Home Remedy

I don’t know about the rest of you all, but I am officially too old to understand Halloween.  I can’t imagine disguising myself arbitrarily (in Something Rising Cassie says she has a hard enough time recognizing herself as it is) and if I want candy I go buy some.  The dim shadow of paganism that remains associated with this date for some people has no meaning to me; indeed, I never know what day it is anyway.  So for today I decided to treat the holiday as one in which we might consider what is really scary.  No masks, no prostidevils, no poltergeist detectors.  And that led me to something that our Jim Shue used to find scary – a short story by my mother called “Home Remedy.”  I’ve recorded it, and if you’d like to listen to it click on the link. 

For the record, I agree with Stephen King on the nature of fear:  nothing is more deeply terrifying than when global and domestic atrocities collide.  This story takes place in rural Kentucky, but an atrocity is what it is. 

OH!  Now I see why we need the candy!  

Link: Home Remedy

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 12:23 pm  Comments (276)  


  1. You are not old HAVEN! Halloween isn’t for everyone, I love it, and I enjoy dressing up and laughing at funny costumes all day at work @ my government job. I just adore the spirt and fun behind the holiday.

  2. I tend to get nervous if there are spirits behind ANYTHING.

  3. Ok, I haven’t listened to this yet so I can’t comment…I am saving it for some real entertainment while I put up my warshing.

    But Haven…you and Hugh are kindred this way. The man VOLUNTARILY gave up trick or treating at the age of 8 because his parents had better candy at home.

    I, on the other hand, would still trick or treat if it was permitted. I admit I had kids just so I could filch their candy.

    And as anyone who knows me KNOWS, I would rather live my life in costume. I do it nearly every day. Few people know I am actually a HOBBIT.

  4. ohhhhhhh. my. god. honestly. just. geeze. you people are the most talented family in the world, officially.


    (also, ps, i wish Dalonda were related to ME!)

  5. Amanda, after I adopt you she will be your granny. I believe that is called win/win/win.

  6. Crap! I am at work and cannot listen to the story!! I will have to wait until tonight.
    Crap, crap, crap!
    HK~ I am taking a road trip tomorrow to Indianapolis from Dayton along I-70. I tend to get bored when I drive alone so I got Couch on audio! Thought I would let you know that you are coming along for the ride:~)

  7. I am having a thinking that mayhap I will post randomly all day today just to see that little picture of Freddie Kimmel-Mercury pop up like a perfect daisy.

  8. Amy in Ohio — you will like COUCH! By that time I’d figured out what I was doing and the process went really smoothly. It came out and about a week later I got a call saying that I had won the Audiophile award for what they called ‘virtually flawless author narration.’ I thought that was just the sweetest thing, and you know what the prize was? Nothing. So once when Augusten was in New York he went in to their offices and took a picture of the award hanging on their wall. He took it with his cell phone, so it was a little cattywhompus. MINE IS A GLAMOROUS LIFE.

  9. Great story. Love the accent, it really fits the story. 🙂

  10. Great, great story. “Elsie, meet John Bobbitt. You, two knuckleheads have a lot in common!”

  11. **** Spoiler Alert – Don’t read this post if you’ve not listened to the audio track ****

    I must have read that story oh, I don’t know how many times, and it still makes the small hairs on the back of my neck stand straight up. And I never before caught the humor (albeit black humor) in the description of the cast iron bed. “Rozella slept with me in this bed ’til you and me was married and she never knowed them balls come off.”

  12. Sock, during the night I practiced that sentence at least 50 different ways. Interesting that the one I settled on caused you to hear it.

    The phrase I find most disturbing is “Poor Lovey.”

    Evidently my work computer doesn’t have the current quicktime to see this and my beloved computer nazis in I.T. will not let me download anything through the firewall of death, so I will ALAS have to wait until I get home to listen to this long anticipated short story.
    Always on the outside looking in.
    weeping. sniff.
    Here’s a really cute little short animation to make up for my self pity.

  14. Yes “poor Lovey”… Everyone knows, but they don’t do anything to help her.

  15. Even as a teenager, I heard her saying it with more and more irony with each repetition. Poor Lovey.

  16. LAWD! I’m gonna have nightmares.

    One halloween my older brother had me watch When a Stranger Calls with him and then locked me in the basement with the “sacrificial table”. To this day, I avoid basements like the plague. Nor do I like closets…

  17. I have seen Lovey and heard her talking a million times around Hawesville, Ky. Something in those eyes and the toss of the hair that would lead any thinkin’ man half-way in his right mind to know she warn’t one to never be trifled with.

    I have also seen Deputy Elsie a million times in small Indiana towns from Cannelton to Knightstown. Truly scary dudes!

  18. Brandon, angel, I don’t think you need to worry about closets.

  19. Glad he got thrown off the sheriff department, but it went down like this:

    Sheriff: “Elsie, son, come into my office for a second, would you?”

    Elsie: “Sure, let me finish writing up this DUI of this scumbag I got last night.”

    Sheriff: “Elsie, we’ll get Ned to finish it. Need to talk to you. Come on in. Close the door behind you.”

    Elsie steps inside.

    Sheriff: “You know that boy who tried to escape on you? Well, I just heard from the mayor. That boy’s people, they got some peckerwood ACLU lawyer snooping around…way I hear it, a state trooper’s been asking questions, too.”

    Elsie: “Well, they ain’t gonna find nothin’…we done too good a job…”

    Sheriff: “I know that, son, but listen. I’m gonna need you to lay low for awhile. Gimme your badge. You can keep your gun and stick. I got you a security job over at the mines and you can get some of that money we confiscated at the meth bust. You take that and keep quit, son. You hide for awhile and I’ll tell you when to come out. Also, you better make sure that woman of yours keeps her trap shut, too. She’s too smart for her own good. Her whole damn family was like that. Put the fear of God in her if you have too. Nobody needs to know nothin’.”

  20. Oh I have read Couch a bazillion times and own a copy…I just wanted to hear you read it. ( Sheepish smile:~)
    I just love that book and I love the award story!!!

  21. why do neither Audible nor itunes sell the audiobook of COUCH? this makes no sense.

  22. What a wonderful present to unwrap for Halloween! And, it made my day to hear your voice, Haven. Now I don’t have to pretend anymore.

    I am going to listen to that again and again.

  23. Haven,

    Freddie sends his love to you:


  24. Same “hear.” It was nice to hear what you sound like, Haven. Lord knows after everything I have read, I had in my mind, a notion of your voice — at least that of your characters, mostly — but your natural voice is pretty close to what I was thinking. Thanks so much and big thanks to Delonda for writing!!!!

  25. I agree with George. Thank you, Delonda, for being a fantastic writer. And an inspiration!

  26. Those who would like to HEAR more from Haven, go the the post on Corn (The Rich, Rich Soil of Indiana) and scroll down to JohnM’s comment where he posts the audio file of Haven’s Story “That Old Time Religion.”

    It is phenomenal.

  27. I’m your age, and by contrast this year I have Halloween spirit for the first time since I was a kid. Tonight I’m giving out candy for the first time in my adult life, instead of closing the blinds and turning off all the lights. I tried to make a Zippy mask from the cover of the book using the computer, but it didn’t work out. Maybe next year.

  28. I am SO glad I finally got to hear this story. It made the laundry actually pleasurable. Fantastic.

  29. I am TOTALLY going to score a Zippy mask. AAHHH!!! This makes me want to dance around like the town crazy!

    Wait a second.

  30. I remember when reading Couch, I wished more than once Delonda had published her thesis. Who knew you were an accomplished actress as well as writer and beauty parlor tech extraordinaire? — thank you for bringing Lovey and Elsie (Elzea?) to life. Whew. Your momma can write.

  31. Jodi, it was just like I always dreamed it would be. He was wearing the white jumpsuit and shag haircut from the cover of the sheet music for Bohemian Rhapsody, and I asked if he remembered how I used to just play the daylights out of that song on our old upright and OF COURSE HE DID. I was a little nervous but I looked, and YES, thank heavens, on one hand his fingernails were painted white, on the other they were painted black. I told him how much I admire the fact that he designed and made ALL of their clothing. We ate madeleines and made sweetly obscure references to Proust. He called me ‘Odile,’ and I said, ‘I was overcome with the feeling that if I could just say her name a few more times . . . ‘ and he said, “Darling? You know what The Search For Lost Time is really about?” I knew I would cry, but I nodded and said yes, it’s about the search for lost time, and then he was gone.

  32. Amy in Ohio – I’ve travelled that stretch of I 70 a gabillion times. I’ll be waiving from the Richmond exit!

  33. dreams really do come true!

  34. I thought about describing the shape Mom gave the thesis, because it’s mind-blowingly good, and in fact it’s so subtle you could read it from start to finish and miss it. Each story is told twice, always from the point of the view of the women. So for instance, “Home Remedy” is followed by “Bondage,” and it takes place in an inner-city apartment. The wife is a nurse, the husband is, I forget, a truck driver, maybe? And as in HR, the child is never seen. In Bondage, however, there is a chilling reference to an old, one-eyed bear on her bed. What goes on between the husband and wife in that story is colder, silent, but YOU know the mother knows and she’s a NURSE, and at the end she tells him she’s going to fulfill his fantasies, she thinks yes, bondage is a good idea. And handcuffs him to the bed. You’d never know the same person wrote both stories. And they’re all built around events of mythic importance. Ah, I’ll stop there, I’ve read it dozens of times. It’s magnificent.

  35. Surely there is some way to get this thing published.

  36. Elzy Ezekiel Rogers, I would like muchly to speak to you, I really would, and I would take it kindly if you’d stop rolling your eyes around in your head that way, it makes you look simple.

    I might as well have that story tattooed on the inside of my forehead.

  37. The way you said “simple” made my toes curl.

  38. …that rolling the eyes around phrase got my goat!

  39. Ooh, I like. What struck me the most was how everyone viewed her, “poor Lovey”, uncared for, tossed around, but no one, least of all her husband knew how much she had going on internally. When she talked about trading three bottles of wine and she said, “oh but it was worth it” … amazing.

    You’re right about the hookah-huffing caterpillar, but really? The Cheshire Cat? I can’t understand .. then again, I think Lucifer (Cinderella) is hilarious .. maybe it’s me..?

  40. Are we talking Alice in Wonderland in the strict Disney sense? Or the story and original illustrations?

  41. Kittery, I just feel . . . I feel like there is something amiss in a cat that disappears but leaves his teeth behind. I’d rather that didn’t happen in my presence. I would not feel happiness to see the smiling catless teeth in the tree branch; indeed, I would assume that something had gone terribly, terribly wrong.

  42. That is a very valid point ..

  43. I’ll wave back Stephanie!!!!But just for a second because I am 2 hands on the wheel at all times girl!
    I drive like I’m 80, I really do.
    I think people plan their mornings around making sure they leave their house to get in front of that slow ass Honda Civic that does a solid 55 down all the country roads going to work.
    The same flippin people pass me every morning!
    And when they do pass me, they see me giggling like a loon at my books on CD.

