Posts Tagged With: Journal

DAY 29: Tuesday 12/10/14

I should feel different this morning.  More excited or relieved or something, that this is the last Mendo day, the last drive up here, ever, ever…  But I’m laced in angst and anxiety, stressed– why?  What the hell is with me this morning?  Maybe it’s the 4-shot mocha, haven’t had one of those in some time.  And I feel like I failed with this Mendo assignment, in some regards.  But then I think I’m being too hard on myself so I don’t know, I don’t know.  But I’m here, on my last day, just stuffed the Dav letter and 500-word piece in an envelope I stole from the supply cabinet in the breakroom, or LUNCHROOM, as that one sourpussed adjunct snarled at me at the beginning of the term, the transaction going “Do you mind if I eat this here?” I said, referring to my salad — “It’s the lunchroom,” the twit replied.  I’d be miserable as well if this were my base as an part-time community college instructor.  Yes, I’m done.  On so many levels I don’t have time to produce a list.  Roll sheets printed, going to offer one last word of the day for the students, well as a quote, and I’m done.  When at SRJC I should have at least 2 hours of writing time.  There, today and tonight, I just plan on checking rough drafts, sticking around for 1-on-1’s if they want, then adjourning.  Semester done– so why am I in this misty swirl of an ebb and character pulse?  Need to do my budget, for ‘Mp’ and family and house savings.  Leaving me close to nothing.  But that’s fine, I don’t need anything other than books, pen and paper.  And in this new year I’m using this goddamn thing a lot less.  Writing, writing…  In fact, tomorrow at Palooza, in my loft office, writing will be doted in the parameters of the Comp Book.  Was thinking of something now I lost it– oh yes, the Comp Book.. where the hell is it?  There, found it, buried in bag.  Budget started, already I’m thinned.  Caffeine wearing, and I won’t drag as I did the other day, Monday, morning after Dad’s party, no not today.  I’m raising my mood and I should I’m free, free from this commute and this campus and the lack of centrality and now I have more time for me, ME, time to write and run and be with little Kerouac, my ever-artisanal son!

Need a quote for the day, but by whom?  Or FROM whom…  On way back, I’ll get a picture of that one vineyard in Hopland that I always glared at carefully driving south.  Think my phone’s charged, but if not I’ll charge my camera battery in the classroom, use that rather.  So quiet down here, this bottom floor, no one else.  No full-timers, or those constant adjuncts, nothing, just me and these words.. happenstance?  Who knows, but I’ll take it.  Ride home, already looking forward to it, or the ride to SRJC I mean, hours of writing on the Kerouac floor and I don’t care if students are around me I’ll stay there anyway, observe, immerse myself evermore in studentdom.  And the mood comes back–  What is going on with me, the entanglement, the roar of dull waves in an inner oceanic tilt.  I’ll write my way through it.  Asking myself the expected and trite hallmark card-ish question: “What did I learn from this assignment, up here in Mendo, from taking it to following through with it?” Hard to write, but not to take too much to the plate, and that all ends, anything that disgruntles you will eventually be extinguished.  And my expressive senses stand more solidified on this December 10th.  And here I am, realizing I never have to come here again, ever, if I don’t want to.  And that’s one thing adjuncts don’t realize, much of the power is with us, what we say ‘yes’ to and what we refuse.  We have the druthers, just as much as them.  True, they decide if we become full-time, but if I don’t want to take your dismal developmental section and whatever o’clock I don’t have to, and there’s nothing they can do.  Well, they could not hire me back for next semester, but I’ll live, I’ll always live, and as I said on Monday my focus is Life, MY Life and my family’s.  I’m a writer and I’ll write it all out, write myself away from commutes and campuses like this.  Up term’s close, I victor.  Now, for that quote…

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1NOV, another thought.

Something I have to follow, but what?  Find something to follow, today, something, and not yourself as a story, you’ve been doing that too long.  Jeff, the Palooza owner, certainly a candidate, but consider something else.. like what?  UGH.  Maybe.. a winemaker.  Yes.  My sister.  But could I be impartial?  Sure I could.  We’ve always had a bit of a rivalry.  Friendly, yes, but it’s there.  Some don’t want to talk about it, but it’s in the pool, in the air, on all columns of any building we’re concurrently in.  That’s what makes Katie, my sister, such an Artist.  Not just the brilliant wine she produces, but her undervoiced competitive voraciousness.  As far as I gather, she’s untouched and unreachable in a flurry of regards.  She, my little baby sister, a candidate.

