Been writing in more than one place for the ’19 story. Oh well I say to myself with another glass of sparkling, Jackie over there playing on the tablet my mom and dad bought him this past xmas. Nothing I’m writing lately I’m liking. Certainly not loving. So what’s the bandage for that? One part of me says just write free, with less shackle and inner-hassle. What’s that mean I don’t know so I re-focus on Jack. The day he and I have had, his sister too. She now off with wife and wife’s friend and wife’s friend’s daughter to Target to get who knows what. Kerouac has some inner dialogue with himself regarding the game, if it’s a game or some scholastic, learning program…. “Jack, what are you doing? What are you playing with?” He gives a bit of a mumble but I’m not convinced that was directed at me. He goes back to doing that, whatever that is. He rests the right side of his face in his right palm, right elbow on right inner-thigh as he sits on floor, legs crossed and lightly locked. We just spent the past couple hours watching football. Playoffs. Or postseason. Chicago versus Eagles, in Chicago. Eagles pulled it by a point. Just one. I of course was on CHI’s side for various reasons—none of which I’ve told you so I guess I shouldn’t write “of course”—and so was Jack. Both us disappointed in the result. But we move on. He with his game, or learning program, me with words and this morning before our together time, and time with his sister, a 7-mile run which I now feel.
Hoping to get some reading in, tonight. Hemingway, Coelho, Plath, Hughes…. Not sure I’ll touch all four books, but one of them I’m rather confident. Need to write more poetry, read Hughes more, and other poets like Cummings, Plath of course, Yeats, and from that collection of several poets I was gifted years ago. Today teaches me to not work against existing momentum, ever. What you want to do with the day is one matter, what you’re able to do and what you can do with what is present is quite another write.
Writing everything down…. Jack, quite poised and careful how he touches that screen. Face Ibn right palm, again. He says nothing to me on his own, and I don’t want to break his connection to his current action so I just push these buttons while I look at him. My little boy who daily loses his littleness to time— Time, that fucking animal, devouring all of us as a matter of duty and functionality, normalcy. Why I deplore normalcy, the patterns. The expected. The unavoidable tumult of the clock. I look at reflection, mine, and can see changes in my face, around the mouth and eyes. Forty this year— fuck. Have I lost some of my awareness and writing ability? Am I starting to fade? Looking over at little Kerouac, my little beat. He’ll keep me young. His sister, too.
With grades handed in, the semester floats away from me like an abandoned buoy or side-boat, or decaying dinghy. In office, dark and quiet, safety from outside, from that wind and rain and airborne leaves that somehow find a way to follow you. Co-workers from other department file in, slowly. You can tell they’re in a mode of settlement. I’m in a position and tone of settler, settling into my Sonic role for day. We’ll be walking in this, this weather, the sharp talk of rain and the more elephantine curl of winter Bay Area wind. San Francisco. More than likely will be colder. 7:53…. Need to start on list, soon. Keep lights off for the time, for this time, making now and the entire day mine. Normal proclamation from Mike Madigan’s normality.
Coffee. Will walk across floor to get, from the office area on the east side of this structure. Lights above me still off, lights behind me in meeting room on. Another person walks in. I think of what to do next. Working and not, thinking about where I am in my story and how this fits in. I need to run more, not getting out last night has me regretful and on an evaluative sword’s mercy plate.
Quiet, and then the settling noises. Of any workplace I’ve been at this is by far the more interesting and enveloping in terms of characters and general theme, progression of story. Other offices, like the insurance office in the early 2000s, and the home warrantee operation of ’04 (which as it happens used to be in this very building and I used to sit not far from where I now this type). Then, of course the box of 2011 and into January of ’12. None of them had life, none of them had any promise. How do some employers expect the people working in their walls to be animated and progress to any profitability? I have to ask self this. What do some of these employers think when they design positions then offer people jobs? This is why I’m taken by Sonic as I am, as it’s nothing like them, nothing. It’s a loving and perplexing morass of more volume, more sound and music. You find YOU, here. A definition and intonation of self you don’t in other folds and office buildings, assuredly.
