Posts Tagged With: Philosophy

8/25/14: 2

Between 1A’s. So far today I give myself an A-/B+. Why? I think I could have been a little more inventive with the morning sessions in how I brought them to life. The first 1A, just ended, easily my strongest performance of the day. Again, this could be my starvation talking, but I’m rather level, surprisingly, I think. I sip a mocha, two shot, small, from the … café on campus. Had to switch seats, where I was my screen was visible with passers from two entrances. Now, my back to a bookshelf. I will see an invader from this perch. And at home tonight, relax. I have to take time for me, little Jack, Ms. Alice. Would love to go for a 3 miler tomorrow morning. I could knock that out easily in less that 30, so why not.
Another criticism of my performance today is how much I’m carrying around. I need to be lighter. And, technically, I’m not supposed to be carrying this laptop from the condo (my rule, right after turning 35.. not sure I said so or wrote so in such specific words but the idea was definitely delivered). I had papers handed in today, the first wave, shorter reactions, of the semester. So that made my bag of more gravity and strain on my scribbling skeleton. I’ll grade one from each class tonight, so 4 total. and that’s it. Oh how I can’t wait to be home.. sip a little sparkling and ease into the couch.. not sure I’ll write tonight but I will get those four papers graded, just to tell Self I started. So what.. now… 5:20 on clock. I have to be more religious, if that’s the word I want to apply–don’t know but it’s what comes to mind– about transferring all the classnotes that I don’t type, from the Comp Book. Like, “What does it mean from something to be ‘composed?’, I asked the morning sessions, as the course title is something like Reading and Composition, or College Composition. Interesting, feel like ‘Composition’ is a word so loosely thrown around in college, like everyone has the same meaning and there’s no ambiguity. If that’s so, then why is there ever disparity with grading, or group grading, or rubric. Why does there need to be rubric panels, isn’t there a ‘One Way’? Again the hunger talks louder than me. Sip… Look left, down, behind me, under a desk, Computer atop, and there’s a box of books, and the box is an old Lagunitas IPA box, for I believe a 24 pack. That sounds good, too. I need time to live, not write, not teach or pour wine, just live, enjoy a day with Jack and Alice– which I believe comes this coming Monday with Labor Day. Oui oui! Just what the Mike Madigan of New needs!
6PM section next. Thus far, they’ve been very lively, easy and conversational. I feel like we’re on the same vessel; at the end of the day, tired, hungry, wanting to see family so let’s make quick use of time and avoid difficulty, have all be oceanic in rhythm.

detail: adjunct in mail room battling copy machine, seems that thing always breaks down and at the most horrible of times right before something’s due or some crucial lecture has to be given, “Shit!” I just heard her say, now she slams compartments on its surface and sides and interior, “Goddamnit…” she said, slamming something and walking away– I don’t blame her. “This is so ridiculous.” And just when she thinks she fixed the problem or the machine’s on her side it turns. Horror for her and gem for my fiction, my journal, I win.

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12:23; In the new classroom, here in Mendocino.  Already hot outside, and was forced from my quiet spot in the café, if that’s what it’s called, by students eating, laughing, talking, high volume.  It’s fine, I’m new.. already making dent in the syllabus draft.  Tonight I’ll be planning everything out.. was given a very easy-rhythm’d and informative tour by a lady, Mary, from the Office of Instr.  Making a checklist of things to do, get done before the 18th.. have to hand office hours form into HR, then finish work on syllabus– oh, get course catalogue and sched from bookstore.  Ran into fellow adjunct, or former adj’ I should say, Ginnie, who’s now FT here at MC.  Need to tighten my practices in teaching, writing, get free from where I am when not in classroom.  Through much of my checklist.  The drive up here, filling me with ideas for the semester.  I can only win with these classes, and what I’m planning to write, what I’m planning to share with the students.  I’m not going to force mySelf to finish the syllabus here, now, in this room.  I simply wanted a healthy jump, which I do indeed now have.  I can only win.

Write.  Everything.  Down.  Everything.  Even the slightest most seemingly minute thought while driving– but I can’t write while driving, and I won’t do the voice recording with my phone.  If I remember it when I reach the MC parking lot, the it gets jotted.  But I will leave nothing unscribbled.  Took me just slightly over an hour to get here, from hwy 101, just after the 12 merge.  My first class begins at 9:30, so I’ll leave at 7, precisely.  I have to.  I’ll try and prep as much as I can the prior night, but I will leave earlier than need as 1, I drive slow; 2, I need time to collect Self prior to lecture, and 3, I want to be in the room before the students– that’s always been emphasized, for me as a teacher.

