My song, played then scrapped.
Something I’m not accustomed
to. An industry.
My song, played then scrapped.
Something I’m not accustomed
to. An industry.
a new Cabernet from Napa, from a small but beneficent label. One of those stories I only want to mimic. Would have written earlier, but I thought it the need and the optimal for the writer to speed to vineyards, walk around an take pictures. Be a photog’… or a writer that loves photography which is more the case. I have thoughts in head and Mom told me not to be too wordy with my reactions to these wines so I won’t. And she’s astute, my amiably-set mama. She urges, more than her assertion of not being “too wordy”, to just be me. More conversational about wine, no so syllabically analytical, or at least that’s what I read into and from her speak. So these wines, like new characters on the stage— unexpected and theatrical, but not overstepping. A Chardonnay, which I always have trouble listening to, no matter how it’s crafted and cared-for. Then the Cabernet, which has that flex and broadness, but with unexpected Victorian angularity— romance, and a dactylic disposition you wouldn’t forecast for a Cab.
Tonight the writer’s in his wine mood and mode. Wish I could play some Hutcherson, but the babies are asleep. And wish I had the energy and concentration to get to a thousand words but the wine’s catching the writer. Still, thought, this beatnik writeth. I’m like Dean as he parks cars. Sal, as he observes everything around him and listens to the jazz with Dean but doesn’t quite know what he’s seeing but looks anyway and writes about it later. This is my maison, this book, this story, told in wine’s accompaniment— a movie and just a moment, not so Hollywood or theatrical but if you spent a couple days in a tasting room you’d see the stage, the act, the interaction, the dialogue that begs to be captured. Yes, I’m more than liberated in this sitting with my Cabernet glass, here at the desk with barely any light above the writer. Just the way I prefer it— like I’m in some dark bar, overseas, writing while everyone else connects to conversations that go nowhere, conversations I capture and use for my book— people in the corner playing pool, talking about what to drink next, but I’m writing, sipping wine and digging in my own brain for ways to make their speech more seraphic.
Evening, this, sovereign. Still with a bit of Cabernet in glass. Surprised and a bit proud of Self for not drinking it too speedily. My book, narrative, begs wine’s involvement. Stepping slow in that vineyard block today made it more than clear. I’m under the lights with wine, in front of an audience, talking back and forth— wine trying to categorize me, me just sipping it but trying to sound like some expert or critic or voice that should be heard. We frustrate each other, but can’t stay away from the other. Odd love whirl. Not so much wind, but ink from my urges rescinds. Why. Why need there be a restart? Refocus on moment. Look at images. No act.
On campus, in the adjunct cell, with my “lunch” if you could call it that. Haven’t told the department yet about my 1A, only ‘cause I wanted to come directly here to write, but I’m more than ever motivated to go down to one class, or only accept one additional course if it’s right after my early ‘5’, me sure of this right after the meeting I just had with English 100. Students shared some stories about dramatic and some traumatic events in their lives that taught them something. Why would I keep going as an adjunct taking whatever assignments are just leftover for me? As I wrote earlier, I’m deciding I deserve more, I deserve better. I’m moving closer to that perfect world dad and I talked about at Monti’s that one night.
Listening to the Hutcherson station, or channel, whatever, again. Eating my trail mix, the first course in my extravagant adjunct lunch. Spoke with a full-timer just a bit ago, in her office grading papers, so miserable and vocal about her frustration with the students in their submission of an assignment— a letter to someone they admire. “I mean, how hard is this?” she said to me. Part of me agrees, well no all of me agrees, but the other side of my brain wonders why she has all her eggs in this basket, teaching? Why not do something else if it makes you so miserable? Why doesn’t she set her own pace, her own rhythm, decide to only play the music she wants to? Why do so many of us so quickly surrender, give up fighting for what we want?
Going to tell the department now. No 3-5PM English 1A…
Done. And she was fine with it. Not that I was worried or even care. It’s what I wanted to do. How will I recover the funds on which I’m missing out? I have several ideas… That I don’t have time to catalogue at the moment. My mood, elevated. I feel in control in a way I have never as an adjunct. I turned something down— or, went back and said no after saying yes to an assignment which represented all they had to offer me. The usual leftovers. The shit. The shit these full-timers don’t want to deal with. I just.. can’t believe I did that. Is it okay to say I’m proud of myself? I rarely do, so it should be okay, right? “Ha ha!” I want to go out in the hallway and fucking shout. “I’m not teaching shiiii-iiiit… I’m not teaching shiiii-iiiiiiiiiiit! I do what I waaaaa-aaaaant!!” Like a child. That’s what I need to be, careless and free like my kids. Jackie who jokes all the time, delighting in all minutes, then my sweet little Emma who coos, smiles, tries to wrap her little baby arms around daddy. This is the right choice. This is the choice for my story, the story demands it, and I demand a better story. This is a start. The adjunct life and the way I used to live it just taking whatever was offered to me is now, FINALLY, over. I’m in control in a way I haven’t been since, well, I don’t know.