  44. Here is a very sweet thing. Mom used to be very involved in local theater, and helped found the Heartland Stage Company. She’s written plays, she was my drama teacher in high school, she is a SUPREMELY rare comic actress. So since her thesis began to circulate (we’re talking a loooong time ago) someone is forever asking if they can perform it at a night of staged readings, or for an audition or whatever, and I am the only person she will ever let read it. NO ONE else.

  45. …if ever it surfaces and there’s a part for a male voice, I’ll volunteer, purty puleeeeze!

    AMY: I used to do that stretch of I-70 between Greenfield and Dayton while reading the newspaper. Same thing with I-69 between Anderson and Fort Wayne.

  46. Thank you, Kittery. I have a certain revulsion toward disembodied body pieces. I become frantic if a hair falls on my arm for instance. Naturally, it would happen one afternoon that I was walking along the canal in Broad Ripple, in Indianapolis, and saw, just over the curb, something of which I could make no sense. What do you suppose it was? JUST A BOX FILLED WITH HUMAN TEETH. I believe it had fallen off a truck; the sort of truck that hauls teeth.

  47. It was a Toothmobile.

  48. Oh my heavens…the discovery of such a box would give me my favorite feeling…giddiness mixed with REVULSION.

  49. That’s the one the tooth fairy drives between collections. Everyone knows that. The fairy is based up there in Broad Ripple. Has a little office tucked in between the Alley Cat and the old Vogue.

  50. :: shudders :: Teeth. When I had my wisdom teeth removed, the assistant asked me if I wanted to take my poor displaced teeth home with me in a box. No! Never! If ah can’t have ’em in mah mouth, ah don’ wan’em.

  51. Oh lord George, I am sure you agree that nothing, nothing is more boring than that awful stretch between Anderson and Fort Wayne. Well except for the stretch between Anderson and Indy!
    A box of teeth- man alive, I would just puke.
    Haven, I used to have a hairdresser that would gag when she would find hair on her smock. The best is when hair would fall into her smock pocket and she would stick her hand in her pocket and touch it on accident. She would dry heave right there on the linoleum in front of God and all of the customers.

  52. That is the opposite of me. I wish I had thought to ask for my wisdom teeth!! I have examined a mole floating in a jar of fluid immediately after it was cut from my body, and I once had such a huge green ball of pus flushed out of my infected ear that I asked my doctor if I could take it home and show everyone. As he tried to wrangle that little nasty ball into a miniature test tube he said “This is one of the grossest things I’ve done as a doctor.” SCORE.

  53. My sister and I love to torture one another with the possibility that we might have a fetus in fetu growing somewhere. I’m fairly certain that I’ve convinced my friend Tim that his brain tumor was actually an undeveloped twin with hair and teeth.

  54. A hairdress who is afraid of hair? Curious.

    My husband has a lustrous head of black curls. Since we are lazy I only give him a haircut about 4 times a year. We wind up cutting off enough hair for an impressive, wig shaped pile on the floor

  55. KATE! I am simultaneously cracking up and SHUDDERING WITH MY HANDS OVER MY EYES.

  56. Kate, I am retching and laughing, retching and laughing…


    Please tell me SOMEONE has seen the circus freak episode of the X-Files. It involves the Fiji Mermaid and Parasitic Twins, my favorite!

  58. Do you want to hear about that thing I pulled out of my husband’s belly button?

  59. I do, I think….

  60. *runs away screaming!*

  61. Kate, Have you ever done ear candling??? It is fantastic and I think you would enjoy looking at all the wax after you are done.

  62. Amy, is it me or does it seem as if your hairdresser may be vocationally misguided?

    Melinda and her late husband owned funeral homes, and one day Melinda was filling out the paperwork to charge a family for having opened an unusually shaped vault. It wasn’t the size of any casket she knew of. She asked Mark and he said, “Oh yes, that would be Chester Grant’s left leg. In his pre-arrangements he specified that he wanted his buried leg dug up and rejoined with his right.”

    I think it’s shameful that the drivers of the Toothmobiles can’t unionize. It isn’t as if WE’RE enjoying any of the savings.

  63. I have done ear candling. It was a TREAT.

    That story about the leg is almost CUTE.

  64. Exactly Haven, you don’t see me being a rat doctor

  65. My sofa is down-filled and so there’s always a feather poking out somewhere. Scott is convinced that if we just put them all together and kept them warm, we could grow a chicken.

  66. Exactly Amy, you don’t see me working in a mustard factory.

    Oh god I wish I hadn’t allowed that phrase in my mind. Now I have the vapours.

  67. Kate,

    It’s just teeth (and loose hair – the hairdresser and Haven are correct – eeww). For example, I think having a decorative kidney in a jar placed on a doily and set on a side table next to a vase of fresh flowers would be delightful.


    Lord. A person can’t even come home from teaching middle school and get away from grossness.

    Did you get your sugar fixes be-FORE going out trick-or-treating, fortheloveofchrist? Because you are wound up tight.

  69. I’ve had three Kit-Kats today. :: grins ::

  70. I, for one, was hoping and wishing with great anticipation that this Halloween thread would contain more real-life ghost stories, like the ones George and Sock told in The Wife Who Stays. I have only one, second hand, but is there anything more delicious than an expertly told freaky happening?

  71. 4 tootsie rolls and a mini snickers…

  72. Haven, just make sure you don’t grow those chickens that HAVE THE MUTANT FEATHERS GROWING ON THEIR FEET. I fear them the way you must fear that innocent yellow bottle in the fridge.

    Kittery…YES, only I really would prefer a brain. All those little curlicues! It looks like a vintage Persian lamb coat!

  73. Don’t even ASK me how much ToT candy I’ve had today.

  74. Carrie,

    For my money, the finest Victorian gothic horror author is J.S. Le Fanu. Uncle Silas is a novel, and one of my favorites. Here’s a link to lots of his online scary stories:


  75. Kate, if you ever find/get one, please let me know. Even if I couldn’t afford one of my own, just gazing at one would make me terribly happy.

  76. Carrie, my only ghost story is the following:

    My family went to Myrtle Beach EVERY SUMMER of my childhood and onward. When I was 6 or 7 years old I made a friend at the hotel pool. We would swim and wander around and generally goof off together.

    One day we were all down at the ocean “catching waves.” She and I would grab the floaties around our middles and wait on a wave to catch up to us, when we would LEAP into the air and ride it into the shore.

    I was telling her a story and not paying attention to the waves when she YELPED and I turned around and was tumbled end over end by a gigantic wave. I remember being afraid and feeling like I had been underwater for a VERY long time. I couldn’t get my bearings, but could see light/dark/light/dark.

    When I finally got up out from underneath the water I ran to the shore and started looking for my friend.

    She was not there.

    I ran over to where her mom had been set up with their coolers, umbrellas, beach chairs, towels, etc. And there was no trace of any of them.

    I looked for her for forever and looked for her for the rest of our visit, and even in future summers when we went back, but I never saw her again.

  77. P.S. I did not have a TV in college and around 2 a.m. one night in the fall I took a rented copy of The Exorcist to a far away building on campus which was said to be haunted. In the early days of the college the president’s daughter had hung herself from the upstairs. It was the only place I knew would be open so I could watch this movie.

    It was the first time I had seen The Exorcist and I do not think that I will ever in my life experience that kind of scared every again.

    P.P.S. Dave the Boyfriend has an EXCELLENT ghost dog story that happened to him. I can’t remember the good parts though.

  78. There was more church pot luck food in my office today than you could shake a stick at. Good grief, do these people think it is Thanksgiving? It is not. Casseroles and corn with mayo-like stuff on it and pies and cakey pumkiny custard topped with whipped cream and who forced me to eat it anyway? And now grown people are wandering around in costumes asking for candy. Who can eat candy after all that food in the conference room at lunch? For the love of God people! I feel like I am going to pass out.

  79. Oh, Amanda, that is an excellent one.

    Jodi, thank you for the link. I’m of two minds with scary stories: I want desperately to hear them, but am afraid they will take on a life of their own, once they get in my brain. You don’t know how long it took for me to click on ‘Home Remedy.’ Also, how filled with dread at the prospect of a HK book I may or may not be able to bring myself to read. I am far too credulous for my own good.

  80. Amanda: don’t you think you could persuade Dave the boyfriend to perhaps relate his ghost dog story, for posting in this, the most very perfect forum for such a story?

    Alright, I am off to torch. I’ll check back later tonight, because I can’t stay away.

  81. I don’t have any gross or scary stories to tell, EXCEPT, HK – I did mail off that box of pelts to you today. It just seemed appropriate.

    I was just at the library checking out Soylent Green and saw a large bearded man dressed as a nun.

    With that in mind, here’s a little tableau I made for Halloween:

  82. Linda, your comment made me LAUGH!

  83. Carrie, I will check with Boyfriend Dave.

    All, I am off to the 24-hour mom marathon. Wish me luck and reading time.

  84. You guys aren’t going to believe this, but a writer friend of mine here in DC, Tom Allen, actually interviewed the priests and even the boy — Robbie — who was the one actually possessed. Here’s the book: Possessed: The True Story Of An Exorcism. What Tom did was manage to “unearth” no pun intended the journal kept by an assistant to one of the priests. There’s some strange stuff there. Ultimately the book is about faith and the possibility of the struggle between the divine and the demonic.

  85. What a perfect Halloween present. Thank you Haven!

  86. Haven-

    Just got home from work and received your book in the mail. It’s the first time in awhile I had a reason to get choked up, and what a wonderful reason to be choked up about, the generousity of a kind soul.
    Thank you.

  87. Oooooo, y’all are going to have the heebs AND the jeebs when THE FARM comes out. I cannot wait.

    JohnM, how did I not know that you are a fabulous artist? You have been a constant in my life since Zippy came out — how could I not know this? Why haven’t you moved back here yet? I’ll give you shoes. The fact that you are sending me pelts gives me such joy, you can’t imagine. “The mail is here? Oh, those must be the pelts John sent me! I’m going to trade him some shoes to drive nails through.”

    I have the most gorgeous vintage Persian lamb coat in the English-speaking world. I bought it for $40 at the Salvation Army in Muncie, Indiana. It has never disappointed me.

    My original plan for today was to post a poem I wrote about I dream I had that involved taking an elevator to Hell — very very vivid and upsetting images, but I’m so proud of my mother — I’m so STUNNED by her, that just selfishly I’m glad we did this. Eventually I’ll find a way to force you all to watch the 30-minute documentary that was made about her; she still teaches Shakespeare to maximum security prisoners at the age of 75. It was nominated for an Emmy! I think with Emmys there’s more than just a phone call and then eventually a wobbly cell phone photograph from Augusten. But I don’t know — times are tough all over. DO I EVER HAVE A POINT? Yes, it’s that the first time I saw it I was so overwhelmed with admiration for her that I forgot she was my mother; I remember thinking, “How lucky I am, to know this woman!” And then I realized RIGHT. She’s also STILL YOUR MOM. And there can be no doubt — a nose this big is somebody’s fault and I think we know who that someone is. Delonda.

