Posts Tagged With: Art

Cool Wade told me yesterday in a

chess game we enjoyed on their dime I need to get more aggressive and I wholeheartedly agree.  And this isn’t another case of Mike Madigan bovarism.  It’s realization that the competitive Hem in me needs to rush off the tracks, stop being so safe and defensive.  Stop caring.  The ones who find Literary fame  demonstrate lack of concern.  They write and release.  That’s it, no cease.

Yesterday, slow, then a notetaking session at the pub.  No food or beer, just writing in my loft area.  Love that space.  One cook or kitchenhand came up to have a word with the owner’s wife, gave me a bit of a look, but I said nothing didn’t budge and kept writing.  Truth– okay, had ONE beer.  The double IPA that Jeff recommends.  Just one.  didn’t want to be slowed or compromised with my observations once back in the TR.  And haven’t started with my day’s 3 pages yet.  Had yesterday’s done before I even started that long walk down the pathway to those gaudy doors.  But today’s going to be different I can tell from the lack of rain and where they have me stationed but I’ll keep with the same habit.  Aggression.. aggressive.. AGGRESSOR.  And in the game where I was more aggressive, I nearly beat CW.  Nearly, as he’s my teacher of sorts with the game.  And this is all chess.  My next move– mystery.  Mostly to whom this types.  But there is a next move.. and no stalemate.

7:46AM:  Jackie dressed and my bag packed.  Keeping self a bit starved this morning.  No burrito, no Dr. Pepper.  Just coffee.  As Kerouac as I can.  My Beat re-established and paginated here to remind Self of certain things.  I’m my own King.  And I won’t EVER be caught.

note:  Ran 1 hour on treadmill at gym last night.  Reg-ing for 26.2 in Santa Cruz today.  novelist, marathoner, marathoning novelist/writer/journalist/diarist…..


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Decided that I’m not

budging.  This is my writing style, or mode, or voice and that’s all I’ll ever do, responding to my moments and days– now: quiet downstairs, rain stopped for a couple hours the forecasts says; Alice asleep upstairs, or falling asleep and Jackie asleep for who knows how long.  No coffee in house so tomorrow’s set to be rough.  OH well.  That’s the stage for morrow.  And the rain, coming back.  I’ll wait.  One of Jackie’s stuffed animals, the Cookie Monster bloke, on the floor.  What’s it doing down here, I wonder.  Never know with the little Artist.  His habits and ways change whenever he sees adequate.

Think I have a new story idea but I’m going to let it simmer a bit, or age, or ferment– analogy prolonged.  And what kind of writer am I?  I don’t know.  One trying to write, trying to fucking finish something.  What if I go in late tomorrow, spend more of the morning writing?  Am I allowed to do that?  My students get to, I’m sure, so why can’t I?  What can’t I just be a Literary delinquent?  Playing hooky not to go party, or taste wine, or dine out, or be lazy with Alice or anyone.. but just to write, read over my work, send it out?  Be meditative all day on this couch.  Coffee, jazz, pages, me, cognitive drops of resolution, radiate…

Who says you can’t?

True, but there’s a new affairs set.

So what?

10:16.  Should get to bed soon.  I know the little Artist is going to wake around 3, or 4, and it’s my turn to fall back to sleep with him.  Am I up for it?  Hope so.  I’ll fall asleep I’m sure thinking of the 9:30 student’s reading, about addiction and breaking from the pain pill addiction and being drowned in withdrawal symptoms.  Was horrifying to hear but motivating, he was there, in chair, eager with his standalone submission, and we all listened, applauded.  Great moment for me, yes as a “teacher”, but more so as writer, Human.


