Coffee Log, Day 348

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been waking up a little early, hopping in the shower, and sitting down in the dining room to have my coffee and breakfast before work. It’s an extension of the weekend habits I’ve been forming. It helps keep me calm.

Creativity is a strange thing. Some days, if I don’t write before noon it’s ‘good luck’ if I write at all. Other days it’s the opposite – I can’t pull any ideas out until close to midnight. Yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and milled around for six hours trying to finish a chapter. Then I got groceries and ate lunch and spent another four trying the same. It was only after I was tired and drunk and pulling out my hair that I got something down. If anyone tells you that you’re the mind’s master, they’re really downplaying a fraught and dysfunctional relationship.

The sun’s rising now. It’s blued up the trees, breaking bread with the branches. I’ll be off to work soon and these two hours will feel like they happened to someone else. But there’s always tomorrow. I’m lucky enough to have all the tools to carve out this time.

Novel Count: 20,073

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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The streets are empty and quiet this early in the morning and I can hear my own footsteps as they fall.

Uzodinma Iweala, Speak No Evil: A Novel

Coffee Log, Day 341

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

I’m thinking about getting another lamp. One for the kitchen, so that when I take my coffee in the mornings I can be lit up by something other than the bright-as-venus florescent.

The older I get, the more I come to appreciate a certain kind of atmosphere. I want space and windows and the right sort of light to let my mind relax. When I was younger, I cared about those same things, but I was content to let them come to me. Now there’s a desperation. A need for control. You’ve only got so much time so you want to fill it with the right things.

About half of Killing Commendatore is dreamy descriptions of fancy houses in a Japanese mountain range. Murakami spends whole chapters talking about the couches. It’s a little boring but it’s supposed to be. It’s an old man’s book. It’s written for people that understand how important it is to look at a piece of furniture and know it’s not going anywhere; to be in a place that won’t slip out from under you.

I’ve lived in relatively few places, but I’ve lived in each of them furiously. I’ve never hung a picture. If the walls weren’t the right color, I wouldn’t paint them. Always in the act of leaving. But eventually you realize that there’s never going to be a destination. You’ll never get off the train. All you can do is tinker with your cabin so that it suits you – if not perfectly, then a little better than it did before.

Novel Count: 19,974

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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When people photograph an object, they often put a pack of cigarettes next to it to give the viewer a sense of the object’s actual size, but the pack of cigarettes next to the images in my memory expanded and contracted, depending on my mood at the time. Like the objects and events in constant flux, or perhaps in opposition to them, what should have been a fixed yardstick inside the framework of my memory seemed instead to be in perpetual motion.

Haruki Murakami, Killing Commendatore


Coffee Log, Day 327

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

It was the sort of day kids have mittens put on by forceful grandparents. It rained, it was always a degree away from freezing.

I don’t have much to say today. It was one of those sorts of mornings where not a lot happens. And it was one of those afternoons too. I listened to a story about a toddler walking in his rocker. And a story about getting a paper cut on your cornea with a loose hair. And a story about panic attacks. And a story about a four-year-old that looks exactly like Ed Sheeran. The rest I don’t remember.

Driving home, I listened to loud music and watched people change lanes without their blinker. The rain had stopped, but it was all still slick enough to see your face in. I wonder sometimes which face is mine?

Novel Count: 15,382

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Politicians is the gangstas and the gangstas is the artists
And the artists is the politicians, everybody switching.

Earthgang, LOLSMH


Coffee Log, Day 275

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand; I found a reusable filter in the cabinet. It’s not as fine as the paper. I’m drinking Turkish coffee – muddy, the grounds brewed in – except without the better taste.

It’s Saturday. I’m working. I picked up a shift because I figured I don’t have plans with my family and this is Thanksgiving Weekend, other people might. Can’t say I’m looking forward to it, but what better have I got to do?

It’s dreary. Wet. Rain. Clouded over. My kind of day. I don’t know how to think when it’s sunny. There’s a pressure to perform, like that beautiful man or woman you got in bed with without knowing their last name. Nah, the clouds suit me just fine.

