Posts Tagged With: Art

novel excerpt (no edits…)

…a Tolstoy book and a toy and book for little Kerouac when he returns from his grandparents’ base in Monterey.. wish I was down there with him, looking at the ocean and smelling the swarm of invisible salt marks, like little periods or colon dots or the dot of a semi-colon, meant for contact and some sensory reaction– notes.  Notes of what would, would I see with little Jack and what I’d note, what new dialogue would he throw to my page.  I’m poised to pen only novels, or memoirs, or books.. full books, poems only at end if any– yes there’ll be some, as I always see myself of the problematic form and genre.  And this sight evolution newest of Mike Massamen as well endorses an emboldened sounding of song in how I consider the words to use, what people need to hear from me and what’s the most ME of it all.  This nook, my home sight, like the library of SRJC, that forth floor distance of my conference room on floor 2.  And in this nook I wish for some weather pattern like the other day; thunder and those flashes along 12 and obviously the rain, that humidity that greeted me on my 6.2.  Would love to experience even more forceful fronts, in the Midwest or South, funnel clouds from a distance meant for observation for writers like me, and just the experience if for some reason I forgot my pen, pad at the hotel.  Clouds, always changing shapes and characters, just meant to stare at– why try to make sense of them or define them or say “hey that one looks like a…”.  Let the cloud express itself, its voice and recite its verses in whatever form it wields.

Getting a bit tired.  Should I take a nap or a shower, hope it wakes me.  Maybe I should change my identity, assume some pen name like ‘John Taylor’, or ‘Carl Taylor’ (my fictive character from grad school fiction seminar with Professor Gutierrez).  Or Will Barron.  The name of a high school friend but I don’t think he’ll mind if I use his name to excite and change the Literary Shape of my fiction, would he?  How would he know?  I don’t remember Will being that big a read so I don’t think it’ll be problematic in any way.  But I don’t favor falsities, of course.  I prefer Truth.  Even and especially the kind that would put me way of harm or risk or scrutiny– that could, would, help market the book, right?  Listen to me, “market”.  Sick.  I’m infected by all this time in the wine world, all the meetings and sales pitch–

Ending my book with questions, not answers.  I hate the concept of closure and I shouldn’t have to conform to any modern reader expectation– the people that read vampire books and checkout line novels and the ones who have subscriptions to tabloids and gossip blogs.  Not me.  So one question, “What do I do next?” Otro: “What does my character do next?” Et un troisiéme: “When will I be free?”

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Roll Time Bark

After rain there’s more of everything–
More air more smell more rich sweet–
The branches and natural grass , color and
Walk of
Soil and jazz– work won’t bother me cuz
It’s all accented for me and the pages–
Painting, expression. Rocks enjoy their
new layer; 9/27/14–

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Wise, Collect

Rain.  Wet outside.  And I’m off to the clock, the wage cage, the task tavern, or whatever other nametag I want to attach.  Rain means no outside lunch which means no benches on Warm Springs, and I’m definitely not eating or writing or grading in that goddamn breakroom, so to the park, in car, work.  Jackie with his waffle and cartoon, me eager to do something out of character, something bizarrely scholarly, defiant, like Mary in ‘Garden of N. American Martyrs’.  Sipping coffee, but slow, you know that, and the writings compile.  I did print 2 articles before leaving the library last night, one on Postmodernism and the other on Tolstoy, his fiction style and the notion of Art in it, I think it’s called ‘Art Inoculation’ or something near.  Jackie doesn’t like that I’m writing right now, so I hold till after I leave him with Merryhill.  No writing on estate.. Kenwood lot, maybe with one of those breakfast burritos and a sparkling water.  Not in the mood for coffee, oddly, but it’s not so much an oddity as it be a boon: out of character, CHANGE.

