My mood this morning. The cop following me to Starbucks, for whatever reason, maybe he was bored or sad or in a mood like me. Maybe all three. But I need to start the day over and it’s early enough where I can do just that. So… class, going over Ethos, Pathos, Logos.. what role does each play in an argument.. examples.. a bit of discussion, maybe some writing. Wish I would have graded last night but I was in no mood. Had yesterday scored 20-19, day taking it. I was so close, yesterday to having an explosively ME day. But it turned just before I left work, and then continued to plunge till I to bed went. And it was all in my head, another goddamn mood, working as much as I do to the parcels of ambition which plague and taunt me. What I really want— sip coffee… See more of my friends traveling, for work and other — “Of course,” I always say to myself. But maybe I should just get out there and sell these fucking words. Or try… I notice myself shutting down at the thought, even, of having or trying to sell my pages. Then how the hell are you going to be a writer, Mikey? What.. are you just going to let all these pages rot away in your fucking laptop? TOUGHEN UP! So I do.. every word is in inventory.. need to be better about that, too, keeping track of what I write and titling and dating.. treat this like a business.. I’m always saying I want to own my own business and that I don’t want to be a clock cuddler my whole life, that I want to travel and speak and write about my travels and speaking and the whirlwind goes on and on. What if I just stop the whirlwind, this inner-storming and just do IT. The IT Sal and Dean spoke of.. the IT that we all in one form or another crave, need, know we deserve.
6:49, and I think the doldrums dissipate. Good. So, first thing, a new ledger. What I’ll do is go into the mailroom and TAKE another legal pad. Frankly that’s the least this fucking department and school can do for an adjunct, this adjunct, any fucking adjunct. Then, log this work, this sitting, my inaugural yet do-over moments in this adjunct cell. When I’m out speaking at colleges and to students and teachers, one idea I plan on sharing is “They control you if you acknowledge them. Don’t. Acknowledge YOU, first. Then, if you see them as impacting your adjunct life, do. But I recommend don’t. Make it work for YOU.” Something like that. I’m going to be 37 in less than 2 months. THIRTY. SEVEN. FUCK. But, nothing I can do. Except live the life that I’ve always wanted to, the one I saw for myself sitting in Mr. Sullivan’s class, early 1997, seeing Mike Madigan the Writer, English Professor at Stanford, or lecturing on the Road which I now know I more so want. Stanford’s still there on the goal platter, but not the only bite.
More coffee sips… Wish it would stay this quiet in Emeritus. Wish I could have this whole building to myself, all day, no one come in. In fact, shut down the campus, but leave the library open so I can walk around, read and read and record my observations and reaction, be a student, alone, quiet, me here somewhere in a new Now. Can’t wait to see my English 5 students, though, especially two or three which are more serious students than I am an adjunct (which I’m hoping to change starting with this sitting and item on inventory sheet), with their journals out, highlighted portions of the text— need to post something to the teaching blog, like “Where are you, mentally, this semester? Write a few words below, long or short as you like (though I’m hoping for 300-500 words, buuuuuuuuuuuuut…..), about what you’re thinking at this point in the semester. How you’re doing with the stress, if any, what comes next, what do you want from your college life… whatever you like. Be free, be creative, be honest. Merci.” Done. Posted to blog, now the time morphs to 7:01. Should go to the room, but I feel a bit unprepared. Goddamn my writing addiction.. should have prepped. Well then, go to the room and so do. you’ll have over 2 hours of writing time when class concludes.
7:06.. took some notes, I could lecture with those, sure. How many other adjuncts have done this, prep or partially prep at the minute last? Exactly. Oh you have? Good. This goddamn coffee isn’t working as I want it to. Mood returning but then I fire a couple thoughtshots its direction, visions of me traveling, writing presentation on the plane, on the flight across country to lecture or speak at Harvard, Columbia, or just staying close to home and taking 280 south to Stanford (and yes I’d take 280 over 101, any day).
I’ve started over. Think I’ve toughened up. Now time for some propulsion from the students, that push from those scribblers in the seats, looking at me for some answer or solution, thought provocation, something. They look to me, so I need to better compose…
Back from class, and I return to the cell with the other adjunct, can’t remember her name (common for us), listening to jazz through earphones and delight in the lecture I gave this morning. The class after mine in room 1610 cancelled, so no rush to get exit which only adds to the flavorful and favorable tenor of the day. Went to cafeteria to get my second fill of coffee in the tumbler mother-in-law bought me this past xmas (think it was her)— writing and writing, maybe I’ll hit 3000 words today. That would be lovely. I deserve that. Need at least 5 miles to get back on track, be a runner again. My mood, stabilized, and I need it so for day’s remainder. Coffee, sip, write more and think of performance pieces to scribble or just go straight to typing— read, be a professional reader reading my own work all over the country, world. I can feel the exhaustion wrapping around me like a famished python, but I ignore it. Sip the coffee which is more or less an equalizer at this point, not really waking me up— jazz, writing, thinking, thinking.. the students this morning, with their work and submissions and those stronger ones I mentioned earlier with their journals open and ready to read and share what carves atop those thin lines. Seeing them made the restart possible. And I thought while teaching this morning, or while they were writing something in response to a provided prompt that “I’m pretty good at this.” This, being teaching, educating, motivating people to write.. huh, my brand my business my lectures my coming travels— all collecting and, was going to say ‘culminating’ but I hate that word… Alloying. Fusing. Synthesizing. Better, yes. MY words this morning are like little storms, productive deluges after the mood before 7. Why do I let myself get that way? Haven’t figured that out yet. Maybe I never will. But one solution, one remedy or panacea… writing. Meditating.
A student, ‘M’, gave me a gift from New Orleans, this past Monday (English 1A section).. a little square the size of a cigarette box, painted and designed, configures illustratively and creatively. Only a certain space to create— made me think of writing, how I need to SELL these pages.. agreed. AGREED! “I should!” internally chant above the waving and wooing dialogue of the jazz—“New Delhi” by Louis Hayes and Cannonball Legacy Band. Now a new song.. recorded and sold. The theme for today, selling. Selling my self so it can be a SELF. Selling readers, publications and the world on who I am. But first I have to sell my self, myself, for sakes of SELF. I’ve always just assumed and thought, dismissively reassured myself that it’ll happen, I’ll be a writer I’ll be a professor I’ll travel, I’ll have money. Yeah yeah yeah— Then, I have to do it. Measure, plan, REALLY believe I’m going to do it.