Coffee Log, Day 253


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

I’m at the desk in my pajamas. Well, I don’t actually sleep in them, but this is what I wear when I get up: a gray shirt that’s too big for me, gray gym shorts that still fit. I’m drinking coffee, Sumatra, same stuff as yesterday, but I take a little more time with it and there’s a tang to it. I don’t know if that’s a good thing, but it’s an honest thing, and so there you go.

In the summer, I’d have the curtains gone by now. Fall keeps the light low. I peeked out and saw a black cold ground, a couple hungover streetlamps, nobody walking, nothing eager to start the day. There’s beauty in that too, right? Something of a collective longing for ‘two more hours,’ slices of security blankets, a warm night.

I take a few more sips of the coffee and maybe that taste doesn’t even belong to it. Maybe it’s the box of honey-glazed cheerios I finished, or the coconut milk I dunked them in. Maybe it’s tomorrow already greedy, poking it’s fingers in yesterday’s night. Maybe it’s anticipation. I’ve been feeling the need to walk something – dirt, gravel, who gives a-, as long as it’s going somewhere. Or maybe it’s just my stomach bubbling up after a week of too much candy.

I’ve got mixed feelings about November: specifically, the label it’s come to acquire of ‘National Novel Writing Month.’ In my experience, there’s nothing ‘national’ about writing a novel and no good way to fit it to thirty days. On the other hand, I won’t lie that the drive and discipline I’ve seen friends commit to for the moniker is inspiring. I feel like I’ve been learning again and again how important consistency is, whether it’s in writing, work, family, or brewing coffee every day to write about in your blog.

So anyway, I’m writing another book. Not something that I could finish in a month, but still something new. I started a couple weeks ago but haven’t kept a schedule. If I can’t keep that, I’ll never keep the book. I’ve learned a lot of ‘letting go’ since starting this coffee log. To really write, you’ve got to paradoxically let go of all the will to put things to words in the first place and focus instead on the fingers on the keyboard. I want to have that again. I want to bring that to my fiction. I also want to bring you along with me. I can’t share the words (someday I’ll be shopping them around to publish and you know how picky agents are about having first dibs) but I can share how many I’ve written each day. It’s a selfish thing, a bit of self-accountability, and I appreciate you letting me use all of you as motivation.

So anyway, expect my coffee logs to come in the AM now as I’ll be writing fiction every night. Looking forward to waking up with all of you.

Novel Count: 3,043 words

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

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“You don’t know the risk if you ain’t carried the weight
If you ain’t never been down the road that wasn’t already paved.” – T.I., Big Ol’ Drip


Coffee Log, Day 157


Coffee: India Extra Bold Roast, Cafe Crema

We were promised thunderstorms. I checked the weather all week. At work, I heard from customers about their houses getting water-logged. I was excited, but I never saw a drop.

In my novel, I write about the Anpanman museum in Fukuoka. I hadn’t been there so I looked up lots of pictures. There’s a big glass ceiling over the stage where they do costume shows. I thought: I wish I had seen it rain from below the glass. There were lots of storms in Japan but never one while I was in Fukuoka. Now, since the novel, my memory of that city is changed: raining, static, wet and overwhelming.

It’s made me doubt myself more broadly. If I can rewrite a place for a novel, couldn’t I be doing that with the rest of my life? My four years of philosophy come out like spring spiders and start eating this and that certainty; I sit with Descartes at a candlelit desk and contemplate. I’ve known for a while that I don’t know much of anything, but to think that maybe I’m less in touch with things I thought I did? Spooky – where’s the Halloween candy?

But when the doubt fades I sort of love it. My life, your life, we’re narratives. That’s romantic. Telling you my story until it changes, until the me between your two ears is one that I don’t even know.

Outside, clouds are coming. We were promised thunderstorms. A little out of sight, the sky bled like a new mother, birth-marking peat and loam.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“I act with complete certainty. But this certainty is my own.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein, On Certainty


Coffee Log, Day 76


Coffee: Organic Honduran, Trader Joe’s brand; I can’t remember if I’ve had this coffee before. There are only so many fair-trade, whole bean brews at Trader Joe’s so it’s possible. It tastes muddy, a bit sour, and makes me think of banana trees. If you took a waxy banana leaf and chewed on it, I imagine it would taste something like this.

I forget a lot of things. Names, dates, birthdays, casually dropped stories in conversation and sometimes even important parts of peoples’ lives. I may have even written about this very thing on this very blog before; forgetting, forgetting, forgetting.

I used to be proud of my memory. When I was little, I’d say the youngest memory in me was a rough allergic reaction when I was two. I remember being blurry, hazy, and I remember the terrycloth blue chair in my parents’ living room. I practiced that memory so long that it’s still in me, but ask me what happened last week and I’d be pressed to tell you.

But ask me any two lines of my novel and I could spit the scene like I’d just lived it. Or any two lines of the short story I just sent off and I could breath each breath of each character, smell the hot sticky powder of a prose spring. I wonder sometimes if that’s where my memory’s gone – real things pushed to the corners while fiction fills my attic. If so, that’s not so bad a trade.

Currently Reading:
Americanah, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

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“Do a hundred-ninety in the lane called memory
And I know you in that lane with me
But when the light change, you didn’t change with it
And now I’m honkin’ my horn
Got to get that dead grass off of my lawn.” – Lil Wayne, Let’s Talk