I have to be interested in someone to follow them, and I mean much more than interested like I find something, a story, interesting, or some coincidence slightly capturing.  I need to be short of enamored, or taken.  I’ll be looking today, looking everywhere.  And for lunch…?

IDEA: stop at St. Francis, buy some of Katie’s bottles, but it’s hard to tell which are truly hers.. I’ll do some investigation or ask gentle questions, they’ll never know what I’m doing.  They’ll just think, “oh how cute, Mike’s here tasting, asking questions about his sister..” Or just, “Oh it’s Mike Madigan.” I prefer latter.

6:46AM, what a morning.  This HST interview is fascinating, and motivating.  I love his statement: “This was my ticket to ride, my ticket to get out of that damn place.” How I feel with the winery and adjuncting.  And I will get out.  I’ll show that mammering horn-beast full-timer at Mendocino what’s in my pen.  Again I’ll say, what a morning.  So awake that I’m alarmed, really.  I’ve pleasantly alerted myself and no I’m not just rambling at the moment even though it may seem like that’s what I’m doing okay maybe a little bit– the day, not even open, book unread.  No sign of sun.  Fall, confusing everyone, everything.  No birds yet.  Alice’s alarm goes, time for her early run as she said.  Good for her.  She deserves her sprints around Bennett Valley, whatever time she chooses.  She’s a hard worker, educator, obsessed nearly.  She needs her time, my wife, a break indeed.

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6:23am and in

a fanged mood already.  You know why, you know and you know me and you know it would fracture my mood, either slightly or significantly, that review.  Mendo.  I’ll specify, why not, what do I have to lose at this point.  Downstairs in dark, mouth dry from the Zin last night and ales that encircled.  A problem with my writing that can’t be overlooked, lashings from a full-timer, a teacher, how much a writer be he I wonder.  If any point to be remembered or relished in this transaction it’s this: the writing has to happen NOW.  No more of this delay and play with certain methods and recipes or tricks– it has to be this.  And, as my wife said quite starkly last night after Mom and Dad left, “so who cares?” She’s right.  I’m not teaching there next semester or ever a-bloody-gain and it’s Mendocino…  Mendocino College.  In Ukiah.  Ukiah.  Where’s that?  I’m a writer, my own Beat has been carved at this old age 35 and I’m not budging or compromising.  My teaching’s fine, okay, but my writing cited?  I can only laugh, in the dark here with this Sahara tongue.  Water, that Perrier that Alice bought, wonderful– I’m sharpened and I have to be and with thicker skin like Kerouac with people reviewing his words his books and sharings.  I guess why I’m bothered is ‘cause I’m tired at this age; tired of being reviewed and approved and applying and the back-and-forth and the commuting and the trying.  “So stop it, stop it all,” a voice says, probably one of my characters from the novel, either Glenn or Dav, or Crystal the winemaker.  And like my sister once told me, “if you second-guess yourself you’ll never make wine.” Or never write which is what I was drawn, my character, Mike Madigan, to do.  Would I want to be him, I ask myself, the full-timer that gave the review, be a full-time English teacher at a removed and obscure college that’s known for…?  No.  Now, if this review came from SSU, or SRJC, or even Napa when I taught there, I’d have reason to be even more hungover than I am, but this is silly–  I would deplore that role and reality, a teacher there.  “That’s where I teach,” I can’t hear myself say.  “I write, I self-published a novel and am selling it.. I wrote it how I write not how I think it’d sell, or it should be written.” There I am, me… And then further into this dream I add, “And I lead a fiction seminar at Stanford.” Ha ha, I reel to myself.  I know what I want and this, that school, isn’t part of it.  So he can sip his self-indulgent defamation and entitled mumbles up there in the mountains, on that campus that barely outsizes this condo complex.

