Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand
I finally finished reading ‘Killing Commendatore.’ I read the last chapter while rain came down outside. The book rushes to a climax then wraps things up with an extended epilogue. It feels unfinished, but I think it’s supposed to feel that way. The book was about art – why you love it, why you make it, what it does to you.
For a couple months, I was convinced I’d eventually cut the Coffee Log down to a weekly blog. This was last year, September and October. Life was hectic at the time. I was applying for a new job. I was sitting on a stack of lit journal rejections. I was trying to work things out with an old lover so we could still be friends. I was drinking tall drinks in the aftermath of learning that – at least for a while – we couldn’t. And there I was writing one of these every day.
It was exhausting.
It still is.
My big fear was that I wouldn’t ever write anything else. Sometimes I’ll sit down and spit one of these logs out in the time it takes to blow out a nose full of pollen. Other times, they take over an hour. That’s a lot of life on the weekdays, and a lot of mental energy besides. I’ve learned to scrutinize my day-to-day for things to say in a way I never had before. It’s an invaluable skill, but draining.
So what room’s left for a novel in all of that?
It was Halloween that did it for me. Some friends were over. We were watching Over the Garden Wall. The night was dark and spooky and magic despite having to work the next morning. Halfway through the show, I stole off to my computer to write the daily Coffee Log. If you remember, that was a long one. It was a narrative. It was fiction. It was creepy. I wrote it on the spot and when it was done I felt full. I was a bunch of warm tossed towels spinning in a drier. The next day, I started working on my second book.
This has all been a long-winded way of saying that effort has consequences: good and bad. I feel drained. Sharing these stories daily has changed the way I live life. But at the same time, there’s a new effortlessness in sitting down to write.
‘Killing Commendatore’ is also Murakami finding a sort of religion. Nothing specific or labeled, but rather just belief. Learning to live life believing in something without any evidence for or against it. A kind of faith. I think you have to have that to be an artist. I think you have to have that to be much of anything. It’s scary walking a bridge alone. Sometimes you need someone to walk with you – whether that’s God, Science, or a simple Idea.
Novel Count: 29,417
Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!
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You can have all the desire and ache inside you want, but what you really need is a concrete starting point.Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore
2 thoughts on “Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 10”
“Learning to live life believing in something without any evidence for or against it. A kind of faith. I think you have to have that to be an artist. I think you have to have that to be much of anything. It’s scary walking a bridge alone. Sometimes you need someone to walk with you – whether that’s God, Science, or a simple Idea.”
So true. And for me, so hard to sustain.
I’m about half way through the book. Murakami sure likes holes in the ground. He buries characters right and left. Or brings them up from the depths like ripe potatoes. The best hole was in The Wind-Up Bird.
You and I will have to debate the virtues of faith the next time we get together. I think it is a dangerous mistake to believe in something for which there is no good evidence. I try to rely on courage and defiance myself. I know that is an interesting position for someone who has spent their adult life studying religions and who reads the Bible and the Koran and The Book of the Dead cover to cover for fun. I am some 40% through the unabridged Mahabharata now. Krishna’s “song” to Arjuna is pretty cool and deserves its reputation. It did wonders for Gandhi.