Coffee Log, Day 365

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I read an article about the end of civilization. It was by Luke Kemp, this guy who researches trends in the collapse of old empires. All the trends point to our contemporary world going under. It was scary and persuasive, but of course all doomsayers are.

How many Coffee Logs have I started with the words ‘I read an article?’ I guess I could go through and count them. The number would surely surprise me. My own end of civilization statistics – read, written, posted, done. Blog posts come and go like old Rome. Ah, the good old days…

You probably already guessed why I’m being so reflective – this is it, the big 365. I’ve been doing this thing daily for a whole year. This is the Coffee Log’s first anniversary, and like most anniversary’s, it’s one of those days that seem a lot bigger before you get to it. I brought our favorite store-bought coffee, set the template on the post just right, even turned down the lights as I’m writing this on the old keyboard that we started with. Romantic, huh? All the little things that kept us alive last year.

Here are some memories:

The first post I wrote was 44 words long. So short it would give Twitter shivers. I was drinking Guatemalan and reading ‘Women’ by Bukowski. I’d really only chimed in to say that this site existed. Damn if I haven’t gotten long winded over time.

My most viewed post was just a couple weeks ago on February 12th, 2019 (day 356 for those keeping count). On average, Tuesday’s are my most popular days and 2:00 a.m. is when the bulk of y’all read my site. What are you doing up so late?

When I look back on the year, the post that’s stuck to me the most is June 8th, 2018 – Day 108. That was the day Anthony Bourdain hung himself. Bourdain’s death shook me. He’d been someone I’d looked to for guidance – as an artist and a man. That whole morning I felt like someone was stuffing socks in my mouth. None of my words seemed to matter but I had so much to say. I wrote my Coffee Log on a lunch break. Before I knew it, I was writing about Bourdain. That put me back together. I’ve always been a private person, but here was this immediately public way to express my grief. That changed me. And it changed the Log. Gone were the days of two-to-three liners, blips on a radar. Those blips may have been beautiful, but suddenly it felt like I had something to say.

Here I am, still saying it.

I like two things in my life a little bit better than all the others: writing and coffee. I like to write because it’s in me, an animal, a round sneaking oyster, something picking and prying that keeps on coming open no matter what I do. And I like coffee because it gives me the space to write. These are my two passions. I’m pretty happy when I get to share them. For 365 days – one whole year now – I’ve been sharing them with you. Thanks for sticking around.

Here, let me pour you another cup.

Novel Count: 25,512

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The people of New York City sat out there and drank beer and soda and ice water. They endured and smoked cigarettes. Just being alive was a victory.

Charles Bukowski, Women


Coffee Log, Day 364

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I went back to the open mic I’ve been going to for one year now. It’s called ‘Third Wednesday.’ This was my anniversary with the group, though I only realized that after everyone had read and we were sitting around eating falafel. I think there was pita in my mouth when I had the ‘aha!’

You could say that Third Wednesday and this blog are intimately tethered. You could say that and I would say it. Last year at this time I’d just lost my job to layoffs. I’d also finished the last draft of my first novel and realized it probably wasn’t publishable – too short, too much vanity. I’d been working on that novel for four years and employed at the same job for three of them. Last February, life completely changed.

So I figured: what the hell, let’s start over. I looked up open mics for writers in the Raleigh area. I picked the place that was closest to my home. I’d never read my work in public (unless you count college classrooms or the two lines I gave during my acceptance for a writing scholarship) and I needed something to back me up, make me feel prepared. I wanted to walk in looking like I was supposed to be there. So I made this website ground up – blog and writing samples and templates and everything – the day before.

Tonight I read a bit of the book I’m working on. I’d had a few drinks and the passage wasn’t edited so my words just sort of slumped over. Not my best reading. But not once did I feel nervous with that mic in my hand. The audience was an even split of familiar faces and new. Some were people with a penchant for words and others were already making writing close to a career. And whatever their opinions of my reading, however they took this particular train wreck, I didn’t care – I had no doubts that I had a right to the mic in my hand.

Writing about coffee (or not about coffee) for 364 days straight does a number on you. A good number. Take it from me.

Novel Count: 25,512

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.

Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

New mysteries. New day. Fresh doughnuts.

David Lynch


Coffee Log, Day 183

Hi.

