come back to campus, two thoughts: 1, of a girl’s article I read online about her not being able to afford some page project, so she had to stop it, I thought “Money should never be able to do that to writers or writing, ever! 2, the earliest of hours at which I wake, always different, each day, and how today is most special with my energy and I haven’t even had the first sip from this dinosauric cup. Oh, and 3 was I woke precisely at 4:58. Alarm set for 5:20 but I thought “Fuck it just wake up.” I’ll come back to this office after the 1A.. reading the John Updike article, or interview from the Paris Review, something I’m to show students.
First sip, and I’m off. 6:20-something left to write, minutes and envious seconds. Thought it’d be beneficial to start with a timed sitting, something truly rushed and with time around it like a jazz track– as a writer this is helpful.. you know how long the track’s to last and how much time you have to breathe vs. play. Need a word of the day for students, something to twist their minds and make them think like they haven’t all semester. Dickinson.. some Poe….. Hear someone enter the building. Could be the cleaning guys or the other adjunct with the shared office on the other side of this wall, left. Yes, it has to be as I hear commotion and some unraveling of items, possibly a bag and books and other whatevers he has with him. Now I hear him blow his nose, I’m not alone in this building and I couldn’t care less. I’m on a certain I wouldn’t say mission today just know that I’m intent, intent to get to the Road, to travel and see whatever there is for this writer to see.. but I don’t want to be gone too long, away from Alice and Jack and any baby on his/her way.. no, all has to be balanced there’s just certain things I’m now seeing. And another thing I’m “seeing” is that ‘Forced Avarice’ has to be edited.. no more of this bullshit stall of mine, that I’ve always been doing, that I always find some pretty way to rationalize.
Less that two minutes and I have no time to proof as I go.. time to push into professor mode.. and first thing, roll sheet, call on all of them. Then, the quotes, then words, it’s all about the words.. then.. this Hemingway paper.. talk to them about audience, or remind them.
30 seconds.. then, writing.. just writing.. Creative Writing for these matriculants in their 10th week, I believe.. wow, went fast, I know they’re all thinking. NO. 11TH WEEK!
6:38.. posted lecture to teaching blog and I think I’m ready.. hell, I better be at this point. I have about 12 minutes to write freely. And now that I can I haven’t much to say..
Still need a class, another one rather, for Summer. And of course more for Fall but what if I’m on the Road by then, with these words and all in my writing Life is of the idyllic equanimous nature that I’ve always wished? Still though.. I think. And I write. And I sit here with coffee. This coffee. What do I do with it other than praise it? Kill it of course, sipping… And I find we’re in the 11th week.. 11! Of 19 total counting finals.. again, if there’s no calculation error from me.
6:42.. should go to room, get ready, set up, note any last minute ideas or directions for day.. what Updike said in his interview about teaching, it being a ‘customary alternative’ to writing, a career in writing or whatever still pokes at me. Why can’t we do both, as writers? This is my topic, my character and my story, part of my subject.. interesting, I think and say to myself, that I’m interested in what I was over a decade ago; literature, the journal, stories, poetry, what is written in my pages for whomever to read even if the whomever is me and so what if it is, what if I like my work? Is that wrong?
My reading and writing, forever maddened!
After 1A, the class that I always enjoy, and the adjunct is drained.. enough time to look at some Literature I brought and read and “analyze”, expand upon my plan for 1B–thought about going home but I can’t I have things to write and ideas to trap before they fly away. 1B, only 1 hour 2 minutes.. so what do I add? How about a quote from Plath’s journal? She talks about painters in the first page of entries, after a poem by Louis Macneice.. and I think of Art, and the impression these painters have left on the world– Michelangelo, Picasso..– Students should ask themselves when writing something creative: “What do I want readers to think of me?” And not from a point of vanity or insecurity, but just asking the question, the perception..
And now I feel tired, not committed or something, to the day and the class that’s over three hours from now. Maybe I should go home.. maybe I should take a break. Or maybe I need more coffee.
Ms. Plath talks about people and how she loves them like stamp collectors and their gatherings of stamps. Am I the same way? Or do I detest people a little more the older I get– the other day, in the Safeway parking lot, a woman pushing her child in a stroller and looking into trash cans for recyclables, the toddler looking back and up at her mother doing so. I felt sad and embarrassed for her, then fiery and furious toward her. “How could she let it go that far?” This is unfair I know, but that’s what I felt at the time and I understand it said and still says something quite strong about me as a character and writer and character– two full-timers have a discussion in front of me in this conference room. They talk about tennis, and how the TV does it no justice, “You have no appreciation for how fast it is,” one of them says. He then concedes “I haven’t played in years.” I’ve never had an interest in tennis and I don’t know why I’m listening to this as I am but I am. Nearly 9.. think I should leave soon. Go down to the library and look through someone, some author and his works. Now I think of what Updike said in his interview. I should be free already, much as I write. The full-time post is still a wish, a dream, and I can’t afford that– the wishing and dreaming– at this point in my Life. Especially with the prospect of buying a home… so… I think more. What do I do next? How do I want to be seen and read? What do I want Jackie to see when I come home from a day’s push, some strained and committed effort? A writer or community college English teacher? No. I can hear him saying it now to his friends, or his teacher, in Kindergarten or something: “My Dad’s a writer.”
The adjunct knows he’s thinking too much but he has no choice. The role involves panic, that should be in the job description he thinks. He focuses on the table at which he sits and how much he has to do before the semester finishes. He has to get through the Baldwin collection of essays and writings– “UGH” he thinks, “Does it ever fucking stop?” He plans as much as he can but there’s always something, always something else, always an addition to that ‘else’. And why. A full-timer comes in, gives him a hug, tells him she went to Cuba over Spring Break, then leaves. He wanted to hear more about the travel, have some vicarious turn or lovely taunt. But no she’s gone, Anne-Marie, the one who used to be an adjunct, always says hi to him and always expresses affection and kindness, and curiosity as to how his classes go. And now, he had to go.
Reread everything I wrote. Edited. Then I think of my contempt for the institution and academia, or some facets of it, how the full-timers talk to us and each other, then I think ‘to hell with editing’.. you can’t edit in jazz and I won’t here! Or if I do it will be minimal.