Thursday, March 31, 2011

Blog Anniversary

Hi readers! It was five years ago to this day that I started Michelle's Spells! What a fun, wild ride it's been! I have met a ton of great people, enjoyed writing for you, and love supporting the D। Much has happened over the last five years and you guys have been with me every step of the way, cheering me on when things got bad (ruptured appendix, for starters) and teaching me things about sensitivity, kindness, and giving me many happy moments throughout my days. I value and adore all of you and look forward to another five years of sharing my world and hearing about yours. Saturday I had a flat tire and two kind souls stopped and helped me get Snowflake going again without expecting anything in return for their time and efforts. Of course, Snowflake's spare tire was rusted inside the trunk and had to be hacked away with a very large ax. Of course, it wasn't easy. So little is! But I am blessed each day with such moments of kindness. If nothing else, take a little time today to enjoy yourself, help someone out, and laugh. The world can be a harsh place, but if we stick together and take care of each other, it's so much better. Much love to everyone and see you tomorrow!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Pain Scale-- Nurse Jackie

Hey guys -- thanks so much for all your support on Dead Girl, Live Boy. I have the best and dearest friends in the blogosphere! Nurse Jackie returns tomorrow night. I've read a lot of reviews of the first two seasons and look forward to season three the way Jackie looks forward to an unsupervised medicine cabinet. Jackie is a heroine for our time -- troubled and duplicitous and yet loving and hopeful. A lot of reviewers have complained that nothing happens in Nurse Jackie, a criticism I find that totally misses the mark. In a show about addiction, the structure has to be circular. It's all about Jackie's deception and her treading water. Jackie appears nowhere near what AA refers to as a "bottom." She's functional in all her roles -- nurse, mother, friend, wife. How functional is often the question this series asks. We as the viewer know her life is unmanageable and yet she manages. It's not pretty on a moral scale -- like the pain scale in doctor's offices, we have degrees of fuckedupedness. Like the limbo, we ask ourselves how low can she go? With the new season, we'll see her twists and turns. Chekhov says we live two lives, one public, one private. Nurse Jackie takes this dictum and makes it flesh. Who is she? Perhaps she doesn't even know. In a pivotal scene last season, her lover/pharmacist Eddie says to her: "Anyone who knows you knows they don't know you." Alas, Eddie knows her in a post-modern way which is to say that he knows that the reality he's presented isn't all of the story. We watch and wait to see the degrees of exposure and loneliness that dog Jackie. The question isn't the how, but the why. The why keeps me watching. Stay tuned here for a review after the first episode.

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Suddenly This Spring

Elizabeth Taylor as a young woman
Elizabeth Taylor as a young woman Photos
Rest in peace, beautiful Elizabeth! I know she's having a drink with the great Richard Burton in heaven right now. Favorite Liz movies -- Suddenly Last Summer, Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf . . . It's a sad day -- your beautiful spirit and gorgeous violet eyes will be missed!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Status Update

Just read an article about how nobody uses the telephone anymore. Not for talking anyway. I've not been using my phone for years so I'm glad culture has caught up with my renegade ways. I've always had a tortured relationship with all forms of communication and social media. Love/hate bordering on phobia. And yet, what is the alternative? I still have a rotary phone, but no connection. I keep it on top of a box full of pictures and reminders of the dead people in my life. The death box. Weird how that creeps people out. Nobody wants to carry it in a move. Seriously. I think of the rotary phone as a portal to the past, as if I were to pick it up, I could call all the people I remember, the phone numbers of the past. As if it were 1976 again, that Bicentennial year where I sat on the deck near the above ground pool and watched the adults drink Fuzzy Navels. Even to this day, the smell of Coppertone brings it back with such force I feel as if I were tan again, a frightful thought if there ever was one.

