If You’re a Dad, Let Me Share A Thought… 

img_9360Do everything.  Try everything.  Be more yourself than you’ve ever been.  Have several projects.  Cast a magnanimous net.  Note to myself: Your only real job is to be the best daddy you can to Jack and Emma.  That’s it.  And to do that, I can’t ever be still.  I have to always be working and engaging with my multiple projects, if I’m not spending time with them.  But, in order to spend time with them and to have a certain quality of life that they and I can enjoy, then I need several projects.  Not just some 9-5 or 9-6, or even 8-6.  I need projects.  I need work.  I need to give myself more tasks as a writer and creative than others think I should or can handle.  I want my babies to know me for how tireless I am with my work.  Like right now, I’m in class, waiting for students to show and I choose to use the time sharing this idea with you rather than be a rock, a log, a chair, a desk.  No… move.  No automaton, here.  That’s not an option for us daddies.  Move quicker than you ever have.  Time doesn’t care how quick I move, it just keeps moving.  Well guess what, fellow papas…  I move quicker.  Nothing will slow me and when I think I have enough I’ll pile on more.  I know, be mindful of the time with babies.  Like I said, if I’m not with them I’m working.

This thought came to me this morning while on the treadmill, in my first speed-work session in some time.  I needed a work out, I needed a change in the day’s pattern and consistency, and I needed to give self an early xmas gift, so why not an early New Year’s Reso’?  Gym membership.  Done.  So I ran, and thought, and the one thought that kept revolving and tirelessly moving like the belt and the writing daddy atop, was my kids.  I do everything for them.  But I need to do more for them, and by extension for me, and in a boomerang return for them, again.

No students in room yet and I suppose I could take a break but I choose not to, no I elect to keep moving, brainstorming on my business and the end of the semester, how I’m to start next semester, what I’m going to write throughout the day, more writing projects.. tomorrow’s early-early workout… keep the character motivated, your character.  In many ways I’m re-writing my story, yes, but writing another one.  And another one.  You’re a dad?  Do something for yourself that will make your babies overjoyed with whom they call “Dad”.  But that something has to be fruitful, it has to be associated with a goal, something connected to your family.  Remember, you can enjoy, okay?  A goal for you is a goal for them, Dad.  In so many ways, we’re students, as dads.  We learn along the way, so don’t be too hard on yourself.  Just a thought: Enjoy.  Another thought: Everything can be yours, your family’s.  You just have to work with tireless tide.  That’s it.

12/2 – 2

Whatever I feel like I can’t do, I can.  That’s just a feeling.  The feelings are mine.  I’m in control.  I’m the writer.  I decide what unfolds and progresses.  So any nay-saying stems from futility, from silliness.  How about what I KNOW I CAN do?  Everything.  Today… more steps toward a drastic elevation for my shop.  Stories and pictures, narratives and shared realities, conversations…  Everything’s mine, today.  And everyday.  The entirety of ‘I can’t’ is dead.  That’s how I want the story to progress and remain.  Today, everything is mine.  Whatever I don’t want in the story, MY story, shoved to side.  No ticket, ‘cause I write the ride.

30 minutes to write, this first December day…

img_9211have coffee, but need music.  Already I’ve learned something from the morrow’s momentum—  Whatever I want from the day, tell self you want it, and just take it.  But make demands reasonable.  First, since I’m going in late today, is 30 minutes of freer than free writing.  Could go take a couple shots with camera and phone, of the vineyards on Barnes Road, but I’m a writer before I’m a button-pushing, lens-adjusting photog.  Meant to expand on note from yesterday, in the Comp Book for classes, but didn’t have the chance when home last night.  Or, I did, I just chose to relax, and I convinced myself I deserved it after surmounting the 2,300 word summit.  Now, I enjoy zen, time to self— we all should.  Still drinking coffee from yesterday’s tumbler, but I  don’t mind and see more symbolic or allegorical gravity in it than I did when I took the first sip, about ten minutes ago.  The tumbler and its contents are a relic, a stamp from the last day of last month— time echo which can only be tasted till the coffee’s gone.  The year’s going to end, I’m running out of time to do certain things, finish certain projects, in ’16.  So, I sip what’s left of November.  I said in both classes that time runs out, that it’s quick, but we can be quicker.  I’m convinced we can, but it necessitates and irregular passion, a creative fervor that has to startle us.  That is to say, we didn’t know we were capable of.

Already down to minute 24 in my 30 mins to self.  So now what.  How about not thinking so hard, like with the final papers this semester.  When you’re at the writing stage, after gathering tentative sources (which, again, I only require 3 as I don’t want your narrative negated by “research”, or some bloody rounding-up of “facts”), just start writing.  Who cares what finds its way to page… just type.  Type feverishly.  Polish later.  You only have so much time.  WE, only have so much time.  In this set of minutes I have alone in my studio, I hear that new train, somewhere out there fairing through the thinly frigid and cut-gem-like air.  There it is again.  Of course, I think of travel.  Shocker.  But what people see while on their jaunts and exoduses, what they think they’ll do first thing when they land…  What the journey will do for them, what they’ll gather, and how they’ll feel when the trip concludes.  Just where my envisage goes.  2016’s trip nears its wrap, and we have to utilize all ticks and tocks of that infernal clock.

