Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 220


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

Halloween season, but the scariest thing is that the world’s burning and we hit a record-setting 100 degrees.

There’s a dog in the house. He was here before, he belongs to R’s brother, name is Gus. Gus has gotten bigger since we last saw him, lost some of his puppy fur. He’s a Golden Retriever. Far as I can tell, he’s mostly been retrieving the hem of my shirt.

There’s a significant smell to dogs – it’s in their saliva, and since they’re always panting, it gets in the air. I grew up with the smell, I was in a house with five dogs. If you want to get a sense of it, find yourself a can of water chestnuts, open it, leave in the sun, and a week later pour in a few drops of fish oil. Take a big whiff of that concoction and you’re there.

A friend face-timed me tonight on accident. When she called, I was getting Gus off of me, so when I picked up there was slobber on my phone. She said her son had hit the button and now there wasn’t a way to turn the call off. She couldn’t even see me. I couldn’t even see her. I went to another room and heard Gus running around outside. We didn’t talk long, and when the conversation was over, Gus was jumping at my door. The moral? There isn’t one.

I’ve been thinking about blank screens on face-time and hot doggy breath all night.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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I like dogs
Big dogs
Little dogs
Fat dogs
Doggy dogs
Old dogs
Puppy dogs
I like dogs
A dog that is barking over the hill
A dog that is dreaming very still
A dog that is running wherever he will
I like dogs.

Margaret Wise Brown, The Friendly Book

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 20


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I read an article about positive parenting. It followed a few researchers who lived with the Inuit. It reeked of Westernism – ‘they’re so happy!’ ‘They’re such a peaceful people!’ It said they were never angry. No-one’s never angry. Cultural fetishism aside, though, the article had some interesting points.

It talked about stories. The Inuit teach morals and manners with stories. Think mother goose, only it’s an Aurora that steals your head if you don’t wear your hat. All the kids in the city grew up with these stories. All the adults could recount them. They talked about tempting a two year old to hit his mother with a stone. When he did, she’d cry, exaggerated, performing a play, and when he didn’t, she’d hug him. But it was always a story. And that’s how people learn.

As a wannabe writer, that stuck with me. I thought about what stories I’m telling. I thought about what stories I’ve been told. I grew up with Goodnight Moon. What man has that made me?

A funny thing happens these days. Kids are coupled to computers. Their eyes go wide with games and movies, and more than that they’re wrapped up in YouTube. They stream themselves. We watch other peoples’ watching. We consume media so we can talk about it. There’s nothing wrong with that, but it’s a different kind of story-telling. You can’t trick the kid to think he’s owed a visit from the tooth fairy. You can trick the kid to believe he might be famous if he posts an insta pic of that lost tooth. In 2019, kids skip a step: they’re becoming storytellers without having been a part of any story. They’re not the heroes but the narrators.

What do you do with that?

Novel Count: 30,349

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED! 

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Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere.

Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon