Posts Tagged ‘Helter Skelter’

As someone familiar with the mystique surrounding the Manson Family Murders, I was intrigued by the premise of Micol Ostow’s book. Her novel, loosely based on the Helter Skelter events of 1969, explores the perspective of one of Manson’s  followers.


FAMILY did not disappoint. The novel’s style, episodic verse, is a perfect fit for Mel’s story–jagged words and thoughts are plucked from her mind at all the right moments.

Mel, an emotionally broken young woman, abandons her home and drifts toward San Fransisco. When she meets Henry, she is drawn to him–his soft words and his warm embrace seem to fill all her hollow places, but Henry’s love exacts a price. In “the family”, everything belongs to everyone…of course, Henry’s appetites require that hearts and minds and souls and sinew belong to him alone.

Henry is the now, the supernova, burning bright. For Mel, Henry is the undertow.

As Mel is pulled into the dark deeps, I bit my nails and feverishly turned pages. All at once, I was angry and afraid. Mel’s descent is terrifying, but I could not help but feel pangs of compassion for the broken girl, the ruined psyche so abused and driven to madness. The ending comes with a twist, but even in the final pages, even when I knew the inexorable climax, I could not turn away from Melinda.

I mourned for her fall, even as I gasped at the blood on her hands.

FAMILY is a book I will not soon forget.

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Saturday night, folks from my writers’ group came over for a RockBand/Guitar Hero night.

Writers’ Rocksgiving.

I never knew we had so many headbangers and fist pumpers in our scribbler’s gang.

And of course…Scarlet Whisper made an appearance with her signature encore: Helter Skelter on Beatles RockBand.

I lose all inhibition (and dignity) wailing Helter Skelter. Imagine a tone deaf Paul McCartney in Janis Joplin drag performing a Vegas Style lounge act rendition. That kinda sums it up.

Can’t stop myself. I love that song. It’s become my writing anthem.

When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and turn
and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again

Revision after revision after revision. You edit your manuscript until the sight of it makes you want to hurl all over your Chuck Taylors. And then you work on it some more.

Do you don’t you want me to love you
I’m coming down fast but I’m miles above you

You waver. One day, you believe you possess a glimmer of talent. The next (after your query incites a chorus of crickets), you embrace the enormity of your writing suckage.

Tell me tell me come on tell me the answer
and you may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

You turn to your beta readers, your crit group, your spouse and your second grade teacher (or worse, your mom) to analyze what is wrong with your book.

I will you won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you

You put your manuscript aside. You start a new project.

Tell me tell me tell me the answer
You may be a lover but you ain’t no dancer

You play the waiting game with agents. You persevere.

Look out
Helter skelter
helter skelter
helter skelter
Yeah,
Look out cause here she comes

And one golden day, you get a manuscript request (or two, or six). Maybe it’s a partial. Maybe it’s a full. You’re back on the roller coaster.

When I get to the bottom
I go back to the top of the slide
Where I stop and turn
and I go for a ride
Till I get to the bottom and I see you again
Yeah, yeah, yeah

Well will you won’t you want me to make you
I’m coming down fast but don’t let me break you

Look out
Helter skelter
helter skelter
helter skelter

Rejection? Maybe. Who knows.

She’s coming down fast
Yes she is
Yes she is
coming down fast

I can’t stop. The ride makes me hurl sometimes, but it’s too much fun to get off and walk away. Yep, I’m hopping in line again.

Here we go.

Tell me, dear ones, what’s your writing anthem?

Hungry for more? Writing junkies will enjoy my Black Magic Cake

Black Magic Cake

Ingredients:

2 sticks butter, cut into pats

3/4 chocolate syrup

8 Milky Way Bars (2.05 oz. each), cut into chunks

2 cups sugar

1 cup buttermilk (or add 1 tbsp. lemon juice to one cup regular milk)

1 tsp. vanilla

4 eggs

2 1/2 cups flour

3/4 cup cocoa (dark choc. Hershey’s is best)

3/4 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 12 cup bundt pan. Put butter, syrup, and Milky Ways in a large microwave safe bowl. Microwave for 5 minutes, whisking once halfway through cooking time. Whisk until smooth.

Add sugar, buttermilk, vanilla, and eggs. Then add in flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda.

Pour batter into bundt pan. Set bundt pan on a cookie sheet to catch any accidental spillover. Bake for one hour. Cool for 10 minutes before inverting cake from pan.

Glaze with frosting. To make frosting, melt three more Milky Way bars with 3 tbsp. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 1 stick butter.

Overdose, erm…binge.