note: write out lectures–

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5:07PM, on the fourth floor, in a removed corner.  I can hear two people talking, joking and laughing and it’s odd, uncomfortable and annoying, I want to ask them to be quiet but I don’t want to walk away with them talking about me and me hearing it.  How annoying would that be.  Interested in checking out some Tolstoy, but I want to research him first, print a couple Literary articles, do some research and get to know the man before I read his work, and many of his works are mammoth, and I’m not just talking about War & Peace.  Another short coffee.  Haven’t had a single mocha all day and my stomach loves me for it.. was looking through old entries before tending to the day’s contributions, and I notice the energy I had in Spring of this year, probably ‘cause I was only teaching two classes, and Dav sat in on one of them, the whole semester for support.  He didn’t have to, but he did, even having breakfast with me that last day at the Omelette Express on RR Square.  My Life: I keep thinking of this, how I want it read and studied and perceived and talked about– and how I want my son to read it when he’s on campus (hopefully not here, hopefully right to the university from high school, and he will, he’s smarter than me.. not at his mother’s level of general prolific acuity, but close, loomingly near).  The people talk louder, “this…is…a…hint,” the man says, laughing at his own words then tearing a page from his notebook it sounds like, or maybe that was the woman with whom he’s seated.  He’s showing off, it’s clear, and he’s older; maybe he’s single and wants a date or just wants company, some ear that will let the words rest upon like these Tolstoy books on that thin black aluminum or metal or tin shelf.

Serial novelist.  “There’s no such thing,” I remember Scotty saying one time, and Glenn just agreeing.  How can that be?  And if there isn’t okay.  Maybe I’ll be the first one.  Just write novels, or memoirs, or books that hopefully make a point.  Worrying or obsessing or preoccupying or distracting myself from the novel with these short pieces or flash standalones is novel death, Lit seppuku.  And what am I thinking about this so druggily for?  I was nearly talking to my Self while crossing the street between Emeritus and the Doyle Library.  I love this seat, no one can see me, probably only the laptop on this oval knee-high (while I’m seated) table.  Now he talks about abortion and the moral hurts therein.  Who is this guy?  Maybe he’s a professor.  Of what?  Philosophy?  Sociology?  What?  Bio?  I need to slow down.  Think I’m typing too fast.  But the novel’s due soon, this Monday.. kind of exciting, the deadline, a self-printed novel, 308 pages of Mike Massamen’s story; adjunct, father and husband, wine person sometimes, questioner, wandered, fool, runner, and whatever else I want to credit myself with.  That’s the joy of writing, and writing FICTION!  All mine, and however I want.  I should have made myself a pilot like Dad, or winemaker like Katie, or doctor like that girl I met at the winery, the one who had a beer with us that one time, in town with her other doctor friend.. and they looked so young.  And they’re doctors.  What have I done?  Who have I helped?  Where do these pages go?

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excerpt… (novel)

Me, post-shift:  Tired but ready for dinner at Girl & The Fig.  Never been there before.  And I’ll be in writing mode, even though it’s ‘date nigt’ with Ms. Alice.  Done from day, tired and embittered even more, and frustrated with large groups.  Yes, I’m essentially the only one handling such, but today’s irked me in a stacked sense that cranked my tense, from present to past and future and tangled.  MY language blended and this is the exhaustion and the Racer 5 very much in speech reach.  Little Kerouac with his grandparents, so Alice and I have brackets, breaths, momentary collection lulls.  I’ll open a wine when back home, and Alice more than likely will rest after her 11 mile run.  ELEVEN MILES.  How does Mrs. Massamen do such?  Why can’t I?  Well, like she said, “You just do it.” Agreed.  Like with this novel.  And how the IPA tries to slow me but I keep with types.. my Beat.  And the grading, addressed tonight as well.  Just ten items.  That’s it.  Think I’m having lunch with D—– tomorrow, so no Lit Lunch and no markings on papers.  Rough draft session on Monday– coincidence, my novel’s draft is due a week from Monday, if I’m to be a serious Self-publisher.  So old entries addressed tonight.  Gary, the Literary friend at work, whom I found has an ABD PhD, brought me gifts: two MSS from Amy Hempel, a writer known for her short-shorts.  I’m reading through them now, and love her richly tinted brevity.. some of her sentences wouldn’t even make “sense” to the mainstream reader, and who cares.  She’s SHE, herSelf.  And I love it.  When supervisors talk, and yell, and lecture, I just want to smile, and not walk away, but smile in their face, show them They don’t affect me at all, their hollow, jokes, jesters, special needs characters– not apt to play my chess game.  And that’s just how I reacted today, with one of them; older than me, not as quick, certainly not as apt in any appropriate Road, and just a burro.  Look at you, sad.. go, gallop that way, ass…