Want to go for a run, but I’m afraid it may already be too hot.  And I have grading to do, for Summer.  Going to be a late night, I think.  Will tell Alice not to wait for her writing husband, as I need this semester to be the one that frees me from the bloody clock.  Was going to stop at SRJC on the way back, but am now thinking that’s not needed.  Love the feel of this room; the smaller gray square desks, the blue thin carpeting with swirling black lines and yellow-green subtle intricacies traversing the black entanglements; higher ceiling, two windows that look out at trees, a quaint courtyard.  And the drive up here, again, not rural but carvingly removed; like I’m in a distant part of one of the 4 corner states.  I only thought on the drive, how I was on MY clock, thinking my thoughts and writing my own story, finally.  Hope hasn’t been restored, it’s been trumped.  I’m free, intrinsically, definitively.  THIS, is Artistry.

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6:49AM, 8/7/14, and I’m already feeling not so much emotional but aware that this is the last session for my strongest ‘100’ session to date, and in the summer no less.  But I have no choice but to move on and I let myself just for a minute think of the dream I had last night about my writer friend and I writing a play together, a play, why a play.  I have no fondness of that expression but I have always thought it’d be a challenge or at that very least an experience.  But no, no plays for this novelist.  Anyway, haven’t heard from her in a while, and why would Mike Massamen be on her mind when she has all this adventuring ahead of her, the mobility, the lessons from it, the flights.

Spoke to Scott the other day and he submitted five pieces of flash fiction to a little-know magazine out of Fairfax, Marin County.  I asked him why flash and he said he just wanted to try it– they were sketches he wrote while at the dentist office, and no not on napkins, which reminds me I need to buy a packet of Whole Foods napkins, case I ever have the urge, I’ll pack them in my teaching bag, just so they’re there.  But anyway, one of his pieces, I think was about where he grew up, Oregon, Bend, and the other were about being a student, running, and building a workbench for his uncle, I think.  Did I leave one out?  I’m just moved by his follow-through.  Why can’t I do that more regularly?  ‘Cause I want to write novels?  That seems self-discriminatory–  Why can’t I piece vignettes or shorts or short-shorts together like he anyone else.  Actually, I think that’s what his first book was, originally, before the pussy pig publisher pushed their talons into its innocent placement.  Why do they do that?  And why don’t more Self-publish?  Why don’t I already?  Have all that money saved and am too afraid to touch it.  But I’m too old for fear, that’s for the high-schoolers, that’s for the Greeks in the college systems, on the campuses, too afraid to take their own positions, hiding in the safety of a three-lettered hut.

Coffee in kitchen, little Kerouac on floor, playing with his vehicles.  I have to change who I am for him.  And the beauty: no compromise, it’s only empowerment; more running, less of what me slows, and there I go, to the best seller’s list, or at least to the Road.  A lady I work with, ‘ML’, has a son that often goes on tour with his punk band.  Last year touring all over Europe and this year doing quite the same.  Punk…  Why can’t a fiction writer/poet?  Not a good question, I’ve asked it too many times before.  Way too many.  And just like that, I again realize time’s insistence.  The semester’s over, and I have to keep walking.

This is just a game, I keep telling myself, not to seriously take or undertake.  The game will continue, onward, diagonally with blurring beauty.

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from today’s efforts, 8/6/14

Love mornings like this.  Where Jack is talkative, unique frequency, an unparalleled motion behind his words.  “Dada, wha’ doing?” he says, then runs to his little table where his trains and trucks and cars are.  Now the guitar.  Much I fear it, he grows; today, back to the preschool, giving them a check; official, he’s in a school, my little boy.  Whichever one of them said I should write about this little Artist more, think it was Glenn, well now I have or better see topics, pages.  He throws the little soccer ball across the room.  His arm more forcible and precise than any other baby or toddler I’ve witnessed.  But I’m biased, incredibly.  Should have Glenn draw him at some point, or all of us, a family portrait, the one that’s a fixed detail in a story; symbol of stability to which a fiction writer can always return if ever in subject drought.  And the illustration’s centered on his impact, this little Jack.  He now sits next to me, watches me write as he often does, throws a couple questions whenever he feels it needed.