Coffee: Americano from Crema Cafe, Cary, NC; I drank it by the cafe window; the roast was bright for an espresso; girls and boys happened by, old women talked about their grandsons’ first days at school; the environment overpowered the taste.

For the first time in a season, I took a walk around the neighborhood. Farther than the apartments, I crossed the dead Thursday afternoon, cut through beating sun, and found shade on a Cary trail. It was calm. It was good. It brought back memories of talking on the phone to him or her, walking this way last year when I was still a bookstore worker with lots of weekdays off. Dandruff autumn, coming back around to you.

I’ve been doing this blog for six months now, only missed one day. To those of you who’ve read one, two, however many posts: thanks. I’ve grown a lot. Maybe you have too. I started this thing on a whim, no real goal, and I still don’t have a goal, but the whim feels a bit firmer, bread rising.

Here’s something I believe: the everyday is magic. A boring, stinky, uneventful magic, but magic all the same. I finished reading LaRose. It paints real characters in larger-than-life situations. I liked it a lot in the end, but it’s pretty contrary to my vision for the world and my work in it. I think real life is made up of larger-than-life people stuck in toothpaste tubes, two-piece suits, pin-stripe dresses; the gooey caramel core of the mundane. I hope my Coffee Log catches a bit of that – licks the stiff surface, dalliances toward the weird magic inside.

There was a fuzzy bug on the trail. It walked sporadically, caught on concrete. In the bleeding sun, the bug looked melted, wispy, a ghost. I realized it must be the Guardian God of every old phonecall I’d taken on the path. Heartbreaks that crunched like new winter ice, thawed now. I almost touched him. The bug saw me coming and shimmied to a patch of shade. Out of the light, it was just a caterpillar.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich; FINISHED!! Will have a review soon

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“But nowadays I really miss my fucking idols, so that’s the title.” – Trippie Redd, Missing My Idols

IMG_1562

Coffee Log, Day 156

Hi.

Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

The back-up camera on my car caught a nice glare. It was so pretty I took a picture. I was driving to pick up dinner at the Chinese joint I used to go to after work at the bookstore. I took the same summer roads I’d taken a year ago. It’s been one year (almost exactly) since I moved to Cary.

And you’re already splattered with buckets of experiences, tails intact, fins flapping, with the heads cut off and left on the calendar squares…

Today was the first day I felt proficient at the bank. It was busy, complicated, I worked the line with a colleague who started a month before me. Our manager was tied up so it was just us. We encountered problems: equipment broke; customers cussed; it was a messy day but I kept a smile. More than that, I flipped the manual and made a day-long string of calls to this and that department sorting out customer concerns. When my colleague needed it, I helped him. It’s a big, free feeling to answer a question confidently.

I was confident at the bookstore. I didn’t like the job, but I’d held it so long I was in control. Because of that, it hit me even harder when they laid me off. Today, I drove past the driveway to the old employee lot on the way to the Chinese joint. My knuckles always go white or red or both, my eyes are heavy, I feel like I’m passing something important but unapproachable, a high school yearbook. Cary’s already got a few things I’ve lost dirtying up its fingernails.

So no matter how confident I get at the bank, I’ll try to remember that life is mostly driving in a car on a series of semi-familiar roads, listening to music, thinking about winter, licking for dinner, remembering the people you wish would love you; the place you leave and the place you end up are less important.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Check surroundings for your safety.” – the back-up camera in my Hyundai Accent

IMG_1462

Coffee Log, Day 31

Hi.

Coffee: Honduras, Cooperativa Raos

One month. One big chunk of a year. Apple pie.

I started this site a month ago. Since then, I’ve had a cup of coffee every day. Well, I probably would have done that anyway, but you know. Thanks for sticking along for the ride. Thanks for reading. As of today, I’m adding a button to the site (to the right if you’re on a PC, down at the bottom of every page if you’re on a phone, and a link at the bottom of every blog post) to send a tip to the coffee jar.

No worries, no pressure, but if you like what you’ve been reading and want more, buy me a cup. Any coffee purchased with these funds will be featured on my blog and I’ll give you all kinds of props and thanks for supporting what I do (unless you’d rather be anonymous of course).

So anyway, cheers. On to month number two. Who can stop after one slice?

Currently Reading:
Tar Baby, Toni Morrison

“Even bad coffee is better than no coffee at all.” – David Lynch

Fund the Coffee Blog 🙂https://ko-fi.com/livesaywriting  

IMG_0563