Alarming Harming

4:59am.  Tempted to go back to sleep, but I won’t let Self.  Not after watching that Hemingway documentary last night, learning he woke every morning, or many mornings, 5am, to write.  “The writing came first,” one of his sons said.  Now, in that famous downstairs dark, hearing only my key taps, the humming refrigerator.  The urge to let mySelf fall asleep, nearly overpowering.  But I’ll type through it.  Or try.

Today, another on a clock.  Still quite worried that my hours will be peeled away slightly when the slow season hits.  There’s never been a time where my own books sales were more necessary than now.  After these thousand journaled words, to book I shall book.

Want to check bank balance, but I’ll wait.  Yesterday’s budget, $20, not entirely eaten.  Pleased, indeed.  The surplus, to my publishing budget.  First run, 20 copies.  $5/copy budget.  Sell each for an even $10.  So, it’s literally taking a single dollar, watching it turn into TWO.  Just the way to avoid being the starving artist.  Certainly can’t afford that.  ‘Cause if I starve, my family will as well.  And that I won’t allow.

The fridge, now mute.  When did that happen?

Today, write poems to survive.  Try to limit fiction in the tasting Room, unless something momentously moves you.  Another element to last night’s Hemingway piece I enjoyed: the element of travel, how what he saw on the Road, or from the air, moved him to a new manuscript.  Like when he saw Kilimanjaro from the plane, while injured from.. can’t remember.  But I thought that was intriguing, how just a brief glimpse, of something so distant, pushed him to pen.

Tasting Room.. one of my stages.  One I’m hoping to see fade, gently.  I adore the experiences there, all the characters, but it’s time for me to write about it, only.  Have the stories, those dialogue clusters, streams, floods, find their way to profitable page..

“So how does this work?” so many say, landing at the bar with their elbows on that dark granite, looking down at the menu as if they’re imitating a microscope’s hunching.  I’ve always wanted to respond, “Well.. how do you THINK this ‘works’?” Do they know where they are, what we do here?  And if not, is the menu, its tasting options exceedingly complex, indecipherable?

Another flash of fiction I’ve always seen marketable, and I’ve said this a poll of times, often letting it dampen my pages: how they react to wine; how it make some act so ridiculous in the obscure words they try so sickeningly to summon.. “This has a little hint of pine.. or a resin-y sense to that.. do you get that with this one?” a man, local, threw at me.  Just the other day, in fact.  “A little, maybe, I guess.. yeah,” I said, close to 5pm.  Tired, annoyed, surrendering to shift, with what remained of the writer.

But these quirky interchanges are no match for the material I’m now finding in the classRoom.  No match at all.  Like with that one English 5 student, our meeting after class yesterday, inspiring me to be more creative with MY journal, my lectures, textual reactions.  [Heater coming on]  It used to be the complete opposite, I’d write, in my whiny adjunct days; 2010-2008, a little ’07.  Now, I’m winning my grading wars, with my new rubrics.. grading a little everyday, finding new ways to patch– or more so sauté my writings with lectures, lessons.  And, or, vice versa.  Especially now that Mr. Poe’s taken stage.  Much the reason I want only poetry in my little notebook, today, while in that room.  Yes, the tasting ‘room’ loses its capital’d character.  And it’ll be this way, I’m convinced, till I’m done.  At 34, I’m deciding what the rest of my performance presents, performs.  What it will yield, and ultimately leave on existence.  A wine sage?  Is there even such a role for Humans?  And if there was, would I EVER aim for that over anything Literary, Artistic?

C’mon, reader…  You know me far better than such, to aspire something so asinine, empty.

Can’t wait for ‘Cask of Amontillado’.  Read Montresor’s trapping of his former friend, or passing companion.  These wine-elevated jabber-jaws.. so antagonizing to me, the writer.  Both pro and con.  Either way, it’ll be written.  So that’s always ‘pro’.

5:32am.  Total silence down here.  Mindful again, not to hit these keys with ape strength, waking little Kerouac, if he’s not already up.  Heard him upstairs on monitor, making his little sounds, clearing his throat as the last steps of whatever bug he had leave his little ship.

Take to work: bag.. four items to grade [two 1A papers, two ‘5’ responses], newJournal.  Oh, and some pens.  Don’t eat at lunch break, but DO eat long enough before Lawndale run that you won’t be slowed.  What if I was to leave now, run on this cold, dark, voided Yulupa/Bennett Valley street maze.  Obviously I’m not going to, leaving this cozy sitting.. but what if I did?  What would I hear, see, write in head?  The only 5am run I’ve done brought me only two characters, that I can remember: one biking, just down the street, the other, a woman, maybe a little older than me, jogging towards Montgomery.

Still quiet.  The fridge, not talking.  Maybe it wants me to get some sleep.  But how much can I get?  It’s 5:40am.  Jack’s waking “zone,” as I call it, opens at 6.  Sleep, at this point, utterly senseless–  There it goes, running in its wire-y hum.  Sounds like a 1920s car.. to me.  I don’t know…  OH, and bring one printed piece from 1st chapbook.  Just found what I’m bringing.. a 2page journal entry.

Tired, now.  Maybe I will get a little nap in.  If I can– NO!

What are you talking about?  You’re surrendering after all the progress you’ve made, so early?


Good, then keep writing!


5:45am.  Want to get onto 2nd page of short piece I started night before last.  One of the characters, named Jack.  Having a discussion with another character, Mike, about wine.  Need to have the conversation go somewhere unexpected, interesting.  But it’s wine.. how “interesting” or deep can it get?

The other morning, beginning of the week, ran into Nate, an old friend.  He asked how the teaching was going, I told him “wonderfully.. best semester ever.” He praised my zappy verbage, saying “good for you man, that’s where the passion is.” Haven’t let his words go, since.  He’s right.  And that evermore encapsulates me into what I’m doing for the rest of my Life.  Yes, writing.. but also teaching.. writing everything I’ll teach, as I did with last night’s Poe lecture.

For record: I love my post at the Estate, what I do there, aside from it being overwhelmingly sightly, scenic.  But I’m at a crossroad, -roads.  I’m behaving different, as I notice my Self change.  This very session, for example: this is what SERIOUS writers do.  Like Mr. Hemingway.

One day I’ll be studied.

One day I’ll be remembered.

One day





5:53am.  Now what do I do?  Oh yes.. to my short story.  Oh the journal jumper…