In excavating through old writings yesterday, I found a couple entries, or notes, ‘cubeNOTES’ as I labeled them, from when I worked at the wine marketing firm, ‘the box’, being stuck at that cubicle– headset, computer, call list, stapler and notepads, pens, highlighters I never used, hearing others make their calls, brag as they made a sale, another, and I just sat there unable to see the outside world–  I one time talked to Scott about this, told him how that was the worst time in my “professional” life.  He told me, “Great, that’s what you should write.. if it hurt or if it made you made, if it still does, then write it!” I guess he’s right, but I don’t know if I want to immortalize them like that.  But I want to break from those percipiences.  They won’t help now, or I don’t think it will.  Tonight, my second to last class, and I need to shock them somehow, show them something new– as I don’t want to write the same story or entry or poem or anything over and over, same with the lectures.  It need be more Artful, my approach, more diffident, more delicious with my scribbled senses.  And campus is such a provoking place, why don’t I just write there, but outside, at one of those tables just outside the cafeteria, currently closed.  I will.  Always a student there, though, or two, just talking, using valuable writing space for flimsy, broken beaded conversation– who did what, where, what they plan to do or say.  It’s youth, a part I don’t miss.  Like the walk on Del Playa with Alice, seeing all those houses and apartment complexes occupied by students, either from UC or SBCC; all the litter and Charles Shaw bottles on the driveway’s concrete, the walking around, the people just welcoming themselves into your house– privacy’s silly in their world, but in mine it’s become more a fueling tornado of necessity– I’ll still in its desolation or arrest.  So if there’s a student, even one, at the caf’ tables, I’ll relocate.  And I’ll scribble in the notebook as to be a student again at least in some line or three.  Just what rolled into my head and vision and fantasizing wheels while walking the UCSB campus; we tried to get into the Humanities building and the bookstore but it was Sunday, everything shut down, resting like the DP & IV residents from the night before.  As Jack watches his train show, I think of the day, the weekend in SB, and what I want from this semester; what narratives I can spin and how separatist I can be and push myself through narration– the end goal, freedom from work, the wine industry, live by my pen and only what I put on page.

The library on campus, not pleased with the summer hours.  Inconvenient for students, and leaves me with no sanctuary, yes I could write in the adjunct cell, but the utter lack of exterior connection lately has left me feeling suffocated and blank.

Finishing a paper I started a couple nights ago, on transitions, and how they impact a paper.  Went upstairs to print it, but it sounded formulaic, so I tossed it.  Why did I do that?  I printed it again, and I’ll share it with the ‘100’ class, see what they have to say.  I’ll also print that poem I wrote the other day when the power went out.  Print print print!  Submit submit “SUBMIT!” I order myself, watching Jack sit with crossed legs on the carpet, watching every move Thomas makes on the tracks.  Just keep printing.  These screens aren’t pages.  Submit everything as Glenn said, everything.. there’s a home for everything.  And I agree.  I text Glenn, typing “Thanks buddy”.

“?” he answered.

“For the writing advice.  Didn’t know painters could help us!  Ha ha..”

“No prob. and yeah, ha ha”.


9:33PM.  After 8.01 miles, the last “regular” class, and observations on campus, I’m ready for the rest of the wine I opened last night.  Is this planned, momentary, whim’d or pre-destined, I don’t know, but there’s a peculiar synergy to everything today; Jack with his first day of preschool, or a preview at least where Alice and I observed, then right after I run in the ridiculously early and equally as offensive heat; a nap short after, more reading of Kerouac’s letters [which reminds me I need to write my writer friend, Amber, see how her wine and blogging session went this evening], an email from Mendo assuring that my texts, all of them, were approved.  Couldn’t be more pleased with this chapter, but I need to finish my short, still, the one I started the other day–  AND, I have to go the Santa Barbara notes, STILL.  Why won’t I just review them already?  Can already feel the red cartwheeling and circling and divebombing my veins.  The message of the day, quite clear: I’m in control.  Running into one of the SRJC football players, Jonny, who’s also one of the stockers at the winery, garnished my day’s progression with a whispering lament, not sure how to describe it, but watching them, his team, exercise and play their game while I was walking back to my car just after showing the ‘100’ colony a piece of ‘Secret Window’, made me think of my baseball days, and what competitive sport brings– the healthier compounds; just what I need to push into my paged efforts.  Read a poem in class tonight, titled “8/6 Sonnet”, I think.  Not much reaction from students, but I read it.  As a standalone.  So I win.

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Tomorrow, Santa Barbara.  And I may have an opportunity at Sonoma State.  Not sure yet.  Will send my materials by way of email, tomorrow, before I leave, while Alice is on her run.  My first Kerouac book came in the mail today, a collection of his letters.  Didn’t know I bought a used book, once in a library, somewhere, can’t remember where.  I will write the whole time in SB, if not tangibly then mentally.  Bringing my Lagunitas Ale into living room with me; not breaking law of no drinking, anything, on the new couch.  Promised Ms. Alice and I will obey…  The ocean, the sand, that view from our Room down there, just waiting for me.  What can I do but be patient.  I hate that.  HATE it.  The power went out on campus today, interrupting a poetry writing activity, right after we began.  I urged the students to write through it, and they did, after two, both vets, walked around the building, outside, to make sure all was okay– their impulse, prompted by a rumble, heard by everyone in class.  But we wrote on, past it.  It was interesting.

