Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 62


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

L came over. We’re playing Dungeons and Dragons tonight. For once, he’s DM’ing instead of me. That means he’s the storyteller, I’m an actor in the story. It’s a nice change of pace. A different perspective.

All my life, I’ve loved getting wrapped up in stories. My parents read me Narnia before I’d gotten to elementary school. I watched Power Rangers religiously. Maybe that’s where my itch to write comes from – when I run out of things to read, play, experience, I want to create them myself. There’s more to it than that, but it’s an important part.

At work today, we all talked about things that happened during the week. That’s what you do on a Friday – reminisce. One person had luck with their clients, another couldn’t get anyone to return their calls. We talked about lunches, talked about weather. A colleague gave me a bottle of Raspberry Vinaigrette because earlier in the week we’d been talking about how much we both liked salad. People understand themselves in retrospect. We’re not present creatures, but just-done narratives.

Tonight, I’m playing a Bard. The setting is 1939 America. My character makes magic by playing his harmonica. I’ve been looking up old folk songs on youtube. It’s a fun fantasy. A good way to end the week.

Currently Reading: Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain

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Make up a story… For our sake and yours forget your name in the street; tell us what the world has been to you in the dark places and in the light. Don’t tell us what to believe, what to fear. Show us belief’s wide skirt and the stitch that unravels fear’s caul.

Toni Morrison

Coffee Log, Day 117


Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I started re-watching an old anime, Samurai Champloo. The art’s beautiful, soundtrack’s perfectly cool and melancholy. For those who don’t know, the show follows a ragtag group – two samurai and one former tea-house worker – on a mercenary quest to find the tea-house worker’s missing father. It’s a good set-up. It shifts between monster-of-the-week and bigger plot-beat episodes. I like the way you get to know a group of characters and then let them go immediately, both satisfied and wistful at the end of the episode.

There are some real problems though, ones I didn’t notice when I was 14. Two-thirds of the time, the action is predicated on sexual violence. In episode one, tea-house worker (a woman) is being roughed up by thugs; she hires one of the samurai to save her. Episode three, multiple women are captured by the Yakuza and sold to a brothel.

Everything works out. The protagonists save the day, half the time out of benevolence, half for money, but the day always gets saved. That’s maybe the most damning thing of all: the women in the stories have so little autonomy their danger isn’t even real.

I sit at my desk and try to write something. A man, a woman, loose change jangles, a bunch of a ideas, real heroes don’t go around saving anyone.

Currently Reading:

History of Wolves, Emily Fridlund (2017 Man Booker Prize Shortlist)

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“Only hope can give rise to the emotion we call despair. But it is nearly impossible for a man to try to live without hope, so I guess that leaves man no choice but to walk around with despair as his companion.” – Samurai Champloo