Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 240

Hi.

Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

I used to have vivid dreams. Then I didn’t, but lately I’ve been having them again. Some are nice, some are less so. When I was 15, I often got lost in a blustery black-and-white mansion where I talked to the lanky butler.

Dreams are the only times I come in contact with violence. Even there it’s rare, but sometimes it gets me. I was living in Chapel Hill. I had a flat, and three friends lived with me. The friends’ faces changed throughout the dream so sometimes I’d be talking to R, or E, or the girl who sat behind me in sophomore English. Whoever they were, they were always friends.

Here’s what happened: there was a man in the closet. He wore shorts and a tank top. He’d twisted a hooked whip from our coat hangers. He crept out one evening when there was silver moonlight. We didn’t have curtains, or beds, or separate rooms, so all of us were sleeping on the floor. One by one, the man whipped and strangled my friends until I was the only one left. I woke up, he saw me, he ran out of the apartment. It was morning. In bright, brilliant sun, fresh dawn, dew on the heads of every neighborhood ladybug, I chased the man. I was running along Franklin Street in my pj’s and people were watching. The man wasn’t sprinting, wasn’t jogging, he wasn’t afraid of me. Crowded crosswalks or alleyways, I couldn’t catch him, but I knew that if I did I’d beat his bones to powder, his eyeballs to breath, sweat, damp air.

Though it wasn’t a nightmare, I didn’t like the dream. It stuck with me when I woke up. Not so much the midnight horror, but the things I wanted to do to our attacker in the daylight. There’s a bit of a beast in all of us, no matter how little blood we let ourselves take.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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My heart is lost; the beasts have eaten it.

Charles Baudelaire, Les Fleurs du Mal

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 161

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend; the coffee came out so hot I burned my mouth on it; that’s one way to wake up; out the window, there was the aftermath of thunderstorms; I thought about lighting striking, trees catching fire, the energy in my blood; one morning to another, daily breaking bonds like ATP; when my taste came back, the roast was a bit too bitter, but mostly good

I caught a two-year old chasing a yellow butterfly outside my apartment. A hallmark card, but without all the saccharine additives. She was barefooted and in a colorful bathing suit. She walked behind the butterfly, more curious than anything, while the bug swept this and that way between blades of grass. Still, it didn’t fly away. It was leading her somewhere. Her parents were in the gazebo, a hundred feet away, not watching their daughter wholly captivated by the yellow-black bug. But when I came by and said “What a pretty butterfly!” the two-year old’s eyes went wide and she wandered closer to her family. Broken spells.

All of us are still dying a little inside, hoping to be bewitched.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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…and when all the wars are over, a butterfly will still be beautiful.

Ruskin Bond, Scene’s from a Writer’s Life

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 34

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

When I lay awake in bed past bedtime in the mid-nineties – or lay down in my parents’ shower to think while the water washed over me – I found pictures of the future. Like opening a time capsule in reverse: there I was, walking to work at a non-descript high-rise, eating white-bun hotdogs on a city streetcorner, polishing my black mustache (I never saw myself with a full beard), coming home to a house full of cats. Not a damn one of those dreams came true. The time capsule – it turns out – was a fraud.

Well, I guess I could grow the mustache if I wanted, but we all know that’s a bad look.

What I’m trying to say is: everyone imagines a future that’s never real. My idea of what 2019 would look like was informed by the art and entertainment of the late 90’s. Business would be oppressive, cities would be weary, tech would be neon green. I imagined the congested cityscapes from Cowboy Bebop and the after-work chatter of Friends or Becker. There was an acceptance that the world as a whole would be functioning well enough so that your only real effort – your real despairs – would be personal. Instead, we live in a remarkably easy environment where anything you’d ever want can be ordered to your door. The streets are open and clean. Meanwhile, the whole globe burns down.

I remember getting into avant-garde rock in the mid 2000’s. Me and my friend Z would spend whole summers in high school driving back and forth to record stores in Chapel Hill. It felt like I was on the verge of something – a secret from tomorrow, the next big thing. Flash forward fifteen years and the college radios are playing these old sounds, old chords, crooning vocals, a real nostalgic anguish for sounds you used to hear in the late 50’s. ‘Tomorrow’ turned out to be fond feelings for yesterday. But maybe that’s just how it’s always been.

Novel Count: 34,368

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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Disappear like I come in your world
Five is a number that I dream about
It looks like it could’ve been time
But that is a word that I dream about

Broken Social Scene, Hotel

Coffee Log, Day 323

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I woke up sweating. I’m often hot, my roommates keep it warm. But my mind was in Michigan so I expected cooler weather.

