Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 104

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Playing new Doom .wads and watching old commercials, Z and I tried to approximate 1993. The only thing missing was a bit of optimism.

It rained off and on today. Sometimes, I feel like I’m turning the Coffee Log into a weather report. But that’s okay because I love talking about the weather.

I talked to a middle-aged man for two hours today about logging into things online. He couldn’t remember his password. I helped him type a new one, he couldn’t remember that either. He had a snake tattoo on his bicep and one glass eye. He couldn’t be more than twenty years older than me, but twenty years makes a difference.

I have a cousin who used to chew tobacco. He might still chew tobacco but I haven’t seen him in twenty years. He came down to visit when I was in elementary and offered to buy me a videogame or a pair of sunglasses. I picked the game over the glasses and we took turns playing before my mother had finished cooking dinner. After he handed off the controller, he’d spit the chew. Gunk in a clear water bottle. It looked like late autumn leaves.

Even though the climate’s changed, we talked about weather just the same in 1993.

Currently Reading: Queen, Suzanne Crain Miller

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

Look at that moon. Potato weather for sure.

Thornton Wilder, Our Town

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 40

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Two weeks from now, I’ll be reading selections from the Coffee Log at Fig Raleigh in Raleigh, NC at the Third Wednesday Open Mic as the night’s featured author. The reading starts at 6:30 and there will be an open mic afterward. It’ll be a fun time. I’ll be slightly nervous. If you’re in the area, come out and make me slightly more nervous. I promise I don’t bite.

It’s been a strange week. The weather’s been up and down, rainy and cold or hot and sunny, and I’ve been up and down with it. A see-saw with four or five raccoons on the other end, periodically getting on or off.

I’ve been waking up late. 7:30, almost time to go to work. I’ve tried setting an earlier alarm but my body doesn’t listen. It’s like my muscles are that stringy stuff you find inside a pumpkin, not tough enough to do anything, and I spend at least an hour each morning carving it out. I’d gotten on a good schedule of reading and writing in the mornings but that’s been thrown off. Maybe this is just me getting older.

‘Alabama’ was on the news today. The Justice Department is suing the state for keeping unsafe conditions in it’s prisons. I didn’t catch the details, but the lawsuit seems like good progress. All day I’ve been thinking about the word ‘Alabama.’ It sounds like old trees hanging over dirt roads.

I met this kid today at the bank. He was five, his father was opening an account. The kid wouldn’t stop talking while we were going over the opening. He found a hole in my office desk that cords come through and I told him that’s where we keep all the bank secrets. He spent the next half hour peeking inside the hole and describing the shapes of strange objects. By the end of it, I figured he must have found something even I don’t know about.

And that was my day.

Novel Count: 36,238

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

If you want to keep a secret, you must also hide it from yourself.

George Orwell, 1984


Coffee Log, Day 265

Hi.

Coffee: French Roast, Trader Joe’s Brand

Everyone was poking around in coats today. Meanwhile, in California, half the state burns.

I grew up in a household obsessively haunted by weather. My dad would walk outside in thunderstorms. We had a dog that would hide from rain.

But my mother was the focal point for the family’s weather ups and downs. She’d be up late watching documentaries on this or that super storm. Sometimes, she’d watch the weather channel on repeat. Any hint of bad rain and there her hands would go, wringing.

I remember this one time there was a tornado at my elementary. First the lights cut, then the glass was shaking, finally we were in the hall and under our own backpacks on the cold, hard linoleum floor. A lot of kids were crying. The assistant principal was holding the blown-open doors. But I’d watched a hundred disaster films with my mother so I was ready. This was Christmas, a celebration, something wonderfully inevitable. We would all get swooped up and tossed a thousand miles. Nothing could be more comfortably certain.

Sometimes I think there’s a bravery in staring long and hard at the things that scare you. It’s a messy sort of courage – a lot of fits and worries, 2 am texts to your adult son when there’s a national weather warning – but still brave. Can’t look at a horror and call it something else, but you can choose to look at it all the same.

I’ve learned a lot of things from my mother.

Novel Count: 8,742 words

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

“In any democratic, civilized – even non-democratic nations, if you are a nation, it means to say that in our case, if there’s a hurricane in Louisiana, the people of Vermont are there for them. If there’s a tornado in the Midwest, we are there for them. If there’s flooding in the East Coast, the people in California are there for us.” – Bernie Sanders

IMG_1793

Coffee Log, Day 157

Hi.

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

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the BorderRAICES DONATION CAMPAIGN

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

IMG_1468