Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 10

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

I finally finished reading ‘Killing Commendatore.’ I read the last chapter while rain came down outside. The book rushes to a climax then wraps things up with an extended epilogue. It feels unfinished, but I think it’s supposed to feel that way. The book was about art – why you love it, why you make it, what it does to you.

For a couple months, I was convinced I’d eventually cut the Coffee Log down to a weekly blog. This was last year, September and October. Life was hectic at the time. I was applying for a new job. I was sitting on a stack of lit journal rejections. I was trying to work things out with an old lover so we could still be friends. I was drinking tall drinks in the aftermath of learning that – at least for a while – we couldn’t. And there I was writing one of these every day.

It was exhausting.

It still is.

My big fear was that I wouldn’t ever write anything else. Sometimes I’ll sit down and spit one of these logs out in the time it takes to blow out a nose full of pollen. Other times, they take over an hour. That’s a lot of life on the weekdays, and a lot of mental energy besides. I’ve learned to scrutinize my day-to-day for things to say in a way I never had before. It’s an invaluable skill, but draining.

So what room’s left for a novel in all of that?

It was Halloween that did it for me. Some friends were over. We were watching Over the Garden Wall. The night was dark and spooky and magic despite having to work the next morning. Halfway through the show, I stole off to my computer to write the daily Coffee Log. If you remember, that was a long one. It was a narrative. It was fiction. It was creepy. I wrote it on the spot and when it was done I felt full. I was a bunch of warm tossed towels spinning in a drier. The next day, I started working on my second book.

This has all been a long-winded way of saying that effort has consequences: good and bad. I feel drained. Sharing these stories daily has changed the way I live life. But at the same time, there’s a new effortlessness in sitting down to write.

‘Killing Commendatore’ is also Murakami finding a sort of religion. Nothing specific or labeled, but rather just belief. Learning to live life believing in something without any evidence for or against it. A kind of faith. I think you have to have that to be an artist. I think you have to have that to be much of anything. It’s scary walking a bridge alone. Sometimes you need someone to walk with you – whether that’s God, Science, or a simple Idea.

Novel Count: 29,417

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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You can have all the desire and ache inside you want, but what you really need is a concrete starting point.

Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore


Coffee Log, Day 138

Hi.

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

Last night, a Mosquito-Eater got trapped in my bedroom. She buzzed the windows mostly, sometimes my bed or pillows, sometimes the string lights. I don’t know how she got inside. I assumed she’d find her way out.

This morning, I didn’t see the Mosquito-Eater. In the strange, flexible valley of memory, I forgot I’d ever seen her. I ate breakfast, got dressed, went to work, came home, worked out, talked to a friend on the phone for a good long time, and took three walks around the apartments. When the busy things were done, I cooked dinner. Tonight I ate a sandwich with slices of fake turkey. I watched an episode of Planet Earth.

And she kept bumping, bumping, bumping into the window, right beside me, having been there even when I forgot about her. The Mosquito-Eater was still trapped. She looked weak – well, as weak as a spindly-legged monster can. I watched her struggle. I didn’t want to deal with the situation; it had been a long day; I was tired. On the TV, Marine lizards were diving off big rough rocks. They looked free. I put the sandwich down, grabbed a plastic cup and an old envelope, caught the Mosquito-Eater and gave her to the big outdoors.

It was a simple thing to do, after all.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“You do not respond to a mosquito bite with a hammer.” – Patrick L.O. Lumumba

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