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Ebb Accent

Today vineyards
speaking in candy
red and sagacious greens
Walk fast in
their own color edifices.
And I just
look, walk,
Rush to snap
Syrah and it tells
me to let the story
write itself
don’t plan so
much. It’s Art.
And critics are
critics for
a reason, they
have no reason,
they’re empty
glasses, hallow
sticks, dirt beings,
encamped and echoing
their own syllable swill.
It’s color I’m
after and I
Found it in this
morning’s walk.
I swirl and smell
to try and make
the connection but
I’m not smart



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Today, everything


Everything.  Nothing, NOTHING foists my fruition, or aim, or images.  Everything recorded.  Not even wine club members with their tireless pestering.  Nothing.  I’m a wine club member…  Or, “I’m a member…” Not even a hello.  Good for you, but I’m not listening.  I’m looking at the vineyard, the leaves, red and green and yellow, light gentle mocha brown.. dessert and lunch, coffee, rest for me, meditation.  Zen, principle in my personhood.  Transfixing my sight to pages and books to be written.  Collection tomorrow and today.


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Not yet started on the three pages but I will be editing the novel today, quite a bit of it.  It’s just sitting there and I hate that, HATE IT.  Coffee ready but not one sip.  Surprised I have this much fire pre-cup.  Alice called me upstairs a bit ago, since Jack booted me from bed at around 4-something, to see a sunset and the pink-bent orange that it threw to each of the sky’s provinces.  Today, I’m bound for material and for fruition; the novel, the papers I have to grade.  Everything.  [sigh]  If only I could stay home, imagine how much progress I’d make.  Have to do on the clock.  I’m outside in that lounge area today.  Foot left still smarts from last night’s treadmill run.  If I do that marathon in Santa Cruz, which I’m quite convinced I will, it’s 182 days at the front, so I have time to ready.

Jackie showing off how much more energy he has than papa.  Fine, he wins, and he knows it.

Distracted at the moment, coffee and Jack and what I have to grade and the rest of the semester and the goddamn drive tomorrow–  Be back.  Not sure when.  Need exploration.  Need Newness.  Life.  Art.  quiet.

organize before leaving for winery

one poem  havent written one in a while

i hate punctuation and capitals

more music in prose

where the papers and pages from novel



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note, 11/15/14

Need to write more letters, keep communication with writing friends.. Sent one friend something, no reply.. then something to Dav, weeks ago, still nothing– I don’t blame them I blame me and my obsessiveness and the writing I can’t keep away from.  And the words in their multifarious forms.  I can’t expect others to have my speed and curiosity fanatic thunders, I can’t I realize.  And when with coffee and I am now, I can never be caught.  Seems lovely outside, Alice out for her 7 mile run.  So thankful for her pushing me to join gym and not run at night.. the last 8-miler I did, last Saturday or one before, can’t remember in this fast typing speed, but too many close calls with cars, and I hate not being able to see where I’m stepping.  If I were injured and couldn’t run for a long sprint of time, I’d be devastated; and as I said in yesterday’s pages I’m now able to swim, yoga, and other classes and exercise forms.  Would love to wake early, really early, and go workout as so many do.  And I would tomorrow if I didn’t have papers to grade.

Next letter I write.. not sure to who, but it’ll be by hand, no typing.  Maybe that’s what I’ll work on today, upstairs at Palooza, to that espresso I tried the other day with Dwight– espresso, always and obviously reminding me of Paris, my city.  Oh no, I haven’t forgotten my gardens and the tower and Montparnasse (sp?).  And the train system.  Je veux revenir en arrière, et je le ferai! [I want to go back, and I will!]

James Joyce said “the modern writer must be an adventurer above all, willing to take every risk, and be prepared to founder in his effort if need be. In other words we must write dangerously”.  And that’s just what I’m in the mood to do today.  And I don’t think I can write as dangerously on this device.  So upstairs at Palooza, as to perpetuate the whole café feel, I’m hoping to just bring the Comp Book, scribble and let my thinking combat whatever has been bloody holding me back these days.  But with the laptop, it’s more immediate, and I don’t have to look at the laptop as something that slows, for it doesn’t, at all.  And the story behind Palooza demands me typing, capturing everything, and with this keyboard there’s none of those pencramps.

