It stormed over like a bluebird molting above your kitchen window, rain streak-feathered, cold, blue-dashed out of the clouds, a torn up sky, and then at the end of the day when we were just trying to make it home there’s a frozen, bloodied Ruby Red up there, skylined citrus so perfect it’s ominous, begging me to stay, to just sit down, freeze, shiver, crack my teeth on asphalt, goodbye to the ordinary, never going home again.
It was in that bruised and bloodied second that I wanted to be somewhere quiet with you.
I’ve been writing this daily log for over four hundred days now. What have I learned from it?
Discipline is difficult. I met a friend at a bar three years ago and told her I was writing everyday. Back then, I was working on a novel. She was impressed, which made me happy, then I stopped writing every day. Three years on, I realize that it’s the happiest times when discipline is most important. Easier to excuse yourself.
It’s okay to not have anything to say as long as you’re honest about it. A lot of people are not having anything to say right there with you. Catharsis.
I write a lot about taking walks. A lot of blogs I follow do too. What’s up with that?
Holidays are special if you let them be. For most of my adult life, I’ve gotten progressively disenchanted with holidays. Writing this blog, though, has forced me to focus on them and that’s brought some of the magic back.
An add on: life is magic anytime you allow it to be. There’s magic in joy, magic in boredom, magic in suffering. Looking at anything closely brings new color to it.
You better understand your own responsibilities by verbalizing them, acknowledging them, calling them out. Accountability.
I quote a lot from Bukowski.
I have something to say. Probably you do too.
Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain
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
There’s a cadre of dishes plotting in my room. It’s my fault, really. I’ve been negligent taking them to the dishwasher and now they’re lined up for revolution. No stopping now, I guess. Long live the rebellion!
I go through runs of keeping things neat and together and runs of bunkering down against mounting chores. I’m always happiest when I’m neat and together but I always think I’ll be happier letting something go, taking a break. Break-taking is necessary but the trick is knowing when and how to take one. It’s a tough trick, hard to master, much like walking tight-rope or taming lions.
Life and leisure are two wide escapes from each other. We have one but always want the other.
Currently Reading: The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain
A cacophony of crows caws the tips of pines and oaks and elms across the parking lot from the playground, above the river, angry at nothing I can see. Below them, a gaggle of kids plays Candy Land.
Friday’s ending and it’s my first weekend off – scheduled, regular, official – since I was a teacher in 2014. The week was long and I haven’t been sleeping well. I tried to write a few times but didn’t have the energy. Instead, I trained in a branch office for a bank where every customer was a regular and everyone had a story. A Gulf War vet brought fried chicken from Lillington for his ‘favorite people.’ An old man deposited hundreds in retirement checks but kept out five-dollars worth of dimes to cash; my coworkers call him “Mr. Dime Man” and he gives the rolls each week to his granddaughter.
Six o’clock is coming on like a freight train and I’m thinking I’ll retire early tonight. First, I’m drinking Dos Equis and watching birds.
Currently Reading: The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain
“For Children: You will need to know the difference between Friday and a fried egg. It’s quite a simple difference, but an important one. Friday comes at the end of the week, whereas a fried egg comes out of a chicken.” – Douglas Adams, The Salmon of Doubt