Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 81

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I’ve got a beautiful life. I’ve been thinking about love. Some people love me. There’s a cat I know, she says hello to me most days on my lunch breaks. There’s a man in California that got lost in NYC ten years ago and took me with him. I love some people too. For the most part, those two things line up.

I was at an open mic tonight. I didn’t read. From a corner seat, I listened. I had a beer. It wasn’t very good. I told a few people my name, people I’ve told before. I met a writer who writes about Durham. I told him I write about it too and he says it’s a screwy city. The bar, Fig, is in North-ish Raleigh. It’s tucked in a neighborhood. It’s beside a falafel place. Out back, a woman was teaching tricks to her dog.

There was this other bar I went to three times, The Wooden Nickel. It’s in Hillsborough. It’s screwy. It’s small. There’s not many tables. The third time I went there, I don’t remember much. I remember pouting. The second time I went there, I took pictures in the bathroom. The first time I went there, I fell in love.

I’ve got a beautiful life. I’ve been thinking about love. Some days it’s tap-water. Other days, it’s a well.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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

People in bars are always claiming to be boxers, hoping thereby to ward off attack, like a black snake will vibrate its tail in leaves and try to impersonate a rattlesnake.

William S. Burroughs, And the Hippos were Boiled in their Tanks

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 54

Hi.

Coffee: Breakfast Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand; I’ve been putting off cleaning my coffee pot for a couple weeks but I finally bought white vinegar; I ran the vinegar for two cycles, dumped it, rinsed it, ran the machine with water; the coffee still tastes the same, but it’s got more confidence than before; cleaner; self-assured; that kid in middle school who made all A’s and didn’t even know people were poking fun at her about it; blank paper.

Yesterday’s Coffee Log was live. I read a few selections from the past year at Fig Raleigh. I answered a few questions. “Do you ever worry about alienating the friends and family that you write about?” Yes, but I don’t stop writing about them. I wouldn’t know how to stop. Etc, etc. After the questions, I listened to twelve colleagues read. They read fiction and poetry. I like being an audience for people who’ve got something to say.

I’m driving to Richmond today. I’m excited for the trip. I’m nervous for the trip. I feel like one of those puppies you see in commercials – eyes wide, half-wanting to be adopted, half-scared of everything outside the pen. It’s been five years since I’ve traveled on my own. I used to make a point of traveling – taking off to wherever. Then I thought ‘hey, I need to get to know a place, I need to responsible to the people that feed me with their taxes.’ I’ve been getting to know NC like an old-new friend, someone you lost contact with long enough to forget about them. Now that I kind of know her I’ve forgotten important parts of myself.

Back to the reading: I love listening to people’s voices. The way you say something on stage is different from how you and I are talking. And it’s different from person to person. Z came to watch me. Then we stood in the audience together and listened to the other performers. He said everyone had a different style. They did have different styles. I don’t think there’s anything more honest than putting yourself in a spotlight. It’s not the you that comes naturally, it’s everything you’re aspiring to be.

Tomorrow, I’ll write this blog from a hostel bar. Or a Richmond cafe. Or a bench outside an art museum. Or a street corner. Or the backseat of my car. Who knows? I’m two blades of grass pressed together, stuck between your teeth, anticipating whatever kind of sound is about to blow.

Novel Count: 38,047 (I’ve been so stuck on preparing for the open mic feature, the trip, business at work, that the novel’s gotten stagnant. And now that it’s stagnant I don’t know what to do. I’ll push through, but that might mean surgery. I might cut out some things, change some others. Marriage – hard work to fall in love all over again.)

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

For last year’s words belong to last year’s language
And next year’s words await another voice.

T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 53

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Countdown to my reading as featured author at the Third Wednesday Open Mic:
WHERE: Fig Raleigh, Raleigh NC
WHEN: 04/17/19; 6:30p.m. (open mic sign-ups start at 6:00p.m.)
DAYS REMAINING: 1
Come out and support the Coffee Log!

Tomorrow’s always a day away. This particular tomorrow, though, is a big one.

I’ll be reading as a featured author at the Third Wednesday Open mic in Raleigh, NC tomorrow (see above for details). Though I’ve been reading at open mics for over a year, this will be my first time in the spotlight. I’m excited and nervous. If you can make it, I’d love to have you in the audience.

Sometime around my third job after college, I had a theory: most of life is a performance.

I was shelving clothes back then. I was fresh back from Japan, working at a Saks Off 5th, trying to write a book. I’d get up at four in the morning and start work just before six. I’d spend seven hours stripping designer clothes out of excessive packaging.

I realized something: all these eyes were on me – customers when I was on the floor, coworkers whenever else. They looked on with entire lifetimes of expectations and would wait for me to meet them. Sometimes I did, sometimes I didn’t. I wasn’t trying to put on a show but they filmed me anyway. Prime-time TV.

These days, I lean into it. I like to act. However I act becomes a part of me. There’s this line in our society about being ‘authentic,’ but I don’t buy it. A person isn’t something you dig deep and find buried inside yourself, it’s the clothes you wear, the comb of your hair, what words you pick to say ‘I love you.’ We’re all active expressions of being. ‘Dasein,’ if I’m flirting with turn of the century Germans. What’s so surprising that those expressions might change day to day?

All of that is to say: I’m looking forward to performing for you tomorrow night. I’ll be reading some selections from the Coffee Log. Also, I’m damn terrified, so just know that if I make an utter fool of myself it was only an act – something avant garde – a kind of self-expression, intentional or not. You’ll see a different side of me the next go-round.

Novel Count: 38,047

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

But remember that in order to symbolize everything to everyone, you will be both loved and hated.

Bonnie Huie, Four Essays


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 40

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Two weeks from now, I’ll be reading selections from the Coffee Log at Fig Raleigh in Raleigh, NC at the Third Wednesday Open Mic as the night’s featured author. The reading starts at 6:30 and there will be an open mic afterward. It’ll be a fun time. I’ll be slightly nervous. If you’re in the area, come out and make me slightly more nervous. I promise I don’t bite.

It’s been a strange week. The weather’s been up and down, rainy and cold or hot and sunny, and I’ve been up and down with it. A see-saw with four or five raccoons on the other end, periodically getting on or off.

I’ve been waking up late. 7:30, almost time to go to work. I’ve tried setting an earlier alarm but my body doesn’t listen. It’s like my muscles are that stringy stuff you find inside a pumpkin, not tough enough to do anything, and I spend at least an hour each morning carving it out. I’d gotten on a good schedule of reading and writing in the mornings but that’s been thrown off. Maybe this is just me getting older.

‘Alabama’ was on the news today. The Justice Department is suing the state for keeping unsafe conditions in it’s prisons. I didn’t catch the details, but the lawsuit seems like good progress. All day I’ve been thinking about the word ‘Alabama.’ It sounds like old trees hanging over dirt roads.

I met this kid today at the bank. He was five, his father was opening an account. The kid wouldn’t stop talking while we were going over the opening. He found a hole in my office desk that cords come through and I told him that’s where we keep all the bank secrets. He spent the next half hour peeking inside the hole and describing the shapes of strange objects. By the end of it, I figured he must have found something even I don’t know about.

And that was my day.

Novel Count: 36,238

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

George Orwell, 1984