At 3:35pm I’m in a mood to write everything, try everything

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  There’s another instructor in the room with me now, obviously an adjunct as she uses one of the incredibly outdated computers in here and snacks on crackers she brought.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.

Not writing anything for book, today.  Everything’s for the blog,

blogs, then later study.  8:43.  About to brush teeth, then launch.  Somewhere, to take pictures.  Photograph and trap the vineyard.

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Did go out and shoot a vineyard, after driving a large seemingly never-ending (never-ending in terms of my indecisiveness, not so much the drive itself or the Sonoma County Roads) loop from Coffey Park then into Windsor and Healdsburg where I stopped to use the restroom at Oakville Grocery and get a sparkling water, then back to my home zone then to Olivet where I shop what I think are older Zin vines.  Went for a run which was anything but impressive so I won’t even bother giving it page life, then home for lunch and shower and nap.  Got a cold brew which I never have, from Starbucks and now I’m here on campus.  Ready for work.  Ready to intensify and angrily demand this transformation of my writing and teaching life.  Have some grading to do but not going to bother now.  Now, in this Now, I think of where we’re going, what we choose, the decisions we make and the results..  How we interpret those results, how we react to them, and what’s entailed in that reaction.  Why do we complicate when really we ought simplify?  That’s what this transformation I seek is much about, consolidation and a certain containment of identity.  My backpack, a commanding and telling symbol in this effort, right now with it filled with papers and books, and change and pens, a couple journals and who knows what else.  Tomorrow I won’t bring it to the office.  Leave it home.  Identity, Self, our stories…. Sipping the nitro slow and with a specific caution as I’ve never ordered it before and even with the handful of sips I can already tell it means to shove me somewhere, to not so much motivate me but order me to stick to my own order.  To decide on my Now, where I am.  In this conference room.

For a second, I pretend I’m him.  In Paris, not in this conference room, and younger than I am now, just watching people come in and out of the restaurant, or café.  I see one person, a young woman and she’s a student, I can tell.  With her notebook held by left hand and occasionally in crook, and a small backpack.  She sits down at a table by the window, after ordering.  Not sure what she told the older man at register, but I’m guessing something light.  And I’m guessing she won’t be here long.  Or maybe she will, I don’t know…  Away from my vision, I just think of Hemingway’s writing, his discipline, how when I speak of him in the class what he would have to say were he there with me.  I’m in a conference room, I’m not in Paris, and I’m assuredly and humorously not Hem.  I read, though, and react to his scenes, on hunger being healthier and everything looking “better” as he said when you’re hungry.  What does he mean by “better”.  For me a writer and thinker, I can only think more usefulness and more value for page.  In noting all thoughts and all feelings and observations for day, I embrace the conference room.  No students in here with me.  Though, I’ll be in the classroom in a matter of hours.  Just under 4 from now, if you need know.  Sharing ideas and hearing their ideas and observations of Hemingway’s text.

On the drive this morning, seeing all the evidences of the recent rains, how bright the greens are, especially with today’s sun and elevated temperatures, I knew I was taking the long, overly procrastinating route with unintended intention and meaning.  To see more of where I am.  Sonoma County.  To gather thought and measure how I’d approach the day.  Now that I’m in the day, and here on campus in this conference room knowing this will be my last semester here for a bit if not forever, the Stanford visions come back.  What is it about that campus?  I even thought of the university this morning I think while turning left onto Eastside Road.  Part of it’s the walks I used to take with Dad around the campus, and of course surviving what I did at the Children’s Hospital, but there’s something else.  Something….  The research culture or the cafeteria, shit I don’t know.  But I want to speak there.  I want to teach narrative and nonfiction, journal writing, THERE.  There is my There.

Can feel my heart accelerate with frightening reassurance, writing that last sentence.  I mellow and measure, smile and type on.  Nearing 40, and yesterday’s whatever it was I felt on 85 and 280, dead.  I’m re-composed and my composition in character and immediately liberation flashes new theses and doctrine.  I smile again, with no one in this room, books all around me.  If we don’t have something envisioned, a vision that is ours and only ours, then our story ails by the day.  I won’t let that happen, I thought soon as I woke from nap.  Now with this new coffee type I’m intimidated to again sip, but do anyway, I sense my heart provide a new beat. One to which I recite and ignite not so much a new plight but sight.  I see where I’m going, or do I.