  88. I’m so glad the books are beginning to arrive! I still have one last shipment to go out tomorrow, and then we’ll figure out when we want to take it up.

  89. JOHN M –

    That has to be one of the most fabulous visual jesters I have ever seen!!


  90. I was just eating a nice juicy ham sammich with coleslaw on it when you guys started in on the grossness. I’ll probably lose 5 pounds from not being able to eat. On your heads be it.
    ‘Course, I snorted part of it up ma nose, so y’all are responsible for that, too, but there’s plenty extra space up there.
    LOVE the fighting nuns…
    GHOST SIGHTINGS: I never saw a ghost (doesn’t that have to be something that was once living?) but I did see an apparition once as a trailer trash chile….In the middle of the night, as children will do, I got out of the bunk bed to go to the bathroom, passing the bunkbeds of my brothers. Instead of seeing my brother in the bottom bunk, I saw a rifle, backpack, and army helmet set in a little pile, all glowing greenish with a pulsing light fading to golden at the edges. My brother wasn’t there and the bed was made up like it hadn’t been slept in. I remember not being scared, just going to do my business and coming back…it was still there. I thought I would tell my mother in the morning when she couldn’t find him, but he was back from wherever he went when I woke up. He tormented me when I was small, so I always thought he was a changling from some military hell.

  91. I love how the conversation flows in the comments. Kate, you are my type of gal. I am still mad that my hubby got to see pictures of my insides two weeks ago and I didn’t!

    And, Amy, you kill me trying to suggest more gross stuff Kate can do, like the ear wax thing.

    Haven, if I ever found a box of teeth I’d be horrified. Teeth are creepy! I once came upon an old woman who had been hit by a car and left in the road, dead, and was missing an eye. I like some gross stuff but that was too traumatic, who leaves an old woman to die alone?

    Now, the Home Remedy story … I finally got to listen to it. You mom is very talented, and it must have been great growing up with a parent who was into books and education like your mom. I wonder if she ever gets scared working with criminals? I do, as I work with them now!

    It was fun hearing your voice, its a nice blend of mid-western and southern, unless that was your acting abilities, in which case, you fooled me.

    I received my book today as well, thank you, thank you, thank you! I loved my nice surprise inside the book, too!

  92. Brenda, I got shivers. 🙂

    Does it count as a ghost if you’ve never seen it … but smelled it? I’m not talking about fire and brimstone, or flowers, or whatever ghosts smell like … I’m talking breakfast.
    I’m convinced that there’s a friendly old lady in this house, and she cooks breakfast. All of the family has experienced it, guests have been here that have never heard the story, and have commented that they woke up around 4 – 5 AM and smelled an amazing breakfast cooking. It’s happened to me before, and I’ve gone downstairs determined to find out what was going on .. I walked into the kitchen and it was warm, and comfy for a split second, and then it would be freezing cold.
    There’s no way it’s the neighbors, and there’s no way anyone in this house would get up at 4 AM and have breakfast cooking…

  93. Casper anyone? 🙂


  94. “JohnM, how did I not know that you are a fabulous artist?”

    On account of that noggin issue. Naw, I’m just a stealth artist, somewhat like a ninja nun in some ways. I should have warned all y’all not to be drinking stuff as you click on that link.

    Here’s another recent photo, a little more spooky:

    Peter Fagan’s ‘Marker’ sculpture at a local park by the light of the harvest moon.

  95. Kittery, you found a dead woman in the road????? Okay you win.

  96. Nope nope. That wasn’t me. I did however find my neighbor who had accidentally driven through our other neighbor’s house.

  97. Ghettogirl found the dead old lady. Wow. I don’t think I will type that sentence again any time soon.

    Kittery- are you in Maine? That is the only Kittery I know of as we vacation in Rye, New Hampshire (which as I have written before is a place mentioned in Owen Meany)

    Ok, back to Halloween. It is still Halloween, yes? Because we only got 8 trick or treaters tonight. What is becoming of this world? Sigh.

    John- LOVE the Ninja Nuns. I need to show that to my daughter. She bought a windup nun for her friend, Mitchell, for his birthday last year that shoots sparks from its eyes when it walks. He said it was the best present he had ever received. Mitchell is Baptist. But he wants to be a Catholic priest. So, last summer he got a job at a nunnery. Yes, that is correct. A nunnery in the middle of the bible belt. And you know it gets hot down here in the summer but the nuns would not let Mitchell wear shorts. Too provocative.

  98. I REALLY wish my sister were in on this conversation. She once heard an embalmer scream in the prep room, and when she ran in she discovered that one of the deceased’s legs had come unattached and landed in the toilet. It was also made of wood, but the embalmer had failed to notice that the tennis shoe was PAINTED on. No one in the world has ever made death funnier than Melinda.

  99. BUSINESS ISSUE: Okay, so I have now mailed the last Used World requests, and if you were wondering if there is a divine hand in this matter, maybe just passing over us, I got exactly as many requests as I had books. I put the last book in the last envelope. It has made me very happy to put this novel in the hands of such extraordinary people; you are the very readers any writer would wish for.

  100. Bravo, Haven! You rock the block. Speaking of Used World, I am going to read some more of it right this minute. xoxo

  101. Hooray for Haven! I don’t know how you kept track of them all. I am off to read, too.

  102. I need Melinda in ALL my conversations.

  103. I delegated trick or treat duties . . . my 16 year old and friend that is a girl watched The Exorcist and answered the doorbell, Donny took the Unicorn door-to-door, I retired up into the REC Room where I held my arm up to the lighted window holding a huge knife and screaming . . . very effective until I decided I needed a power nap . . . then had a quite bite at a restaurant and am already in bed with the laptop.

    And, I have NOT eaten one single bite of candy!

  104. I really prefer a good string cheese.

  105. Linda,

    You are quite correct, it’s also a running joke because people sometimes slaughter my real name badly enough they might as well just call me Kittery.

    Prosthetics in the toilet .. priceless.

  106. In no particular order…

    We only had three trick-or-treaters; never thought I would see that day and it was like 70 degrees out! In Kansas…on Halloween! Unheard of.

    I too received my book today…I was giddy at its arrival…many many thanks to you, Haven…I can’t wait to start reading it; your handwriting doesn’t look like I thought it would; is that a weird thing to say?

    One of my recurring dreams/nightmares is all my teeth shattering while I am eating something; it’s quite vivid and not a little disturbing.

    Delonda’s story is brilliant and I loved your reading of it; she got a good grade on it I hope! Thanks for sharing it here; very special, as is so much about this place. Technology IS our friend.

  107. I’m THRILLED that we’re going to add an audio page. Scott and I don’t even know yet all we might do with it. I mean, David Lynch already gives a weather report every day on his website, so that’s out.

  108. I’ve posted a slideshow on my blog of our little sock monkey. She also was candy corn. As a woman Robbie works with said “Of course she would have two costumes.”

  109. She’s precious, Jim!

  110. Thanks Kate! If only all parents had to go through what we did to become parents. But it was worth the wait, and all that other stuff (background checks, fingerprinting, letters of recommendations from people, etc.)

    She’s been an absolute joy. Including throwing her first stomping tantrum today. I have a tendency to ignore them though. She’s a very determined (read stubborn) young lady!

  111. Oh my goodness… I have no idea with what candor to enter this conversation, other than to say I was introduced to the HK blog just this very morning and have been completely rapt since! A friend (Erik) noted the “Favorite Author: Haven Kimmel” link on my Facebook page, and mentioned how Brandon was one of your “blog babies”. After the brief screeching that ensued, I arrived here to discover this perfectly delightful disembodied teeth discussion, which has captivated me all day (including the hours in which I was supposed to be working).

    While I have no stories of ghostly dogs or organs in jars to offer (although, upon removal, I did learn the roots of my wisdom teeth were at a completely unnatural 90 degree angle), I would like to offer a hearty hello to everyone! A hello and thank you to Brandon! And Hello, Haven Kimmel!!! (And a huge THANK YOU to you!!!!!)

  112. By the way, has anyone mentioned how HAWT Haven looks as a Zombie Bride? You were born to be dead!

  113. Your baby girl is so sweet, Jim. Love hearing your voice, Haven. You sound just as I imagined you would, and your mom is so talented. Now I have to get your audiobooks too, just to hear you read them. It’s so annoying nowadays when doctors no longer hand over body parts because they’re considered hazardous waste. I wanted my hip bones when I got my two artificial hips but I was refused. Our dentist even refused to give me a baby tooth that he pulled from our son when he was about nine, saying that biohazard laws now prevent it. How goofus is that? Whatever happened to the good old days, when we could keep our tumors in mason jars?

  114. Welcome, Michelle! Just jump right in!

    I like your site. Your ‘Something From the Oven’ illustration reminded me of Nina Kachandorian’s ‘Genealogy of the Supermarket’ piece, which I wish I’d thought of.


  115. Earlier I posted a comment that a friend of mine, Tom Allen, who lives here in DC, had written a book based on the true story of the exorcism performed on a Maryland boy, whose experience was the model for that scary, awful movie.

    I had to leave before I could write more, but I said that my friend relied on a journal kept by one of the priest’s assistant. I didn’t get a chance to write more because I had to get home and attend to the trick or treaters.

    Here’s the more:

    My friend and I were talking and he related the story to me…how the journal was given to him by a professor at Georgetown University. I don’t know about you, but the movie and the whole subject of demonic possession scared the living hell out of me. But it also intrigued the hell out of me. It was like driving along the highway and seeing a fatal accident in the other lane and looking at the mess and the wreckage even though you know you shouldn’t.

    So I asked Tom to show me the journal.

    Now Tom is a former reporter and writer for National Geographic. Very straight-laced. Matter-of-fact kinda guy. He said he was reluctant to do so because he had promised the professor that he would never show it to anyone. Several years, however, had elapsed and the professor was dead, Tom said, and he had been kind of upset by the critics who scoffed at the existence of the journal after the book — a pretty small, mostly scientific, text was released in 1993. We had worked on a project about white sharks together, so he trusted me and eventually said he’d show me. He said he had kept it in a safe in his home office and I should meet him the next evening and he’d take it out.

    The next evening I went over to his place in Bethesda. We went into his office. He sat in his office chair, leaned down to the file cabinet/safe and started turning the combination. When he opened it, he said, “That’s strange, I don’t remember leaving THIS in here.” There was a Bic pen inside next to the journal.