Tried going back to sleep but couldn’t.  Yesterday, more than crazy at winery.  More of that crazy you’d expect from a rainy day where the only alternative’s to taste inside.  Wrote down one line, from a guest, not sure where he was from and I overheard him say this to Gary who was pouring right next to me at day’s end, for a little over and hour and a half: “Old vine Zins always taste too incense-y to me.” Funny thing, I somewhat agree with him and understand his idea, so what did I write it down?  I’ve never heard it put that way with those words before– well that and I didn’t write anything the whole shift into my little pages so I thought I should scribble something.  I poured my people the ’11 Cab and turned around, brandished the little pages and used the back bar for support.

Wonder what Mr. Dav is doing.  Still haven’t sent him that letter.  I’ll print it tomorrow at Mendo and send it from SRJC’s base.  Keep typing, I tell myself down here, keep typing.  6:45, and I hear Jackie upstairs, coughing a little and saying something to Alice who’s probably only wanting to sleep, poor thing.  Going up to rescue her and him and further distract myself this morning.  That review of my teaching or writing, now far past my care, gone into some sewer of dismissed ideas where it certainly belongs.  And when we meeting, this reviewer and I, I’ll be silent, no comments, I won’t waste my words or respiration or time.  I’ll just nod and tune out and leave.  And, frankly, I have to get to SRJC so he only has so much time anyway.  As much as I permit and budget.

Jack and I now, on the couch, Alice sleeping upstairs.  I’ll make sure she rests till 8.  She told me that he was kicking and nudging her all night, my poor wife.  I’m sipping the only k-cup I had left.  Well, I have those decaf doses but those are worthless at this hour, or any hour other than those close to bed.  This coffee bouncing in my rhythms, just what I needed.

I just looked at the evaluation again and it’s just plainly droll, dull, and just what I wanted now that I see my students highly approve of my performance, in fact he himself even noted that my student evals are “exceptional”, and that most obviously means more to a writer like me than what some full-timer documents from having to.  My students’ approval has value.  His thoughts are just part of a machine, a track, an intoxicant that he’ll probably read to himself and show off to the other FT-er hogs.  “Look what I did…” Pig.

Miss the rain.  Want it to come back and I want my little boy’s cold or sniffle set or whatever afflicts him to just bloody fly away.  Now he plays on the ground with a small colony of coins he took from me; everything, pennies nickels dimes even quarters.  He won’t give them back, “My money!” he reminds me.  This is what matters, him, my little Artists, and my students; that they’re pleased with my lessons and the ideas that I offer.

I need more coffee and more time to write, prep for tomorrow.  I know how tomorrow will be approached, just how, Mendo will be conducted slightly differently, meaning I will have my students there enjoy their session with even thicker pleasure entanglements both in idea and expression and the reading– and with Hemingway on the platter now.. we have only the fruitful ahead of us.  I’ll wake tomorrow morning, I’m hoping, when my mother-in-law does, before 5.  I’ve always admired that about her.  I’ll try to run tonight, just five miles, which means NO tasting today.  Nothing.  I’ll let the guests tell me how it tastes and what characters and notes they encounter in the wine.

Jackie continues to throw two footballs at me, one small, which he calls the baby, and the other which is ‘dada’.  He laughs and stresses about nothing, bothered by nothing, just enjoys his morning around me while I type and record whatever I can to make myself feel like a writer.  When Alice wakes I’ll go get us coffees and then come back to shower.  I’m realizing that the music in my life is everywhere and that’s where the truth and gems are.  Not in the routine and the documented and the official.

IDEA: write a short piece, three pages, and distribute to SRJC colleagues.. no selling, just promo, sharing, for Art’s love, Life– and I know what to do, what to write, about what.. that eval from that gudgeon full-timer only convinced me that I’m a writer, one who will by the pen his way, and won’t be in the adjunct role or anything stricture-bound or pinned by any document.  I’m on and in my own Beat.  No more being beaten.

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Blueish

2,395 words so far today written.  Wrote Dav, wrote my daily 500-word standalone.. feeling like a professional writer, whatever that means– well, one that can actually live from their craft.  Hungry, will eat the PBJ I made for myself this morning.  And when at SRJC, another black coffee– no mocha.. save for publishing and Jackie’s college and vacation with Alice and our next dinner date.

Two more quick meetings when in SR.  Want the students to arrive next meeting with strong drafts for this Wolff paper.  I’m hoping they surprise themselves and me as well.  I’m trying to hold onto faith in the American Scholar, but it’s been hard this semester.

1:10, time to go.  Can’t wait for my Road snacks, and the jazz, and the additional writing I’ll have done on campus, at my base campus, the mainland!  Joy!  Missing my little boy, though.. trying to work and write and drive through it.

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I should just

start an adjunct log, for other adjuncts– start a real movement, maybe I’ll then get “picked up”.  Yeah?  Or just detail my details of my barely detailed day.  Right now, I’m in the cell, the shared office they let us adjuncts use.  How generous.  And yes, I wonder what it’s like to have one of those rooms, those offices to myself.  But I’ll just keep thinking.  Had to take a break from a stack of papers ’cause the writing hurt me so horribly– ears eyes mind and stomach.  But I can’t blame the students for the ill-prescriptions of high school.  And I won’t let this cage, this cell, this shared office I’m in drive me any madder.  We adjuncts forage, but only from letting them, letting them do this to us, and letting US do this to us.  What if I said ‘no more’, that I would only write about the adjunct life, that I don’t want to do it anymore and that I want to write about it to be a voice for us, the ones who aren’t complacent and distant and self-anointed in our cozy little corners, decorated to expose our biases and agendas and be a selfish advertisement; and so many of them are like that– when you’re full-time you sigh, you exhale and you lay down, relax, and if students don’t like your ways and methods and ideas (if they offer any innovative ones, anymore in their career, or even teach, speak with sincerity and connection), then who cares.  You’re full-time.  And if you’re tenured, then fuck the world!  What can it do?  You could light the quad on fire and they can barely engage you in discussion or ask why you did it.  I have too much shape and color for such a fluff cloud.  I’ll stay an adjunct FOR the adjuncts.  For my students.  And if I’m ever full-time, then I’ll still work for them; offer to be voice for them, for us, even if I’m one, technically, of THEM.

(10/13/14)

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Parked

Here at winery and ready somewhat– just from a haircut and with this weather all I want to do is relax before the run tomorrow. Pace self, stress about nothing, nothing– and laugh at those taking any of this seriously. Watch how I react to–

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10/1/14 journal excerpt…

Taking my time with the Spring ’14 adds to the novel.  Don’t want to rush anything.  classes this morning.. eh.  Not as lively as I would have hoped.  Just ran into the FT-er that’ll be evaluating me.  He’s teaching 8 classes this term after picking up some sections from another FT-er who went out on disability.  EIGHT.  Would I rather do that kind of load or work in the industry longer?  Eh…

My mind is blocking me from whoso, and I don’t know why, it’s only letting me write freely in this journal.– Tried working on the lit mag of mine, but am having spacing issues with the computer.  I hate technology.  Why do I want to do this stupid lit mag anyway, why not stick to novels, I mean that’s what I really want to write anyway, I want to be known as a novelist, one with novelizing ideas and notions and entertainments.  My story, someone just wanting to teach, talk about literature, write about it– the classroom, the students of course, and all involved.. but right now this fucking device is holding me back.. I have to calm, and I need more coffee, I’ll pick some up on the way to campus.  Let me try and fool with this program again…  Okay I think I fixed it, I think, now I need to contribute more material.. and I need to release it, sell for $5 a pop, 20pp.  That’s fair, right?  I should contact my writing friend, Amber, as she said in one of her flawlessly sword-sharp letters that she had material to contribute.. now no more second-guessing Self, Mike!  Just write and release!  Took some notes in class for a piece for whoso, but I haven’t decided what to do with it yet.  12:55, I’ll give mySelf a couple more minutes to write.  15 total.  Obviously no students will be coming to this office hour, which saddens me– one thing, or aspect that separates me as a teacher is that I’m ALWAYS here, and always in constant communication with them, or I try.

