Coffee Log, Day 353

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I bought a box of heart-shaped donuts from a grocery store I’d only been to once before. It was a quick purchase, spur of the moment. I brought them home in a cold car that stayed cold even with the heat turned up. At the apartment, I ate two and shared the rest with R.

Valentines day is on the way. So is the one-year anniversary of this blog. Marks on the calendar, special boxes, like your kid sister worked them over with a brand new set of gel pens. That gives me anxiety. True love, a life’s work – that’s a lot to live up to.

I drove around today with the radio playing. It was a cold, cloudy morning, a good time for grocery shopping. The store was only sort of crowded, better than a typical weekend. I spent some time picking up and putting down the produce. Is this tomato too hard or too soft? A matter of perspective, maybe, but one with dire consequences as far as lunch is concerned.

And the rest of the day rolled out like an old carpet. It was simple. It was easy. Maybe that’s what got me – what drove me out in the darkness to find something. I came home with a box of heart-shaped donuts but really I was bringing home a piece of myself – proof that I had legs that could take me somewhere.

A week of holidays. Valentines, at least, is covered – I’m not doing anything and I’m pretty comfortable with that. As for the site’s anniversary, who knows? I might just toast it with a cup of coffee. I might just have an average day. Deep down, simple average days are all this blog has ever been about.

Novel Count: 22,363

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.

David Lynch


Coffee Log, Day 352

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I woke up in the morning and ground the beans. Maybe I was still walking around with one foot in the bed because I ground too much. The coffee was thick like tar. It was too strong. One cup and my blood was buzzing. Oh well; I drank most of it anyway.

There’s this bar on the far side of downtown Cary. To get to it, you drive down Walker which right now is under extensive construction. When I moved here a year ago, Walker was a calm street with a few white houses, a city park, and a church. Now they’re building a parking deck where the park was and they’ve knocked down half the church. Even some of the houses are gone. I wonder what happened to the people who lived there?

The bar was busy. It was a nice day. Warm weather, a blue-sky breeze. I drank alone and listened to three guys talking about their jobs at Epic. Whenever one of them made a point, the next would make their point a couple decibels louder, until all three were shouting. It wasn’t an argument. They were all smiling.

I’m on vacation right now. Just four days, not going anywhere. I took the time because I can and because it’s important to sit alone with yourself every once and a while. R was working and E was gone. I had the apartment to myself. I left the windows open and thought about a year ago, then a year before that. I drank a bit of cold coffee from the pot. It was strange. It feels like every day they tear down a new building inside of me and there’s just no telling what will go up next.

But that’s okay. That’s just living. The only thing constant is this: right now, you’re here.

Novel Count: 20,929

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Drenched in café au lait stucco, the mall was bordered by an example of America’s most unique architectural contribution to the world, a parking lot


Viet Thanh Nguyen, The Sympathizer



Coffee Log, Day 351

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

I drove to Durham just to eat a late lunch at Elmo’s Diner. I had the old avenues in my head. I wanted to see how they matched up.

They’re building a new condo complex on West Main. That’s the least surprising line I’ve written. New condos are popping up every month in the triangle. And there’s nothing wrong with that in theory – the population’s growing, you’ve got to put the people somewhere – only I wish they didn’t come connected to words like ‘luxury’ so often.

Lunch was what I expected. They put me at a table for two. Maybe they could see the baggage I was bringing. Not all bad baggage, just a lot of time lived in the place.

I ordered a spinach omelette. I ate it with ketchup. Some kid in Japan is telling me I’m doing it right – omurice! When I was teaching there, it was a all the rage with grade schoolers. After lunch, I drove around the city looking for a good stationery store but couldn’t decide on one. Then I wanted to go to a bar but couldn’t decide on one. The sun was out. It was a hot day for February.

When it’s hot you can’t settle. There’s no such thing as ‘good enough.’ On the other hand, cold days push you through the nearest open door. We’ve all got a bit of goldilocks, I guess.

I drank Canadian whiskey at home on the phone with an old friend. Okay, February, you got me – it was an average night.

Novel Count: 20,589

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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And I been really tryna be mo’ tolerant, mo’ positive
Prolly need to switch up countries (But you know why I’m here)

Smino, Anita


Coffee Log, Day 350

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee; my second to last batch if I’m judging the amount of beans. I’ve liked this coffee. It was a gift, which always helps, but I would have liked it if I’d come across it on my own. It’s direct with it’s flavors but still a little complicated, especially if you drink it like I do – big mouthfuls lounging on the back of your tongue. Makes me want to get up and do something, but doesn’t guilt me when I’m only sitting down.

I was having a conversation with a co-worker about her dogs. She treats them like children. They go with her everywhere. She won’t board them, says it’s cruel. And maybe it is – if you can give something a good life, why wouldn’t you?