    The journal was essentially a bunch of neatly typed pages. The entries were mostly short and written in almost clinical language. But it was eerie to read about the boy’s stomas, the unexplained utterances in Latin, the animal-guttural sounds that came from the boy, the supernatural strength of the boy who could bounce the iron bed throughout the room even though he was held in leather restraints. There was some amusing stuff, too. At one point, when the boy appeared to be making progress, the priest said he would be well enough to go to school. The narrative went on to describe that the next day, scrawled on the boy’s tummy were the words — unmistakeable — NO SCHOOL.

    As Tom and I came to the end of the journal, he flipped a couple more pages and said, “Now THIS is strange.”

    Apparently written with the Bic pen were several other pages. They were covered with tiny, precise characters that looked like the ancient text you can see in the ancient Egyptian exhibits in museums. The writing was glyphic, more like little pictures than written text. Some of the script resembled the Mayan writing I have seen myself in the temples at Tikal in Guatemala.

    He flipped the next page. It, too, was hand-written and covered with numbers and what appeared to be mathematical equations. Tom was clearly puzzled by it and agitated. He shoved himself away from the desk and said, “George, I swear this material wasn’t in the original.” He then opened a drawer and pulled out a magnifying glass.

    Beneath the ink, we could see another set of glyphs written out in pencil.

    He flipped the page. I could clearly see it was written in at least partially in English and perhaps Spanish, a language Tom was fluent in. He was hunched over the page, muttering as he read. Then he said, “Oh my God.”

    At that moment the radio in the room snapped on. Tom got up and walked across the room to turn it off. When he sat down next to me I said, “What did it say, Tom.”

    He turned his face slowly toward me but it was oddly contorted, as if he were in some sort of pain. Then, in a child’s squeaky voice without any emotion said, “I am going to kill your rotten mortal flesh and puke your soul into the last ring of fire you weak pathetic impotent child of Gabriel!”

  116. George…that had better be true…I just felt that in my BACK.

  117. Kate, what happened next was inexplicable.

  118. Tom cleared his throat and his eyes opened wide.

    “Oh my God, I put that damn pen in my pocket and look, it’s leaked into my pocket. I thought Bics weren’t supposed to do that. This is my favorite shirt, dammit”

    It was obvious he had no idea what had just happened. Except for the thin sheen of sweat on his forehead and the big black blotch spread over his breast pocket, it was obvious he had not a clue of what had just happened.

    “Tom, are you ok? You’re looking a little washed out.”

    “I’m still a little stumped by these extra pages. They weren’t in there before. I’m sure of that.”

    “Well, it’s damned interesting,” I said, “And weird.”

    “It is weird.”

    We talked awhile longer. Tom, an agnostic, said he was fascinated by the story and could only conclude that there were moments when he was writing the book that he felt the presence of evil. He compared it to images he had seen as a war correspondent in Korea.

    By then, I was weirded out completely. The whole episode was just beginning to hit me: the strange writing, the page of numbers, the radio and most of all Tom’s voice and what he had said.

    “Man, I thank you for showing me this,” I said, and then told him a story about how my brother had scared the shit out of me one night after I had moved back in with my parents. The movie had just come out. I had seen it like the week before and was still unnerved by it — especially because I was hanging out with Jesus Freaks and taking a lot of acid and smoking dope. One night, I came in the house pretty stoned. I lumbered into my bedroom and as I was taking off my shoes, my brother raised up in bed and with the perfect demonic voice of Linda Blair had turned to me and said, “Fuck you!”

    Tom wasn’t impressed, didn’t even laugh, and admittedly it was the kind of story you had to be there and be pretty loaded to appreciate.

    “So, Tom, guess I better push out. I have a press conference I have to get to tomorrow that The Star wants me to cover,” I said.

    “Well, I’ve wanted to show this journal to someone. If for no other reason than to prove I had it,” Tom said. “You’ve seen it. You know.”

    “Yep, I know,” I said.

    He showed me to the door and I walked out. It would not be wrong to say I was 42, grown, had been to the first Persian Gulf War and covered several hundred murders including a serial killing spree, and yet I was shaking as I got in the car.

    Turned on the engine. Set it in gear. Flipped on the radio, remembering how the one in Tom’s office had just come by itself. Pointed the car toward home and started driving.

    I was at a light when I noticed the digital clock. It was blinking. I touched the set button to make it stop and then I was paralyzed by a dread so deep and heavy I couldn’t move.

    The clock reset itself to the digits 6:66 and the numbers flashed in red and refused to change as I punched at the set buttons the rest of the drive home.

    went over this

  119. Happy Halloween blog babies…I just made up that little story. Tom, our friendship, and his book are true. The rest never happened.

    When my kids were little I used to make up stories about runaway slaves at the auction block here in Alexandria and ghosts who served as docents for haunted tours.

    Love it…hope you enjoyed the story and hope it got you a little.

  120. This one time? I spent weeks insisting that any friend of mine who hadn’t seen THE EXORCIST come watch it at my house, all together. I saw it in the theater at thirteen and it seemed to me that THE EXORCIST is what it means to be American. So I cajoled and bribed and used my Fisher-Price mind control device and eventually everyone had agreed. Some grudgingly. Perhaps even resentfully, I forget. I got the film set up, everyone was where they wanted to be, the movie began and I saw the opening credits as they had been when I was thirteen and I stood up and said, “Yeah, I’m outta here.”

    I was already in my own home, so there was that problem.

  121. I actually found your addition to “Home Remedy” to be much more frightening.

    Something that is NOT frightening: that I have a Freddie Mercury avatar, and so when I see it at first I think I did not post this, but then of course I did, and in that moment I am Freddie Mercury. That part doesn’t last but a second.

  122. You little devil. I wouldn’t have been there. The flick still scares the crap outta me. I get shivers of sheer dread around this time of the year and I go channel surfing and see even a snippet of it.

  123. I loved Queen, too. What a group. Also, I admit this freely, I liked Abba and Yes. Heard a little Yes tonight as I was driving home.

  124. Haven,

    Talk about All Saints’ Day. You spread a lot of joy around the country with your great gifts. Lit up my house. I think I will be in Durham in a couple of weeks. I’ll be glad to sweep out your barn, burn your trash and squeegee the windows for you. Just have John make up a list.

  125. Who did not love Queen, you nutcakes? Tonight I am drowning out the snoring with Blood, Sweat and Tears, Spinning Wheel on you tube. God, I wish I could get this on an ipod. Which I got today. Happy Hallow’s eve George and Heaven. XOXOXOX, nutjob.

  126. P.S. I have still never seen the exorcist. My husband saw it as a kid at the theater with his mom. HE IS STILL SCARED, and tells me to never watch it. Thank goodness my dad only took me to see Clockwork Orange. STILL TRAUMATIZED. At 47. What a wimp I am. Can anyone give me the cliff notes to my absentee ballot? I am so afraid I am going to vote for something I am not supporting. NO on 8 and 4. What else is important? Besides O. Of course.

  127. Last Goodbye Lyrics
    Artist(Band):Jeff Buckley

    This is our last goodbye
    I hate to feel the love between us die.
    But it’s over
    Just hear this and then I’ll go:
    You gave me more to live for,
    More than you’ll ever know.

    Well, this is our last embrace,
    Must I dream and always see your face?
    Why can’t we overcome this war
    Baby, maybe it’s just because I didn’t know you at all.

    Kiss me, please kiss me,
    But kiss me out of desire, babe, and not consolation.
    Oh, you know it makes me so angry ’cause I know that in time
    I’ll only make you cry, this is our last goodbye.

    Did you say, “No, this can’t happen to me”?
    And did you rush to the phone to call?
    Was there a voice unkind in the back of your mind saying,
    “Maybe, you didn’t know him at all,
    you didn’t know him at all,
    oh, you didn’t know”?

    Well, the bells out in the church tower chime,
    Burning clues into this heart of mine.
    Thinking so hard on her soft eyes, and the memories
    Offer signs that it’s over, it’s over.

  128. Thanks, JohnM! The “Genealogy” piece is remarkable… I always knew the Sunmaid Raisin chick and the St. Pauli Girl were somehow related. It’s the origins of the Gerber Baby that surprise me! 🙂

  129. I had to leave Clockwork Orange at some point–it was too much and I was about 18.

    Here are two stories about my 9-year-old Hannah:

    #1 Last night she didn’t really want to dress up but decided at the last minute the lure of candy won out. She put on black clothes to be a “Goth” girl. I applied black eyeshadow, white powder and red lipstick. Then I thought it would be fun to tease her hair. She looked great. She took one look in the mirror, said “I don’t look like myself” and started to cry. All the makeup/hair was wiped away and she went as a Dark Blob.

    #2 We were talking about what famous person we would like to meet (dead or alive.) At age 8, Hannah’s answer: Freddie Mercury. She acts out Bohemian Rhapsody and Killer Queen all the time. I seem to remember doing the same thing at age 9.

  130. Welcome, Michelle! Brandon is such a gem and I know Erik is too so any friend of them is a friend of mine. I am on Facebook too so we need to be friends.

    Jim- Riley is adorable and I can’t believe the Sock Monkey costume. I wanted to write the comment that the nut didn’t fall far from the tree but then I thought some of your “normal” family and friends might find that odd. BTW, are you the one with the glasses?

  131. Vanessa, I love u.

  132. Writer Studs Terkel has passed. He was 96. He will be missed.

  133. GEORGE!!! YOU TURD!!!

    Sometime, if we are ever in the dark, remind me to tell “The Golden Arm.” There have been many-a-slumber parties where people were not so happy with me after that.

  134. WELCOME MICHELLE! Glad to have you. Any friend of Brandon’s is a friend of mine.

  135. Dorian, Buckley is (I think) my husband’s greatest influence as a musician. He was deeply affected by JB’s death; he has a song about it called Waterline.

    Vanessa, you need to return Hannah to me. Thanks for watching her all these years, but clearly she is my child.

  136. Yesterday John popped his head into the barn and said, “Hey Haven, did you know Studs Turkel died again?”

  137. Awways wit the gawdamn mysticism wit you people.

  138. I got a copy of the Used World. Thank You.

    I also got a Chick Publication – “This Was Your Life”
    in the same delivery.

    I ask you.

  139. I didn’t get a Chick Tract. I WAS ROBBED.

  140. Let me help you with that…


  141. Whew! That’s it, I’m a CHANGING MY WAYS.

  142. Haven-I’ve always wondered who was the real parent to my delightfully off-the-wall child. She already designs jewelry and wants to know why I won’t let her have her own website to sell her earrings. When she was 5 she asked me, “Why do I have to do everything you say?”

    Of course she is in all the school plays. At age 8 she asked me to get her an agent and to arrange for her head shots. Then she gave me the numbers of two photographers who had kids at her school. This was 3rd grade.