I’m a teacher, but not yet the one I wanted to be when in high school.  That’s okay, though–  I become so bored with my writing I’m tempted to delete everything I just wrote.  But don’t.  I start a new story.  Don’t write a sentence of it, physically, but read it in moment while typing this.  I can see the book on a stand, somewhere.  Would I buy a copy of it?  Maybe.  Sure I would.  What’s it about.  Everything.  How’s that for an answer.  One minute he’s talking about wine, the next running, then teaching at the JC, then wine again, then kids, then working for a tech company that makes him more a writer than he ever was before, then some other shit.  That’s the book, mine.

3/11/19

Had quite the nearing forty panic or maybe even anxiety on the way home from Monterey, yesterday.  7:43 now back home and here by self, I just think about that drive and why I felt that way.  I have not a single idea, to tell you the truth.  Then, I know why.  Just can’t assign it words.  Has to do with what I do, where I am.  Think I may be getting tired of Sonoma County, though realizing that could just be a symptom of or associated with the travel urge and thirst.  I thought, Transformation.  Now is when I transform into the writer and teacher I’ve always wanted to be.  Since I had such ambition senior year in high school.  I start with this morning, with this beat, with this kitchen, this “day off” which I won’t let be anything like a day of nothing done.

I charge my camera.  Last night before bed watching a documentary on Africa, and deep reaches of Africa and the wildlife.  These shots and video stretches where the animals were seen in their most truthful talk and motions.  I want to take something in, down, with camera today.  Of course first I think of the vineyard.  But where do I start.  They’re everywhere, here.  No longer feeling that restlessness I did on the drive.  Ambition, hunger, looking for my moveable feast.  Where do I start.  I don’t pressure self.  I think of now, this quiet, the counter…. Me.  In the car I kept thinking singularity, focus, an extension from the man’s remarks after my speech on Saturday, that my energy was unlike anything he’s seen I merely “needed” a bit more centrality.  Is he right, or is this who I am.  Or, does there need be realized a symphony of both characters.  No more panic, no confusion, no questioning self and second-guessing self.  This morning, another start to ME.  Transformation I guess you could interpret, but not doing much with the original character.  ME.  Here the poet who wants the same thing as everyone else.  More.  Not so much more money although of course that’s be welcomed, but  more movement, more observations, travel and exploration, wonder and wander.

The feeling comes back, just like what I felt merging onto 85 from whatever.  I need to move quicker, I need to not be so careful, I need the travel.  Don’t pressure yourself with finishing a book.  You’re closer to 40, but so what.  Don’t shoot for the wine world, anymore, anything in it, even your own label one day.  And teaching at the JC, I need to move on.  And besides, I want to teach yes if you could call it teaching but in more locales, to more students.  I want to see other campuses.  I’m quite exhausted of SRJC and the same parking routine, walk up the Emeritus stairs.  The smell of the rooms, the technology not working.  I want those rooms I’ve never seen, the campus quads full of students, not just the after-work and commuter passers.

7:55.  Feel the coffee molding the character it hopes from me, today.

 

Move quicker in thought.  Today I take pictures.  Not so much to be a photog, but find something.  Thinking Alexander Valley, near Robert Young, or more toward White Oak, Soda Rock.  Maybe just go after the entire valley.  Transformation of character—be out there, out There, seeing everything and observing whatever I can find in the rows.  The closer to 40 I get I’m noticing myself losing a bit of urgency.  This, frightens me.  And, angers me.  Today I re-write the character into one of a more angry or near-angry tirelessness.  I need a measure, I realize.  Yes, I find self thinking of word count.  Can I fit in 3000 words, today.  Yes.  You have the entire day.  One thousand for morning, another for photography and journaling what you find out there, then one last k for end of day.

