This is largely what I’m addressing in being a writing father– time. It’s more than just a snake, a tyrant, a bitch. It’s an element hard to find. Like some rare gem. Either way this morning I’m pressed– “Slam that coffee!!” The last cup in the house. Need to keep more on hand. Go to store after work and get some, Healdsburg Safeway– and see? That’ll take time as well. Time away from this book. Everything targets my story! Now I’m just whining.
Plug in iron, wait for heat. More time from writing. Oh, I haven’t even addressed the more humorous market in this days narrative… The babies aren’t even here. They’re at their granny’s house, last night spending night so Alice could prep for a big Halloween party planned for all the babies’ friends, and other moms. What if they WERE here, then I would deserve some whine. And later, ‘whine’ without that bloody ‘h’.
Alice off to her running group and I can only be obsessed with the quiet I have here in home like I haven’t with other quiet I’ve been invited to. 15 minutes till I have to be in shower. I should celebrate, be effulgent in this time to self. Music? Yes. If you’re a father reading this you know what time to yourself is. Some watch football on a Sunday, some workout (something I should’ve been up earlier to do, but…) some sleep, some go get groceries… all a writer wants to do is get something on page before the day is off ahead of him like a hunted rabbit.
Open a new tab on net, that takes 20 seconds or so to type in “Pandora” and get the Hutcherson tune going. Sip coffee again… that takes like ten seconds, or maybe eight away from my fingers typing something. Fucking time! “TIME!” I yell in my head, and only in my head so Bobby’s track isn’t interrupted. Need to write all day today, eight hours. At work. Think about that, I tell myself, “think…” What if I had EIGHT hours to myself, to write. How much of the book could I get done? How many poems could I write?— Shit, that reminds me, I need to type the one I wrote yesterday, the short one I wrote on my phone, in the bathroom. Told co-worker, Lainy the sassy loud little Texan, that I had to pee really quick, when really my only ambition was to be in the quiet bathroom by the winemaking area to get in 10 lines, electric and varied. That’s what a writer does, a writing father who barely has a second to self in his own walls and even less during the eight. So what if those eight were all mine? Today they will be. A grand, explosive, mass-construction poem, one word at a time. This ONE poem I write today will change the course of my life FOREVER. I’ll read it, everywhere. I’ll commit it to memory. I’ll read it in New York, Paris, China, Japan, Egypt, South Africa, everywhere. I have one goal today, and one mentality— the eight hours at work ARE eight to myself, and one poem is all I have to write.
Writing father, loving his time right now, his music, he doesn’t give a shit about all the red he sees above this very line, all the quirks and red line, all the instances of this fucking laptop saying “Hey idiot, you misspelled that.” I just listen to my brother John’s sax solo, him fly alongside that light high-hat. Writing father sees himself on a trip with his book, talking about being a dad, to other dads and moms and soon-to-be-parents. Not that he’s an expert! Not that he’s even a good dad! Just to share the experience of being a dreaming daddy, and because you are a parent with two or however many babies doesn’t mean you need to lie down. You can still be alive with ambition and vision and have the plate you ordered before the babies were here. Just thoughts, but thought I’m not releasing any time soon.
Goddamnit! Only five minutes. Are you kidding me? I’m back to my full glass of whine. Could I go till 8:40? Take a quick shower, go to ‘bucks, get my heaping tumbler of Pikes and jet to Geyserville? See, again.. time makes its way to the subject matter of my writing, in the little time I have to write. I feel the ire quake in me like a fault that wants to show the world it’s still there, it can still move, it can still make you move like these Coltrane notes— me just bobbing my head and pressing the keys while the percussion becomes a bit more percussive but not so much it ruins the track’s mood— “My Ideal”, the song’s identity. Funny, feel like my brother plays just for me, to go after my ideals he urges. “Play your song till 8:40, Mike, don’t worry about it,” he says through the current scale of notes he sews before the track ends. “Don’t go!” I say, but I know I need to be on my own in this story. I will be, it’s inevitable. The only one who can get daddy his ideal, for himself and the babies, are his own sentences and efforts, music.
8:30— no, no more talk about time. I’m giving it too much identity. “Blues of the Orient” comes on, Yusef Lateef. One of my favorite jazz pieces ever, one I haven’t heard in a while. I slam the rest of the coffee, with an indignant glug, forwarding my writing daddy self into this 23rd day of October. Think about certain shifts, if I were to make them, what would happen. If I rose earlier, I’m still convinced I would have everything I need or ever wanted “professionally”… time to write, more finished projects, more to sell, time to work out, more story. MUCH more story. So why the hell don’t I do it? ‘Cause I’m some unruly beat writer? Yeah, partially. Have to keep writing and sipping this coffee to find out. The day and its poem will tell me. So here I go, here daddy goes, for my babies, for myself, for the story, so one day little Kerouac (son, Jack) and Ms. Austen (daughter, Emma) can read what I did, see how we arrived where we are, what I did for the family, what I did… What I did. Everything I did. With the time I had.