Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 224

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

It was the Old Chem building that had the best windows. The classrooms looked right at the quad. Duke University. You could see the library and all the people walking in and out of it.

When I think about Autumn, sometimes I’m in the Old Chem building. I had a couple classes there. The one I remember the most was Philosophy 102. The professor was young, he had strange shoulders – they were like bird wings, but half formed, so his shirts hung on for fear of flying off. And we learned some interesting things, I guess, but mostly I was watching the bird shoulders, and the quad, the changing leaves, I liked it when it rained. I have a thing for umbrellas. I like how people under them are always walking fast.

It rained today, we needed it. The Triangle’s been in a drought. Our apartment creek is barren. The trees had gone brown, but not in an attractive way. Dead rust, parched throat, but all that’s better because it rained. A drizzle. The clouds came over like a circus. I watched them – 30mph, balloon animals. Puddles formed in backed-up gutters. A couple kids got mud on their shoes.

October – this is how you’re supposed to be; quiet, dreary, watched through a window.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 208

Hi.

Coffee: Lady Grey Tea

I woke up early and walked outside. It smelled like autumn but looked like summer – all the trees soaked in sangria sunlight, kids outside, cracked egg. I wanted to walk. My body needed moving. So I walked for thirty minutes to the strip mall nearby.

When I got there, the parking lot was already crowded. Lines out the door of the grocery story. Saturday or not, people had their lives to lead, and they were leading them through the weekend motions. The store had their pumpkins out in three-tiered towers. There were red ones and white ones, but mostly orange.

I didn’t stop at the grocery. I walked past the Staples. There’s a local store selling beets and wheatgrass ground up into drinks and powders, I bought a fruit smoothie from them and it tasted like a pina colada. It was good.

Walking home, I talking on the phone with a friend. It felt bright to be alive without any walls around me, and nice to share that feeling with someone else.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

He stopped at a Dunkin’ Donuts and bought me an OJ and a bagel. Bribery wasn’t going to make me forgive him, but I couldn’t say no to carbs and juice.

Shaun David Hutchinson, The Apocalypse of Elena Mendoza

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 206

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

A few years ago, on a night like this, I was outside a small bar in Greensboro. There was a game of darts going. Three people were outside with us, fall had come on early, we were freezing. A friend lit a cigarette. We passed it around. More than anything, it was warm.

Autumn in the American South is a time for burning. Drive a few miles to the country and you’ll smell smoke and see lit leaves. It’s the one time of the year you can’t help but be reminded that you live in a lush place – so many leaves fall, they try to bury you, and the only answer is to throw a little fire on the foliage to clear the ground.

At work, some folks were talking about burgers. They were lavishing the smell of burnt meat. A Shake Shack opened up recently and it’s been booming. Long lines, people can’t keep away from it. If you stand at the right window and stretch a bit, you can see the shop from our office. It’s a summery sort of place, pinned in a parking lot, puffing out cooked goodies like you’d see at a fair. Now that it’s getting cold, I wonder how they’ll do? Not good weather for the line to snake outside. And no-one wants to be reminded of summer when it’s dead and gone.

I flicked a lighter tonight just to see it. Something to stand by, wet hot and wild, enough to get you through another season.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

If you’re going to try, go all the way. There is no other feeling like that. You will be alone with the gods, and the nights will flame with fire. You will ride life straight to perfect laughter. It’s the only good fight there is.

Charles Bukowski, Factotum

Coffee Log, Day 261

Hi.

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

I watched someone’s backyard for eight hours yesterday. You could see through the drive-through window at the branch. They had a small shed between trees. The shed had a window on it, though I got the impression that window is never opened.

Across the lawn, the house was propped with scaffolding that hasn’t come down for six months. There’s tiles on the top for a roofing project but maybe these days fixing your roof is the last thing on your mind.

Pretty soon, it started to rain. Cold cloud cover. A marginal fog. The shed light popped like a shipping beacon. Puddles grew in grass. It stayed like that all afternoon – fits and spasms, cold and damp, a hibernating storm. When the cars drove by they’d kick some of the water up so it looked like they were spitting.

My colleagues called it ‘dismal.’ I had to disagree. There’s something about a cold rain that locks you in place. Uncomfortable but preserving. I watched the stranger’s yard in a slow freeze. It was a beautiful thing so I just wanted to share.

Novel Count: 7,262 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“It was a rainy night. It was the myth of a rainy night.” – Jack Kerouac, On the Road

IMG_1775

Coffee Log, Day 259

Hi.

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

It’s light in the mornings after the roll-back of daylight savings. I’m sitting here with the curtains open. It’s been a busy morning, it’ll be a busy day. Manageable, though.

A North Carolina autumn is a fickle thing. I’ve been working in Apex this week. That town’s about ten miles west of Cary but over there the leaves are vanishing in fits of red. Outside my window, it’s mostly green.