Now onto the Cheddar Goldfish. I told you.. adjunct lunch. I wasn’t joking. Glad I left the cafeteria line. Would have spent at least $7 there, where at the bookstore I walked out under $3. $2.77, if I’m of precision this afternoon, which I am, more motivated than I’ve EVER been. Opening the second trail mix packet. Bored with the fish. Sip sparkling water… Want to tell everyone, everyone I know, like with the students today… Tell your story. Change your story. Write and re-write your story. Whatever you want doesn’t have to stay a ‘want’. I mean, how hard is it if I, the adjunct, did it?
(10/17/16) 7:05, putting pants on, waiting for Jack’s waffles to toast. Only one coffee sip under the writer’s belt. 45-minute run planned when I get back home. Quite sure I’m going to drop the 3pm 1A class next semester. Too big a gap between that and the earlier 7:30-9 English 5. I’ll take a second class, but one only immediately after the 7:30-9.
Use restroom, about to sip coffee, Jackie eats the waffles, watches Thomas.. Me over here thinking about the book I’m finishing. Why did I ever think about or put even the sliverest of slivers into small page collections? My impatience. That’s it. Obvious. But I’m changing, I just thought washing my hands. Telling Janet that I’m dropping the 1A for something earlier is a significant step for this writing daddy, adjunct. Telling them it’s unacceptable, such a layover between classes, that I deserve something better, something that works for me– oh I can’t wait to tell her. And not with any malice, just firmness. I want to hear this new Mike say it.
Emma up… Starts with puffs then to apple saws– sauce! No time to spell.. Typing in home.. PHONE. TYPING ON PHONE!!!
Getting gas… No run. Will write for 120 mins when home. Set the timer. Today has to be a day moving me. Loser to the travels, to my reality– the me I need be. Cold outside, no rain, crisp atmosphere. Maybe I should run.
Home. Decide no run, even after seeing that girl running on Marlow. Should I?? No… Devoting whole morning to writing, my book, my career.. How I want to be seen. Coffee machine cuing, me waiting, enjoying quiet house after frenzy morning, another one.
Cup one, brewing, typing on phone realizing I’m five minutes late to sitting. 9:30 was my clock-in time. Good thing I’m self-employed. Or at least today I am… Now cup two a-brew. Will sip both from the mother-in-law tumbler as usual, put on Hutcherson station, and fly– cup done, now to work…
9:42 and at laptop, listening to an old Miles track, “I See Your Face Before Me”. Seeing myself on an airplane, traveling east, hardly able to wait till I can fly back home to see my babies, wife, be in my own home. I know I wanted the travel, but I only want to be with my kids. This morning in the quiet house, all to myself, sipping coffee and wondering what next semester will bring with only one class, if any classes at all.. where is this story going, of this writing father? Well, I guess I’d have to ask myself, where do I want it to go? Distracted by the fucking clutter on this desk.. aggravated by the mess, the stuff we unwillingly compile in our lives.
Interrupted by my own lack of concentration, pulled away by the piles and piles, putting one on floor and moving another from one side of the desk’s top to another. “Lotta good that did,” I say to myself, sneer. Sip the coffee again, tempted to check my phone but won’t let myself. Sip coffee again, think, put phone on other side of desk. Why did I do that? That girl I saw running on the way home— Maybe I should go out, just for 45 minutes. No, stay in the goddamn chair, I yell at myself. Not just “say”, but truly order, instruct. Writing for me has now become something different. Somedays I’m more serious than others. I tell my students to know their habits and places where they like to write, who they are as writers but I have satisfied nada of the above. What I’m trying to change with this sitting, this hour or so in the chair. Love this song, “Cool On The Coast” by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet. Relaxes, and not as stressed as I was earlier getting the babies ready for launch to school, I write on. Déndendu (relaxed), me, finally. But am I just killing time or am I writing with some purpose, some mission or grand intention? I want to go outside and scream at the day, tell it, “Well, sorry if you have other plans, but you’re doing what I want you to, okay?” What do you think it would say? Does it have the gall to answer back? Same writer, ab initio, but not. I’m trying to figure out in this sitting exactly what I want to say, what I want to do, so I can stop the wishlisting and the vows and promissory writings I annoy myself with.