    Can we have her back after college? 🙂

  143. HEY-I thought the CHICK tract had something to do with Sex and the City. Talk about being robbed!

  144. Hi Caker. Well, if you liked that, go over to youtube
    and type this in to the video-finder.

    Baptism of Blood- Wall Street Bull

    It is a week old. But good. Maybe you already saw this. A pack of fundies were praying round the big Wall Street Bull statue. You know, the gold one? Praying for the nation’s financial fortunes to reserect. They were serious.

    Then, a pack of zombies – or people dressed like them – came from Zombiecon 2008, which was taking place in an auditorium nearby. A whole STENCH of zombies (I don’t know what a pack or gaggle or whatever a group of zombies is). And they poured FAKE BLOOD (or is it?) all over the WALL STREET BULL!
    Check out the Zombie Queen a riding on the bull statue’s back!

  145. Vanessa, we’ll need to renegotiate after college. She might be my one child who decides to live at home with me until old age, and her interests might be cleaning, running errands, and handling my correspondence. If that is the case, then Hannah and I shall be listening to Queen and wearing her jewelry and reading poetry to each other for a long, long time.

  146. I didn’t send Matt the chick book! If I were going to add something to his box it would have been a book about WORMS!

    Matt, what was that list of words you demanded I use in a sentence so you’d know it was really me? Like, distributor cap, ambiguity, silo, impacted molar? Did I get it right?

  147. George, when you visit in November do you think you could make my house bigger?

  148. Matt, There was a world record setting Zombie walk in Grand Rapids Wednesday. There were more than 2000 zombies. The Genius book of world records was there for the weirdness. The zombies left bloody hand prints and squirts of blood all over downtown GR.

    The organizer, Rob Bliss, also had a huge pillow fight in September. More than 1,000 people showed up for that one.

  149. Nashville had a pillow fight and a zombie walk too. Twin cities, eh?

  150. George. That was FREAKING STUNNING! Not for nothing have you been a journalist all your life. You got me. I am, as you may know, too credulous for my own good. — And Brenda, very creepy, I kiss you. Kittery, yes, of course that counts!

    I am a day late, but here’s my second-hand ghost story: my pragmatic and plain spoken friend Kristin and I were lying about with her brother Jack. She’d lived a few years prior, alone in an old Victorian, in one of the small towns in upstate New York. After a few weeks, watching appliances turn themselves on and off, hearing footsteps not her own at all hours of the day and night, re-rearranging household items that had arranged themselves in an unduly elaborate manner, she realized the place was haunted. She said she didn’t feel menaced, just annoyed on a regular basis. She felt this presence as an old man, the kind of man who might have worn carpet slippers and a cardigan in life and really, really liked practical jokes.

    One night, running late, she slammed the door shut just as she realized she’d left her keys inside. Tried the door, oh yes, she’d locked it. She could see the keys, on the table inside to the left of the door. “Goddammit,” she shrieked, “you screw with me ALL the time!! The LEAST you could do is open the damn door!!” The door slowly swung open.

    Jack says, “You never told me that. Remember that time I stayed here? slept in the living room? I woke up and I was still lying on the couch, but it was in the middle of the room along with all the other furniture.”

    Oh yes? And the teeth? I saw a spread in World of Interiors years ago of a church with bone chandeliers. And with our very modern internets, I tracked down these images for your viewing pleasure:

    Ossuary in Sedlec interiors 2

  151. Confess: was the story about the tools and the faucets true?

  152. Haven – I finished the book you sent in one 5 hour marathon today. I loved it, and can’t wait for the discussion to begin.

  153. Carrie…that bone church is one of my favorite places I’ve never been, right up there with Okefenokee Swamp and a cave filled with glow worms.

  154. Kate, after my own heart. I hear that cave has glow worm ummm…compost…also phosphorescent, all over its ceilings.

  155. HAHA Sarah Palin got punked by Canadian Radio personalities.

  156. Hello Blog Babies finally!!
    My husband came home from his marathon canoe trip and then I finally stole some time to listen to Haven’s lovely voice reading her mom’s story…and I am SO having to make my actress office mate Cheryl (picture coming to the yahoo site) listen to this as she would so love it like me!! It was fantastic!! I am SUCH an unashamed groupie.
    Anyway, after reading everyone’s comments today I remembered that my daughter amd I DID see a ghost one time. Our family was driving back to Arizona from Iowa, through Denver and then south towards Taos and Arizona. It was very very foggy and dark and we were going slowly over twisty mountain pass roads because of the weather. My husband didn’t see the ghost as he was concentrating on the road, but my 16 year old daughter and I both saw an old Navajo woman in traditional long velveteen skirt, long sleeved blouse and jewelry walking with strong, purposeful and somehow angry-feeling strides right on the side of the road, her long white hair blowing in the wind. We could see THROUGH her. She was transparent. I saw her first and turned to look at Alexa, who was looking at me with her eyes just HUGE. She saw her too. Dana refused to stop..he said we were crazy and it was too foggy…no one would let an old lady walk alone in such weather. We never forgot her, though, and we both believe she was a ghost to this day.
    A disappointing trick or treat turnout here, also. I hope the time has not come to an end for this lovely holiday. Sigh.
    And George…I believed you ALMOST to the very end.

  157. Carrie! Thank you for the link! My first reaction was, “oh wow”, a mixture of awe and reverence. Maybe it isn’t normal, but at least it’s honest. 😉

  158. Heehee…I wish my poo glowed…

    I think I will save my ghost stories for another time.

  159. P.S. Rocky Horror Picture Show lived up to all expectations. Nostalgia!!

  160. I had a taxidermied zombie for a while, but he was made redundant.

  161. GirlFTGhetto, WOW. That’s the longest book I’ve written — you get a big gold star for today!

  162. Just a few notes from this end as I catch up 🙂

    Haven – your mom is NOT 75! Are you joking?? I absolutely cannot believe that is true.

    Second – I often have nightmares about teeth popping out in my mouth where they don’t go – out of the roof, under my tongue. It is gross and scary. I’m sure it means something ugly about my psyche – I should probably investigate.

    And finally – it doesn’t suprise me, but it is AMAZING to me that this group of insightful and wise people also love Jeff Buckley. His music moves me on a level that I didn’t know I even had until I heard his voice. I was in Memphis when he died and I still haven’t recovered. Maybe someday… I love that you all appreciate him the way Scott and I do…

  163. A Redundant Taxidermied Zombie?! There IS a story there…????
    I got to draw a cadaver once in my Scientific Illustration class back in the day. The smell of formaldahyde about killed me….
    Did I miss the story explaining Haven and forensics? What is that, some kind of alternative career choice gone horribly awry or is the Taxidermied Zombie involved? Is this literature? I see where it all influenced my pen and ink drawings but Haven?, let us in on the story…

  164. Back from Indianapolis safe and sound….my drive was very pleasant due to a combo of Haven reading couch and Joni Mitchell’s Greatest Hits.
    Went to a kickass bookstore while I was there and bought used copies of many books including Wicked ( which I adore and didnt own) and another book of Plath poetry. Sigh. And I got to hug my momma all day as you know you have to do when you don’t live in the same city anymore.

  165. Sher, if I have your e-mail address I can’t find it so I’m just going to use this entirely public forum to tell you how much I love the photograph of the prayer flags. I ordered an 11×14 and when it arrived I thought it was just slightly over exposed; in the original light is the point. But after I framed it and hung it (It’s directly across the room from the chair where I write) something happened. I find myself looking at it constantly — it’s so luminous the eye is drawn to it almost involuntarily. As with forgetting my mother was my mother because I was so proud of her as a person, I’ll look at it a long time and then realize I’m looking at my own name, and that someone cared about my well-being so much that she would make art to protect me and for a moment, every time it happens, my thoughts stutter. More and more I realize that my life has changed at depth because of meeting all of you. I don’t have a name for this new thing, but the sacred is in it. To put it simply, our engagement with one another as a community makes me want to be a better person every single moment — the feeling never goes away — and I am deeply humbled and grateful to you all. I used to feel exactly this way every time I made a public appearance and saw JohnM in the audience. I would think, “I want to be a writer worthy of such a good man’s attention.”

  166. Holy moly girlfromtheghetto, I am only on page 10! You rock!!!! I am trying to read verrrrrry slowly as I need to be able to comment with all the smarty pants here and I want absorb everything.

  167. Haven-
    I thought you would find this funny. I was at the book store with my sister in law today and I was chattering like a happy little monkey about the blog babies and you, etc. I just kept saying how I can’t believe I get to talk to all of these incredible people and my favorite author. She stopped me and said ” I thought your favorite author was that Augusten Burroughs.” I replied, ” Well it was and then I met his best friend.”

  168. Haven & Amy – My super power is speed reading. I can’t help it. Once I get going I can’t stop. I even read Stephen King’s “IT” in a day & a half – and I worked two jobs … Hell, even on my honeymoon in Europe I read six books, but then again I had Pneumonia the last four days in Paris. Sigh!

  169. GirlFTG…kisses and hugs to you my kindred spirit…I, too read extremely fast…it annoys the hell out of my family, but isn’t it a great blessing? The best part for me, is when I find a book I really love, like all of Havens and Isabel Allende’s, and Ann Tylers, and Alice Hoffmans, and MacGuires, and Kings, and McGammons…well then I get to read them more than once!! Reading Rocks…I know they make t-shirts that say that…and I saw your blog has Yoda expressing the same sentiment…good job!

  170. Amy in Ohio: I read everything Augusten had written before I found Zippy…then I was hooked. Honestly I thought the cover was cute and then couldn’t believe how much I loved the book. I’ve given out several copies to gather more Haven fans. (maybe there has been a book-sales spike in Atlanta?) Of all the AB books Dry is my favorite.

    Haven: our child Hannah would like to make a pair of earrings for you…are your ears pierced?

  171. Vanessa, that is so dear! Yes, my ears are pierced. I love earrings. You people with great kids — it gives me hope for the future.

  172. I just told her you have a picture of Freddie Mercury as your avatar and that’s all she needed to know!

  173. Haven – thank you for your thank you . . . I feel much the same way about this little huddle we have here . . . it is truly miraculous.

    The weirdest effect from that photo shoot was the fog and it literally did seem to make everything have a strange light. I get the same effect when I photograph Claire – people think I did some weird editing/filter – but now – it is that aura . . . bizarre and GREAT!


    just in case you ever feel the need to write me again!!!

  174. My kids love QUEEN too – and little CLAIRE can rock out some Dixie Chicks – I feel I have done my duty to the world raising such discerning beings!

  175. “I used to feel exactly this way every time I made a public appearance and saw JohnM in the audience. I would think, “I want to be a writer worthy of such a good man’s attention.””

    Well, my friend, you ARE. That’s why I was there, and why I’m here.

    And why I sent you a box of dead animal parts yesterday. 😉

    I’m grateful to have met Sher through your blog as well. I was actually making a couple of shoe sculptures for you two today.