Submitting the semester past’s grades last night, I think of what Sonic’s taught me, what I’ve gathered and learned and upon reflected. Who I am and what I’m doing right now, in from rain and wind, safe and collected at a desk. Desks used to repulse me now I’m renewed, taken to a higher arrangement of character and story adjustment, the Now of it all here in this office. And, me here, what I do here, what I observe and what assembles into my assembly of perception.
This year’s one of study. I’m a student. I’m studying. I’ll receive a grade in the form of opportunity, opportunity I provide self. So I’m grading myself. I’m with the grade book and submitting for sakes of the grade in the book, with a book of my own. Being written here, at Sonic.
8:32. Got a couple cereal cups from market here in office, down this row of desks and then a left, ‘nother left, then a sharp left then sharp right. Back at desk with coffee and cereal, daily tasks I had set for self done, now I collect and ready for day. Ready self for readying and rallying team for a day in the field. Again I don’t know how inclement it is in SF, but I’m sure it could affect mood and morale, if allowed. How some go to jobs they hate, over and over, year after year, astonishes me. Fills me with sadness for them and a virulently loud intent to never let that be me. At none of my other “jobs” was my own pace endorsed, encouraged. Never was I encouraged to this degree to find more of ME.
The jazz of this office reminds me of the thesis to this office and my story here. Sip coffee after bite of cereal, and what precisely the next paragraph holds. This right here, the meta of this magic, magic in the plain, in the so often dismissed and ignored. The singularity of where you work, what you want from it. This building directly addresses and I would say challenges just that. IT tells you that this is more than a simple place to work. IT’s not a job. That’s profanity here. IT’s a missions and edifice of explorative hue. All for you, YOU, whatever you want to do. You heard what the owner said, “Use it as a platform to get where you want to be.” He said that, in a room full of new hires, those impressionable, those possibly still seeking conviction and assurance that this was the right move. You know it is. You have no doubt, question, demand for explanation. You’re hungry. Finally, you think, finally this happens. Finally this is what’s before the day, for me, for what I want and what I’ve always expected a place of employment to be. You know this is more than simple employment, that a simple clocking in and clocking out and getting a check and doing the same thing all over again next pay period.
Even teaching doesn’t do this for you. Teaching, you thought the only career path for you but you found so many caveats and conditions, so many variable and so much chasing. You’d grade that career choice, or more choice as it’s certainly no career, an F. F. F. It failed you in so many manners and immediacies that it’s hard to even entertain inventory. So you move on. You move past it. It’s only an it. One easily replaceable and you have replaced it with life, not a to-do list but LIFE. More invitation for Self and what you were before you even heard of this place. Your normality’s abnormally loving and supportive, enriching and enlivening.
4:12. Called, no answer for phone screening. Now I close day, prep for tomorrow which I actually already did so now it’s just a countdown to my running life. Wondering about ten miles. If that’s even smart to do on a treadmill. Maybe just do an hour, then an hour tomorrow, then longer one Sunday, then back to a shorter run on Monday. Again, more thought than needed. Just write, just run, do both, live madly… bottom from the bottomless, or bottomless from the bottom. Can’t remember what Jack said. I’m beatifically introspective at this desk, hearing everything, everyone celebrating their weekend, what they’re going to do, what wine they’re going to drink.
Me, to run.
On speaking, you should be to-the-point, but not depriving audience of anything. Tell them what they want to hear. Have the words be kind and heaping with life. So… don’t just say ‘I’m here and this is what I’m doing and this is what I have…’ Rather, speak more to the point of YOU, the person in the audience. Use ‘you’ in your language, loud amounts of it… This is for YOU… this is YOURS.. I’m here to tell you this, or invite you to this, and this is why it’s incredible… Sales entails sales techniques, but not sales voice, not repeated repeats of something not interesting. Entertain your audience… Don’t sell, ever. Sales is not selling, it’s speaking, it’s sincerity, earnest echoes sung in impassioned fastidiousness.
Just noting ideas passing through head, for sales team and next semester’s course.
Office a bit quieter. Think some took a late lunch.
In office, today. Getting things done and thinking of new ways to approach what I do. I’m overthinking. This is consequence of the inspiration I attain from just walking around this office as well as going from idea to idea. Today I focus on speaking Sonic. The language of this place. If this is a conduit or bridge for what I want in my story, then I need throw self into the singularity of this Sonic story. The office has you going over idea and another idea… speak what we do in as few words as possible, I say to myself. At my desk not bored in even a microscopic morsel but ever active, animated in the possible ways to adjust and shape this business and how I speak about it.