Not worried about typos from earlier, even though I’m now tempted to scroll up and edit, revise and polish but “no way, fuck that” bounces around in my head like my son Jack was around the family room floor this morning, Emma just looking at him in either amazement or terror. I know that if I just woke up earlier, so much would change. Then why the ‘feck’ don’t I? How ‘bout this, a last promise, or wishlisted speak: Tomorrow, 4AM wake, 3 pages before leaving for winery, start readying for early vicious session now, or after these thousand or so words. The writer-father need get ahead of time, and the ONLY way to do so is to wake earlier than I ever have, and not just make it an occasional thing, but a pervasive lifestyle shift. I demand people recognize me as a militant and disciplined writer— Okay, then start acting like it. Agreed, ‘nother sip…
Messages from wife, asking if babies were okay this morning. She’ll have to read the blog, and later book, to get complete account. 10:03.. I’ll get in shower right before 11. “Ahhh…” I hear my mind sigh. Just enjoying my morning jazz, coffee, words, confession or inner detailings of a writing father, just wanting singularity, simplicity, no more of this adjunct nonsense, the 5+ hour layovers between classes. Today is monumental, where I tell them what I want, just like I tell the day, and this sitting, the coffee, myself. I don’t see anything around me— no clutter, no phone, not even the Kerouac books, or my composition book, the running magazines, my keys, the check I wrote the other day to Ricardo the successful housecleaning entrepreneur without which my wife and I would subsist in constant ick.
In office, watching rain outside door decorate the scape. Not in the mood to work as much I am to just write. Goal for day is 3 pages and one salable piece. Chipping away at the 4-shot mocha, and thinking of where to take the morning’s urges next. Think I’m trying to start too quick, too quick. Not a problem as that’s part of learning your writing pace and piece as a creator..
This morning is entirely about understanding where I am and that I have my health, that I’m alive and will stay alive for my wife and babies, take care of them in all parcels of reality, finish my books, continue this Ox’s blog and be alive forever in some creative tumble. Listening to a Thievery Corporation remix.. and I think— MUSIC. Not DJing, but having music be more part of what I do, keep track of what I’m listening to, playing, new artists I discover, and how I am one of them, those artists, with my spoken word pieces that I’ll soon read. And that’s it, music brought me to another realization— the salable piece today will be a poem, 3 pages, intermittent riming, written to something either by Hutcherson or Coltrane.
Mother-in-law told Jack how she woke at 4AM, already has 4 walking miles under her belt for day. Not that she was, but I felt she was poking at me, encouraging me, telling me something like ‘See, Mike, if I can do it you should be doing it as well.’ If that is was part of her cogitation, then she’s right. But even if it’s not, which it’s not, then I learn further, the boon in waking at a cruel hour like that, get so much done before the day even thinks of starting, before it has any type of chance to get ahead of you.
Breaking for a bit to get some work done. Will return to piece in a bit. Have to jet to downtown Healdsburg to get some collateral, and while down there I’m sure I’ll envision and imagine where I want my office. Right on the Square, or just off? MY, office…
Back from the trip downtown, and folding some collateral into small envelopes, doing as much as I could before going completely mad, the writer’s back at his laptop for just a breath, before more winery work. Not raining right now, and I would be ever thankful if that way it stayed, so I could get in a vineyard walk, take some pictures… Music back on, ideas for courses fly through my head like birds racing each other. Hear nothing but this music and the typing of my own keys… look down at all the cords on this desk, the two laptop screens. Wonder if the owner would let me keep this office when mmc, “mikemadigancrEATive”, really gains altitude. I’d be happy to pay rent. Just thinking, and writing down whatever comes to the writer’s thought plate. Happy in this office— reminds me of my answer when people ask me, “So what do you write about?” Life. Being happy. Before ‘writing’ itself, or wine, running, parenting (even though my babies are well over 90% of what makes me happy, and love life as I do). Just “Life. Being happy.”