  176. I just realized JohnM is the guy who runs “Purity of Heart.” I’m SMRT.

  177. Sher, I just sent you a test e-mail and it bounced back to me! Maybe because I said it was only a test, and in the event of an actual e-mail you would have been informed about where to take shelter. Then I returned you to your regularly scheduled programming. Maybe aol doesn’t take me seriously?

  178. Haven –

    That would be because I am an idiot. . . the email is




    I am bi-email right now . . .

  179. AND because I am watching Saturday Night Live and blogging . . .

  180. they are dissing Elizabeth Hasselass from the VIEW – it is FUNNY! I HATE her!!!

  181. dog-diggity-dang-it,

    I tried to change my avatar for the new month and won’t be viewing itself!

  182. my daughter is going to give me a computer lesson, back in a mo

  183. Haven, if you ever sent me an email with that PIERCING SIREN I wouldn’t take it either.

  184. Quaker emergencies are silent, Kate. I really need to finish that book; ignorance abounds on the subject of Friends.

  185. Yes, JohnM used to be my Tallest Fan. Then Scott moved to Durham from Vermont and John moved to a town named after an alcoholic beverage, so Scott is my Tallest Fan in North Carolina, but JohnM probably still holds the title in Illinois.

  186. How tall is JohnM? I need to get after Hugh to read more of your stuff, so he can be your Tallest Fan in Indiana.

  187. Amy in Ohio, Augusten and I are very nearly the same person, so you can go back and forth without any penalties.

  188. I appreciate that as I am girl who prides herself on loyalty and was having a rough time with this!

  189. Augusten and I are VERY supportive of one another. I don’t believe there is even a glimmer of competitiveness between us. In part that’s because we care for one another but also because I don’t have a competitive bone in my body, and he’s so successful I could hardly be a threat.

    JohnM, just today I was raving about your shoe sculptures to JohnS — the ones I saw were extraordinary. I honestly had that feeling you get when you see something NEW, the sensation that reality just expanded a bit. I’m not sure I’m saying it well, but DAMN. I love how crafted and clean and elegant they are. Also, Kate the Cupcake and I have a plan for the pelts. It could go disastrously wrong. That’s part of the thrill.

  190. Shhhhh. Keep it on the down low! UNTAPPED MARKET.

  191. “I just realized JohnM is the guy who runs ‘Purity of Heart.’ I’m SMRT.”

    Don’t worry Ms. Cake – for the longest time I thought you and the other Cakes lived in EvansTON (IL), not EvansVILLE.

    For the record, I am 6’2″ (6’4″ in heels).

  192. HK, thank you for the kind words. I like the word ‘new’, compared with a word like ‘weird’, which is what my neighbors thought when they saw me photographing a 12′ tall DNA sculpture made of shoes.

    Just this morning I was thinking hard about what kind of sculpture I’d make if I had 15,000 CDs, which is a possibility in the near future.

  193. John M – is awesome on the revisualization of a common item – ones which we don’t even glance at – and BOOM, he places it into a new perspective/plane and we are INTRIGUED.

    John M rocks – heard from the Fuller Museum yet!

  194. ??? instead of !!!

  195. I could help you get CDs. Do you want them to have music on them or be blank? I really REALLY want you to constantly make art.

    The DNA was 12′ tall?? I wish I’d known that when I was describing it to John, because that would have been so DRAMATIC.

    Y’all watch out for JohnM, because he is the International Man of Mystery. I used to think he was the International Head of Mall Security, but I had just misread his nametag.

  196. Today I listened to Augusten’s POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS in the car (loved his broken tooth story), then listening to Haven’s SGUOTC memoir in the studio (for 5 hours!) . . . it was so friendly and cozy!

    AND I am re-reading UW at night, simultaneously with John Elder’s Asperger memoir . . . I am immersed in Havenland!

  197. Here are some possibly interesting announcements:

    Johnny Cash DVD/CD documentary/music of
    “America” went on sale last week – I watched on Biography Channel TV (I think that was the channel) and it was AMAZING . . .


  198. Also,

    John Irving is speaking for FREE at the Ryman Auditorium here in Nashville on November 8th, Saturday morning at 10 a.m. – who wants to go???? My inn is open for bloggers and their beloveds . . .

  199. John M – amazing idea to use CD’s – they must be filling our landfills – I do get less of those promo freebees than 5 years ago – but still!!! ahem, if you do one piece with 15K cd’s consider having the venue pay your shipping, OR you might be able to claim it is MEDIA rate?!!!???

  200. oh, speaking of “donating for art” – I am making this constant, never-ending sculpture of crazy-quilted prescrition bottles – and I received hundreds (of bottles) from everywhere – you put out a call and the people will deliver!!!

    My next “community” piece is going to be “Eat Your Words” – it will be an acrylic-suspended table, with all clear acrylic dishes/silverware/bowls, etc. and the “food” will be colored paper printed with hurtfull email messages which have been sent and/or received.

    This idea came about when I had a dream that I was cooking fried chicken breaded with shredded words (one of my personal icons in my work) . . . so if anybody wants that nasty email from Uncle Fester to be part of the piece, email me a copy of said emails (you can edit names or addresses, but the papers will be shredded/cut) to:

    with “Eat Your Words” in the subject line

    I will also give credit to all donators in the exhibition catalogue, so send your name, address, with email along with it, so I can keep you posted and give credit where credit is due!

    Feel free to pass this information along – the more the merrier – and this series might take on a life of its own and last as long as the prescription bottle one – i.e. – my whole life! When Adrienne did her last piece (Shelter, see http://www.adrienneoutlaw.com ) we had hundreds of volunteers . . . it is amazing to do community projects!

  201. Nice avatar, Sher! I like this announcement feature. Remember how I said I was trying to decide how best to use the upcoming audio feature but thought it might be hopeless because David Lynch already does a weather report on his blog every day? Sher does announcements.

    Also? What Kate named the Haven Kimmel AV Club is going to blow the top off this joint. At the very least it will rock. I asked Scott if we could add video and he said, without a second’s hesitation, “Oh sure. We’ll just build a video-podcast that people can subscribe to. That way they can get it via e-mail or through a link on your website.” Then he named some of the things we could do and I was all jiggy. I felt like I’d just asked my mom for a quarter and she’d given me a new car.

  202. People get hurtful e-mail messages? Why?

  203. Unfortunatley this computer has NO SOUND so I can’t listen to ‘Home Remedy’ just now.

    If anyone is still out there, I will tell you about something interesting that happened to me at work yesterday.

    This nice couple, in their thirties came in. THey bought a farm house and a little land over in Cass County, close to here.

    In a field on the place they found a little cemetery,
    about seven stones, most of them dilapidated. The stones were completely over-grown with brambles and weeds. They cleared them up, and could read on one:
    Sarah Carter
    So we set to work to find out more.

    We really hit the jackpot. Her family lived closeby.
    We found her obituary in an old newspaper on microfilm.

    She was the teacher in a one-room schoolhouse, which we later discovered was just accross the road from these folks’ farm. They will probably be able to find some sort of foundation. It was a frame building, and not built of sod.

    A tornado came and hit the schoolhouse. She was inside with the school kids. The tornado blew the schoolhouse over. The teacher led the kids out a window and into a creek-bed.

    She thought she had left one of the children behind and went back into the schoolhouse, and a joist fell on her.

    Next to her grave was another one with Carter on it.
    In that one are buried two children who died of diptheria. It was wintertime, so they were buried together.

    Well, this young couple read that, and they were kind of amazed.
    I was too – I mean, think of it, noone has spoken Sarah Carter’s name or though of her in years and years. We were the only three people on earth who knew about her, anymore.

    Till now. Now you know!

    They are going to clean up the little cemetery and make it look nice and put a little fence around it.
    They are going to register it with the State so future people won’t be able to (legally) plow over the spot or throw the stones out.

    It is very sad what happened to that girl. I think it is so sweet of those people to remember her, after all this time.

    STILL no sound on this computer.

  204. Looks like everyone has gone to sleep, Felix.

    Should we play the national anthem or something?

  205. Matt, I love that story nigh unto INSANITY. It’s like magic. You never, ever run out of this thing you have, what is it? You’re like a narrative combustion engine at a county fair that never ends and the weather is perfect.

  206. On your lips those words have meaning.

  207. Matt, that is just…uuuuugh. In a gooood way.

  208. Who is Felix? Is it my unborn son? My husband doesn’t like the name Felix, and I’m not pregnant, but STILL.

  209. Matt – WOW – love that story, too!!

    I LOVE old gravestones and take rubbings and I believe I will put said location on my list of visits –

    Haven – let’s include that Walmart Snooty-Tooty as a “nasty/hurtful e-mail” and possibly our emotional responses . . . maybe we can add blog posts and my “asshole/mouth reversal rant” would be included.

    I have had e-mails that have crushed my soul. Which is where the idea came up with the dream, that is – so it is my way of exorcising my demons, so to speak!

    From pain – make art!!!

  210. I have been e-baying: buying a Zippy on audio to go with my Couch one – and buying vintage Holly Hobbie fabric – and buying my childhood dream of Holly Hobbie sheets (for my air mattress) . . .

  211. Haven – has Scott told you about SKYPE?????

    You. will. die.

  212. George – you TOTALLY got me with the Exorcist fib – as I was reading it I was SCREAMING to the 16 year-old who just WATCHED said movie last night – to log on and read your “journalist” account . . . I may have lost all parental credibility tonight . . .

    no . . . come to think of it, I lost that the night I and my “grown” friends made music through plastic straws (straw in mouth and sandwiched in our armpits) . . . Mary Had a Little Lamb had an excellent tone – and FOR THE VIDEO FILE – I HAVE THIS EVENT VIDEO-TAPED.

  213. I have a hankering for some Loretta Lynn tonight

  214. My toes are cold . . . goodnight sweethearts!

  215. “There’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles
    She came
    Blood in the streets, it’s up to my knee
    She came
    Blood in the streets in the town of Chicago
    She came
    Blood on the rise, it’s following me
    Think about the break of day

    She came and then she drove away
    Sunlight in her hair

    She came
    Blood in the streets runs a river of sadness
    She came
    Blood in the streets it’s up to my thigh
    She came
    Yeah the river runs red down the legs of a city
    She came
    The women are crying red rivers of weepin’

    She came into town and then she drove away
    Sunlight in her hair

    Indians scattered on dawn’s highway bleeding
    Ghosts crowd the young child’s fragile eggshell mind

    Blood in the streets in the town of New Haven
    Blood stains the roofs and the palm trees of Venice
    Blood in my love in the terrible summer
    Bloody red sun of Phantastic L.A.

