with my writing as I urged when I started working at the tech company. “TRY EVERYTHING” I boasted, and still do. So what do I do with my day. Have a sweater on, and feel a bit warm and uncomfortable. There’s another instructor in the room with me now, obviously an adjunct as she uses one of the incredibly outdated computers in here and snacks on crackers she brought. I feel hunger again, and not sure I can resist the hunger. Would love a burrito or something from the cafeteria. Have to save money. Don’t do it, Mike. If you get something, I say to self, use the change in the backpack. There’s too much in that small outer pocket and it would make the bag lighter, so use that. Maybe I will. No more caffeine, after this cup which is almost done. Want tonight’s lecture to be different. For me, more than them. I talk transformation but what I really mean is relocation. Quite truthfully, I’m tired of this campus and the feel of the building the smell and sounds of the rooms, not having an office. I really am resigned, not eager to offer effort to anything here. So I move on, more than fine with the actuality of not having a class here in Fall. So what, I say to myself. I’ll teach independently, somehow. Or, just put lessons out there, no charge, see who follows or signs up, responds. I am hungry, and feeling venomous. I do what Hemingway suggests and use it for my work, for this, my Now, right here in this larger cell of a conference room, opposed to the smaller cell that’s the shared adjunct office which anymore I refuse to set even a single foot in.
I look left and see what’s she’s doing on that computer. Looks like grading something submitted to her from a student, either a paper or some online midterm or something. My skin retracts and I feel anxious. I have that stack I need to grade, in my bag, but refuse to touch it till after 5. Right now is MY hour, time for me and my thought, my Now, my life. We let so much be dictated for us. Ever notice that? Or that’s what I’m thinking now, looking at the wall of instructors, their older self and a shot from their youth. And now, aged at least ten years from the submitted latter portrait. Time is not our ally, or rival, just a force that pushes past the present. Admirable and deplorable in the job it does, as I see it. Can still hear her typing, and it sounds like the keyboard is one of those older PC plug-in’s, which it is. I need a walk. I need a new scene, new campus, new beat, new habits new music new story new project new everything. So I try everything, again.
The cold brew, one more sip in it. Starting to taste skunky, like the last half-sip of a beer in a pint glass. Beer sounds incredible right now. A full-timer walks in, looking much older than his later-in-life shot on the wall, with a long gray beard and slightly hunched, slow walk. He exhales in the whistle fashion, not hitting any note but just blowing air. He leaves this area then goes back into his office allowing the door to slam behind him. I don’t want to be that, when I’m that. Older. I’m going to get older, I know, but what if I mock the aging. What if I only vow to move quicker as the world around me expects slower beat?
At a certain point in Feast Hemingway says that he knows he MUST write a novel. I’ve always wanted to, myself, but always either give up and lean on journaling and something resembling memoir or essay, or submerge in poetry. I run the other way. What if…. What if I took one of the dozen or so legal pads from the mail room right in front of me, in a drawer labeled “Yellow Notepads” or something, and wrote one. Right now. Okay, so that’s decided. Or about to be tried. Tried again. Try everything, I sing in head looking at the last half-sip, I look at Feast, the current page, where he remembers a novel he wrote that was lost. He writes about letting pressure build. Is that what I’ve been doing all these years, up to now on 40’s lawn about to walk up three or so steps to knock?
4:03. Writing a bit in journal, detailing expenses over past couple days. Candy for babies, espresso drink bought at Los Altos gas station on drive back. I put the journal back in bag and feel like I need to get out of this room, this conference room. The only other place an adjunct can work. Not much difference from the small shared office, just a bit bigger. Still shared. Will have to give into hunger here, in a minute. Not able to write other than there’s not one idea in my head other than the one to get a yellow tablet, start writing. You know, I bet if I just start writing I might finish. Only other time I’ve attempted a novel was in a word processing document on one of my goddamn laptops. This lady to my left and her chewing and typing and angry under-the-breath exhale-groans test my nerves and composition. Going to walk around campus, however I can. Maybe go eat then go to library and write or—shit, the stack of papers. Won’t be saddened when this semester dies, I can tell you that. Transformation, grateful I can. I will. Changing Roads and changing ME.
The novels starts with, her. She goes to a café, starts sketching something, then is interrupted by a friend of hers from work. The friend wants to talk about work and everything happening there that has nothing to do with there. Gossip. She’s too nice to say anything.