7:34.  We should get going soon!  Our reser’ is soon, 8:15.  Alice is tired…

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novel excerpt (no edits…)

“No, I’m good with these,” the first option, “thanks.” I went to the first isle open, the only one open actually, and I was behind a women with probably fifty items, most food, cheap sweet and rich, high in everything bad and unhealthy for a Human, with her kids, much of it for them, “poison” I thought.  Another employee, older lady, probably early 50s, saw me behind the woman with an inventory of her own, decided to open register 1.  I flew, checked out, total $1.09, left, walking with clothespins in their original plastic wrapping, no company bag, to Los Tres.  I walked in, placed order with the man, ordered beer, then a younger girl came to ring it in, completely confused, asking me to repeat, asking me if I ordered the combo, and if I was sure I ordered carne asada for both Alice’s tacos and my burrito.  Once that was settled, I enjoyed my beer, 24oz, Lagunitas IPA as they were out of Racer 5, for the first time.  I watched the three men at the bar watch the football game.. Tampa at ATL.  Can’t remember who won or who was winning but one of the men had a Raider’s jersey on.  I sipped, took my notes, watched people come in, ask to be seated, arrive late looking for their party, the employees scramble, orders taken, calls, the ‘ready bell’ ringing at that high counter marking the border of kitchen and floor.  Interesting place, Los Tres, and it makes me want to travel to Mexico, any part, like Dean and Sal.

Today there was a loud man in the TR from New Orleans, with his wife and son and daughter-in-law.  He was loud, cocky and eager to let everyone know he was there and what he thought of the wine he was sipping and that he had some expensive shirt on.  I laughed.  He saw.  Said, “Hey there, Bob, why don’t you come join the party?” Bob? I though.  What?  How did he think I had that name, Bob?  “Well I can’t see what your name tag says but I see it’s a short name…” he said.  I was still confused.  Bob?  Do I look like a Bob, I thought.  I just watched him, a show, a loud flabby display of contaminated circulation and filter void.  I still laughed and was still amused.

Then there was another guy with his girlfriend, from some part of NY, that just had to have the remainder of the tab, and even $100, put on some AMEX giftcard.  IT wouldn;t go through, for some reason.  He called, we tried again, nothing.  He insisted.  He waited.  Again and again, and repeat the whole…  Finally connection, coherence, agreement, he smiles, and leaves.  Then we smile.  That’s what we needed.  Him gone!  And I was more than relieved.  It was coming to a place where I couldn’t even look at him.  Why the giftcard?  Just use your bloody credit card, a real credit card, one that won’t struggle with low limits and drive us crazy.. just leave!

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A productive day.  Finished the short short, about the man fishing, and the letter to Dav.  Going to mail it to him, no email.  And the novel, more than contributed to today, so I get to write freely in my journal here in the SRJC library.  Not in my usual room, as that’s taken by a student from the Spring ’14 term, one who didn’t perform well, frankly.  We waved with eyes contacted and that was that.  A student in the morning section, Mendo, said she read some of the bottledaux blog, that she found the reading.. I don’t know.. readable.  Don’t want to say she liked it, as I can’t say with all honesty she did, but she did read, and that I appreciate, glowingly.. made my day to be honest.  The unexpectedness of it all.

One more class to go, then home.  The caffeine, wearing, dissipating.  I sip one of those sparkling berry juices Alice bought me.  Helps with hydration but not with motivation or motion.  So I feel lubricious, precarious, fickle.. and whatever other like-word you want to attach.  Have to print the letter to Dav and the draft of the fisherman short.  Yes, I’ll be sending that to him to see what he thinks.  I should probably publish it in ‘whoso’ as well as send it to a flash publication, or have Mom read it, as she is a lovely reader; honest, kind, supportive, THERE.

Students talking, left, twenty yards.  I love it.  It doesn’t annoy me at all really.  The library is like a church for me, a place of admiration, searching and sanity; safety, sanctuary.  Feel like ditching class, isn’t that funny.  And I would if I didn’t like the 6PM section so intensely.  Wonder what my batting average is for the day.  Haven’t logged my stats, yet.  The other day I was at .700-something.  One of my strongest performance in recent chapters.  And I know I can’t have days like that everyday.  And I don’t want to.  That’s not balance, that’s the leveling death that strips the skip of excitement and fervor.