    Blood screams her brain as they chop off her fingers
    Blood will be born in the birth of a nation
    Blood is the rose of mysterious union

    There’s blood in the streets, it’s up to my ankles
    Blood in the streets, it’s up to my knee
    Blood in the streets in the town of Chicago
    Blood on the rise, it’s following me” Jim Morrison, from the DOORS.

  216. Matt, she is probably happier with an unmarked grave. They have a guard at Pere Lachaise to keep the morons who would deface other peoples graves with big arrows pointing the way to JIM. When I went there my favorite grave was of course, Oscar Wilde’s. Which they say is being defaced by all the women who put on lipstick and kiss the flying butress that is his tomb. But I do not think he minds. One bit. I did not kiss his tomb. I just stood in silent awe.

  217. Sher, how do I change my avatar from that disgusting yellow quilt thing? Haven, Thank you so much for Used World. Your generosity is astounding. I hope Augusten is paying for all your postage. I love you so much. Dorian

  218. “It must be love that whispers in my ear
    It must be love that we keep trying to hear
    Cuz I imagined this kind of wonderful choice
    I imagine you hear the very same voice in your head
    When I speak to you
    You say ‘That’s just my imagination’
    Oh no, no, no
    It Must Be Love
    It Must Be Love

    Perhaps one girl who was moving in a fine line
    Finds one boy in back she can always stand behind
    And it’s you and me
    Cuz I swear its where we want to be
    Oh, It Must Be Love,
    It Must Be Love

    People look through everything they see
    Cuz there’s so many other things to be
    I have seen you walking in the rain
    I wanted to know why you were crying
    I wanna fix what’s wrong…

    It must be love the sailor sails for
    Must be love that drives a bottle to the bottom of the ocean floor
    Because I imagine all kinds of wonderful water
    I would have you there wherever I’ll go
    Way from the seventh sea,
    He brings the bottle back to me
    Oh, It Must Be Love
    Oh, It Must Be Love
    People look through everything they see
    There’s so many other things to be
    I have seen you walking in the rain
    I want to know why you were crying
    I wanna fix what’s wrong…

    It must be love that fathoms the moonlight
    Must be love that shallows
    The deepest part of the night
    So you can show them with Your eye
    The things that make them cry,
    Because that Must Be Love
    It Must Be Love…
    And the way you are
    Must Be Love
    And the things vou Feel
    Oh, It Must Be Love,
    Oh, It Must Be Love
    Must Be Love”

    Miss Rickie Lee Jones. My favorite heroine addict. (Who is still alive, that is.)

  219. Matt, I am so happy you found that grave. My last name is Carter so maybe I am related to her in some distant way. I mean, you know how unusual the name Carter is. hehe Seriously, though, my daughter and I share a love of old cemeteries. We have one up the street from our house. Just like Matt’s friend my daughter did some research on one of the graves. It is set apart from all the others and it turns out the man was the stable keeper. My daughter decided it would be nice to us to take him as our family but we also knew that the owners must have loved him to because he was buried near them, if not directly with them. More on this later as I need to talk to my daughter to have her remind me about all the specifics.

    I was in Target yesterday (yes, Target, not the evil walmart) and they had sock monkey slippers! Now I have seen sock monkey related items several times since the topic came up here. Fun. Haven, I almost bought you a pair but then I thought you might think that was weird. But, if you would like some sock monkey slippers from Target I would love to go back and fetch you some. Just say the word.

    Oh, this is just some happy news to add to the mix. My son’s cross country team won the state championship yesterday. As some of you may recall my son had mono this season so he was not able to run with the varsity guys in this race, but he said having the team win was the happiest day of his life. And I could tell it really was and it was so sweet to see that happiness on his face. So, three cheers for Martin Luther King Jr. Academic Magnet High School cross country and their awesome Coach D.!

  220. so i was WAY behind–trick or treating–and then o course-lyme disease–so i am tired lady. HK, the story was fabulous. you mom is a great writer, too. the accent was perfect and “poor Lovey” had finally had enough.

    i love the 15 good vs 15 bad years. elsie is easy to hate, but when the reader (listener) learned that he was “messing” with his own daughter…phew, that did it for me.

    i hope Lovey got him good. i know that is mean, but there isn’t a word for the type of mean he is.

    oh, Haven, i got The Used World! thanks you so much–your signature looks like a whale–is that on purpose? like an adorable cartoon whale….

  221. I JUST listened to home remedy.

    mother dee? eudora welty has NOTHING ON YOU.

    and haven? you read that per-fect-ly.

    hand to jesus, it’s one of the best things i’ve ever heard. my god. oh my GOD. PERFECTION. i love you both fit to kill.

  222. and i aint too proud to say that the Suzanne that Augusten refers to in POSSIBLE SIDE EFFECTS is me. i’m the one in KILLING JOHN UPDIKE, spurring him on to buy first editions of Updike because he’s old and could die soon, doubling and triping the worth of said books. even though he’s my favorite male man of letters in the USA, i still hold onto all my updike signed first editions as though they are a life insurance on the man and i’m his child bride, so very sad, i’m THAT SMALL. do to the economic breakdown and my innate mercenery nature, whichHaven puts up with because she is SAINT-LEE? i just filled in my collection with The Music School, The Poorhouse Fair and all the Bech books. oh and i found his brand new novel, The Widows of Eastwick (SPECTACULAR) online and for sale in Maine, where someone was foolish enough to sell it, signed, for $42. yes Mad Augusten is inmybooksas well (Zygote Chronicles has a whole chapter onhim — pre-fame-his.) in fact i’m the Suzanne in all his books. like Haven, there is nothing i wouldn’t do for Augusten, and there’s no competition because he is bigger than the whole outdoors.

  223. Hey Suzanne, how cool are you! I loved Possible Side Effects, as I’m sure all the blog babies did.

    Dorian – That is one of my favorite Doors songs, I was surprised to see it, yeah!

    Brenda – I love it, especially when I have to read for college. But when a book is good, I’m sad to see it end so soon.

    Sher – I’d go with you, I love John Irving, but I love about 5 states away. It was a treat to find out “A Prayer for Owen Meany” made it into “Used World.” I think that is my favorite book of his … by the way, did anyone else hate the movie version of it – Simon Birch?

  224. They were reading a short story by Eudora Welty on NPR yesterday suzanne. Is Home Remedy really that amazing that Ms. Welty pales? I am going immediately to check it out. Maybe it will drown out the snoring of the grizzly bear I share my lair with.

  225. almostclouds, that was terrifying. So was Home Remedy. You people are potent. And I am a hairdresser, although I prefer the title “Juggler”. Hair off the body is disgusting. Once it is cut it lodges into the body like a splinter from hell, because of the blunt edge. Since it is a foreign protein your body reacts violently to it. Kind of like when you get a redwood splinter, or step on a tiny pieice of glass. My husband has to get a tweezers and a magnifying glass and do surgery on my feet regularly. And in your bra. Too gross for words. You just have to throw them away. And shoes too, if it sticks to the inside of them. I sometimes think I need a hasmat suit, except the hot flashes would prevent that. But I love what I do. I make people feel happy and look beautiful. And I get paid extremely well. I have more money than I can possibly afford to spend. Try as I may.

  226. dorian – I had to open a WordPress account and start a mimi-blog to upload an avatar image – then, whenever I feel I am not being represented as to my current state-of-mind, I SWITCH IT!!!!

    http://www.wordpress.com . . . then I just follow the toolbars and click madly until I reach the right location . . .

  227. Suzanne – I knew that had to be you of whom Augusten was speaking . . . reminds me of my mad e-baying last night – of Loretta Lynn recordings . . .

    You rock . . . if I can sell some of my art – it is my goal to have all the Haven-Augusten-Suzanne audio books . . . I am well on my way!

  228. CARRIE: Yes, the story about the faucets and water in Maine was completely true. The other little thing was mostly true except for the fact that I did not see the journal and basically everything else that followed!

    I just got back from Best Buy — a truly scary experience. All I am trying to do is replace my remote and actually USE the warranty I purchased the tv in the first place! I am upset, nothing, I mean NOTHING I can do or did do there at the store actually help the situation. The did give me a 1-800 number. Does anyone have a Pepsid or a Rolaids?

    MATT: Such a great story. I think little graves like that are so so…not exactly sad, but I don’t know the word, “Telling.”

    Yesterday my mom called me. Someone from Indianapolis had tracked her number down and asked her if she was related to the person who used to work at the Indianapolis Star back in 1985. My mother replied in the affirmative. The woman wouldn’t state her business, but gave a phone number. I called that number after my mom gave it to me. Turned out to be a criminal justice student who was doing a study on erroneous reports of discoveries of human remains that turned out to be that of animal.

    In this case, and I “barely” remembered the story, but it involved the discovery of what the deputies in Hamilton County, Ind., thought was a human torso. This was back during the days of a serial killing spree that I had written extensively. So the story fell to me to cover. The torso, as it turned out, was that of a bear. That was it, total story. When I related those facts to the student — dimly recalled after 23 years, I might add — she seemed disappointed. That is a true story, but it just drove home a point.

    Our words never go away. My grandfather’s grandfather worked as a stone mason and gravestone carver. His words never went away, for sure. My gradfather was a printer, and I still have a business card he did for my father. Then, there’s the stuff I have written. It is not uncommon that out of the blue, I get a situation like yesterday.

    Everything remains. Nothing really goes away, does it?

    Although I wish McCain and Palin will go away. Especially Palin.

  229. And Haven, I would gladly run all your errands, handle your correspondence and do all your cleaning. I can find everything that I own in the dark. It really came in handy during the power failure last night. This includes clothing (which I collect shamelessly, kind of like a drunken sailor. Fortunately mostly sarongs and flip flops.) The OCD makes one particularly tidy. It calms me down completely to sit and organize a drawer or fold underwear meticulously and arrange it by color. You would be astounded at my powers. How is the weather in Durham? Do you have room for a small grizzly bear who could sleep through a Metallica concert?

  230. George that story was delightful. You sure know how to spin a yarn. I do not know how you kept your sanity doing your job though. My husband read the book about the SF Zodiac killer (He thinks that the guy followed him and his brother) and I tried to read it and it just made me sick. I LOVED “No Country for Old Men”, but the movie more than the book, which I only read to try and understand the movie more deeply. Rolf (the husband of twenty years) tried to talk to me about his last book “The Road” and I just stuck my fingers in my ears and sang the “little rabbit frou frou song.”

  231. Little rabbit frou frou!!! That was the first song our mother taught us. She was delightfully twisted, in her way.

  232. Thanks Sher, for helping me change my avi. I was in that picture but it was only the back of my head so now it is my sister Tammy’s face I get to look at whenever I post. We just got in a huge fight. She is trying to one up me in the injury department after she almost killed me driving in a jeep in Mexico by having a two year old meltdown and speeding over a pothole at such great speed that I hit my head so hard on the top of the jeep that I got two black eyes and had to cut my vacation short to see the chiropractor so I could go back to work. Isn’t she just adorable? I am actually much prettier. And so much more mature.

