up early, just after 5, I have time to collect and introspect a bit here at 12 & Mission sbux… not feeling entirely together, though, or coherent for some reason. Gave a fine performance in the 5 class, and this morning getting my large coffee comp’d at the Hopper spot, which never happens. And no line, so the day seemed to want to treat me in some fashion. And now listening to Coltrane and this breakfast sandwich with only a couple bites left for the writer, I wonder about Fall, and what momentum I have as a writer, and if I’m just writing the same goddamn thing over and over again.. don’t then, a voice tells me internally, my own intrinsic teacher. People around me on their phones or laptops, and me over here still trying to figure everything out, establish some order just before 37. Some of the employees here, far older than me. And no, I’m not judging, just observing, and wondering what else I can do to add elevation to my career. What? WHAT? Think about my students and how they see me and more importantly how my children see me. When I was in Mr. Sullivan’s Creative Writing class, senior year high school, I saw myself where I am now. But a writer, teaching at Stanford a class or two. So am I behind? Did I fail? Behind, maybe. Fail no. No, I haven’t failed. I’m teaching and I adore my sections this semester and every semester. I am a teacher, and I do write, but the writeradjunct needs more. Again, I’ve written this before.
I think of painters, showing their work in galleries, selling them, not having to have it edited or cleared by some publishing team, just creating freely. The ultimate aim of my efforts is just that, freedom, and a totality to my freedom. And encompassing nature to my freedom— lady right rises and leaves, her seat soon replaced by another woman carrying a briefcase then she stands soon as she sits, leaves. “What, did she forget something?” I wonder. The more I think about life and my life and what I want from life the more I understand I need to stop thinking. Just DO. Writing while looking at the people in line; an older lady talking to the cashier, a police officer staring at the pastries deciding which he should order, the most paining decision of his day. Then some guys in shorts and flipflops, obviously his day off, staring at his phone, probably texting his buddy to see if they can meet at 3rd Street Ale Works, or Russian River Brewing, or just at the river (one of them will bring beers). And speaking of, I just learned this place serves beer and wine, now. I asked the cashier, “So you serve beer and wine now, huh?”
“Yeah,” she said, “but you have to wait until 2.”
“Oh, it’s too early for me. But thanks for clarifying,” I said. I knew that came out snarky but I didn’t care. I needed more caffeine and something to eat and I didn’t want the verbal transaction alongside the actual transaction to take too much time away from writing. So I’m here. Sandwich done. Mocha, somehow sweeter than it should be. Have to stop with these and just stick to regular, black, loving coffee. The coffeeshop, whether corporate like this or some indie joint, is where writers are expected. And I expect them to be here, my “competition”, or comrades. On the other side of the glass behind me, highway 12, people speeding by dealing with their mornings. They could have the day off like flipflop guy, or be late to work, or going into work late for whatever theme. Either way, I’m not the only one on this planet, I’m not the only story. So why should mine stick out? What should I do to make mine more seen, more obvious? The morning’s intensity, especially with thought, continues and constricts me wonderfully, but challengingly. The song I’m listening to, “I’m Old Fashioned”, reminds me of my age, the high school days, the moments I saw the self at Stanford, walking around that campus realizing I’d done it. I still can, right? My allergies add more challenge to the morning by causing sniffles, nose rubs, throat clearings— Young kid, male, maybe early 20s, walks past me and parks in back corner, setting down backpack and removing laptop, ready to work. Is he a writer, too? The paranoia or elevated awareness in sets; there are other writers here, or there could be. I need to work harder, write more, finish more, finish it all! Every project, every note— turn that note into a bloody novel. Paint a scene, a character, start with self. The perfect world Dad and I talked about, closing in. Me, writing and teaching only if it fits.
I still think of that guitar player on the Healdsburg Square, just playing. Why can’t I just play, like the trumpet solo in this piece by Coltrane? I know, I’m thinking too much. A meditation having the opposite and dousing undesirable result: stress. Employee washing tables around me, wet towel then back behind bar to stock or make drinks or ring in orders. Hate that language, the retail speak. Everything a transaction, so ‘A+B=C’.
English 1A, hours away. This adjunct thinks of what he’ll say, how he’ll say it, how he’ll divide up time, an hour and fifty minutes. Sounds like a lot but it never is. If I didn’t have that section, I’d have the rest of the day to write, plan for the next English 5 meeting, actually enjoy a day, maybe run. Imagine that. I look toward the counter, where the reg’ is, looking different to me this time I raise my head and I’m not sure why. Like I’m looking at a past writing that I don’t remember, that I can’t believe I wrote (good or bad, or worse), and that just doesn’t sound like me. I know, I’m overthinking.