Coffee Log, Day 179


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

1:00pm, before all last night’s clouds are gone, I sit outside. I’m reading LaRose. The book’s worked me over. I know Snow and Josette; I’m afraid of Landreaux; Romeo reminds me of the old man who got evicted down the street from my parents, though a few decades younger.

I made a batch of E’s barley tea and let it take the edge off summer. She’d swept the deck but left the spiders. They baby their eggsacs, welcome the corners. A crane fly sits on the glass door behind me. Can’t figure out how to get inside, or maybe can’t accept it’s never going to.

Twenty, thirty pages… kids are carefully rambunctious by the creek, school starts next week, fall takes the bark out of the dog days of summer. Occasionally, I look across our building at other decks, stacked like cardboard. Our third-story neighbor has made a mess. Shelves collapsing under boxes. Six potted cactus. A menagerie of dreamcatchers that probably smell like last night’s rain. Put too many things together and you can’t tell what’s what.

Sometimes, I wish I could have obsessions. I’ve tried collecting: beer bottles; plastic models; foreign currency. Lost a lot of it, packed the rest. Instead, my apartment’s got bare white walls and a bursting schedule – if I’m not working, I’m thinking about the next best way to work.

Accomplishment – the trick, I’ve learned, is that you never get there. That perfect soft hand you fell in love with in first grade, running track, two to three steps and always behind. When they bury my neighbors, some son or daughter will take detailed notes on graph paper about this and that cactus, vibrant wall-hangs, store-bought stories.

What sorts of things will be left to make sense of me?

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I would like to be the air that inhabits you for a moment only. I would like to be that unnoticed and that necessary.” – Margaret Atwood


Coffee Log, Day 128


Coffee: Fair Trade Ethiopian Medium Dark, Harris Teeter Brand

I read two articles:

1) reading for leisure in America has hit an all time low.

2) attention is directly related to motivation

These articles confirmed a bias I’ve held for some time: writers don’t know how to swagger anymore, to be cool. Think of your favorite authors; find a book, their dust-jacket photo – more than likely you see a close-cut portrait, crossed arms, your grand-aunt-or-uncle at Bridge night – a bad bridge night, where no-one’s drinking, no-one’s betting, the TV’s suffering 700 Club re-runs, and Peter’s on a diet so he brought celery sticks instead of his famous brownies – where the hell’s my motivation?

But then, the old artist’s life is unsustainable. Lots of great men and women put salt and pepper on a .45. And really, who’s got the money or time or optimism to live in cynical abandon? Writers need a swagger, but one that works in 2018.

What does that look like?

The student in me says: look at hip-hop, Twitch streams.

The writer in me says: well, look at me.

Currently Reading:

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist) (FINISHED!!! Unforgettable; will post a review this weekend)

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“A word after a word after a word is power.”  – Margaret Atwood