  233. Just stopping in to change my avatar and see how it looks, thanks Sher!

  234. Well hmmm, I can see it on the side but not in my post, is that how is supposed to be?

  235. What is it Amy? A hobbit putting three little children to bed? This is so confusing. If I could find a bitchen ass picture of freddie mercury I would so steal him from Haven. OR, what do you think of Tim Curry from the Rocky Horror Picture Show? I think I look most like Magenta in that one.

  236. Okay, where did that sausage post go. “Vanished, like a virgin on prom night.” Damn.

  237. And George, feel free to call them “McPain.”

  238. I missed you all so much today…in the emergency room with my Dana (pictures on the yahoo site) who we think came back from his canoe trip with a case of giardia, some horrible parrisitic thing because he took iodine tablets instead of his hi-tech micro filter for water…and the U.S. military is STILL using iodine for the troops today…totally not the best stuff….anyway…
    In the newspaper was a little hidden away blurb that said that Ann Rice had moved from New Orleans before Katrina hit and was now writing a ‘biobraphy’ of Jesus Christ, having converted from her previous pagan ways…DUDE, WTF?!! Am I the only one upset about this besides taking the temperature of her spouse every 2 hours? Dramatics, Inc.
    Living in antici..PATION….of tuesday.

  239. brendasquinkydink, I hope Dana is fine. Iodine does a body good, believe it or not. Wasn’t that a carly simon song? Anticipation. Or it could have been from the Rocky Horror Picture show. Oh well. Not to fret. Ann Rice is about as relevant as corn these days. And it is still the Day of the Dead, if I am not mistaken. So PIP (so named after Dicken’s orphan, and KIWI, because you are my one true soul, and China, because you came to me. I celebrate you all. I love and cherish everyone of you. God has blessed me above all others. As is my birthright, may I add. Humbly you alls. Damian.

  240. Well I guess y’all should be getting up just about now. The sun just went down in California, which means it is almost six pm, with daylight savings time. With any luck I will watch an episode of True Blood and Chealsea Lately and fall asleep so I can fill out my ballot tomorrow. Which, BTW, never came. Oh well, in my wacky state Gay marriage, children’s right to an abortion and Obama are all safe tonight. Jesus is surely listening.

  241. Brenda – Good luck with the Giardia. Hope the hubby feels better soon. Our dog, Lana, had it last year after deciding to drink water from a puddle. The mother-in-law is a med tech and we bought her a few these microbes last year for Christmas since she gets to look at them under a microscope every day. http://www.giantmicrobes.com/us/products/giardia.html

    Might make a pretty damn funny gift this Christmas if you have a sick sense of humor like I do.

  242. i just filled out my california voter ballot. it may surprise and alarm you all to know that i pay taxes, i am registered to vote and i also serve on jury duty. i once wrote a whole feature story on jury duty, at which point i was called into the chamber of the honorable judge alvarado. if you’ve ever been asked by a robed judge to step into hischambers, it’s most thrilling and edgy. but it was justfine, he was a most charming man of Latin descent. we saw eye to eye. he asked me to stop writing, i told him i couldn’t, that i had to “scribble” or i couldn’t think. he insisted i stop, and i did. but i already had all the bones down. that’s the thing: he let me finish before he summoned me to chamber for my reprimand, and even then he was firm but courtly. i loved him for that.

  243. oh! my POINT was, i filled out my ballot to drop off at the poll tuesday, and it was VERY EXCITING. i made sure all the circles were perfectly drawn in. i’m CRADLING it until tuesday at 7 AM. it all feels exceptionally holy. as though this is the beginning of something, or the end of something. i know we will triumph. i know.

  244. A bear torso skeleton, YOWZA!!! Now that I wish I could see.

  245. Just get thee to a nunnery. Or something. Why do you all have to be so damn cryptic?

  246. I just logged on and we are talking about a bear torso skeleton? This might be too much for me right now.
    Have I mentioned how much we love this story here at the Hayes house, and that Havens voice is like butter..

  247. It is, Caryl — or as they say in Long Island, “like buttah!” — if there is to be a new audio page, could there be more readings?

    My favorite store in NYC, which may well be your new home if you ever visit, Haven. A consumer-class camera pic here:


  248. Brandon — you are delightfully twisted, as well.

  249. Carrie that is exactly how I was saying it to myself, and I have larangitus(sp?) so it sounds perfect.

  250. Carrie, who knew- well I am sure everyone but I- that you had this wonderful blog going on. I just got two more book recommendations, the photos are beautiful, and now I am going back for more. Good stuff!

  251. I, too, finished filling in all those tortuous little ovals on my ballot, and will be at the polls at opening, if I have to stay up all night. I’m of the mind that we are at the beginning of something (because the alternative is DOOM), also because I am not politically sophisticated, like our friends Matt and George, who talk the talk and walk the walk, and don’t know any better. I keep looking at the polls on realclearpolitics.com, which I’m guessing reflect what the popular vote would look like, but they also have those electoral maps, which show Obama winning by what looks to be a landslide. Also McCain and Palin over the past week have been speaking in the language of those who’ve already lost.

    Please explicate, those who know about this stuff.

    (Oh, I’d be thrilled indeed to be called into a judge’s chambers. Even the word “chamber” conjures up for me images of four-posters and bed curtains.)

  252. Oh Caryl, I do not really have a blog, as you can see those are ancient entries, I just left them up because they all represent such excellent memories for me, also because I’m thinking I may resume. Thank you, though, for the compliment!!

    You’ve been sick a long time, Ms. Hayes. Have you gotten thee to a doctor?

  253. Charlie is better so now its my turn, Iam going in tomorrow. I am a bit foggy so I had no idea when those posts were written, I just enjoyed them. You should start again. Did everything with your sister work out? Or get better?

  254. Getting better every day, Caryl. I have been trying out a new strategy. It is to shower her with love, without discrimination, without any reference to or consideration for our collective past. It seems to be working very well.

    Charlie’s been much on my mind, I’m so glad to hear he is better. Double glad to hear you’re going. People depend on you!

  255. Also, I didn’t mean Matt and George didn’t know any better than to walk the walk and talk the talk. I meant I don’t know if the electoral information is encouraging or if I should still be tearing out my hair. (I just need to know what’s expected of me.)

  256. I’m still trying to figure out how a bear torso got in Indiana. Do we even have bears?

  257. Woe is me . . . I hurt my back in the studio this afternoon, doing – I don’t know what . . . moving this there and that here. So I am relegated to ice on the couch and am like an upside down turtle . . . so I:

    1. Colored Hollie Hobbie with Claire (I LOVE THE SMELL OF CRAYONS)
    2. played on Nickjr.com and americangirls.com
    3. played 5 hands of go fish with Little Pet Shop Cards which were not in a whole deck and I kept getting stuck with the 11
    4. decided to follow Haven’s other art friend’s example and set up an ebay store – now, maybe I can get rid of some things so I can quit moving them from this corner to that corner, etc. to all eternity.

    I am just adoring the audio readings, but I still really like having the book in my hands for a first experience.

    I’m still wondering if anybody wants to re-awaken the Iodine thread . . . I have lots of buzzing theories and conclusions – but not sure if they are right???

    YIPPEE – I’m meeting Linda for lunch tomorrow . . . I’m doing the happy pants dance. (in my head that is, can’t really move).

    Anybody hiding in the wood work??

  258. Kate Cake –

    I would bet there are or were bears in Indiana. Especially down around French Lick area . . . big wildernesses down there! We love to go to French Lick and Dylan is going skiing at Paoli Peeks in January . . . Compared to the flat landscape of Haven’s hometown area, I have always remembered the hilly, windy roads of Southern Indiana – very close to Kentucky

  259. American Girls and Littlest Pet Shop?
    :: sighs happily ::

  260. Just curious .. is anyone’s else clocks on this blog screwed up? For instance, the message I just posted? According to the time stamp, I posted it an hour from now. It’s bugging me like mad, if there’s any way to fix it, can someone help me, pretty please?

  261. *anyone else’s :: mumbles about how I can’t type properly ::

  262. Did you fall back?

  263. I did.

  264. my posts always show like I am up an hour later than I am . . . I think it is because the blog originates in the Eastern time zone??? NC time??

    I am so annoyed – I have re-listed 12 items on e-bay like 20 times today and only 9 show up . . . I can’t even search my own artwork for sale . . .

    taking a painkiller and hope to pass out . . .

  265. Good morning dear people. Sher and I are having lunch together today and we will take a picture to add to the Haven’s Mavens album George started. Yippee.

  266. carrie, make what you will of this: Obama spent all weekend campaigning ALL OVER the map. McCain’s big event of the weekend? an appearance on SNL talking about how lousy his campaign is.

    i think we will have reason to celebrate tomorrow night.

  267. so we have obama biden campaign signs on our lawn. thrice they have been removed from our property. yesterday, my husband john was fed up. armed with a hammer and some nails, he climbed on our stone wall, balanced (as best he could) and nailed the sign straight to the tree, in three spots. he moved on to do this again on the other side of our property. he wanted to get a “no trespassing” sign to put directly beneath the signs on the trees, but i prevailed when i said i didn’t want to start WAR in the neighborhood. but the real “Pièce de résistance” is our OBAMA/BIDEN sign illuminated in front of the autumnal decorations. my husband put a spotlight on it and it is impossible to miss as you pass our driveway.

  268. Steph,

    That’s excellent. 🙂
    I have no signs, so I think it will have to suffice that I wear my Obama 08 shirt and traipse about the town. 🙂

  269. I like the Steven Wright quote. Did you get to see him in Durham? He’s hilarious.

    “Twenty-four-hour banking….”
    “I don’t have time for that.”

  270. Dorian~

    My avatar is a scene from Charlie Brown Thanksgiving.
    I have a strange obsession with Charlie Brown holiday specials…they bring back such a calm, emotional thread of childhood that I frankly cannot explain.
    Half way thru The Used World and it’s just brilliant. Have it out in my car to read over lunch.Cannot wait.
    Have fun Linda and Sher! I want to do a meet up! I wish someone lived by me:~)

  271. Amanda, right? I generally attempt to pull in the reins on wishing away time, but now I just want it to be January 20th already!

  272. Oh, and Steph — tell your husband for me: he ROCKS.

  273. Amy in Ohio- where do you live? Brandon lives in Ohio too.

  274. Haven, I just then listened to you speak your mother’s words and I’m flawed. By both of you. It’s blindingly obvious that there are at least two writers in the family.
    My darling pussy cat was curled up in my arms as I listened and you know how intuitive animals can be, as she purred through out. I think that it’s your soothing Southern voice. I, however, almost cried.
    What an amazing story. Beautifully written and hypnotically rendered in voice.
    Thank you

  275. Interesting Read! Very detailed blog,thanks for sharing

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