Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 45

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

Rain came dramatically after work, a thunderstorm. It’s turned us all into frogs hopping between tiny islands of dry ground. We need the rain. It’ll wash off some of the pollen. Earlier, everyone was coughing on a yellow pine-pollen cloud.

I made something new for dinner. It had many familiar parts – onions, soy ground beef – but the seasoning was different. I chopped up cilantro. I added two limes’ worth of juice. I topped everything with cans of black beans. Mexican-inspired. I served it over rice. It was a good experiment.

Today was long and frustrating. I spent a lot of time spinning in place. Not literally, of course (that might have actually been fun). Work was a series of problems. I solved all of them, but they weren’t the kind of problems you feel any sort of accomplishment having solved.

I think that’s where I’ll leave it today. Right now, I’m drinking a glass of water and listening to the rain. I’m trying to move from ‘frog’ to ‘fish’ so when the thunderstorm goes long enough and the creek outside stars flooding, maybe it’ll carry me away.

Novel Count: 37,208

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

And since today’s all there is for now, that’s everything.
Who knows if I’ll be dead the day after tomorrow?
If I’m dead the day after tomorrow, the thunderstorm day after tomorrow
Will be another thunderstorm than if I hadn’t died.
Of course I know thunderstorms don’t fall because I see them,
But if I weren’t in the world,
The world would be different —
There would be me the less —
And the thunderstorm would fall on a different world and would be another thunderstorm.
No matter what happens, what’s falling is what’ll be falling when it falls.

Alberto Caeiro


Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 32

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee; usually the office coffee tastes terrible but in a good way; today it tasted like nothing but in a bad way; I used the same scoops, same amount of water, same machine; no telling what was different.

The first day back to work after a vacation (even just one day off) feels momentous. All of a sudden you don’t recognize your coworkers. You can’t find that paperwork. Someone moved the stapler. The rest of the day it trickles back, these bits of beige confetti. “Hi Sandra, how’s the kids?” “Oh Steve, you joker.” But the suspicion that you’ve walked in on something – the whole entire world with it’s pants down – persists. By 5:00, you’re comfortable, but you’re keeping one eye open while you sleep.

I’ve got a short work week. Friday feels like it’s just a day away (really it’s three). I’ve got no plans for the evenings, no plans for the weekend, but spring’s perked up and now I’m restless – that feeling you should always be doing more. Ah, well. I’ll ride this wave as long as it lets me. I’ll write a little more. Or maybe I won’t. Either way, next week will be here soon enough.

Novel Count: 34,291

Currently Reading: The Sense of an Ending, Julian Barnes

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

Every person needs to take one day away.  A day in which one consciously separates the past from the future.  Jobs, family, employers, and friends can exist one day without any one of us, and if our egos permit us to confess, they could exist eternally in our absence.  Each person deserves a day away in which no problems are confronted, no solutions searched for.  Each of us needs to withdraw from the cares which will not withdraw from us.

Maya Angelo

Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 14

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I had a new conversation with an old friend. She’s at the same old job. She’s got new responsibilities. She’s working harder. They laid people off. The company’s making money but not enough. They can’t meet growth. There’s new management. There’s old wages. They don’t get raises. They get more hours. They’re all salary. They get more responsibilities. There’s a big project. An old deadline, from before the layoffs, but the new boss had a meeting with the shareholders and now there’s a new deadline a few weeks early. My old friend’s pulling out her hair. She’s drinking black coffee at midnight. She’s wearing bright scarves. We’re talking old memories.

My generation makes money for other people.

Novel Count: 29,897

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami; FINISHED!

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

You can be young without money, but you can’t be old without it.

Tennessee Williams




Coffee Log, Year 2, Day 8

Hi.

Coffee: Maxwell House Drip, Office Coffee

I was walking past this bird in a bush on the way to my car this morning. The bird was going haywire. When I went by, it stopped. It was cold outside. It’s still raining. That bird had a secret – it had to thrash around for something, something important – but it didn’t want to tell me.

The day was buzz-buzz busy at the office. Cars went by. No-one kept dry. They tracked red mud back and forth in the bank lobby. They tracked it through my office. People having problems making ends meet, too busy for the mud on their shoes. I was on the phone. I was making calls. I was clicking waltzes and salsas on the keyboard. Rich and stressful. Then comes the client and I freeze. Smiles. I know something they don’t – a lot of somethings. Half the time, they don’t want me to tell them.

A week of birds. Bird week. Everything has wings. It can pick up and fly away. I’m waiting on a letter from the other side of the world. I’m waiting on good ideas, better sentences. I’m waiting on September because everyone is always waiting on September. I’m waiting for the weekend.

Oh, that last one’s actually here.

