Coffee Log, Day 292


Coffee: Bolivian Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I spend the last day of 28 sick and reflecting and applying for jobs. I think that’s a perfect last day for this year.

My early 20’s seem like a lifetime ago. In some ways, they feel farther from me than me teens and childhood. Those first two decades can be easily packaged into the right kinds of nostalgia. Early 20’s, though, are unrecognizable. A late-night-scotch-shot: careless, quickly forgotten.

Around 25 I felt myself growing. This was coming on the other end of Japan, of teaching, of failing the first round of MFA applications. I was directionless, sure, but I felt like maybe I was made of the stuff that you draw a direction from. That’s when I started giving my all to writing. I poured a lot of blood out and wrote some truly awful stuff. But then there’s this tipping point and the blood thickens and you’ve cooked something – rich, warm, delicious – just don’t ask where it came from.

And 28 more or less beat all that out of me. I’d found a home in Cary. I’d found a career at a bookstore. I found a woman I wanted to marry (all signs that she didn’t want the same be damned). And I’d applied to MFA’s again with a finished novel that I thought would carry me there. Things were swell. Then, between February and April, all that got taken down, every sense of security, every thing I’d scraped out of my 20’s, unraveled, thread by thread.

I thank God for that. Or whatever is or isn’t up there, floating in the ether, spying on our lives as a celestial voyeur. All those dreams were old dreams. I could trace them back to 18, to 10, to 5 when I loved the girl next door and wrote my first poem about the time our dog peed on the snow. I’d been working out the same old stories for nearly three decades. Anyone would get tired of that, right?

So I’m trying to say ‘thank you.’ When the castle crumbled under me, I started this blog. And I was writing something very different and sharing it very differently than I’d done before. And maybe that’s all there ever was to magic – a spark in adversity, the freedom of failure, the salty ocean expanse of something new. It’s precious to me that you read my tiny coffee thoughts. It’s precious to me that I get to read some of yours.

28 was a bust. It ends in sickness as I knew it would. But 28 brought me to this foundation for something new, something to share with all of you, and that makes me pretty hopeful for what’s waiting for me when I wake up one year older.

Novel Count: (on hiatus while I recover from this cold)

Currently Reading: Cherry, Nico Walker (Finished! Mixed feelings overall; I’ll try to get to a review this weekend)

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With mirth and laughter let old wrinkles come.

William Shakespeare, The Merchant of Venice