Encouraged, exhausted from my own passion in this office. This place that’s more than a place—like a parallel and utter juxtaposition to everything that we’re used to. I call it an antithetical workplace, but maybe that’s wrong. Maybe this is what the work place should be. It is. It is, that I know wholly and wildly, now. This is a place for creativity and whim, and lucrative lunacy and revolution, but… more. Something beyond denotation and connotation. Talk about deconstruction and examining dichotomies and dualities, this is its own plain. A text, a subject, a set of vocals that not only persuade but impassion beyond normal human norm.
This isn’t an office. It’s not a colony. It’s a language. Its own speak.
So then halfway through my Friday, in office, not with my sales team, I have time to collect for sakes of being with them tomorrow in San Francisco, to bring what’s here to the Sunset District’s upper-40 avenues tomorrow. I’m enriched, today, again. Supplemented, turned around made more a voice of this place and what it speaks.
Looking through to-do list. Everything done. I know so. I do. Been through list, each item, 3 times. So I give myself new items. Prep for tomorrow. Timeline for tomorrow. Keep busy. This new coffee cup has me especially energized and alive, written fire and fire to be written.
3:10. Feel self getting tired, even with the coffee. Yawn…. Phone interview/screening to prep for. At 4, and I’m more or less ready, so time for exploratory thinking, let mind wander to whatever and wherever what—
3:18. Coffee not working. All work done. Now what. Not panic I feel but something in the same flavor isle.
May need a break. Air that is fresh. Break from desk. Talking around me and my head’s in the car, on Road, in classroom, possibilities compounding in delirium-inducing shapes and plateaus. I don’t know what to do, now. I’m going mad, but a forming form of mad. Nothing hindering, nothing detrimental, not at all. This is a profuse health contract. I’m rebuilt in my readiness as a writer. This time in my story, where everything around me is me, for me, telling me to write something to myself that would benefit readers, somehow.
3:32. Student life. I’m a student here, as I am everywhere. There never a non-learning place. Every scene instructs. Not sure I’m providing or depriving audience, writing this. Work all around me, people working on what they work on, telling something to someone, educating and educating themselves whilst doing so, and me learning about what I do, here at this desk at which I everyday sit. Back from lunch two minutes early but now I reach a point in the day where time is a self-voiding send. So… look at clock, then at phone with its black screen, pen between forearms on desk. ‘Nother sip of coffee, or get more coffee? Don’t know. Don’t think, I tell myself. Just move. Thinking, becoming a bit of a foe, one formidable and crippling.
This office, Sonic, with all its sounds and quick movements and people writing notes to themselves and others and logging what someone says to reference in the future, notes on transactions and occurrences in their departments… Mom was right, everything I need is right here. As I’ve said in class but never myself appreciated adequately—Magic in the Meta. I won’t lie… this place fascinates me. On multiplying and befuddling levels. Transfixed in my fixations on and in everything from the voices I hear, to my own desk. From the conversations between people in the meeting room behind me when I can hear them, to the laughs that are distant, on the other side of the floor, in some distant department.
I pity my past self, honestly. Working in a tasting room, or going from campus to campus to campus—a freeway falcon—as an adjunct, or even further back working at the store, or before that in the insurance office. I’m not even “home” here I’m just me… how I wish be seen, a writer.
4:12. Called, no answer for phone screening. Now I close day, prep for tomorrow which I actually already did so now it’s just a countdown to my running life. Wondering about ten miles. If that’s even smart to do on a treadmill. Maybe just do an hour, then an hour tomorrow, then longer one Sunday, then back to a shorter run on Monday. Again, more thought than needed. Just write, just run, do both, live madly… bottom from the bottomless, or bottomless from the bottom. Can’t remember what Jack said. I’m beatifically introspective at this desk, hearing everything, everyone celebrate their weekend, what they’re going to do, what wine they’re going to drink.
Me, to run.