Every year, I tell myself I’ll chase the seasons a little more. I’d like to be the kind of person that takes a trip to the mountains just to watch the world change. Instead, while fall drives by in it’s pick-up truck with new rims and a fresh paint job, hollering at the cities and chasing down the summer birds, I’m stuck in my apartment with the blinds drawn and some music going thinking about a few separate seasons from now, what I’ll be doing and how I’ll get there.

Ambition is a bad flu – unavoidable until you get over it.

Novel Count: 6,376 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“At the age of six I wanted to be a cook. At seven I wanted to be Napoleon. And my ambition has been growing steadily ever since.” – Salvador Dali

IMG_1772

Coffee Log, Day 253

Hi.

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

I’m at the desk in my pajamas. Well, I don’t actually sleep in them, but this is what I wear when I get up: a gray shirt that’s too big for me, gray gym shorts that still fit. I’m drinking coffee, Sumatra, same stuff as yesterday, but I take a little more time with it and there’s a tang to it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but it’s an honest thing, and so there you go.

In the summer, I’d have the curtains gone by now. Fall keeps the light low. I peeked out and saw a black cold ground, a couple hungover streetlamps, nobody walking, nothing eager to start the day. There’s beauty in that too, right? Something of a collective longing for ‘two more hours,’ slices of security blankets, a warm night.

I take a few more sips of the coffee and maybe that taste doesn’t even belong to it. Maybe it’s the box of honey-glazed cheerios I finished, or the coconut milk I dunked them in. Maybe it’s tomorrow already greedy, poking it’s fingers in yesterday’s night. Maybe it’s anticipation. I’ve been feeling the need to walk something – dirt, gravel, who gives a-, as long as it’s going somewhere. Or maybe it’s just my stomach bubbling up after a week of too much candy.

I’ve got mixed feelings about November: specifically, the label it’s come to acquire of ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ In my experience, there’s nothing ‘national’ about writing a novel and no good way to fit it to thirty days. On the other hand, I won’t lie that the drive and discipline I’ve seen friends commit to for the moniker is inspiring. I feel like I’ve been learning again and again how important consistency is, whether it’s in writing, work, family, or brewing coffee every day to write about in your blog.

So anyway, I’m writing another book. Not something that I could finish in a month, but still something new. I started a couple weeks ago but haven’t kept a schedule. If I can’t keep that, I’ll never keep the book. I’ve learned a lot of ‘letting go’ since starting this coffee log. To really write, you’ve got to paradoxically let go of all the will to put things to words in the first place and focus instead on the fingers on the keyboard. I want to have that again. I want to bring that to my fiction. I also want to bring you along with me. I can’t share the words (someday I’ll be shopping them around to publish and you know how picky agents are about having first dibs) but I can share how many I’ve written each day. It’s a selfish thing, a bit of self-accountability, and I appreciate you letting me use all of you as motivation.

So anyway, expect my coffee logs to come in the AM now as I’ll be writing fiction every night. Looking forward to waking up with all of you.

Novel Count: 3,043 words

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“You don’t know the risk if you ain’t carried the weight
If you ain’t never been down the road that wasn’t already paved.” – T.I., Big Ol’ Drip

IMG_1762

Coffee Log, Day 246

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

In between dinner with you I hear the rain. It’s on the roof, the windows. It’s flooding the creek. It sounds like a velvet bag of go pieces. White and black, perfect round, picked up and let back through your fingers. It feels good to drop something and know you can pick it up again.

There’s a white and black cat in the neighborhood, no-one knows her name. She stalks the other cats but strays from people. Once, she let me pet her, but just because it was okay once doesn’t mean it ever will be again. I got home and popped my umbrella. It was cold, wet, windy, the wind tried taking everything from my hands. On the switchback to my second floor apartment, I saw the white and black cat. She was sitting on the rail catching balance. She wasn’t doing a good job of it on account of the rail being slick. It was the least graceful I’ve seen her. Fat paws tossed like woks. I fell in love.

I said: “Kitty!” and “Hey!” It took her attention. Two black eyes, carbon on its way to diamond, the cat threw caution and grace behind her and leapt off the rail to get away. I was a little worried so I looked down. She was fine. Last I saw, she was chasing dry spots in the rain.

Now, in the bedroom, listening to music, I don’t hear the storm.

I had a dream that someone I cared about was being chased. I tried to fight the chaser. My fists were putty and I just kept poking, prodding. They took off anyway. I’m sort of glad I didn’t hurt them. I don’t want to hurt much of anything. I’ll cut the sound and really listen. Autumn; a chill; rainfall; a lullaby.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith; Cherry, Nico Walker

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Amanda took the torn page from Maniac. To her, it was the broken wing of a bird, a pet out in the rain.” – Jerry Spinelli; Maniac Magee

IMG_1742