Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 41


Coffee: Breakfast Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

It’s been an exhausting day. I was sick last night with a stomach virus. Couldn’t sleep, couldn’t make it to work. I spent the morning in and out of day dreams, the afternoon in a deep orange haze. I can’t remember most of the pieces of the day. I know I read a lot of The Sense of an Ending, so I guess I’ll talk about that.

The book’s grown on me. I feel like I say that with every book I read. Maybe it just takes me some time to acclimate to an author. Maybe it’s a confirmation bias – this far in, I don’t want to feel like I’ve wasted my time.

The narrator is still a pretentious prick, but I think he’s supposed to be. The book is about looking back on your life and realizing your memory of events gets it wrong. You weren’t as good a person as you thought you had been. Your worst enemies were more complicated than you gave them credit for.

One thing that bugs me is it ends up being about a woman. Not in the ‘this is an examination of this woman, or womanhood, etc,’ but in the manic, hungry way every book written by a man ends up being about a woman. Even in Crime and Punishment, salvation is found in a separate female body.

I’m guilty of this, too. Pop over to the Writing Samples section of this website and you’ll find my most recent published work – Chessboard and Tequila – full of all kinds of wining about ‘losing the girl.’ It’s complicated. A lot of life is driven by love. But is this really love? Is this fictional mad-dash to absolve something wrong in your maleness by attaching it to a woman anything like real love?

So where does this trend come from? Male writers have been writing these same stories for centuries. Is it genetic? Is it something in our cultures?

Even now, my novel involves a bit of chasing girls. The idea comes out of my fingers like summer crickets on the keyboard, bouncing all around, making a racket. I try to catch them but a few get through. These days, I figure the best I can do is draw attention to this oddity – this obsessive problem in male art, including my own. The best I can do is pick and prod it until it shows me something new.

I’m tired of stories about men chasing women.

Novel Count: 36,338

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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Man grows used to everything, the scoundrel!

Fyodor Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment

Coffee Log, Day 230


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

All eyes on the sky as a second Hurricane mumbles toward North Carolina. We’re not getting the brunt of it. Florida’s uprooted. Still, our ground’s so wet that any rain will be like more wine in Aunt Marilyn’s glass and we all know she’s a lush.

Haruki Murakami’s new book is out. I’ll buy it soon. I’ve been excited to read it but then I saw a note on Variety saying it’s got a central fascination with an elder businessman’s feverish pursuit of a 13-yr-old girl. I’m tired of books about men chasing women. I wrote a book about a man chasing a woman, though it was also about how often art becomes about a man chasing a woman. The whole mess scares me. What space is left for love when you’re breakneaking towards Midas’s touch, turning people into golden objects?

I cooked dinner. The onions were glassy, perfect. I’m so damn proud of myself. There’s enough for five people. I’ll end up eating the whole meal myself, spread over a few days.

My roommate’s filled the house with company. I’m a hair-raised badger spitting dirt from his hole. That is to say, I’ve got the door locked and I’m playing music. A perfectly contained room. I’m not a curmudgeon. Well, not usually. But I’ve never known how to handle a room full of people I half-know. I’m happy they’re happy. Now shove off as I dig this loam.

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

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“Step aside? I step aside for nobeast, whether it be a hallowed hedgehog, an officious otter, a seasoned squirrel, a mutterin’ mole or a befuddled badger!” – Brian Jacques, Taggerung

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