Left breakroom. Too many voices, noises. Common on Friday, pizza day. No one’s fault but own if I was seeking to be in any kind of quiet. Now at desk. Finishing last piece. Some combination or blend type but mostly veggie. All I’ll eat till tonight’s run, then after may eat something light at home. Marathon coming closer as a co-worker reminds me. Just a sliver over 23 minutes left in lunch. Sparking water, now. Thoughts on what I’ll do for the rest of the day. Thinking of working on language at the door, for the Reps. How this company and what it does is spoken. How YOU, are spoken. Selling self, and far beyond simple and over-repeated concepts and ideals of “personal branding”. Personal Legend, the legend you set before, for yourself.
Writing at the desk, my desk, is a more luminary trek that I estimated it’d be. Leads messaging me from the field, me jealous a bit as they’re in San Francisco, so close to the ocean able to walk to it as I did yesterday on my 30-minute break. In office today. Accepted. I deal with it. More than “deal” with it but use everything in here for my paragraph roll. Journal and phone, sparkling water bottle, other journal on computer terminal (one that can elevate, creating a standing working beat), books and magazines under my iPad which I need to put back in safe. Voices out here as well, me feeling full.
Grabbed a couple pieces of gum from JP’s desk on the other side of my left wall. Chewing, now feeling more heavy and slow from lunch. How many pieces did I have? 4? Fast the rest of the day. Have ice cubes after run, or some fruit. Eat light. Want to be a marathoner as no one else is, and write every day of it. I’ll admit, much of today I’ve had the “What do you write about?” voice in my goddamn head and I’ve gone back and forth in the singularity, exactly what I say. Running… RUNNING. What I’m now hearing, and then saying back for confirmation’s coherence.
11 minutes. Day more than half over. Not much time. Not as much as I’d like but what can I do. May go outside for a walk but then realize I don’t have time, so I stay put here in chair. Have to walk iPad back to back room where safe’s located. No more of that expanded core feeling. Recovered. Coffee next. Then back here, write ideas, more idea. No more new word documents on this laptop. I often talk consolidation but never act in exemplary acts to embody such. In these last minutes, I forget about it, all. The time and the worry, the excessive deconstruction and thinking, the back and forth in my head. Thinking, current foe. Too much thinking just sets me in toxic roundabout. Mom messaged me the other day and said all I need for writing material and stories is right in front of me. In the everyday day-to-day-ness of my day. I’ve noted the same thought and perspective before. This is something I’m already sharply aware of. So why don’t I reflect that awareness. Hearing Mom’s order and kind but candid instruction turns me in favor, my favor.
Didn’t want to write. Still bitter about the session I typed on my phone, on the WordPress app, and it just fucking disappeared. I know better. That’s not writing. Why did I do that. But I did it. Got laptop out and am typing here in living room. No more wine. Sipping sparkling lemon water. Told self I’d run in morning but I think I’d much prefer write. In office tomorrow. No field— Goddamn my phone, me writing on the those non-buttons, those virtual touch squares when I should have been scribbling. And I had TWO journals right there on the passenger seat, pen in pocket. That would have been more writer of me, assured more romantic, more Kerouac, more beat. But no. I had to be one of those, people with a phone— those poor people I captured, not captured appropriately. The runners, the cyclists and walkers, people with kids, people who brought their dogs and frisbees, balls to throw dogs. Young couples. Kids. Teenagers with their phones taking selfies and pictures of each other in I’m not sure if it’s silly or just stupid poses. All on a phone. Avowed, last time I do that.
Now here in house, laundry going, me supposed to run. No TV on, no wine, no music. I need music. Jazz. That café or coffee house jazz station on Spotify. Driving to SF today, and back, all I thought of was jazz and jazz musicians, the ones I admire, how they just compose and don’t think and if they do think it’s not to detriment. No distractions, just all in the music, the notes of the moment and the measures they don’t measure to compose but just compose and offer to the world, the room they’re in.
Letting go of what I typed on phone. I’m typing now. On laptop which is on the table we bought at Ashely in Rohnert Park with my Aunt Denise accompanying wife to shop and later calling me down for an opinion. The couch I sit on, bought on that visit additionally. Nearly didn’t write this evening, was going to watch some foolish ass’ show and just stare, maybe check that goddamn phone here and there for messages or photos or something. Need to make coffee for morning if I’m to write. I will. I’ll make coffee. Put in fridge. It’ll be cold. That’ll wake me up quicker.