Still no music in the room, and maybe that’s what I want.  Or, maybe not.  What do I want?  I can have whatever I want, that’s how I’m writing it, how I’m writing today, December 1st…  So, yes, music…..  There we go, some rhythmic atmospheric track by Block 16, “Slow Hot Wind”.  See and feel self bobbing head while that first EQ’d string progression, single-string, comes in.  See self when the year’s done, when ’17 lands.  Just a new récit.  Story.  A new book, a new continent of self.  How many minutes left…?  Less than 14?  What the bloody…  What can we do.  We have to work with the time given, with the story’s remainder.  Yes.  BUT… we choose what happens and what we get from what remains.  So I think to myself, and you should to, “What else do I want?”

wine sketchez

A Pinot that will haunt you. Refuse your disconnection. The texture and fruit arrangement are nothing short of bewildering alongside their brilliance and poignant approach, and landing. As it enlivens, the texture develops more believability and emboldens the cherry and chocolate, or cola spice, suggestions. A teller Pinot, from initial sip to final. Musical and jazzy, with temperament and a playful carelessness across its cleft. Just playing, jumping from note to note and voice to voice. You find yourself entertained and engaged and educated by this Pinot Noir’s general tempo and talk. It does more than just deliver that soft, “feminine” peersonification. This bottle IS contained and wandering art… Its own echo and ethereal edge.


img_9196Less than 30 minutes left of my 2 hours to self to write.  Listening to different music now.  No more Hutcherson.  Not now..  Eating a bagel after taking a break.  No I didn’t nap, though so tempted.  Looking left, receipts from yesterday.  Stressing me out…  Loose change on right.  There has to be some symbol in that I’m just too goddamn tired to figure it out.

Need coffee.  HOT coffee.  No more of this cold nonsense from the tumbler.  It’s lost its allure, its life and flavor anyway.

24 minutes left.  What if I called in today’s classes?  What difference would it make?

Turned heater on.  Writer’s freezing.  Little toast and peanut butter—  I know, exhilarating prose.  I know.

Have to email a prospective client, then think about getting in shower.  Will only keep both classes for about an hour.  Wish I could take that nap, but then nothing would get done.  Can’t afford this, just days before the year I turn 38.  Can’t believe that.  Just writing that number associated with my name and character sickens me.  Looking at this desk and everything on it, no stress, just possibility— the writer forces himself to think in only optimistic chords and rhythms, measures and keys.  Music… everything is a standalone piece, something to be read as I share with my students and this writer comes even to more lively life, thank you coffee—

12 minutes left in the 2 hours I allowed self.  So now what do I do?  Maybe not obsess over time so much.  How about that?  How’s that for reasoning?  Do I have a reason?  Yes.  To live more.  Not calculate and measure so much.  Want my babies’ father to be unusually composed, happy, zen.

One of the vineyard shots from yesterday, haunting me, telling me I need to move even quicker if I’m to have my own vineyard, ever.  Walk it in the morning while the coffee would be in my hand rather than on this goddamn desk (what my sister did this morning, sharing her photo).  And like that, this writer’s out of time.  Time tells me what to do and when and sometimes how.  Bastard.  I won’t resist, but rather work with.  IT can’t win, that way.

4 – On page 2.  Well, okay. Keep going.

10:23PM… long day tomorrow.  Not in a good mood now, so I pour self another glass of the Lancaster I opened to relax, try to end day on a note somewhat harmonious.  Throwing away the old manuscript and writing a new one.  Tired of regularity.  But enough with that.  Where’s the power cord to this laptop?  Who knows… mad at self for failing NaNo.  Need to sell writing.  Sell something.  You need money.. fuck!  Not like I don’t have any now.  Actually, I’m more comfortable financially than I’ve been in a while.  But more always helps.  Who couldn’t use more money, right?  Thinking tonight about following through on projects and how I seldom do, and how I need to change that, and what would have gone differently had I done this, and had I done that—  Fuck, I need another glass of the Lancaster.  Just one more, right?  Who couldn’t use another glass of wine every now and again and always?

I have so much grading to do it’s not at all funny.  OR, yeah it is.  It’s lovingly funny.  On page 2.  So what.  What is page two if there’s not much with it to do?  What does that mean?  I don’t know.  In a weird mood after today and after today’s ending.  More and more, I see when people sip past a certain totem, their presence becomes putrid.  But I’m no one to judge.  We’ve all been there.  And you know what I mean by “there”.  “Oh, I haven’t.  I’ve never been there, Mike, so I have no idea what you’re talking about.” Good for you.  Wow, good for you.  Tonight’s one of those nights when after balancing my finances and all the numbers in that goddamn checkbook register I need to balance and inventory other worlds.  Okay…  Keep going…  Well, I don’t know where else to go in that ire, really.  I just need to clean some shit up.  Sipping slow, this ’10 Nicole’s, which I really shouldn’t have opened but I did and now I’m at a questioning quandary, a cognitive impasse.  Am I sipping too fast?  Am I sipping too slow?  If I sip too slow I’ll be up too late then wake too late then the mood will be back.  Goddamn that mood.