I try to relax, but I stress thinking about the fact I only have, basically– no, less than– 48 hours in SB.  I shouldn’t do that.  Why am  I doing that?  Just enjoy.  Have a run, get one page into the book, and enjoy.  And just because you’re not physically writing doesn’t mean you’re NOT writing.  You are.  Living IS writing, I tell myself.  And my writer friends would agree.  Should sent one of them a note tonight.  I will.  But I doubt she’ll return.  She’s free, flying, a flight attendant, attending flights and her flights attend to her, her pages, her vignettes as she recently told me she’s scribbling.

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Sipping Pinot, the one my friend Ed gave me a couple years ago, or maybe early ’13.  Not sure.  It’s a Pinot; earthy, light fruit, a tad vegetal.  But with a refinement I haven’t encountered before.  9:33p, and little Kerouac very much in his little dreams.  Takeout from up the street, Legends, and I elected my usual, the mushroom/swiss burger with fries.  Not the best pairing with the burger, but that wasn’t my aim, anyway.  And now, I’m truly tired, ready for bed, but I want to research the authors I’ll be using for Fall.. no time.  Can only think, and as I research Kerouac, watch that Big Sur movie, over and over, I understand that the best act I can tell is inaction, just taking it all into character.  So I will, without over-thought.

Tomorrow, I hope something interesting happens, anything, some story, some development.  I don’t know.. I just want something, for the story, so I can be with them.. Scott, Glenn, Bob, Crystal, Dav…  But I can only hope, write, write while I hope and hope while writing.. somewhat deconstructive and destructive.  But that’s Art, strange, and liquified, the more Pinot I sip.  Ed, once a clock-puncher now a wine-wielder.  How?  And why can’t I transcend and time-bend?  I’m not with talent like he.. and he has strategy.  I’m just a fucking writer…

Alice’s shows violate my auditory, like bees, or something that stings, sneaking through screens.  I’m hurt, disrupted, I hate the TV, and anything on it, except for Nat Geo docs.  I can’t wait for my marathon, Santa Cruz, May 2015.

And the Pinot’s gone, thank the good of ness.  What if I could sneak in 3 miles tomorrow morning, or even 2?  I’ll see, and then have more coffee.  And if those devils are reading this, they’re probably laughing, or scratching their heads, ‘cause Literature, true Writing, hurts, as it makes them think, and thinking isn’t for everyone, especially Them.


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Belling Ruins, 1

Track, leading me to

a question den–

that’s okay, Ithink, otherwise I won’t have

even a slice of solution–

but I have to work, sell, not

think for myself–

thoughts = contraband


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And to Mendocino I went today.  Wrote about the heat in my new notebook, the one I took from the SRJC Eng Dept copy room.  It was so intense I was nearly convinced, thoroughly, that I was going to get sick on the ride home.  But on notes more uplifting, I only have official transcripts to send them, then I actually exist, or am “a real person” as the HR lady, Nicole, put it.  I did place a tentative book order, though, and did settle on the books just disclosed in a recent entry: Feast, Road, Wolff’s stories, and Me Talk Pretty by Sedaris…  Being on the Road today, as I was when commuting to Solano in Fall ’10 brought back not just memories but values, a world view I haven’t had since before Jack came into my play.  And all in a positive way.  The drive north, to Ukiah, taking a little over an hour at my slow speed, giving me mountains, a little river peek, vineyards, clouds, intense green then the barren…  It’s the Road, or as much as I can experience now.  But I’m doing it again!  I am!  A freeway flyer.  And I used to have the pessimist’s stump in my mental, since I let the wrong people infect me.  But not this time.  I’m in a true 35 Lark, honoring so many of my Laws, my new notes…  And I couldn’t be happier.  Yes, I know it’ll make for days long, so long, torturously.  But I’m set to be more regimented than I’ve ever been.  The days of wine’s world and industry in this writer’s wheeling ward are nearly executed.  Today’s drive made me feel independent…  FREE!  Just what JK would want for me.