Sometimes, when it’s almost December, I feel like I’ve got an answer for the year. It’s never a good one. Rarely bad, either. Instead, it’s just a feeling of being spent. Put the batteries in the Energizer bunny and he marches a full circle. Here we are again.

At least for now the whole world looks blue. The sun’s barely up. The trees are bent by last night’s rain. It’s brutal cold and I wonder how the birds are doing. I’ve always wondered how birds stand the cold winter winds, perched in a bush or tree. Not all of them have the luxury of flying south. But they do manage. And I guess that’s the best hope for any of us: birds in December, shivering for Spring.

Novel Count: 12,062 words

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

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Ignoring me, she looked up at the pigeons sitting on the windowsills, which this year were so caked with droppings that they looked quite disgusting. The pigeons were a big problem at Wolfsegg; year in, year out, they sat on the buildings in their hundreds and ruined them with their droppings.

Thomas Bernhard, Extinction


Coffee Log, Day 266

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Another rainy morning.

Most of my life I’ve been a morning person. You couldn’t get me to sleep as a kid. I’d wake up early and want the whole world served to me like toast and butter. I’ve got vivid memories of naptime – no sleeping, just a rouge room colored by the not-quite-thick-enough curtains, rolling around restless in a crib, reading pictures books over and over with photos of old ladies or elephants and little bumps or dawdles to scratch your fingers on.

I’m still an early riser, though it doesn’t come as easy.

But there was one year when everything changed. I was 20/21. She was 21/22. She was going to school in Charlotte and I didn’t have a car so I took trains to see her. I’d stay down most weekends, even longer in the summer, and I don’t know if it was the travel, the air pollution, something in the water but I stopped falling asleep or getting up early. I’d be up until 3am. We’d get out of bed past noon. Most nights, she’d be out before me so I’d stay up watching things – half my attention to the miasma of whatever-was-on-the-TV, half to her closed-off face. She had this look like she was perpetually going away from something.

That’s when I learned that you can let people change you. And sometimes, afterward, you can change yourself back.

Novel Count: 8,980 words

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

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“I love sleep. My life has the tendency to fall apart when I’m awake, you know?” – Ernest Hemingway


Coffee Log, Day 262

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark, Trader Joe’s Brand; the last brew of the batch, kind of sad, kind of frustrating, kind of capitalist – grocery store, here I come.

There’s specific calm to petting a cat’s fur on cold mornings. He rolls around. He’s been hunting bees and birds before they hide away in Winter. His paws have gotten fatter. He’ll lick you now and then.

Here’s this thing with energy – crisp, static – while you huddle in your coat.

You lose your fingers in his coat. Both your breaths are fogging. A patch of sun, the night that froze the concrete, nowhere else you need to be. Cold friction of a life. You take a bit of him with you. He’s hair on black trousers.

Suddenly, you like the cold.

Novel Count: 7,500 words

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

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“I love cats because I enjoy my home; and little by little, they become its visible soul.” – Jean Cocteau

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Coffee Log, Day 188

Hi.

Coffee: Sumatra Medium-Dark Roast, Trader Joe’s

Slush life, you wake up too early, your bed’s not made, your breakfast sits on the counter long enough to make lunch; twigs in the window punctured by streetlights; toothpaste grin.

The hot water says ‘shower’ but you don’t want to. There are dirty knives in the sink. You turn up the radio. Your roommates are sleeping. You turn it back down. Bone-carved pyramid – your elbows, arms, head on the table next to speakers. ‘Passion Pit’ – Charlotte loves you, you only used to hear them in the city. ‘Sleepyhead’, a song… you planned it but feel lucky. You’re old enough to know all the work that goes into magic.

Strings like a spider’s web, the bad old times try to snare you. Every night, you wake up for the bathroom, only to settle in the arms of a different dream.

Currently Reading: Nothing! Still poking through some books, will settle soon.

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“Wake up when you want to/
’Cause no one’s really watching.” – Passion Pit, Carried Away

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