1:07, leaving in 3.. have to stop by the mail room really quick, and I mean quick.. need to get on the Road, get something in my stomach and head to base campus, or ‘the mainland’ as I used to call it.  The drive this morning, still thinking about it– the lack of light then sudden sun voice.  And the jazz and how it paired with the luminosity of those earliest hours.. A colleague just printed the SSU cred info after I asked her a question about teaching at the high school level with a master’s.. she mentioned subbing and that’s she done that, and the record you can build by doing so, just as Alice did at the grammar school level.  I see my plan thickening, and intensifying in order and voice.  All will soon change for me, my topic: teaching, and how I develop the story and let myself develop with it.

EIGHT classes–  I wouldn’t survive, or maybe I would.  I’ve done seven before, in Fall 2007.. what’s one more?

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9/11/14.

And before you ask, yes I remember where I was.  But where I am now, watching a Mickey Mouse show with little Kerouac.  Ms. Alice timed perfectly this morning so I could get our coffees ahead of schedule, so I’m properly caffeinated, ready for day for the most part.  And it happened again last night/early this morning: that inner narrative, about the winery and the wine industry and what my functionality is in IT.  Posted to teaching blog, and I will do nothing during today’s lunch but work.  I’ll eat what Alice packed for me before my scheduled time.  And I’ll write for the novel, bring ‘Road’ with me as well as my teaching Comp Book.  Wish I were in the library.  Wonder what it’s like in there in early morning hours opposed to my usual visits, P.M.

7:42AM.  Should leave in less than ten.  See how Jackie feels about that…  “Jackie we have to go soon,” I said.

“No, five minutes.” He threw back.

Still some coffee left.  Have to start my word count log, the newest that is.  Well as my running log (written).  Don’t want to rely on some device, and that’s not writing, I want all written, ALL.  Just remembered, though, it’s set to be hot today, brutally so, possibly with three digits.  IF that’s the case, then my writing in the park plans may be perished.

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from journal

9/6/14–  Up and I feel better than yester’ that’s for sure.  I’m moving faster as I type and I’m engaging with little Jack.  Could use more sleep but I can only wish so much.  Hoping today isn’t too crazy, I really don’t need that.    Having trouble thinking with Jackie’s cartoon on, but I smile, as he’s more content that I usually am.  The wine from yesterday, not moving me in any way and I wanted it to so badly, for the short stories or vignettes or scenes I have envisioned for Crystal’s character.  The tasting yesterday morning put me in such mood, tasting 12 wines before 10:30, although I didn’t let one touch my tongue or lips or “palate”.  Need a sip of coffee, and stay on my inked toes with observations today; group yesterday, 4, two from NC and the other from New Orleans–  NO!  One couple from GA and the other from ‘Orleans.  So nice, so eager to not so much learn as experience.  And that’s all it should be about, experience.  I guess, if I heard right, the wines we were tasting were pulled to pour for some bigshot critic or something– people were calling him ‘a writer’ to which I just laughed and how can I not if he’s only known for listing descriptors about wine and assigning some insignificantly subjective score.  Makes my head hurt so I stop with the entertainment..

Giving the park another try today, so I’ll eat before going.  I’ll walk away from the bench with one standalone, a piece of micro-fiction, something to toss into a literary magazine somewhere or maybe use for the novel, for my character who has a fascination with the short story and perhaps playing the short story circuit but only wants to be a novelist, or write books, full-length books, ones to be read and reacted to and held, he wants people to hold them and think “I can’t wait to get home and read this.” That park, just what writers use to pull themselves from some lull, or any stall.

Haven’t touched the old entries yet.  And that has to stop.  Have to charge this laptop so I have enough bite to follow through with ideas during those 30 minutes…

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Nothing slipshod. All measured. Take lunch early. Flex your pages’ intensity and gibbosity. I don’t care what I encounter today, how lovely or writhen, I will write it down. I’m a journalist, a spy dans ce jour… and always. New journalism, all panegyric toward what surrounds me. The park on Warm Springs, my meditation plank. I feel rident this morning, renewed. I’m close to the Road… Less than 48 hours near. The campus in my vision:
Monday–
What if I had nothing? What would you do? How would you make this class your own? Would you have statements, questions? Would you introduce yourself to the characters/colleagues around you?
Write your initial reactions– and only offer sentences that antagonize reaction, discussion– stay composed…

(8/16/14)

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