Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 153

Hi.

Coffee: Pike Place, Apartment Lounge Blend

I had a friend who launched rockets. He does other things now, but he used to put satellites in orbit, or point ships at the space station. I thought that was cool. It seemed like something to be a bridge-maker toward the final frontier.

But space isn’t how we all imagine it, really.

I’ve been seeing lots of news about the 50th anniversary of the moon landing. Interviews with astronauts, articles about the rigorous (and delicate) science, even some conspiracy theories. Not since Trump’s ill-advised ‘Space Force’ have the outer bounds beyond our tiny planet seen so much coverage. I haven’t read many of the articles, only stolen glances at the pictures, but it feels hopeful to think about people who broke the boundaries of human experience, and those who are doing so right now again and again.

And it’s romantic, but it shouldn’t be, because space isn’t what we want it to be.

We come to the notion of outer space seeking the best parts of ourselves. Technological marvels, the vast and glittering worlds of 70’s sci-fi. A limitless place to paint ourselves over and over, the hope of human renewal on a galactic scale.

When we look up, though, into the blackest night skies, and when we step out into the stars, there’s more emptiness than anything. There’s a crisp, barren beauty to Mars and an awful violence to Venus. But they never know each other, never touching, never holding hands, separated by blank space, whispering nothing. The scary thing is that this is a better reflection of us – multiple minds divided by the unbreachable expanse; galaxies you’ll never see.

I think it’s beautiful we made it to the moon. I think we should keep trying to go farther. But I think the lessons aren’t all bright ones, and the human heart is as much the empty parts and barren planets as it is a flickering sun.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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Not just beautiful, though–the stars are like the trees in the forest, alive and breathing. And they’re watching me.

Haruki Murakami, Kafka on the Shore

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 166

Hi.

Coffee: Fair Trade Five County Espresso Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

If you couldn’t tell, the title of this blog is a nod to Star Trek. “Captains Log, Stardate Such-and-Such…” Some of my earliest memories are the opening credits to The Next Generation. My parents were fans. They let me watch while the series aired its last few seasons. I got to stay up past my bedtime. I was young – three or four – but I remember the spaceship glow, the music notes, the stars flying by as the Enterprise jerks into hyperspace. Confetti. The future seemed inevitable.

This week, Patrick Stewart announced he’ll be revising his role as Picard in a new series. I’m not much for sequels, not much for TV these days, but I think we need another Next Generation.

We should aspire to the Federation. Gene Roddenberry was on to something. A fiction born in the long summers of the 60’s, anticipating the power of love and change, Star Trek sees the world that’s embraced the beautiful but rarely realized American Dream – freedom and equality born of cooperation. Star Trek’s heart is Kirk and Uhara’s kiss; it’s Worf – a refugee and immigrant – given as much esteem as the white men he works with.

The troubles on Earth in 2018 are so visceral that space looks far away, but because of that ‘space’ becomes even more important – a distant but achievable future; something built on trust and love and humanity; a turning point, wo/mankind’s next generation.

I’ll grab the popcorn, Patrick, and strap in for star travel.

Currently Reading: LaRose, Louise Erdrich

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“Things are only impossible until they are not.” – Jean-Luc Picard, Star Trek: The Next Generation

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