Oh Mendo…  What do I do with you?  So far away but so beautiful.  A lover, stranger, marauder, magnet for my manuscripts.  But it does take time, interfere technically.  This morning for example: I realized that if there was no Mendo I could have played with little Kerouac, brought him to Merryhill at a decent time then come home to write for at least 4 [FOUR!!!] hours if I wished, prepped AND gone to class.  No, though.  There’s the drive, the coffee I have to get prior, the prep when there, lecturing, walking, the office hour no one attends (except for today I had my first visitor, one from the 11AM group), and the walk back to my car, which always takes a couple takes to relocate.

A critical article tonight, I mean FOR tonight, the 6PM-ers.  On the short story, its form and philosophy.. I’ll locate one right after printing the pieces I just emailed myself.  Will drop them in the mail before going home, in the mailbox by the Chinese restaurant.  Haven’t eaten there in a while.. hmm…  Sound good now.  Dinner?  The hunger on these teaching days is nearly more than I can take at my age, especially now with how much I run.  Think I’ve lost a bit, pound wise.  Tomorrow I’m set for 6.2, a light 10K.  Friday I might do Lawndale, take Sat off then do five on Sunday.  Plan?  I’ll see.

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excerpt (novel, no edits…)

Today should be quite light though as we transition into T. Wolff and his short stories, examining the form of the short story– and I thought again, and even more intently walking in this morning, across that Mendo parking lot that reminds me of Bend, Or and Sunriver for some reason, that I need to make the writing work, pay for me, itself, get me out of the winery and even the classroom.. teaching 4 classes this term was a mistake, noted and known, now, but it contributes to character, mine, and is showing me attributes I didn’t know I had at this age, or before, at any.  It would be a rational and logical question for a student to challenge me: “If you know so much about writing and novels and short stories and Literature in general then why don’t you write for a living, why don’t you do it?  Why AREN’T you DOING it?” What would I say?  Hope I never get that question.  Not until I am making most of my wages by page’s way.  Then okay.  Planning this morning’s session, and the rest of the day– short stories, the vignettes, submitting.. I do want to publish/”sell” shorter works.  But the time while finishing this novel, the time.. and the commute up here.  Challenges.  Just have to write the shorts like I do the novel: rushed and without stopping.  Not “spontaneous” prose like Kerouac, put panicked paragraphs, rushed writing, speeded scribbles.. delicacy: no time for that, and I wouldn’t make time even if I did.  When it’s rushed it’s more truthful, more real, more luminary.

Got the media key for this campus, so I can use the tech in the classroom.  But I just want to stay here and write, finish this book and one or two standalone shorts– after classes.  I’ll go to the breakroom and ignore everyone that comes in, especially that moody adjunct I saw the other day.  8:50– have to be in room soon, be ahead of the students.. the drive, the sun, the overcast, the coffee, this office, the drive back, my lunch in the fridge here…  Too much almost.  A good excuse for calling in tomorrow, to the winery?  No don’t.  I need to see those grapes.  And I need to check on my Grenache.  Getting distracted now by my own ideas, everything, and Life, and Time– hell with it, I’m just going to live just as all my Artist friends do, inside and out the nucleus.  Was just re-reading Dav’s letter, his last.  I’ll respond today, write from the lunch room here, and inform him of my story and how goes it.  And confess my obsession recent with journalism and journalistic writing styles.. and how I can barely read his handwriting.  Much I love the man, I struggle with his scribbles, especially when his sitting is draped in a hangover.

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excerpt (novel, no edits…)

..this 3-shot — I mean 4 shot mocha.  Simple lesson plan for today: reactions to end of JK’s book, groups, rubric discussion and disclosure and see what they’re compelled to write and why.  I will be quite surprised if there’s anyone stuck as all I’ve been throwing at them are possible directions for longert writing assignments, notably the formal paper (first of term).  Going to make some adjustments to the syllabus.. ONE, six short reactions rather than eight, and one of the longer papers will be a creative writing section.. due at the beginning of November sometime.  Want this all to be clear to them, and that’s one element of my teaching “philosophy” I find helpful to me and quite unique: full disclosure of everything ahead.. no surprised– well, there’ll be the occasional challenge in class of course, during discussion but nothing that will hinder progress or performance.