2019, year I turn 40. Trying to ignore it but still pay more attention to it than anything else. Acknowledge time. End my war with it. Work with it. Study it. And if not understand it then sing with it, celebrate the time I have, right now on this couch writing when the house is alas of more melodic volume.
Still not in much place to write, in head, thoughts, what I see and feel in this room. But I make self do what it needs. End day with some production, page, me here, with water, music, momentary animation.
My beat isn’t as sped as I’d hoped it be for this first day. But I’m here, present and done with grading. Didn’t go as slow as I wanted but I’m not concerned. It’s over. Now I move on and prep for next term. The class I teach at Stanford, or wherever will have me. Philosophy or Reasoning, Thought and Overthought, thought of in differing ways. Looked at clock and it reads 11:50. Earlier than measured.
Emptied backpack. Now the trick, keep it empty. No more carrying laptop around like an unneeded part of me. It’s not part of me, so unneeded entirely. Re-shaping self from Literary character to one just of thought. Plain thought. Act of thinking, understanding where I am and why— What brought a writer here, what does he see, what does he want. Is he being honest with himself in doing what he does or is he acting, doing what’s perceived to be “mature” or “professional”. Not referencing anything in particular, but I will give more focus to …. Don’t say it. That’s when you get into trouble, when you promise. And, that’s when you get bored with your writing like you are right now. Bored with this sentence… then the next one…. This one as well. Fuck, I think. Thinking of what to do with day to not just spice it up or garnish it with some unexpected electricity, but….
Quiet house. No kids or wife, just me and this stack of submissions that are anything but bewildering in quality from last term. There’s a couple, yes, that I guess you’d call impressive, or even strong.
My beat starts to pick up. It does. I notice myself start to feel like a student, again. Like a “teacher”, even. Part of me wants music, the other not. The silence of the house notes its own notes and anecdotes for me in a new year that’s not all too varied from last, but still distinct in composition. My composition changes. I realize— You realize where you’re headed when you change little attributes of your day-to-day. Teaching Philosophy, starting with deconstruction and postmodernist qualities in the Now.
12:02. Already half way through this first square, inaugural step. Anxiety grips me, angrily. I ignore it, or try. It’s there from my acknowledgement. Then I choose to not give it any sight or reaction. Turning attention to when I was in graduate school, my thesis on Carroll’s Alice works. I decide to start there, in this new beat. The child finding herself in an atmosphere where the logic is anti-logic, but that itself is sound, it constitutes a form of reasoning that must be learned. She attempts to adjust and she more or less does, finding herself in immediacy of too many pictures and too many conversations, as she wished for at the books very first utterances. Not sure where my copy of the book is, where my grad notes are if I even have them anymore. Doesn’t matter. Start over. That’s what new years are about, no? Renewed self, renewed sight, renewed power of self-renewal. And, ahead…..
…each measure and note, chord and riff. I become disconnected from my typing, writing, what I am and who I’m saying, what I’m saying. Not that I don’t like it, but I don’t feel it as I think I should. Is it the words I’m putting to page, where I am? The air-conditioning in this store coming on and apparently blowing right on me. Struggling to struggle, bumbling in my own thoughts and wishing I wouldn’t’ve come here, stayed home and wrote there. Hemingway looking right at me from the cover of his book and ordering more fortitude, for me to toughen to not have any kind of mood, t hat I can’t afford it— and I know I can’t afford it. New beat and new beat from me on this page, this day before a new year of self-study and sensibility.
New Year, new book, new me…. Go for a drive. Leave this Starbucks. Take your mocha — or latte, sorry— with you and be in the day, enjoy freedom, look left and right and see your new office. Weather outside, encouraging, bright and sagacious, suggestive and antagonistic. Suddenly feeling awkward sitting here, writing here, having brought self here. The air now is aggressively and metallically frigid. Can’t write like this. But Hemingway did, in that Café and elsewhere, where the odors were consuming and the weather was “bad”…
Made note in last doc, “From here, go to 2019…” Starting new year now. Not waiting for tomorrow. And not going to list everything I want to do but rather just actuate. In a far back corner of this remodeled coffee shop. Sentence for day, in that Happiness Project journal Natalie gave me years ago, “Nay-say to be embraced and studied in order to preserve and protect my joy.” Didn’t write last night after coming home from La Rosa dinner with wife. Planned on inventorying the day. Everything from morning with kids to going to Healdsburg with Jack hoping to get a haircut but the line was far too long so he and I went to Healdsburg where I bought him an ice-cream and went to toy store that I’d never been to and was actually a bit curious to see what was inside, how it was arranged. All this after my 9-point-something speed work run at 24. Took both beats to wife’s parents’ house, then back home for a much-called class of Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc. Why couldn’t I bring self to write, last night. Even now, I feel off. But I write through it, or try. Just as I advise students. Writing and into the year, this new year where I feel travel. I see it. Sense the sense of getting on an airplane to somewhere I’d never been after not flying for some time. The engine sounds of the plane utterly canorous for some reason. They’ve never sounded like this to me, before.