I’d been dreaming about UofM. I visited once five years ago when a friend was attending for his master’s, and I applied three times to the MFA and was rejected. It’s a busy campus, coagulated onto Ann Arbor, and one small courtyard is Gothic like Duke. Being there left an impression, one I can’t seem to shake.

The dream had me missing flights for an open house. I was with someone I had a habit of missing important things for. It was simple, strange, a bit too vivid, there were pine trees everywhere. An old gray day, the way winter is supposed to be yet rarely is down here.

I’ll be 30 this year. Every day, I’m stepping further into a financial career, and every night I’m writing like a sickness eats me. I live in Cary. Nothing looks the way it did at 18.

But I guess that’s just getting older: having a set of people and places that only show up in heat-sweat dreams.

Novel Count: 13,159

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Truly landlocked people know they are. Know the occasional Bitter Creek or Powder River that runs through Wyoming; that the large tidy Salt Lake of Utah is all they have of the sea and that they must content themselves with bank, shore, beach because they cannot claim a coast. And having none, seldom dream of flight. But the people living in the Great Lakes region are confused by their place on the country’s edge – an edge that is border but not coast. 

Toni Morrison, Song of Solomon

Coffee Log, Day 241

Hi.

Coffee: Colombian, Starbucks Brand (grocery store bought, a gift)

I went to a friend’s house last night and carved pumpkins. It’s a nice place in a nice neighborhood. The backyard has two old trees. After the carving, we watched The Conjuring on their projector outside. The wind sat in for the movie. In the spooky parts, it was hard not to look up at the moon.

I’ve been having restless dreams. Late night drives, anxious faces, I’ve got somewhere to be but can’t get there. Typical stuff, but it sticks with me when I wake up. Today, I tried writing but it wasn’t doing. Then I tried submitting to journals but it wasn’t doing. I spent a morning in the sun spilling from my bedroom window watching internet streams. And it was peaceful and I guess that’s okay.

I can’t write much tonight. I’ve got to take the trash out. R has it ready. We had friends over, ordered pizzas, the boxes are too big for the cans. Best I can tell, the night’s a cold one. I have shorts on. Cross your fingers for me.

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

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“Miraculously, smoke curled out of his own mouth, his nose, his ears, his eyes, as if his soul had been extinguished within his lungs at the very moment the sweet pumpkin gave up its incensed ghost.” – Ray Bradbury, The Halloween Tree

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Coffee Log, Day 229

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Java Jive Cary; tasted like two dollars spent on losing lottery tickets.

It’s been a grey day and that’s a-okay with me. The sun came late this morning. It’s still stuck behind clouds.
#
I’ve been having elaborate dreams. Two of them, Sunday and last night:
1) She’s wearing dark makeup. I’m uncomfortable, she leads me by the hand. We’re in a giant walk-in shower. She undresses. She’s got black tattoos up and down her arms. I like them. I can’t stop touching them.

2) It’s winter. I’m wearing four coats, no shirt. I’m in a mall parking lot, standing by the car. You walk by with your parents. I follow, get their attention. You’re wearing my shirt. We hug. I ask for the shirt back. You look disgusted, say: “Don’t you have anything more important to think about?” You walk away. The wind blows like birthday candles. I’m very cold.

#

I bought lunch at a Subway from a woman with a cut on her hand. It was taped up but you could see the blood. I watched her work. She wore gloves. I kept looking at her finger. When she finished, I paid her and ate in the store. I had red onions on the sub. I took a few of them off. Red onions, white paper, cut blood glove.
#
I’m traveling tonight, one city over, leaving soon. Night’s been coming quicker and lasting longer. Bad traffic; congestion. I’m a dot on the ant-line interstate. What dreams will all this give me?

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

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“There is nothing like a dream to create the future.” – Victor Hugo

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Coffee Log, Day 173

Hi.

Coffee: Cafe Pajaro, Extra Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand; ever wake up in August thinking it’s April? Well, you know, cycles and stuff. Anyway, the coffee was okay, just like every other time.

My fan died last night. It was pretty neat to look at. A floor model, the wires ran through the base, when I pushed the buttons I saw sparks inside the plastic.

It was less neat trying to sleep. I’m used to the airflow, the sound. Quiet rooms are penetrable. Yesterday, I heard: my roommate shouting at a game; summer rain; thunder; a cat – either Mr. Cobwebs or Sally – crying outside my window at 4:00 a.m. I kept waking up. I had strange dreams: a furry black monster with claws the length of toddlers; my elementary school, mini-me’s in each seat, friends I hadn’t met yet.

Afternoon’s hanging on longer than I’d like. My eyes are ships that can’t drop anchor. Happy Monday. I’m off to bed…

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“There is a time for many words, and there is also a time for sleep.” – Homer, The Odyssey

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