Not sure I need coffee now.  I’m typing with a severe speed.  Slept quite well last night but I still feel the 7.5 miles about my structure.  That’s healthy, but slowing.  Slow, can’t afford to move slow, not if I’m to finish this novel in time, or if I’m to get out of the wage cage that is the fucking winery.  I still think winemaking is something for me.  A writing topic more than likely.  The coworker, Gary, one with Literary loves and tendencies, pitched me several items yesterday, points of investigation: David Eggers Lit Mag and an author, Lydia Davis, whom I’ve never read but her style of shorter works and paragraphs and vignettes he said, Gary, would be something I might enjoy.  Need to spend more time with him.. he also shared a story, I guess that he read on Egger’s magazine’s website or something, that a teacher would leave comments on papers he graded– in Samuel Beckett quotes.  What an idea!  That sent me spiraling in entertainment and ways of making grading not so painful!  I found one by Oscar Wilde, a quote that I think I might use on certain papers, then another by Emerson, then by Poe, then Shakespeare– whom I’m not the biggest lover of.

An idea for a Literary Mag yesterday, after talking with Gary, one of my own: ‘whoso’.. a delightful dumpingground of thoughts, dreams, verses and stories.  I wanted to have it be formally wine themed but then decided against that, for obvious reasons.  If I write about wine, then I do.  And if not, then bloody hell with it.  And… started it, the Lit Mag.  Only letting the first issue be twelve pages, that’s it.  Run: 30 copies.. THAT’S IT!  On what?  Everything.  I want it to be fully Literary, reactionary, CRAZY..

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7:10AM. — “Apple”

Coffee, at home, finally.  And now I have to put myself into some character that’ll push the story forward with a vicious drive and skiing impulse.  Not bringing laptop with me to work, not today, only pen and paper so I can really capture with journalistic believability.  I don’t say ‘integrity’ because it’s more than that, and that word has that clinical taste I hate in words.  Jackie stretches next me, plays with his toys, asks questions, then re-examines the object, turns and asks it differently.  I don’t have enough coffee in this house to keep with his speed.

Need to finish the vignette I started the other day, about the fisherman–  I’ll target that later.  So maybe I will take the laptop with me to the estate.  No, I need to travel light, just note ideas in the little red book and make sure I transfer them later, that’s always been a challenge as you know, and I well do know such about my writing habits.  Now I see what my writing friend meant about it being a pain– I mean, I understood before but for some reason thinking about it right here in the couch with this coffee it poignantly punches and forces a cocoon of realization around me.  Letters, it was her letters that she had trouble finding time to translate or transfer onto the word doc.  She’s a flight attendant, remember, so that’s more than an empathizing call.

Lately I’ve been missing Santa Barbara; the beach of course but the views and sounds and the balmy sweetness of everything around you; you always hear the ocean, some volume and chord set of it.  Nothing like that here.  It’s always a vineyard, always the 12 traffic, and always a sign directing you somewhere– to buy something.  Sick, maddening…  I look at pictures and just imagine, imagine an overnight, writing as I did the night before my cousin’s wedding, with his army of structure-shaking friends too close by.

120-something words in the short short about the man finishing– I mean FISHING.  And I need to get money on the way to work as run after work and…  Always something to do.  How ‘bout I aim for an early early early rise tomorrow morning.  To write and nothing else– where’s the Comp Book?  I need to log what I’ve done so far this morning.  That’s 62 words put into ‘Gone Fishing Last’, the current “working” title for the piece.  Writing that in Comp Book– since it’s like baseball stats, this new list, I’ll log a I go alone, as I get hits, SB’s, RBI’s, and the occasional SO, know my current AVG.  And the lore’d HR!  This all of course motivated and compelled by the Kerouac quote that one student shared, animating Kerouac’s obsession with how much he writes and turning it, his practice, into a sort of game and performance he could track his trounces.

Cup two.  Letting it cool down a bit.  Now on the floor with Jack as he eats his waffle.  It’s clear he loves Saturdays, the respite after the long week– no rush no time no stress.  Lovely for him, love seeing him so relaxed and paced as he likes.  I envy him, I do, and I can only wish of having a day off today, and today would be the day to do it, hot as it’s promised to be.


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