While stepping toward the new year in this Starbucks on Hopper & Cleveland, Santa Rosa, I go over my life, over the last 39+ years as far as I can remember and vividly and believably recall. Santa Cruz, walks with Dad in Big Basin, my first day at Arundel in San Carlos, Kindergarten, looking back and Dad not coming with me and me feeling confused— “Why is he just standing there? Isn’t he coming?” Obviously not, now understood after Jack’s first day. My Road, still a Road… every job I’ve had, everywhere I’ve lived, studying my now for sakes of Freedom and being free, yes, but more. More to my character, more to what I read and this, this seat, this 4-shot latte, this journal, my phone… more to everything.
Understanding Now entails a distancing from the Now, both in backward pace and forward flight. How defies common association and what you’d call logic, I guess. All notes going forward, through, are for purposes of getting me somewhere. I step on New York streets, in Manhattan and other parts of which I’ve never heard— certain micro-villages and enclaves, neighborhood or boroughs as they call them. Writing further toward new year, wondering where I’ll be sitting on my 40th birthday. This year I turn 40. FORTY. Why. How. It’s just what happens. It’s what always happens. Time passes and doesn’t mind what’s in my mind or what I feel for the day, that sitting. I look up and see a young family with their daughter, certainly younger than Emma and the parents younger than wife and I. I’m older than some parents, my babies age past others. So then, more…. More progression and trek into life. It keeps going. What do I do for day’s remainder? Charting and timetabling isn’t going to get me There, I know.
What I assign students to do, I should do. Hemingway with his Feast intro paragraphs putting me somewhere. Taking me back to Paris and showing me what I couldn’t see even if I were to now return. It’s him, then. More than time, though. It’s his voice, his sight, his observational patterns as they situate in Paris, in that Café des Amateurs. Before I go too far into the Café with Papa, I’m hearing this jazz in ears and seeing where I am, considering my person and Personhood as a teacher of Literature, and how now, in this day, in America yes but elsewhere as well, no one read. NO. ONE. Or that’s how it feels. All these social media “stars” or champions, personalities and whatever they’re to be deemed, do nothing of Thought. And, before I go too far down that sewer vein, let me go back to Hem’s thought stems. He immediately goes for senses, smell and other, like a sixth sense you could even say. In my beginning reading bing and lecturing for ’19, I get away from me and become he, Hemingway in his seat. Smoke and the misted windows from the heat and all the people in the Café with him. He makes me wonder what didn’t make it to page, what he observed but didn’t write. Him sitting there noting as he did isn’t just a writer thing, but a Human act and practice. Like magnified people watching for purposes of preserving the person watching.
When he comments on the people being drunk as often as they could, or even all the time, he touches on sense again. Being stripped of senses as a result of intoxication, hence his rule of little or no alcohol while writing. It makes a mammoth statement about them and their day, what they do with their day. Now, here, 2018 on Hopper & Cleveland, I look around at everyone in their day as Hem does. Couple taking two chairs and small rectangular table to my left. I know nothing about them, can’t see their faces as I look down at these keys and I don’t need to. There are similarities here as there are with Hemingway, where he sits. People, lives, observation, noting it. Where you are and what you’re doing in proximity to others and what they’re doing, where they are.
When you read Hemingway’s assessment of the city in this first chapter you have more than an assessment, but the start of a love letter. Even when it’s sad or cold, or of horrible odor, you still have shared observation. The inner-insistence to share observation is a consequence of consuming adoration for what’s observed.