I used to know a woman who had two cats. One was gray, one was brown. They had dramatic personalities. The gray could would wake you at 3:00 am to show you it’s shadow. The brown cat would hiss if you got too close. Once, brown cat ate a piece of plastic. She was real sick. So I took the morning off to drive her to the vet. She was in a tiny plastic carry-on. She made the most pitiful sounds. The vets took her in for surgery and I waited a couple hours, then she was better. Afterwards, she’d sometimes come to sit with me when I was reading in bed or working on something.

There’s a lot of emotion in the world, even if there’s not much intelligence. But intelligence tends to produce things like McDonald’s and plastic bottles, so maybe it’s overrated.

Novel Count: 20,399

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Name the different kinds of people,’ said Miss Lupescu. ‘Now.’

Bod thought for a moment. ‘The living,’ he said. ‘Er. The dead.’ He stopped. Then, ‘… Cats?’ he offered, uncertainly.

Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book

Coffee Log, Day 349

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

I was born the year the Cold War ended, ’89. Growing up, I didn’t get raised in a constant state of fear. There’s a negative to that – I think the blissful ’90’s sewed seeds for the pot boiling over now – but it was peaceful, at least for me.

This week, the US backed out of the INF treaty and Russia followed suit. That’s just some words on paper, ultimately, but they’re scary words, like ‘nuclear proliferation.’ Maybe the world’s just tired. Maybe it stopped taking its antidepressants. Suicidal brinksmanship. Maybe we’ve all just given up.

I’ve known a few people over the years who tried to kill themselves. They never got too far with it, although one was hospitalized. Thankfully, no-one succeeded. The story you’re supposed to hear is that you come out the other side of that better than you were before – you’ve exorcised your demons; you’re thankful to live. But in every case I’ve seen it doesn’t work that way. The same people who wanted to die ten years ago still want to die today. They might have a better handle on how to control their urges, but the urge is there.

When Augustus took power over Rome, he killed 100,000 political dissenters as a first act of order. After that, he had a peaceful and stable reign.

I think it’s all a form of prayer. We’re looking for a cause greater than one more day waking up and trudging the same cold streets as last year. And if there is a God, he’s a silent one, so we need to start fires to believe there’s a chance for magic. The idea of human sacrifice is hardwired into us – be it ourselves, our neighbors, or the world’s blood we’re spilling. Maybe because the only thing larger and more imposing than life is death.

Sorry for the morning doldrums. I haven’t had much coffee yet.

Novel Count: 20,287

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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or fortune having hitherto seconded him in his designs, made him resolute and firm in his opinions, and the boldness of his temper raised a sort of passion in him for surmounting difficulties; as if it were not enough to be always victorious in the field, unless places and seasons and nature herself submitted to him.

Plutarch, Plutarch’s Lives Vol. 2 (on Alexander the Great)

Coffee Log, Day 348

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been waking up a little early, hopping in the shower, and sitting down in the dining room to have my coffee and breakfast before work. It’s an extension of the weekend habits I’ve been forming. It helps keep me calm.

Creativity is a strange thing. Some days, if I don’t write before noon it’s ‘good luck’ if I write at all. Other days it’s the opposite – I can’t pull any ideas out until close to midnight. Yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and milled around for six hours trying to finish a chapter. Then I got groceries and ate lunch and spent another four trying the same. It was only after I was tired and drunk and pulling out my hair that I got something down. If anyone tells you that you’re the mind’s master, they’re really downplaying a fraught and dysfunctional relationship.

The sun’s rising now. It’s blued up the trees, breaking bread with the branches. I’ll be off to work soon and these two hours will feel like they happened to someone else. But there’s always tomorrow. I’m lucky enough to have all the tools to carve out this time.

Novel Count: 20,073

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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The streets are empty and quiet this early in the morning and I can hear my own footsteps as they fall.

Uzodinma Iweala, Speak No Evil: A Novel

Coffee Log, Day 347

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

A friend came over. The doorbell rang, there he was. He hadn’t told us he was coming. That’s okay – surprises are nice sometimes.

We watched half the superbowl. There were rumors of a Spongebob song being played at halftime, our friend wanted to see that. They didn’t play the song so we turned the game off and hung around. Everyone was eating Taco Bell. I had some cinnamon somethings that made my mouth sore.

Days like today you want to go somewhere. A little warm, still not spring. You want to pack up and drive a thousand miles to where no-one knows you. You want to start over. But of course you can’t. Of course you’re stuck, and even if you’re stuck in something nice, where friends drop by and you eat awful food, you’re still stuck.

I drove to Raleigh to see the CAM museum. It has contemporary art. Only when I got there, there was no parking, and there were people out, and every voice inside me said I couldn’t make it, I couldn’t step outside the comfortable confines of this car, so I turned around and drove back home. I sat on the couch. I drank a beer.

The biggest wall in front of you is built – brick by brick – with your own hands.

Novel Count: 20,073

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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…So please, be tolerant of those who describe a sporting moment as their best ever. We do not lack imagination, nor have we had sad and barren lives; it is just that real life is paler, duller, and contains less potential for unexpected delirium.

Nick Hornby, Fever Pitch