As for various social media outlets, I think I would like Facebook more if the status update question was "What's on your feeble mind, Duane?" like Jacy Farrow in The Last Picture Show. Because my mind is feeble, and it would be cool to be called Duane from time to time. It's one of those names like Doyle that you just don't hear that much anymore. I've known three Duanes and two Doyles in my not so short but quite happy life. Which is the best anyone can hope for -- a happy life, not too short and quite sweet.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
If you don't believe in ghosts, you've never been to a family reunion. ~Ashleigh Brilliant

Cocktail Hour
Novel suggestion: Famous After Death Benjamin Cheever

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Monday, March 21, 2011

For Indoor Use Only

Hi everyone -- been working on a big project this week (title above). It's a story I have tried to write for a long time, but I believe I have found the form for it so it's going a lot better. So for today's question -- how do you figure out how to tell your story? I think the material picks the form. You try it until it yields as it should. I generally get it right the first time, but not always. And the more I like the material, the harder the form is to find because of my expectations. Thoughts?

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Love is a better teacher than duty." Albert Einstein

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Cyrus

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Monday!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Talking points:

jokes about the Japanese disaster -- too soon. Gilbert Godfrey, I'm looking at you.

religious meaning in Japanese disaster -- seriously, again? Does anybody ever learn? Why, oh why, must every crackpot tell us that God is punishing/disapproving/angry at us when something bad happens? So so tedious. File under category of not helpful and totally mean-spirited. I'd rather hear Howard Stern babble about why he doesn't need a lot of sex now.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"May your pockets be heavy and your cares be light/ May good luck pursue you both day and night." Irish blessing

Cocktail Hour
Sunday night -- Detroit 187 season finale

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy St. Patrick's Day! And a special hello to my dear friend Lee who is back in the blog world -- check out his new post!

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Tao Of Kenny

I learned a lot of what I know about the world from Kenny Rogers. It's true; he was huge when I was a kid and it occurs to me that I can recite verbatim many of his nuggets of wisdom. Before his ill-considered plastic surgery (also see Burt Reynolds), he gave us the following:

From The Gambler: "You've got to know when to hold, know when to fold 'em, know when to walk away and know when to run/ You never count your money, while you're sitting at the table/ there'll be time enough for counting when then dealings done." I took this lyric to heart and never counted out my change in public except at the Brazos Theater in Mineral Wells where I often paid in pennies (it was only a dollar for a movie, even still this did not make me popular with the people at the counter). I only played Go Fish in terms of card games, even so. Know when to fold them. Indeed Kenny.

From Lucille: "I've known some bad times, been through some sad times, but this time the hurtings for real." I didn't have four hungry children or a crop in the field, but man, I knew pain. I knew when the hurting was for real. Thank you Kenny!

However, my favorite Kenny song was "Ruby" about a paraplegic Vietnam vet who begged his wife Ruby not to "take her love to town." This painful narrative informed much of my young life. The husband who had come back from "a crazy Asian war" had to watch his love get ready to "take her love to town" from his wheelchair. I promised I'd never be a Ruby. Rubies were evil.

Why Kenny let surgeons take to his face, I'll never know. But the tao of Kenny still holds true. I'm going to go fold them for today, but back tomorrow.

Movie suggestion: Cedar Rapids

Benedictions and Maledictions
Hi everyone! Obviously, the weekend has been horrific for much of the world --- much prayer and love to Japan.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Selling Books

Hi readers! Tomorrow my interview will be up on Selling Books. Check it out and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

New Rules

Despite Dave's suggestion a few posts ago about me being an NPR girl, I assure you this is not the case. I fit the profile, and yet the actual station causes me to break out into hives. I fear sentences that began -- I heard on NPR that . . . Again, why? Best guess -- I don't like talk radio of any kind. I dread anything labelled "world" music. I have never shopped at Anthropologie . . .

Fair admission: I do yoga. I have tried meditation without much success. All that chanting aaah makes me visualize myself as a tire with the air going out of it. I don't think that's supposed to be the point. I have dined at a vegan restaurant. It wasn't bad! I felt my liver go into shock at the introduction of actual healthy food into my body. The only sadness was they didn't serve Dr. Pepper, only Agave limeade. Again, not bad, liver in shock. I'm glad to report that I didn't hear about the place on NPR. Not that there's anything wrong with that! If you need me, I'll be listening to Howlin' Wolf . . .