More coffee, need to wake, not sure why it takes so long this morning– I watch a cartoon with Jack and think of how old I’ve grown, 35, but writing faster than any teenager or college student or grad student, at least I’m faster than Mike Madigan in those days, stages.  Keep taking notes, I tell myself– stay studious, and compile, put to standalone.  Then print.

Coffee in kitchen, there for me, waking me up.  Ugh, just thinking about the day I stress.  But order myself to stop.  IT’s not to be taken seriously.  Any of IT.

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Read a page of the novel, actually got onto page 4.  Here with medium Sumatra and blueberry muffin.  5:09PM.  First 1A class went well, quite well.  This entire day has been DOMINATED by my attitude.  And 12 hours from now, I’ll still be running.  I want to fit in 8 miles, like my wife does.  But how do I do that in the bloody dark?  OH,  I know.. go down to Farmers by way of Montgomery and turn left, then up Hoen, then run up Yulupa, then do a lap around that lake with the mean goose, or swam.  Whatever that thing is, it’s mean.  White, angelic and pristine-looking but a winged bastard that THING is.  Love moments like this, alone to thoughts, meditation, collection and Self-gather.  First bite of muffin, and I see that this is nowhere close to what I should be eating, any kind of marathon diet.  Foolish of me to buy it, I know but here I am enjoying it immensely.  Two instructors in the mailroom, can’t tell if they’re full-time or adjunct, but they’re bitching about everything, everything, students and textbooks and lessons and lecturing and students that don’t show even the ones that do and do well.  Sick of listening to them, trying to drown them out with my own thinking, but I can’t.  Shit I’m in trouble.  One of the also adjuncts at SSU.  Lucky bitch, I think.  Why is she complaining?  I can’t assignments there anymore, and I taught there quite a bit.  4 sections of 101 in 2008.  FOUR!  And now nothing.  She said that she has health benefits through SSU as well, now I really want to know why she’s complaining.  Then she expresses something with which I identify: “Next semester I’m only doing two classes, four is just too much.” Does she have another job, I wonder, outside of teaching?  Who knows.  But the principle thought reaches me.  I agree.  Can’t wait for next term.  And what my life yields, what the readings and writings do– the students–  Now another teachers enters, one of the first two leaves.  Now they talk about which texts to select for 1A.  Think they’re both full-timers, and they know everything, I mean listen to how they talk, talk, “…then we went to another text, not page-turning, but…” the redhead said.  Ugh, go to your stupid office, I’m trying to work!

Next up, the 6PM. My favorite of all the sections this semester, as you know.  This coffee, life-saving.  Now one of the full-timers leave and another walks in.  I think they both left, ‘cause I hear no conversation– oh now I do.  Why can’t I get quiet.  If I were a FT-er I’d just slither to my cozy hole.  But no.  I let the coffee speak to me in its black soft palate tongue; coaxing, woven, colorful, mentoring.  I’m being advised by this moment, here in the building of “my” department.  But they don’t care about the adjuncts, trust me.  After applying to that FT post earlier this year, the chair sent me an email thanking me for applying (what the fuck?) and that I’m valued as a colleague.  Okay, yeah, I feel valued, is that what you want to hear?  I supposed but incommodes me most is the expectedness of us, the adjuncts.  “Oh they’ll always be there,” I’m sure they think, or something like that.  But I’m moving on– and how they are convinced they know what strong writing is, and how to write, and what students should say; “No, you want to say this,” or, “It’d be better if you said…” What?  What ever happened to student empowerment, I mean student advocacy, encouraging them to develop their own voice and venom?  Now the coffee’s singing to me.  Glad this is only my second of day.  Yeah, can you believe that?

