Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 298


Coffee: House Drip, McDonald’s Drive-Thru; The branch I’ve been studying at doesn’t drink coffee. They make tea in the mornings or some kind of faux-Tibetan energy drink. The manager is a body cleanser. The tellers are in no more need of caffeine. But I’ve been doing this too long to start my day without the stuff, my brain knows to expect it; ages ago, in neuroscience class, I learned that the mind is plastic, and adjusts to substances and circumstances; that’s why opium addicts only tend to die of their addiction outside the opium bars – their bodies can handle the stuff when they’re in the atmosphere of the dens. If I’m going to study, I’ll indulge my minor addiction; McDonald’s coffee is bathroom towels on the way down, ones that have been sitting around too long, but has a nice aftertaste

I’ve been nose-deep in books this week (not the fun kind, but study guides). I learned about IPO’s. Initial corporate stock offerings. And today, Goldmann Sachs says they won’t take those IPO’s to market anymore for companies whose Board of Directors is only straight, white men. That means two things: 1) that there’s a price tag on diversity; 2) that price is pretty high. Good news, though like any capitalist action it’s hard to know how long it will last. Progress only happens when it pays, no telling if it’ll stop paying.

But it got me to be a bit introspective – about the work I’m doing, or will be doing once I’m licensed. And it made me hopeful, there’s good here, or at least the opportunity for it. It’s good to see a bit of silver lining alongside the harder storms of the day.

Currently Reading: Giovanni’s Room, James Baldwin

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

The corporate board has become a rare bright spot for gender and racial diversity at the highest echelons of corporate America. Almost half of the open spots at S&P 500 companies went to women last year, and for the first time they made up more than a quarter of all directors. In July, the last all-male board in the S&P 500 appointed a woman.

Jeff Green, writing for Bloomberg – Goldmann to Refuse IPOs If All Directors Are White, Straight Men

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 222


Coffee:  Maxwell House Master Blend, Office Coffee

On the way to the restaurant, E asked me what was wrong. I didn’t know what she was talking about. I said: “What are you talking about?” She pointed at my fingers, which were rubbing up on each other. We were at a red light. I had my hands in my lap. I’d worn a notch in two of my fingernails.

That’s when I realized I was sitting with depression.

It was a low day. A crook-in-your-neck kind of day. Gray clouds, I had to come into work this morning, our quarterly shift on a Saturday. I spent three hours talking to different coworkers and scrolling through the news, it was slow. I went home at lunch and stared at a black computer screen for a few minutes before fixing food. The dishes are piling up on my desk. I’ve got two pairs of shoes lop-sided, out of where they’re supposed to go.

But here’s the magic – this whole time, I hardly even noticed the downs; it took E pointing out my fingers to get the grasp that today I had depression. A year ago, I would have been locked in my room since morning, closed curtains.


It’s kind of spooky.

I’ve been on two medications for three months now, bupropion and escitalopram. I was on each individually but that wasn’t working. The bupropion picks me up in the mornings while the escitalopram keeps me level. At least that’s what the doctor tells me. And I believe it, because there are days like today where I’m struck all of a sudden by how normal I feel despite the pressures going on inside me. I’ve spent my whole life upped and downed. For a long time, I saw that as my creative side, the quintessentially me. But like I told you all on this Coffee Log back in May, those days of identifying with my disease had to be over. Now, it feels like they really are.

It’s not just the medicine. It’s a lot of different things, different people, some coming, some gone. And it’s all of you – you see me when you read this, and like a dutiful Existentialist, I’m obliterated by your gaze. It’s helped me pick up the pieces. So thank you – I appreciate the audience.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border  – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

Whenever I find myself growing grim about the mouth; whenever it is a damp, drizzly November in my soul; whenever I find myself involuntarily pausing before coffin warehouses, and bringing up the rear of every funeral I meet; and especially whenever my hypos get such an upper hand of me, that it requires a strong moral principle to prevent me from deliberately stepping into the street, and methodically knocking people’s hats off – then, I account it high time to get to sea as soon as I can.

Herman Melville, Moby Dick

Coffee Log, Day 281


Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, single-serve packet; might as well finish the week with this stuff.

I slept with the windows open. It was cold but nice. I like hearing the night. Around 11:00pm the birds stop going. Then, around 4:30am, they start back. We spend a lot of time sequestering ourselves from nature. Even when you’re a hiker, a climber, a camper, you’re someone who’s making nature a special trip. It’s a privilege not to know the cold, uncompromising world, and a privileged thing to choose to flirt with it.

I remember the solar eclipse. The tree outside my window cut moon-shaped shadows on the pavement. I didn’t buy the glasses so those little moons were it for me. R and I walked outside and stayed for fifteen minutes. It got dim then it got brighter. There were all kinds of people out. Lots of kids. There’s always lots of kids. I think I might go a little crazy if not for their constant antics.

It’s been a hard week. On paper, nothing happened. Maybe that’s a part of it. Or maybe it’s the end of the year. Tomorrow’s December. Two weeks and I’ll be 29. My brain’s symbolically predisposed. So is yours. The cold; the wet; the dark bare bark; the pomp that tries to sell you something; the warm fires; the curtained windows you had a chance to peek behind, but that once the year is done you know will stay closed. Symbols.

