My Heart Belongs To Daddy

Hi everyone! Today is my dad's birthday. I've written a fair amount about him on this blog and still miss him very much. Like my friend Ang and I are fond of saying about men, They don't make that model anymore! Sturdy, reliable, and deeply kind, I owe a lot of my happiness and self-worth to him. I still remember he took me to the library every Saturday morning when I was a child and endured my many long minutes in the stacks, looking for the perfect book on witchcraft or astrology or Cotton Mather's sermons to fill the violet hours. Happy birthday to my dearest dad and happy Friday to all of you. See you tomorrow . . .

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Through A Lens Darkly

I just saw the Joan River's documentary, A Piece Of Work. I've always liked Joan; her brutal honesty about social conventions has always appealed to me. Now she turns the camera on herself to great effect. The documentary is painful and funny like all great comedy. There's a reason that comics say they killed an audience when successful. No other art form makes the demands of comedy; no other genre is as unforgiving or exacting. Joan excels in this arena. Her real addiction isn't plastic surgery; it is work and the Dewey Decimal filing of her jokes shows an epic system of effort. She lives for the road, for the thrill of the audience, her need for money to maintain a both lavish and giving lifestyle and for movement. Like a shark, Joan does not sit. Sitting is death. And she's not going gently into that goodnight. Nor should see. No woman has been so sharp and smart or fearless in the arena of comedy.

The film starts with her bare face in process of being made up, bringing to mind Mickey Rourke in The Wrestler in the fierce determination she brings to the enterprise of becoming herself. The butt of her and many other comics' jokes, her looks have both created and vexed her life. No man has ever called me beautiful, she says. We feel her pain. It is my contention that no woman feels beautiful, no matter what face we create to create the faces. As she poses for the cover of her book, Men Are Stupid and They Like Big Boobs (a line she stole from Marilyn Monroe), she reflects a distortion in a society increasingly dependent on plastic surgery. I know people who don't like Joan's humor. It's not, as they say, for all tastes. Her world, harsh and brutal, makes me squirm and laugh. It calls to mind the days when the word abortion wasn't uttered (women got an "appendectomy" remember that?), a world where you might not be beautiful, but you could still be a star, where an average-looking woman with a sharp mind could charm Johnny Carson and rise and fall and rise again, a life where you must burn yourself up to be born again.

Michelle's Spell of Day
"All photographs are accurate. None of them are the truth." Richard Avedon

Cocktail Hour
Photography suggestion: Nan Goldin Costa Guido

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Monday, January 03, 2011

Begin Anywhere

Great news -- I got my novella, Dead Boy, Live Girl picked up by Storylandia Press! I'll keep you posted on all the details. You will be able to purchase it as both a print and e-book. Thank you all for the support while writing it (you've seen teasers on the blog) and a big thanks to editor Ginger Mayerson for saying yes to it! My computer's name is Severin, and she is my faithful servant (Velvet Underground reference to Venus In Furs) for delivering the good news.

I'm in the process of returning to my regular writing/reading habits (starting with the Iggy Pop biography, Open Up and Bleed), and will be back each day with whatever flotsam I managed to gather from my feeble mind. For now, I will leave you with the fun stuff over the holidays -- watching Dexter for the first time (enjoyed the entire first season with my dearest Ang), catching up on old Soul Trains (my favorite show as a kid), and in the words of the great Don Cornelius, wishing you peace, love, and soul for the new year. See you tomorrow!

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Begin anywhere." John Cage

Cocktail Hour
Instead of more yummy cocktails for you gremlins, I will be sharing health tips this week as a detox from the delights of the month of December. December is the month where I relax on all dietary concerns and do another plan, one titled Whatever the fuck I want to eat/drink is okay. I like the plan, but alas, the plan doesn't like me as much as I do it so here's the first tip. For an effective body detox, freeze cod liver oil pills. Take one in the morning and one at night. The freezing works as a time release, allowing the pills to get to your lower small intestine and clean out your system. No worries -- this is not some nasty harsh cleanse, but something you can do every single day to improve your overall health. If you have any afflictions or just want to feel better and have more energy, this works better than a voodoo charm. The pills are cheap and can be found at any health food/ larger grocery store.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!