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"All sorrows can be borne if you put them in a story." Isak Dinesen

Cocktail Hour
Episode of Detroit 187 last night was awesome. Look for the Heidelberg Project (often featured here in photographs) next episode!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday!

Saturday, March 05, 2011

Thanks JR!

A very very special thanks to the brilliant Jim of JR's Thumbprint for his review of Dead Girl, Live Boy. Jim ia a great writer, and I'm honored to be featured on his blog!

These Boots Are Made For Rainy Days

Check out the cool rain boots/cowboy boots -- it's like wearing a fish pond on your feet! Winning . . .

I've admit it -- I enjoy the winning Charlie Sheen. I never thought about his old show, never saw most of his movies, and considered him an eighties icon, a steady customer of Heidi Fleiss, in love with drugs and sex and really good sunglasses. Now he comes out swinging; other people are trolls, clowns, losers with ugly wives and ugly children. He claims to love money and power and hot girls. I guess what I find most refreshing is the level of honesty in the age of the self-effacing celebrity. What's causing it seems to be the brunt of a lot of speculation -- mania, tiger's blood, warlock ways? Who knows? I'm sure I speak for many when I say that I'm glad that he's off the carefully-trodden publicist-sanctioned rails. Because that's boring. Charlie may or may not be winning, but he's not boring. Although I am mad that ABC bumped Detroit 187 last week for a Charlie interview. Don't mess with my stories, Charlie! Otherwise, we're cool.

Everyone likes a train wreck which explains most of my life choices. As for old Charlie, I suppose suspending judgment has become a way of life for me. Judgment obscures curiosity; it puts you in the driver's seat. Which probably explains my aversion. I'm more of a passenger. In this world, it's easier to speculate than to observe. Decide the course and stick to it. But alas, doesn't all wisdom tell us the journey is the point? Once I saw some flowers sticking up through a drift of snow. Purple petals in twilight on a cracked sidewalk. I try not to forget such sights are everywhere for those who look.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Don't turn your head. Keep looking at the bandaged place. That is where the light enters you." Hafiz

Cocktail Hour
Memoir suggestion: A Box of Darkness Sally Ryder Brady

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!

Friday, March 04, 2011

Detroit Is Worse Than Hiroshima? Say It Ain't So!

Hello dear readers and happy Friday! Glenn Beck has recently said Detroit is worse than Hiroshima after the bomb dropped. Say it ain't so! It's my Emerald City, my Motor City, Oz. Fellow Detroiters, fight back! What say ye on this pronouncement?

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Thirty Is The New Thirty

Open letter to a friend turning thirty today -- happy birthday, beautiful!

I hate when people say Forty is the new twenty or any variation thereof. I mean, isn't good enough just to be what you are? That said, the thirties are all kinds of awesome. I turned thirty in Cleveland at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That set the tone for the next decade. Very rock and roll. Lots of rocks -- deaths, a lot, behavior, sometimes questionable, beverages of ill-repute, lots. And yet, I had a blast. The twenties with all their worry and exhausting posing were over. I didn't worry about what anyone thought, not the way I did at twenty-five, hoping to be special. Unlike Charlie Sheen, I wasn't tired of hiding the fact that I was special. I was tired of hiding the fact that I wasn't. I wasn't going to be an amazing wunderkind. I wasn't going to write the novel I wanted.

Guess what? That happened in my thirties, when I didn't mind sitting for a long time alone without distraction, something I could not do in my twenties. I didn't have amazing adventures in my twenties -- I was too worried that I wasn't where I was supposed to be (wherever the hell that was) and I was too worried about how I looked. I felt like a secret failure all the time. I couldn't live in the moment, couldn't relax. Nora Ephorn famously wrote that if she knew what she knew now, she would have spent her entire twenties in a bathing suit. I spent a lot of my twenties lifeguarding in an ugly red suit that said GUARD on it. And that's what I felt like. Guarded against everything. By my mid-twenties, I'd moved to Detroit. Not much occasion to wear a swimsuit. And all I can say is what a relief.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Knowledge and timber shouldn't be much used, till they are seasoned." Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr

Cocktail Hour
Movie suggestion: Another Year

Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Tuesday!