crutch none, just walking slowly
this morning. why rush, there’s
too many stoplights anyway—
Between classes. Burrito from caf’ which I know I shouldn’t have bought but I needed something and when you’re hungry anything sounds good. That, and a student in the 100 class kept mentioning Mexican food, so it wrapped my head in the most immediate possibility on campus. 100 went well, 1A next, and I’m riding the day’s wave, in so many ways. Haven’t hit many of the pillars on day 2 of this 30 day “challenge”, or story. But I still have several hours left, of course. First bite of burrito, and my attention is sliced. Now all I want to do is eat, not write. Ugh…
5.5-something mile run this morning started the day off with promise and love, but ate a horrible portion of my day’s time, the minutes to self. Burrito also making me want to take the rest of the day off. But I know I can’t. Silly to even think about. The day, positive, but still a bit bland now I think about it. What can I do to make it spicier than this burrito? My choice, it not being so picante, as I can’t do really fiery foods, and I ordered mild. Not sure what I’m saying. Go ahead, stop reading. This is just a tired and bored adjunct in his shared office, one that needs to do something to his story to make it more interesting. To make HIM more interesting. I know! When done with the burrito, walk back across campus to C Lot, drop off everything but Composition Book and copy of Road. Then sprint to library and write as much as you can. Take pictures… Blog the whole walk. Content, content— NO. Story, story…
Still horribly hungry, and I’m halfway through the tortilla’s contents. What do I do now… Slow down, obviously. You might be thinking that, but I don’t know what to do. I’m about to close this goddamn laptop, walk back across campus to the C Lot, lighten the additional that I carry around with me, that I encumber myself with, and head to the library. How can I feel more free? Asking self this but necessarily getting what I’d call an “answer”. Hear another instructor laughing in the hallway, a full-timer I imagine, and I get annoyed. Know I don’t have a right to, but I do, and I realize I’m violating pilar 1 of this 30-day, which is “No Negativity”. So I take a deep breath. A deep, deep breath and think about the possibilities at the writer’s front, what’s in his sight and the immediacy of everything. So…
Back from taking the fork back to mail room, where the sink and corner kitchen is. Somehow found myself in a conversation with two full-timers about semi-colons and coordinating conjunctions. Not sure how I found myself in the exchange, but I did, both of them more or less disagreeing with me and my venom toward the “mutant punctuation” as I called it. Friendly encounter, but I don’t want to think about how much time I burned through talking with them. It’s 3:50, and I need to get to the goddamn C Lot. OR, maybe I should stay here. Well, after I get a sparkling water from the bookstore. Adjunct life, Adjunct life. So exciting, right? Need to work on my poems tonight, smaller pieces, anything to SELL. Need these income gaps bridged. I’m in the thick of one now, having to watch each penny before fucking Monday, when I finally get paid from this goddamn college. “Watch it, Mikey! Don’t get negative.” I’m not, just writing with emphasis, maybe a bit of flex.
Listening to Zero 7. Relaxing. The music orders me to change my attitude and sight, even the thoughts I have on semi-colons. Just enjoy your time on campus, being in the sphere of academics, students and teachers alike and how so many start on their path here. Acquiring dreams, many time, starts at a single college campus for people. Huh, have known this but haven’t really taken the breaths necessary to appreciate. Lunch is over, but I don’t need to get back to work fully. Or at least not right away. I’m just enjoying the music, really. Sitting in this shared office taking a minute to myself. Have to remind Me to do that, just take a couple minutes. “Take five.” As they, and Dave Brubeck, say.
Decided I do need that walk across campus. Want to feel different, look different walking into class. Not with this huge goddamn bag and the flapping and flailing cords and locks, ties and whatever else. Want to travel light. Walk in there looking like a writer, who just happens to teach. Not the usual awkward professor that ‘also’ writes. No. I’m walking in that room, Emeritus 1691 (I think), and will be of contrasted fashion. And I don’t mean “fashion” as in what I’m wearing, but the role, the appearance and feel of whom instructs them. Told the 100 class to “stay in the chair” over the weekend while revising their papers. Maybe I shouldn’t leave this office so soon, then. Maybe I should wait. See what else I can take out of this room, my music. But I think I may have hit either a wall, or some creative tree. I could try and climb both, but that would just take more time, more time I don’t have, not if I’m trying to build a blog and business, not if I’m trying to be seen as more a writer than anything else.
Shit! Just realized it’s after 4. Need to leave. Goddamn Time has been after me all day. From the run— no, even before trying to get Jack dressed and waiting for mon petite, Emma, to wake up. Close this laptop, Mike! Close it now! But I can’t. Silly to think about, and even sillier to try. I keep looking back at my car, office, and house keys, then back to the keys I’m pushing. Need to leave these keys in the car, in the bag, in the trunk, walk back here to Emeritus with only a Comp Book and Road copy. And the other keys of course. Resolved this all must be an aftershock from letting myself get so hungry, even though now I’m far from.