Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 28


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; we got a new coffeemaker at the office. It’s a big red 12-cup Mr. Coffee. It brews 3x as fast as our old machine and the cups come out without the skunk of brewing pots for years with minimal cleaning. It’s got less character, more quality. I like it well enough. My favorite part is it’s got a function to brew ‘stronger’. It puts the same amount of water in the cup, so I can only assume it’s upping the pressure to get more out of the grounds. The cheap Maxwell stuff tastes a bit better this way. However, my colleagues have had the jitters.

A long, productive day. So long and so productive I don’t have much energy to talk about it. Instead, I’ll talk about English classes:

I read an article about how small colleges are cutting their English Major. There’s competing thoughts on this: some people moan, others cheer. Regardless, the courses are getting cut primarily due to lack of enrollment. The students themselves don’t want to bother with Brit Lit. And who can blame them? In an economy where it costs you more than a mortgage to get a degree – and where there’s no guarantee of a good job just for having one anymore – who but the inherited wealthy can afford to spend four years studying something with no economic value?

Thankfully, you don’t need an English Major to appreciate good English.

Here’s a secret – people read more now than at any other point in human history. By many magnitudes, even. Where once reading and writing were prized skills of an upper class concerned only with the luxuries of power, now everyone can read, more or less, and not thanks to school (which doesn’t teach you anything, take it from a former teacher) but to the preponderance of lives lived predominantly through social media. We read each other’s identities on the daily. We consume news, art and entertainment in 250 word bites.

Some might scream: where’s the grammar? where’s the spelling? Woe to the death of cursive! But whether they realize it or not, all those things – the normalized trappings of the English language – belong in a museum. A deeply complicated, darkly revealing museum about human oppression. Why do black Americans have a different dialect than the mainstream? Because their white oppressors wouldn’t let them read or speak ‘proper.’ And so on and so on, ad infnitem.

So what I’m saying is: there may still be some value in an English Major, but if there is one, it’s primarily as a historical study of insidious oppression.

God bless twitter. I ❤ u all

Novel Count: 31,808

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes


After three years of English at Cambridge, being force-fed literary theory, I was almost convinced that literature was all coded messages about Marxism and the death of the self. I crawled out of the post-structuralist desert thirsty for heroines I could cry and laugh with. I was jaded. I craved trash.

Samantha Ellis, How to Be a Heroine

Coffee Log, Day 104


Coffee: Cafe Pajaro Extra Dark Roast; I poured it in a new travel ceramic for work. The mug didn’t work too well but I like the way it looks. It was made by machines, but looks like it was made by hands.

First off, some house-keeping: I’ll be announcing the winner of the April/May contest this week! Life happened fast these past two months so I wasn’t able to promote the contest as much as I would’ve liked. Because of that, I’m putting contests on a hiatus while I catch up. I’ll do better in the future.

Now, onto the Log:

I talked shop with a geneticist outside a cafe. He told me his best friend was a writer. He told me his best friend makes no money but publishes anyway. I told him the guy sounds crazy. He told me the guy’s real happy. We talked a bit about labwork, the dullness of it, then he talked about the the way’s he’s compiling the human genome electronically. Computers talk like your high school English teacher: big words, clauses, Latin to me.

Speaking of language, I’m obsessed with it. There isn’t a better word. Probably a better phrase: dim-witted fishhook in a constant stream. But anyway, language is my obsession. When I was four, I wouldn’t let my parents put me to bed until they’d answered a few questions. The content wasn’t what I was after, but rather how they would say it: what’s two plus two? Four…door’s brother and dour’s close cousin. A lot of people call me Garrett and I think that’s fine, but deep down I’m obsessed with the ‘h.’

I spent some time trying to talk it out. We could be something, yeah? We could have something, yeah? Parrots for each other’s happy. But we just talked beside each other. Not past, because the words were hanging close to both of us, a finger, thread, half-done zipper. Then our conversation tied its shoes and walked off. I doubt I’ll hear from you again.

Do any two people speak the same language?

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

The Way of Kings, Brandon Sanderson

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“The past is always tense, the future perfect.” – Zadie Smith