Former adjunct, ‘AMI’, says hello, greets me, asks me how Jackie is.  She’s always been sweet, and since going FT she’s proven to still be one of us, understand our scowl.  She asks me what I’m reading, I slightly fib and tell her The New Yorker, that I’m more interested in the smaller standalone pieces, the 300-400-500 word pieces.  Which is all true, but I’m not consistent.  Hence, ‘slight‘ fib.  The last issue of the NYT I bought, I barely read a 17th of it, I told her, and I remarked how guilty I felt, still do.  My lie in my disclosure:  I’m not fucking consistent!  This has to change.  So when back from my run tomorrow morning, I write I read I edit I be the Literary me.  5:33– how did that happen?  My coffee?  …  Wow, I drank that fast.  Oh well.  Don’t think I’ll finish this muffin which is fine, don’t want to ruin dinner.  Looking forward to a cherry 7UP.  Okay, details useless, thank Mike…

File cabinets, pictured on the wall, back issue of lit mags and recorded lectures…  This room is so boring.  I’d rather be at the winery, frankly, writing on their dime, observing the reactions to wine and what my coworkers say to people.  “Welcome,” they always say.  I hate that.  “Welcome.” Yuck.  Why can’t you just say ‘hello’ or ‘hi, how are you?’ I blame my captiousness with writing, words, language, so there I have many faults, one being I’m a red faultfinder.  5:38, off to class.  Going to dump the rest of this coffee.  12 hours from now I’ll be done with my run, writing I hope, or reading, don’t think I’ll be editing the novel, but who knows.  The sun will just be coming up.  A stealth run, dark, can’t wait.  26.1 doesn’t scare me at all, not even with minuscule might.  Re-focus, re-gather…

Maybe I shouldn’t spill this out.  I’m feeling a little tired.  Oh no!  Not now, not before the last class!  What do I do?  A mint!  Yeah, one of those mints.  That fresh sense will shake me, hopefully.

7:52PM.  And the day over.  Finally.  Just came here to the conference room to edit the day’s 3 pages.  99 more to go.  So when day 100’s over, I’ll have a book.  No read-through, just put it out there, like jazz.  Can’t wait to be home with Alice, and my little boy.  Tomorrow, the run, the winery, 3 pages somehow.  Should say it like that.  I’ll do it, no problem.  And if I don’t so it after the run, I’ll write from the Kenwood lot.  I’ll win either way.

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Day 1 of 3pages/day, done.  Now I leave for SRJC.  Don’t want to teach more.  Want to be with my boy, little Kerouac.  So cute this morning, my little Artist, asleep on our bed, clasped to his blankets.  And when he woke, stretches and sentences.  Next semester: less work, more papa; more of my greatest source of Life and understanding, my little “Jackie Boy”, as my dad calls him.

Still no rain.  Where the hell is it?  Running early tomorrow, early, beginning my 26.1 training.  And I’m not consulting any online schedules.  I’m self-published so I’m doing it mySELF.  Over 2,000 words and feeling a little overconfident.  I love it.  I win.


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No wine tonight.  Aiming to wake early tomorrow to read more of the novel and write in journal, experience the early hours with rabid indulgence.  And keep my books flying from my thinkings like a virulent pulse, never halting for anyone or anything.  Had a conversation with a coworker the other day, talking about how we’d be on our last day, and so many are having their last days, moving on.  Why not me?  If I put my faith in education to get me out, I’ll be there for ever.  And teaching high school, I don’t see myself happy doing that, especially with this most recent rejection of academia, the current-day student habits.  I keep writing, hoping something will land, or explode, or that metaphor of throwing mud or something at a wall, “something has to stick” I think it goes.  But I could be wrong.  On my last day at the winery, I’ll be silent, write everything down before I go.. have either the end or beginning of a book, a novel of course.  Or a memoir.  I don’t know.  But something.