Should have written more in Monterey.  Was difficult, though, with the babies.  Had chance the night we went out for dinner and when back in Inn room wife offered me some time to self, to go to lobby and write for a while.  I, tired from drive down and skirmishing with kid ways and playful and then not so playful defiance, surrendered to exhaustion.  Where I was.  Had a glass of the Truett GPS blend, then fell asleep next to Ms. Emma.

Now  grappling with how I start the day.  Want to get a run, somewhere in.  Around noon, I reason.  That gives me about 4 hours for other projects.  Talk about overthinking, yeah, I know that’s what I’m now doing, right here at the counter.  Pictures, thinking of taking pictures of the vineyard at this stage in their development as characters, then writing about it.  Should leave the house before 9, head to AV.  I think I know where I want to start, but I’ll finalize destination when I get there.  And maybe write in the rows, looking at the sleeping stubs, the mustard where I can find it which is everywhere right now.

This has nothing to do with a proximity to 40.  At all.  This is ME, overthinking and wondering if I should do this or if I should try this, if a book is what I should focus on or if when I speak I’m too much this way to that way, to too too whatever.  I stop woth that and settle in now, the Now where I am at home.  I remember when I’d walk outside the Roth tasting room to take pictures in the SB block, I wouldn’t overthink anything.  There was nothing to think about at all, really.  It was just me and the vines.  That was the IT to it all.

8:10.  When done with this first set, I’ll get ready.  Throw something on, not think about it much.  Thinking I won’t head to AV, with the distance involved.  Maybe just down the Road, to Olivet or something nearby.  Wherever there’s vines.  I just need to be near a vineyard.  That will impeach this unsettled shape in my senses and character, literary shape.  I’m letting this happen, I know, this approaching 40 uneasiness and uncertainty, nervous note set.  The transformation is to stop it, entirely.  Embrace it, I suppose.  But, STUDY it.  Note all its notes and beat.

3/8/19

Thousand words to book.  Now just me and the coffee.  Tomorrow’s talk on Life Over Linearity.  I can hear the people walking in, seeing me, expecting something.  How much transported and taken do I want to be by others’ expectations and forecasts.  I don’t know.  I think we all do, to some degree.  But I’m just going to speak, and freely.  Me.  The magic of the meta and the momentum of my Now, the onus I’ve written and put to page.

In a Lo-Fi mood, bobbing my head to this beat while I type, my sight set on something more than a mere plight.  Ignite my thoughts, never trite time’s talk.  So…. Here, in breakroom, people talking and me focusing on music.  The riffs and echoing chimes, chords, drums…..  So, reorganize my consciousness after a thousand word sprint.  Hint, grin at the screen, expectations don’t deem authority, I say to myself.  So… onto next creative canton.

3/7/19

Was so pinched for time last night that I emailed the students from the red light at Sebastopol and Stony Point.  Told students to wait, that I was running late.  I park next to Emeritus Hall, where many of the full-timer fullies do and ran up the stairs like I tried to run in that Marin Headlands marathon.  Entered the room to all find them excited to see me, ready and eager for my words.  I nearly felt like tit wasn’t happening.  They’re an incredible group, there was just something about the way they are in their seats, journals out, waiting.  I had nothing with me but my phone and keys.  Did everything, all words and offerings, ideas from me. All of it.  Hemingway was me and I was Papa.  There talking about Paris, the characters around Hem in the 20s during his “Lost” years, and his narrative force and shape.  Today promises to be like yesterday, where everything is written for me.  In my order, ordering me to not stop and follow my own beat, my own music.  Life over Linearity, living madly and the only linearity and lines before self are the ones pronounced by self.

Set timer last night for 24 hours.  Something has to happen in 24.  I’ll make the occurrence find me.  With writing, with business, with what I do as this essayist.  4 shots in mocha telling me to think of what I said last night as I have so many times, “Where are you and what are you doing?” For writing, a prompt, realization.  Quiet in home, all are gone, me with my jazz and last night in all sensory sets.  Walking in, ready to speak feast, the movement, Paris and the people around him, me.  Every day.  The facts and frames of personifying places.  From the office, to this house, to Paris, to SF’s Castro district where yesterday I wrote while biting the turkey club and fries the gentleman endorsed.  With a Coke, of course.