National Novel Writing Month…  Why did I even bother?  I can still finish, with my memoirist skips, not fictive.  I’ll give self till the end of the year.. so a 30+ day extension.  Always thought I was a gentle and kind professor.  But enough with that, the teaching shit… what can I sell?  No more fascinations of the small publications.  You need to push yourself to selling books… 100 pages or more.  And there I go again in my ‘promises, promises’ mode (hear the 80’s song in my head…).  But then what, I mean I have to have a plan of some kind and that plan would be a sort of promise, oui?  Sipping the wine so I shut up.  That sip, rather small for me, but it makes the wine last longer and my relationship with this Lancaster offering extended— more conversation and more sensibility about its structure and feel, presence and promises (song, again…).  I’m just going to keep sipping, keep typing, keep going and see where this all takes me.


journal –

Writing father not waking at 4, so the mood already angularized but I won’t let it slow me a bit.  Chugging quick the cold coffee, made last night—well, not made cold but cooled over night, left tumbler at work so I left it in tall cup with aluminum atop—and I set my goal for day.  Humble three pages.  Day’s goal, stories and stories in my head and the magic hour of 4AM taunts me, today me not even so much as giving it a chance to gloat.  Woke at 5-something, think 5:45, to get Emma from crib—actually go upstairs and get Emma from crib as Jack came into our room and evicted me from bed as he usually does.  4AM…..  Such a warrior, when you think about.  Always there, those numbers, everyday.  I should meet it, those numbers, that time, everyday.  Writers are heralded for their discipline and obsessive routines, at least all those I study are…  ‘Nother swig of coffee, listen to Jackie’s Spiderman cartoon.  See?  Even my son has a routine, something from which he never breaks, morning cartoons and breakfast.  What is my routine?  How about in addition to the 3 pages today or at least part of it, write a word every hour in the tasting room to elucidate either my mood or feeling, curiosity or dream at the time.

Have to get in shower soon.  4AM, if I did meet you I would have had well over three hours of unabashed writing time.  Untouched writing time.  Time to write which would tell present and future readers how serious and manuscript-driven I am.  But am I?  Always questioning myself and scolding where I misstep, like with 4, can’t be a boon in any telling regard.  Maybe I need a break from my character and go back to my character, Kelly’s.  Last I recollect I had her in an ad firm in the city.  She was mostly administrative but they let her dabble in the creative, but only dabble.  She paints and draws, of course, sells pieces here and there, but can’t find the time for her craft as she also pours at a wine bar on the Embarcadero.  She has no choice but these two jobs, with how much her modern SF rent is.  She would get a roommate, but that’s no what she wants.  She needs more quiet, she needs more travel, she needs more creative in her life and the Now is where she vows to attain such.

Ah….  Now the writing father feels better.  Not thoroughly improved, but enough to feel good about reaching 3 pages.  Got Jackie some milk and water, now back to my morning highly critical meditation.  4AM has not dodged out inevitable meeting.  And the writing father’s mood, only elevating.  Jackie burps… and again… and I laugh.  “Excuse me excuse me excuse me,” he says.  “Was that a funny burp?” he then asks.  I can’t stop laughing, and my disposition is completely repaired this morning.  No more mood, please.  I can’t bloody stand them.  Doesn’t matter.  They don’t matter.  Today I invest in self, my pages and book, pages for Kelly and everything else off starboard.  Wrote at the beginning of the month that ‘maybe I’m taking my self-assessment too seriously’, or ‘personally’.  Either way, like Mom sometimes says, “Lighten up.” True.  It’s Sunday, not that that matters as I’m headed to work while a trapping total of Americans get the day with their families.  My word for this hour, now in my house with my son, 8:19AM— Puzzle.  I’m terrible at puzzles but I’ve never had to solve with anything in balance.  What’s in balance?  How about my family, our quality of life, my happiness, my aim of traveling and taking pictures, writing, more photojournalism…  How about fucking everything on the line?  Is that enough motivation for me to solve the puzzle, THIS puzzle, this life?  I think so.  But, really, lighten up.  Enjoy your cold coffee, your story, Kelly, her return to your thoughts with that 400-square foot apartment in the Marina.  She wakes early, every morning, to just sketch, and sometimes just doodle but make the doodles somehow multicolored and magnetic with the color play and brush, or pencil, strokes.  Her dream, having a loft/studio in Manhattan, “The typical artist dream,” she always tells people when they ask what she ultimately wants, avocationally.  But that’s what she wants, and being trapped in that office and behind that bar watching people become asses after however many glasses is just the poignant propulsion she needs.  “It’ll be here soon,” she tells herself.  Every morning.