I want to drive across the country.  By myself.  Take notes of all people, gas stations, hotels and motels, meals and wines and form that into a manuscript somehow.  I don’t want to have a “bucket list”.  I want to have a target list, and just take what I want, attack the target and have definitiveness within days.  So first target: The Road.  Second: my second novel, getting more into the character of Mike Massamen, but this time with “the nucleus” as he puts it, taking about Art, living Art, and seeing everything as material, paying more attention to the motions of his son and the little guy’s character development; putting words together, the new sentences (nearly two or three everyday), and his total lack of stress or over-concern.  Mike wishes he could be more like his son, in everything from daily habits to running to writing, obviously.  Speaking of running, I’m registering for the Santa Cruz 26.1 at some point this week.  Again today I associated half-marathons with works that aren’t book-length.  Can’t remember what I was doing when I made this connection, but I–  Now I remember!  I was at the doctor’s with Jack and Alice, listening to the doctor make funny sounds to Jack, and my little boy laughing, joking back at the doc.  They’re half-efforts, only half notable, any run shorter than  a 26.1.  I want to write novels, BOOKS, not chapbooks or newsletters or literary magazines.  NOVELS.  Meaty manuscripts that feel heavy when lifted, and demand investment from the reader, in terms of time, to get through.  My books will be challenges and rewarding, mostly for me but hopefully my readers as well.

Tomorrow morning, I want my mind wandering, roaming and acting oddly.  I think of Dav when he used to talk about waking early to get the right light for his shots, and how the light makes everything, and that harsh A.M. sun that takes so much discipline to go meet is more rewarding that most moments, to an Artist.  The Artist HAS to be extreme.  So on my last day at the winery, I’ll be extreme in my silence, scribbling, and people around me, all my coworkers, will be thinking something to the presumption of, “Why is he so quiet today?  Isn’t he happy he’s leaving?” Or simply, “What’s Mikey’s problem?” If only they knew.  You’d probably expect me to get drunker than drunk, be dismissive and confrontational with management.  Well, I don’t need wine to do that, have that mentality, and I don’t want to give Them or anyone the glory of seeing me that way.  And that day, my glorious last, will be here before anyone expects.  And I’m not counting on this indentured adjunct life to shape and shift the ingredients so such is possible.

Over a thousand for day.  And I won’t have the papers graded before the 24 is up.  But no matter.  I’ll grade some of those in the morning also.  Here, and in the loaner the car shop offers me.  Yes, again taking the Passat in.  That goddamn car…  But it’s old, and I drive it a lot to Mendo, so…  This is all an expedition.  A mental hike, or climb if you will.  Looking around, at mountains, and the clouds that compete with the peaks.  I stay in my tent that’s only inches from a fatal fall, but I don’t let it rattle me at all.  There’s a cold quiet here that doesn’t need to be captured but felt–  Sorry.  Looking at a picture of Everest, or one of the peaks around it, on the Nat Geo site, and it reminds me of how much I need to see, still, and what I’d write if I were on such a mission, up those slopes and mountains, and camping by that jagged rock, and the clouds that quickly change shape and fly against my cheek at certain points and turns in their lives.

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Like this new idea of a newsletter I have this morning, after talking to Katie last night about sitting in on a tasting at St Fran with her wine blogger and journalist friends.  “In a perfect world,” Dad asked me that night at Monti’s, “writing or teaching?” Writing, obviously, and he then suggested, if I didn’t already write this, that I find some fun new spin on wine and write about it.  So here I go.  $50/year for subscription.  That could work, but I need to balance images and copy.. and I need to be on the lookout for stories, wines, everywhere…  Can’t wait till this fucking semester’s over.

9:21AM– time to go in.  Start looking for stories and images and anything as soon as you walk out this Passat.  Drink lots of coffee, LOTS, and keep scribbling…

8:58AM, 11/10/14.  Jackie staying home today, and me with my last day off for a while, till the semester’s over actually, I finish the grading today, giving self 10-2PM to get every last article marked.  Hopefully fit in a run today at some point.  When do I fit in writing?  Concentrated, valuable, useful, explosive writing…  Not sure.  Will be on campus, in office, in that adjunct cell grading.  Need quiet and focus, the linear.  One month from today, the Mendo teaching assignments will be done, thankfully.  SRJC the next week, in one day, Monday the 15th.  I just sneezed, and Jackie said, lifting his head from one of his truck convoys, “You timeout!” I laugh, but sadden when I wonder how many of those cute babyish phrases do I have left, before he forms into a cogent and maturely lucid Human Being?