Novel Count: 27,617

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

Support Relief for Family Suffering at the Border – RAICES DONATION CAMPAIGNFrom the land of red clay, and lottery worship

From the land of red clay, and lottery worship

Spillage Village, ‘Metropolis’



Coffee Log, Day 348

Hi.

Coffee: Locomotive Blend, PennyCup Coffee

For the past couple weeks, I’ve been waking up a little early, hopping in the shower, and sitting down in the dining room to have my coffee and breakfast before work. It’s an extension of the weekend habits I’ve been forming. It helps keep me calm.

Creativity is a strange thing. Some days, if I don’t write before noon it’s ‘good luck’ if I write at all. Other days it’s the opposite – I can’t pull any ideas out until close to midnight. Yesterday, I got up at 5:30 and milled around for six hours trying to finish a chapter. Then I got groceries and ate lunch and spent another four trying the same. It was only after I was tired and drunk and pulling out my hair that I got something down. If anyone tells you that you’re the mind’s master, they’re really downplaying a fraught and dysfunctional relationship.

The sun’s rising now. It’s blued up the trees, breaking bread with the branches. I’ll be off to work soon and these two hours will feel like they happened to someone else. But there’s always tomorrow. I’m lucky enough to have all the tools to carve out this time.

Novel Count: 20,073

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

The streets are empty and quiet this early in the morning and I can hear my own footsteps as they fall.

Uzodinma Iweala, Speak No Evil: A Novel

Coffee Log, Day 328

Hi.

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

I did an off-site training at the corporate office today. I’ll be doing it for three days, most of this week. It felt like being back in college. We were in a small room with shared tables. There were whiteboards and projectors. We did group activities and answered questions. College – not a place I was looking to go back to.

But I’m always open to new experiences.

There’s a certain slime to corporate spaces. It’s a gregarious slime – fancy, accommodating, obsessed with cost-calculated comforts. I ate lunch with friends in the cafeteria and noticed the treadmills and lime green walls, the tv’s that were easily accessible but not too imposing. A lot of money was spent to make this a place people want to be. Consequentially, it turned me way off.

I watched a 3 part interview series on youtube between a Belgium man and Charles Bukowski. It was filmed in the 80’s, late in Bukowski’s life. They talked about a lot of things and didn’t seem to like each other. At one point, Bukowski takes the guy to this hostel he holed up in for the first few years of his writing career. He told a story about how the landlady would leave him baskets of fruits and veggies because she thought he was mentally unstable after he’d told her he was quitting the post office for writing. The camera caught poor kids in no shoes and suspenders and one young Latino family with gold teeth and jello cups and a chihuahua that kept trying to eat the jello cups. Bukowski said: “There’s stories in these people. Most writers don’t want to talk to these people.” That made a lot of sense to me.

Novel Count: 15,629

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

Sometimes you just have to pee in the sink.

Charles Bukowski


Coffee Log, Day 318

Hi.

Coffee: Americano, Caribou Coffee; a bit more burnt than usual; I carried the cup into work where they had the heat off despite the cold; it was nice to have something hot in my hands, bitter or not.

The hardest days to work are the ones you don’t work regularly. Paradoxically, they’re also the easiest.

The bank has us scheduled to work two Saturday’s a quarter. There’s only a handful of branches open on Saturday and they’re only open until noon. So really it’s nothing to complain about. I spent years working at a bookstore where a Saturday shift from two to midnight wasn’t only common, it was weekly. But everything in life is about expectation and when you’re no longer expecting to work the weekend, those hours drag long.

But there’s also something kind of neat about it.

Way, way back, I was one of those kids who joined academic clubs. Lit club, science bowl, I was in orchestra from 4th grade on. So it wasn’t unheard of to have to stay a few hours after school. There was magic in that. The halls were empty. The teachers were walking around talking more casually than you were used to. It was like catching your mother with her hair down for the first time, or your father out of his suit. You were in on something. It was good and special and dorky and powerful.

The Saturday crews rotate at the bank. You’ve got people from all over the triangle at different branches than they usually work. By chance, I was at my home branch today, but I worked with a couple people I haven’t seen in a while. We talked a lot, mostly work stories, and even though we hadn’t really said anything, there was an ease you can’t feel with the same people you see everyday. We passed four hours.

We packed up to go. Lately, on a weekday, we’ve been getting out when it’s already dark. But today it was only noon. The sky was blazing with the sun.

Novel Count: 11,157

Currently Reading: Killing Commendatore, Haruki Murakami

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

As we approached each other, the noise and the students around us melted away and we were utterly alone, passing, smiling, holding each other’s eyes, floors and walls gone, two people in a universe of space and stars.

Jerry Spinelli