Happy November. Here comes December. Grab the bottle and toss the cork. Christen your old-body ship into less turbulent times.

Novel Count: 14,711 words

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

It is December, and nobody asked if I was ready.

Sarah Kay

Coffee Log, Day 224


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

I read a New York Times Magazine article about contemporary art. It started at a dinner table, two friends arguing about the show ‘Insecure.’ One friend liked it, the other didn’t. They both were black men.

The friend who liked it said there were no grounds to question ‘Insecure.’ It’s a TV series by and about black women in America – it’s too important as a social symbol to critique. They other guy – the author of the article – was wary. He described a world of bland dinner parties: no strife, no conflict, everyone agreeing to progressive standards, consuming media that was morally homogeneous. He said that wasn’t art.

But of course it’s complicated. Of course representation matters. There are studies coming out every day showing that kids who are given positive role models from their own race, culture, background, grow into healthier self-esteems. And there are still tremendous thumping gears churning night and day to keep the dark dream of white patriarchy vibrant, all the while actively draining color from whatever minority garden in which art or ideas might grow. Desperate times call for desperate measures. It is, in fact, ‘important’ that shows like ‘Insecure’ exist.

I met a guy in Japan who still lives there. He talked about America, about Wisconsin, about how everything was bleaker back home. He spoke fluent Japanese and knew how to party. He’d buy the seasonal chocolates at the corner store and ring the bell and clap three times at Buddhist shrines. He wasn’t Japanese but he wanted to be. I think something similar is going on with progressive art. You play an educated left-leaning American of whatever color one song by Kendrick Lamar, then one song by Young Dolph and nine times out of ten they’re picking Kendrick. Why? Because he’s able to sanitize a struggle so it’s palatable. Like Martin Luther King, Jr, he’s a great man with great words and zero blemishes, an idol, a god, in-human, unattainable, safe to aspire to because implicit in his image is the fact that you – 35, two jobs, disenfranchised by voter registration laws, behind on credit cards and paying half your income to rent, probably black but maybe even poor and white – will never get to life that life of freedom. Implicit in a blanket admiration for non-white art is the fact that these aren’t complicated, messy, people – these are fancy macaws and peacocks locked in carefully hidden cages, putting on a show for the upper class.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“This version of the culture wars casts Beyoncé as the goddess of empowerment who shan’t be blasphemed. She offers herself as both deity and politician, someone here to embody and correct.” – Wesley Morris, The Morality Wars, linked here

image_123923953 (3)

Coffee Log, Day 195


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

My bank branch flies it’s flag at half-mast for John McCain. I remember my Grandmother voting McCain in the primary against Bush. The man had a long American history. He stood for some things I disagree with, some that I do agree with. In ten years, what will we remember him for?

One of the vipers of democratic progress is the gradual dismemberment of heroes. No-one is perfect. Everyone keeps skeletons packed in closets. With more information and a greater appetite for justice, we begin – rightfully – pulling those skeletons out. This leads to underrepresented voices being heard. Dig enough, though, and who’s left to look up to?

A friend said “McCain doesn’t deserve the praise.” He’s right, of course. It’s important to know John the man as much as John the hero, just as it’s important to know our founding fathers were wicked men holding other men in bondage. But strip all the heroes to their wet, naked sin and what do we have left to look up to?

That’s an open question. I don’t have an answer.

Currently Reading: Autumn, Ali Smith

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“Glory belongs to the act of being constant to something greater than yourself, to a cause, to your principles, to the people on whom you rely and who rely on you” – John McCain


Coffee Log, Day 58


Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

Kendrick Lamar is not my favorite hip-hop artist. DAMN. – in my opinion – is not his best album. However, DAMN. winning a Pulitzer is a good, no a great, no a fantastic thing for art and culture and progress.

Awards don’t really matter in themselves. Kendrick reaches way more people commercially than he ever will with the Pulitzer at his name. James Patterson sells a hell of a lot more than Murakami. I’ve read a lot of articles talking about what a step forward to hip-hop this is, for black culture, but they’ve got it backwards: black culture and hip-hop have been excelling for decades; this is a step forward for the rest of us.

What makes me happy is that a group of stuffy curmudgeons felt either personally inspired or publicly pressured to speak Kendrick’s name into the same kind of prestige traditionally reserved for old white guys. This shifts the conception of what good art is and what a good artist looks like. The horse itself admits the prejudice in the cart and lets on a different kind of customer.

Next year, I want to see Lil Wayne on Pulitzer list. One step at a time though.

Currently Reading:
The Pardoner’s Tale, by John Wain

Fund the Coffee Log 🙂 –  

“At 27 years old, my biggest fear was bein’ judged
How they look at me reflect on myself, my family, my city
What they say ’bout me reveal if my reputation would miss me
What they see from me would trickle down generations in time
What they hear from me would make ’em highlight my simplest lines.” – Kendrick Lamar, Fear