And in the adjunct cell, SRJC.  Ten papers down, a whole stack to go.  Sounds silly, I know, but this is the part of the teaching I absolutely deplore.. the grading, the poor writing, and the utter disinterest on some students’ parts.  But there’s nothing I can do but keep grading and be honest.

All that’s on my mind at the moment, really, is getting out of the winery with this newsletter idea, attending one of those tastings my sister mentioned the other night.  And taking more pictures like I did the other morning up the street at Matanzas.  Another instructor here with me, down the hall, the former dept chair, obviously a FT-er.  Didn’t say hi, didn’t greet or even look my way.  And that’s fine, that just proves my point about all this in education.  Proud of my wife for making it work for her, she knows what she wants and has all but universally acquired it.  I don’t have her patience or professionalism.  I’m a writer, a beat one at that, and know only what I don’t know and try to write it, to wine and the vineyards in their Fall attire, set my mind afire.

Set a 24-hour timer, counting down, on my phone.  This stack will be graded before it sounds.. so I have to grade a little every hour, some more than others.. a paper here, there, ten here, fifteen, then back to one or two a sitting.  “Swiss cheese it” like Dad’s always said.  The semester over one month from today, and that’s how I’m looking at it– when Mendo’s done, it’s all done, and I’ll be sane again.

Doing touch-and-go’s on the newsletter.  I want it out, NOW.  No excess editing and no being delicate.  I don’t have time for that.  And this is the Kerouac about my mentality that hasn’t left since I started studying him and lecturing on him this semester.  Going to grade one papers, hold on…

Graded two.  Ugh, ready to leave.  Hate this office coffin.  Feels so medicinal and clerical.  12:17PM, do I leave now?  Switch locations or go back home?  This IS my day off, so what do I do, reader?  I hear doors closing outside, in one of these halls.  Hungry.  Could use a nap.  And another coffee.  I’m a mess.  I thought days off were supposed to be relaxing, healing, enjoyable.  I blame these papers and the assignments I’ve assumed, why did I do this to myself– don’t fret, writer, you only have 30 more days, one more paper to grade before the finals land.  Keep writing, I tell myself, or go to the book store– NO!  No more books.  Maybe I should stop by Schwab, deposit more money into the house account.  Still shocked how well that meeting went the other day with Kevin.  No going to overthink it, just move on and keep saving money.  Only buy regular coffees if anything, if you go to Starbucks or the campus cafés.

Thought about grading another paper, but no.  Trying to write, in my head, how I want the rest of the day to go– well, no spending money, that’s the first statute.  Then.. a run at some point.  Ms. Alice logged herself five lovely miles this morning.  And that’s about it, I guess…  How about this newsletter, I need a template, a design, one simple but not too much so, so what then– how about.. let me investigate….  Because I’m working with a budget of ZERO dollars, I’ll just use one of the templates that came with this laptop.. and if that doesn’t work, then I’ll have to learn graphic design on my own, and play with pagination with the WP program.  I’ll charge $50 for a year’s subscription to my letter–  I’ll “review” 3 wines every issue.  Already have three for this first letter, so not to worry.

12:39PM, and I think I’ve reached my tolerance with this hole.  Trying to make Art form it, this swiveling chair in this room which has a continuing hum of a vent, just to my right and up above the other desk, in the corner.  But if I leave, what will I do?  I know, go to the running store, look around, that’ll motivate you for a run today.  OR, go to the bookstore, don’t buy just look around, right?  22hrs and 30min left on ticker.  Okay, one more paper then I’ll go.

Done.  One paper graded.  And I leave.

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