My Macabre Musings (Or I Return to My Roots)

Maybe it started with the Raymond Chandler novel my aunt encouraged me to purchase at The Last Bookstore, or maybe it’s my mood about my dog’s cancer, but I recently abandoned my usual girlie reading material for more macabre fare.

(Translation: no more Emily Giffin for a minute.)

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I read the entire Chandler classic in the Mexico City Airport.

Now I’m reading two rather grim books, and I’m LOVING both of them.

(If you must know: The Murder Room by Michael Capuzzo, and Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter are riveting. The former is non-fiction, the latter, fiction.)

Also?

The Last Bookstore is AMAZING, and you ABSOLUTELY have to go if you’re in LA. It’s like the only real culture we have here.

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Aptly named, it’s also basically THE Last Bookstore in LA.

Inspired by my dark books, I tweeted last weekend, “Given the state of my love life, I think it’s time to shelve my rom com ideas and write stories about serial killers instead.”

I gained a few new followers after the tweet, so maybe I’m on the right track.

I have been utterly unable to write ANY of the soapy/rom commy ideas I’ve outlined in the last six months. Every time I sit down to write, I feel hollow, empty, and devoid of inspiration.

Sure, I actually had feelings for the first person in FOUR YEARS this year, but that was a raging dumpster fire of a disaster, and while the fallout SHOULD have sent me into a writing frenzy, it has utterly failed to do so. I spent hours journaling, trying to mine my heart and brain for reasons, but I came up empty.

Why was I crazy about him and unable to put the experience into words?

What was different this time?

Other heartbreaks have inspired my best work.

I mean, I should have known better than to fall for him in the first place, but feelings aren’t logical and that’s why I find them so maddening.

I had a date last week, but I couldn’t bring myself to go on a second with the poor guy. My feelings on the practice of dating remain unchanged. (#ihateit) I’d rather just hang out casually and slowly decide if someone annoys me or not.

Sure, I can be sentimental, and I am a bit of a princess (or so my friend Tim says when he hands me my Sauvignon Blanc after work), but I’m not sure I’m suited for the traditional trappings of romance. It all feels forced, contrived, conventional, and more disgusting to me than a rotting corpse covered in maggots.

I spent my adolescence devouring Stephen King, Thomas Harris, Christopher Pike, and Peter Benchley. (I read Jaws in the fifth grade for crying out loud.)

My friend Mike was recently shocked to learn that I have never seen The Notebook. He’s known me HOW long, and he’s surprised by this?!? (In his defense, I guess I was equally surprised to learn he HAD seen it.)

I think maybe my perky, let’s-put-a-bow-on-it, party planing side throws even my closest friends, but COME ON…

Have you seen the art on my walls?!?

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My living room is a shrine to David Lynch.

(I am QUITE aware the prints are not hung symmetrically and it KILLS me.)

The stills are limited edition Richard Beymer originals from the set of Twin Peaks.

Also?

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Who hasn’t noticed my creepy bathroom art situation?

My sorority roommate’s mother let me pick out one of her prints at the Ann Arbor Art Fair back in the day, and I selected the most disturbing one she had.

It’s a vintage mannequin head, and it looks simultaneously serene and unsettling to me.

I love it.

So, anyway, I think maybe it’s time to write about murder because I’m just NOT feeling love at the moment.

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Only Children are Spoiled (Or How to Make Truffle Popcorn)

I am an only child. And I was the only grandchild for NINE YEARS. So, it should come as no surprise that I am an absolute nightmare on occasion. There was a time I thought the entire world existed to watch my performances, which included recitations of the Narnia Chronicles in a British accent, dramatic lip syncing performances to Rockwell’s “Somebody’s Watching Me,” or dancing on a picnic table in a diaper at 10 pm.

My dad is this well-behaved electrical engineer who has been pushed to the absolute brink of insanity by my antics. Were it not for his faith and his firm belief God made me this way, he might have died of embarrassment (or frustration) long ago.

Not only did I demand a fair amount of attention, but I was also given a lot of swag. Before you read this as a cautionary tale about only children, I should tell you that we’re not all bad. I can entertain myself for days on end without company, and I love to share from my lavish bounty of gifts.

My mother came for a visit recently, and I now have new Betsey jewelry, the dogs have piles of squeaky toys, and my kitchen is full of farmers’ market swag.

Before you condemn me for being some sort of spoiled parasite, I should tell you I played airport chauffeur for hours, made my mother wonderful food, and endured hours of interrogation about why I’m not dating anyone. So, it all evens out. I trade swag for my sanity. It’s cool.

You know what else is cool? Truffle salt. My mom bought me some at the farmers’ market, and I’m putting it on everything. The applications are absolutely endless, and because I’m so into sharing, I’m going to tell you about one!

Tonight I’m making truffle popcorn for my Gone with the Wind movie night, and I plan to wash it down with bourbon-spiked shakes.

See?

Truffle salt is so absolutely amazing that I might eat my own shoe if you sprinkled enough on it.

I’m looking forward to stuffing myself to the gills with goodness while watching Clark Gable strut around like sex on a stick. You might want to do the same.

The recipe is below. Enjoy!

Truffle Popcorn Recipe

¼ C popcorn kernels
2 T oil
2 T unsalted butter, melted
¼ tsp truffle salt

The popcorn bag will say you should heat the oil until two test kernels pop before adding the rest of the popcorn. This is a bald faced lie. This will burn your popcorn. I have found it’s best to add the oil and the popcorn at the same time. If you want to double the recipe, work in batches and add another 2 T of oil and ¼ C of popcorn after popping (and removing) the first batch from the pot. Working in small batches prevents burning. (Or maybe I just suck at making popcorn the old fashioned way and am making more work for myself than is necessary, but I’d rather not waste food. Or set my kitchen on fire.)

Pour the melted butter over the popcorn and toss the popcorn. Add the truffle salt and toss again.