Coffee Log, Day 354

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand

The clouds looked like down caught in the lint trap. A little dirty, but you know they’ll be soft. A cold, remorseful sky. The trees have already started blooming flowers.

I went to The Remedy diner in Raleigh as a belated Christmas present to my mother. She’s been vegetarian my whole life and I wanted to buy her an impossible burger. The restaurant is one of those places that’s right on the verge of trying too hard to impress you with it’s apathy. The art’s all edgy and every third waitress has a bull-ring. But the food was good and everyone was nice enough. It was a fine afternoon.

And now it’s nighttime. I’ve been getting into this routine where I’m afraid to go to sleep. Once or twice a week, I’ll wake up after a couple hours in a hot panic – heart racing, head throbbing, a pudding of sweat – and then I’ll sit in that directionless terror for a while before finally falling back to sleep. I’m not sure what’s causing it. I’ve tried monitoring my diet, sticking to an exercise routine, but I can’t find a connection. And so the midnight terror has sprinkled outward like a lawn hose and I’m strung out for a few hours before bed.

But it’s not all bad. I listen to music. I talk to friends. I might wake up wasted but I’m getting extra time in the evenings. The great trick to life is to realize that nothing bad is so bad as to damn you, or if it that you probably won’t last long enough to realize it.

I’ve got a youtube channel playing calming rain sounds. I might make some tea. See you on the other side.

Novel Count: 23,209

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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What would an ocean be without a monster lurking in the dark? It would be like sleep without dreams.

Werner Herzog


Coffee Log, Day 306

Hi.

Coffee: Bolivian Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; I found a stash; it was enough for one more cup before heading home for the holidays; tastes like it always does, a little earthy, rich, welcoming, but not giving up any secrets.

Can’t sleep on Christmas Eve. I’ve been up since 3:00, had hardly slept before that. Maybe my body remembers that old anticipation of being a kid on Christmas. Or maybe I should work out more, eat healthier, drink less caffeine, etc etc…

There was this tradition in my house where we’d get up super early on Christmas. It was my Mom’s idea. We started at 7:00, then as the years went by it crept back toward 5:00. I didn’t care, I was young and on vacation and couldn’t sleep anyway. But I think it was a bit of brinksmanship between my parents – who’s going to miss the alarm first?

My family wasn’t religious. Christmas wasn’t about thanking anyone but the people around you. We’d get up before the sun and light the whole house with candles. My mother had an incense spinner that would push these fan blades around and make little wooden figures dance. There was the incandescent tree (this was back before LED bulbs were all the rage).

My favorite decoration was the Christmas village. I’d spend afternoons in December setting up scenes in fake plastic snow. There would be the people dancing on the ice rink, the caroling peddlers, little lit storefronts selling sweets or violins. I saw myself walking in a perpetual holiday haze. It doesn’t snow on a Southern Christmas, so that little town had to do.

As everyone gets older, the decorations scale back. I’ll go home and help them set out the last ornaments on the tree. And that’s okay – tiny plastic houses are numbers in a checkbook now; there’s bigger, warmer ways to spend time with your family. But in the end we all lose a little magic. It’s hard to get lost in the corners of an old home when you’re busy trying to build a new one.

Novel Count: 5,846 (though if you’re counting drafted chapters, it’s probably closer to 25,000 by now

Currently Reading: Nothing! Will pick a new book after the holidays.

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Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmastime.

Laura Ingalls Wilder


Coffee Log, Day 278

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

I’ve got this unintentional habit where I wake up about two hours after falling asleep with my heart pounding and a sense that the night is going to swallow me. I have to get up, drink water, turn some lights on, sometimes get dressed. But you see some things in the bleak night.

It’s breathless, the apartment. My roommates have their doors closed. There’s green and blue on the walls from the little lights on our router. It’s the kind of place you’d think a cat could fall in love over but we don’t have a cat.

I let it stay black in the kitchen. I take a glass from memory and pour water. The faucet’s loud. It’s bigger than the stream outside. I take the water to the window while my heart calms down. I look at the blacked-out lots, the cars, the couple windows that are still on. Who else is up? I don’t want to share – it’s a small slice of time.

When you’re back in bed after something like that, the dreams come different: simple and easy and colorful and pleasant, like they’re lying to you.

Novel Count: 14,161 words

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

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It’s a long way back to sunset, a far way on to dawn, so you summon all the fool things of your life, the stupid lovely things done with people known so very well who are now so very dead…

Ray Bradbury


Coffee Log, Day 216

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

I don’t remember when the insomnia started. Years, at least. I can’t fall asleep, can’t stay asleep, don’t sleep well. I used to pass the box for The Machinist in a movie rental back in High School. I never picked it up but Christian Bale looked like death and horror on the cover so I read the box: “Man suffers debilitating insomnia…” Anyway, the image stuck with me.

Other oddities of getting old: I can’t really smell anymore. Flowers, sure; piss, sure; something weaker, not so much. I also can’t quite hear because my ears are always stuffed. And speaking of stuffy, I don’t remember what it feels like to have two clean nostrils. In fact, the left channel is frozen over like an English winter. Maybe that says something to the smelling.

Life fills you up to spilling with humors, bile, juices. They become blood brothers. You can’t think to leave them. Maybe they chase out dreams, diminish anticipation, but the dull numb throbbing is something you welcomed, something you wanted, an amorphous scuttle stuck into you to keep the daily doldrums from spilling out.

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

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“The last refuge of the insomniac is a sense of superiority to the sleeping world.” – Leonard Cohen

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