Coffee Log, Day 326

Hi.

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

There were rumors of snow on the forecast but we only got rain. C’est la vie.

A cold day. I woke up by knocking over the glass of water on my nightstand. It landed on the carpet and soaked an old laptop, thankfully one I’ve backed up most everything I need from. I haven’t yet turned the thing on to see if it still works. I don’t know that I need to. Let the old dog sleep.

I’ve felt a change in myself lately. It’s surprised me, but it’s also safe to say the change was pre-meditated. After so much banging against this or that wall, I knew I had to throw a wrench in what I’d been doing. Most of my life has been one high speed chase toward complex, specific, largely unattainable goals.

For the past few weeks – since the start of December – I’ve been spending weekends looking out the dining room window. I don’t watch the clock and I’m careful not to stay in my room. I have a book to read and my laptop for when I feel like writing and I plug my phone into the speakers so that I can’t touch it. I listen to music. I drink coffee and barley tea.

It was hard at first. Empty time, and me with a bucket full of stresses to fill it up. But I’ve gotten better at the habit and I think it’s seeped in. It’s not just the weekends anymore. I don’t feel as much pressure to board the next plane and arrive somewhere. That’s not to say I’m not working – hell, I’m putting in more hours professionally and with writing than I have at any point prior – but i feel more relaxed while I’m doing it.

This is starting to sound like one of those new-agey posts. Stressless moments and mental peace aren’t options for everyone. When you’re staring at a spreadsheet of expenses trying to factor gas vs. food, you’re in combat with a world that won’t let go of you. Calm is a privilege. All that said, it’s a healthy step if you can afford to take it.

I look in the mirror in the mornings and don’t know myself. It’s all I ever wanted, but I had to let go of all those feverish loves to get here.

Novel Count: 14,971

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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Whoever’s calm and sensible is insane!

Rumi

Coffee Log, Day 300

Hi.

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

I should cut my hair. I should vacuum. I should wash these three glasses sitting on my table. I should work out more. There are a half-dozen people I should talk to who I haven’t talked to in a while. I should make more plans for the future.

It’s mid-December. It’s 2018. I’ll only have one of these Wednesdays. I should make the most of it.

But instead I get stuck in traffic. A road rage of bumper-bumper in the blackening twilight. We’re all going home and getting there late. We’ll skip sit-ups and eat a little less healthy. We won’t pet the dog.

Every good thing you work for gets cast off like cicada skin as soon as there’s a bit of stress. American wealth wants to buy itself out of happiness with coupons for marginal comfort. I’ve got nothing to complain about but sometimes I only feel like complaining.

Somebody slap some sense into me.

Novel Count: 6,348

Currently Reading: Nothing! Done with Cherry, still deciding on the next book.

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I was most happy when pen and paper were taken from me and I was forbidden from doing anything. I had no anxiety about doing nothing by my own fault, my conscience was clear, and I was happy. This was when I was in prison.

Daniil Kharms, Today I Wrote Nothing


Coffee Log, Day 268

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Long days die in dark nights.

I was stressed out. I don’t know what started the stress, sometimes it just crawls in bed with you.

I went to the Korean grocery. I bought beer and veggie ramen. The place was packed. There was this girl with pink hair. A dad was picking up and putting down his son. Outside, in the parking lot, I walked in a blue haze. It was bright and cold.

‘Far away’ was on my mind. Two cents on California where M is making movies; two cents in Atlanta where… well, I shouldn’t follow you there. Anyway, you spin the wheel and it’s just red sevens and nobody ever bets on that.

There was a block party of sorts. We sat around the campfire. I met some neighbors. I liked these neighbors. They cooked a rack of ribs and I munched fries. I gave them the beer I bought. I shared some bourbon. In between our cold legs went Sally the cat. In between fits of woodsmoke they were telling stories.

You’re only winning if you feel like it. A ball on black six, blowing hot in your hands for the prayer.

Novel Count: 9,347 words

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

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“What worries you masters you.”

John Locke


Coffee Log, Day 115

Hi.

Coffee: Organic Sumatra Blend, Trader Joe’s Brand

I walked into my apartment last night and the TV was on, the kitchen cooking, a friend on the couch. “Hey,” I said.

“Well hello,” he said.

A couple months ago, I’d clapped for his wedding. Today, though, L was laid-off.

We sprung for Chinese and I bought brandy. I was the only one who had any, but I needed a drink. It had been a hard week for all of us. We watched shows, played games, lived loosely, I was happy L was over. In between the happy, he told me how they sent him home early, wouldn’t pay out his scheduled shifts. He told me that just two days ago his dad was also laid-off, and we don’t know if it was the stress or other demons but his father was admitted to the ER after the news. Diabetes; a family thing; I watch L and think of my own father, my own health, his health, the Southern tan that men get on their bellies and women on their forearms, we’ve got to eat – a lot – to love ourselves.

Night grew on and I kept drinking. It was cheap, warm, mellow. I thought about four months ago when I lost my bookstore job. I thought about three months ago when I finished the best draft of my first novel. I thought about two months ago when I asked a woman to marry me right before she moved out of the state, knowing she’d say no, loving her all the same. I thought about one month ago when I was inducted to a strange financial world that’s got one foot in small-town community, one foot in digital predation.

I thought about a lot of things. One thing I didn’t think about, though, was this blog. I didn’t post.

Sometimes I feel like sugar tacky. A rolling pin, a marble table, I’m spread four corners thin. For the first time since February, I missed a day posting my Coffee Log. This morning, that’s been a bit of a wake-up, even though I got up late. It’s easy to let the mechanics of life get in front of your dreams.

So what does that mean for Livesay Writing? Well, probably not much. I’m dropping my current reads. I’m going to commit myself to a schedule of reading the best regarded, best selling, award winning fiction books published last year. If I’m going to join that market someday, I need to know it. Besides that, we’ll see.

L spread his big arms on our couch. He spat breath at the ceiling fan. “What’s that look for?”

“I’ve been through a lot this week,” he said.

I felt that like it was my own marrow. I gotta remember to remind him to keep his dreams in focus when everything else is falling apart.

Currently Reading:

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

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“Hell is full of musical amateurs: music is the brandy of the damned. May not one lost soul be permitted to abstain?” – George Bernard Shaw

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