Tonight’s session with the ‘100’ section went well, more than “well”.. it was energized, and I know they have to take control of this final assignment in a way they never have with the others, or with anything else they’ve done with other classes.  And that makes me.. I don’t know if “proud” is the word I’d zoom, but something like it, I guess.  Or how about ‘subtly supercilious’?  It made me feel good.  Healthy.  Alive.  And again, after my drives, even more FREE.  Little Kerouac, fell asleep with unusual diplomacy tonight.  Which is wonderful, I want to run tomorrow morning after Ms. Alice.  She registered me for the ‘Healdsburg Half’.  So now there’s no turning back.  Have to get on a training program.   And I love that feeling, the commitment on MY bloody terms.  The sounds this house makes always distract me, and I don’t know why.  I don’t believe in the supernatural anything, but I just get spooked when it’s too quiet.  But then so oddly and contradictorily I only long for quiet, like a couple Saturday nights ago when I was charging at the Reserve Cab, in the kitchen nook–  And I hope I’m awake tomorrow before Alice leaves, when it IS quiet, so I can add to the 40 pages, for the first of the series.. don’t want to call it a ‘penny dreadful’, but something like that, just more substance, more Literary, more hope and Humanness I guess.  And the coffee, that’ll always be in this writer’s morning recipe.


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And I was reminded, again, organically, by my own thought stream, to put everything out there– everything I write.  And I’m 35, the journey should have already catapulted, no?  but I can’t get into that again, that’ll only halt me.  And I’m not a genre fellow, I won’t write something that’ll be so conveniently marketed and categorized on Amazon, or at B&N.  I don’t know what set me on this road, but I’m thinking in dismal droves.  For what?  My Beat, my beat, like I’m an officer on my own streets.  Took my first sip of the ’10 Lancaster Cuvée, and I swear it wants me on the Road, in some hotel, writing, finish or just beginning something.  One of the people I took to the mountaintop today asked me, “So how long have you been working here?” That question I hate.  ONE, why do you care, and, TWO, I’m slightly embarrassed to disclose that two of my life’s 365- blocks have been consumed by that place.  And it’s a celestial spot, really, but the job is what ruins it.  The job.. another fucking job.  Dav showed me this collection of articles today, in a book.  I only had the chance to skim through it but none of the pieces, if I heard Dav right, goes beyond 800 or a thousand words.  And it’s journalism, reporting, accuracy or the hope of.  And my character, and characters, still waiting for their placement.  But the wine motivates, like that tree the other day, the one I saw from the gravel lot.  Still not sure why it folded me as it did, with its everydayness, but it was there, and so was I, and we were meant to see each other as we did– or I was meant to see it.  Right before leaving for class, just before 4:30p, I had a huge sip of the SB, the one from neutral oak, and I looked at the tank room, all that steel, and hoses, and puddles, discolored concrete– purple, red, slight brown or yellow or some shade I can’t parlance in this pulse of prose.  But today it took me, and as I succeeded in my gulp, I saw myself there, another direction, on that walkway above the tanks, looking down, or doing additions from up top, or watching the yeast react, eat what they could, but just watch either way.  OR, I could just stand in there, on the clock, find some hidden corner and just write, no photos, just notes, spy on them– these epoch edgers; what they do, how they talk, how they walk around like all of this is because of them; they’re so elevated and sagacious and sterling with their stenches and barreled tumbles and everything they deem an obscure and intriguing subtlety.  I pull label, and it is, ‘buffoonery’.  Comedy, meant for me, but I’ll still sip, ‘cause that’s the point, correct?  I mean, did I miss something, or am I just off-topic again?  My students need one speaking this frankly, so I completely let go, for the first occasion in 35 years.  So take that, devil.. machine…  And on my run tomorrow morning, I’ll recite this all in head, or what I can remember.  And I could care less if it has a SKU, ever.


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10:31PM.  Now, my Merlot open.  Running tomorrow after Alice returns from her morning jaunt with her sprinting partners.  So renewing to have my little Kerouac back.  The Mendo classes.. planning for them already.  And tomorrow, with the ‘100’ students.. have to throw them for some beneficial spiral.  But what?  I’m thinking…  Something with writing, something with independent research, and something with them seeking an answer.. an ANSWER.  But what.  How do I frame this?  See..  I never give wine this much thought.  And I shouldn’t.  It’s wine.  It’s consumable.  IT, quickly gone, then forgotten.  And then the consumer looks to the next vintage.  And then that’s consumed.

Rain today.  Renewing.  And that smell, with the pavement, like a new season was coming but wasn’t.  I remember standing there, right in front of the doors, with Micah, confused, like I should be writing but not, just experiencing the oddity of this precipitation– new phase, or year, or me, finally free.  Should put Self to bed soon.  But I fall into sleep aware of what I need to do tomorrow morning, before on MY run.  The class, it’s all about the class, the students, and the sections of Fall.  I’m staging my rebellion, and I can only win.  (7/20/14)

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