11:46.

Short poem done.  Not sure what to do now.  Go upstairs and check on Jack, or stay here.  Go mad.  Let the quarantine symptoms in, all of them.  Stay at this desk and just go batshit fucking crazy.  Writing like a madman, like I’m confined to a cell… solitarily solitary, playing a form of prose solitare.  Am I winning or losing.

Imagine self to my tasting room, having people over and talking about wine, nothing else.  No business, no if they want to join my allocation list or fucking wine club if I decide to have one which I more than likely won’t.  Just wine… wine…..

11:59. And into the afternoon.  Already the day slows down.  Before covid I’d notice the day start to slow around 2, or 3, 3:30.  Now, around noon you notice a bit of a halt.

Pulled Coelho’s book.  The first paragraph, the tree, new growth… Newness, in the church.  Belief in self….  I have an idea.  Write it down.  I’m Santiago, today.  No herd other than my thoughts, sights, the possibilities in this quarantine.  Read more books.  After this one, I’ll read Irby.  Then, Sedaris…. Then, of course, Kerouac.  Going to read differently, more participatorily.  Asking characters questions, myself questions. What is Santiago’s sight on this first page?

Another idea.  This one I don’t write down, saying to self “If it’s to be part of the story, you will recall and sow it into your character over and over, the story will move…”

Monday.

Something like a day without a name and you only know it’s Monday ‘cause someone else said it.  Sending emails, looking for connections, contacts, the same.  Prepping for class tonight in a virtual sense virtually has me certain of certain things.  Like what… well, where I’m going. What I’m meant to do with my pages and words, this quarantine, the blog, the books, the books that come from blogs… can a blog come from a book?  I don’t know if there’s an order, or anything in this type of day.  Monday… the first of the week where I’ll run all days and wake up at 4 going forward.  How will I do that.  Bed earlier than I ever have.  And no matter how cold or chilly or whatever it is outside I’m getting out there, and running.  No excuses, no thinking about it, just running.

Writing in the quiet house with family gone… relieved, and already missing them.  Yes, this quarantine if that’s what it is has me wonderfully all types of all fucked up.  Should be prospecting, should be networking, should be should be SHOULD BE…..  Taking a break.  Already lined up one appointment, followed up on some email communication, and now what.

How much do I have in wallet.  Not sure why I’m wondering but I am.  Shit, okay, like six bucks.  Shutting down the spending.  Famous last words that I spoke as recently as I don’t know yesterday…?  The quiet forces me to consolidate, simplify, recognize what I’m taking with me when this period passes.  Quarantine indeed, from several attributes and realities, exposures, character voices and intrusions.

Monday in its metaphoric step and street assures what comes next.  And, frankly, it’s everything.  Everything I’ve written that I will and would do, see myself doing, presents itself to me and me to it when this quarantine’s over.  Frankly, I’m celebrating the quarantine, and you should be too.  And if not celebrating it then seeing it differently.  See the boon to it, the boost in its anatomy and what shape it takes in your day.

You need to stop thinking, completely.  And just start writing, creating, moving, changing what you want changed.  It’s Monday, so start in this sitting, where you are and what you see in front of you.  Looking at phone, don’t make calls.  Call to self… collect.  Where are you going… what do you see for yourself.  What story do you want to be read?

Education in the day, in what you’re doing, how you deal with this whole thing… by not “dealing” with it at all.  Living in it, creating through and out of it so that reality you see and have always seen for self finally lands.  Something landed, today.  A Monday.  Another but not another… the contract, the speak, the Newness to it, to you.  What will you do.  What new and renewed truths do you pursue?

Think it’s lunch.  What do I get, make, look for.  The indecisiveness in this quarantine has a rich and unexpected value-quality to it.  Need explore that more.  You, AND myself.

3/30/20

from a journal

…close on another term at the JC, I resist the close, notion of closure.  And so should anyone in a similar stroke.  In the first paragraph of the book, the reader is convinced to consider the idea of Newness, growth, new sights and meditation, collection. Seeing more of myself as the boy, Santiago, even as I approach 40, with the hear being my ideas. My collection of Nows and what happens why my travel continues.  Thinking, thought, pages, notes.  With my grading done, I look over the incepting paragraphs, with the boy using a book as a pillow, literally resting his head and thoughts on another’s thought, thoughts.  Travel in ideas and a resistance of the stationary, staying in one spot.  With my studies, mind you.  Kerouac said one day he’d find the “right” words and that those assembled words would be simple.  I’m not concerned with simplicity or complication, but movement.  I’m focusing on my read and the lessons of each paragraph, traveling with Santiago and seeing what we see, together.  In this read, or re-re-read of Coelho, I’m re-writing my life, my aims, the aims I had in senior year of high school, announcing them several times in fact, of being a writer and professor.  Where on the travel, in the journey, about my syllabic and paragraphed trek did I stray?

The idea of comfort in a book, ideas, rest and even sleep but sleep that isn’t at all a state of dormancy.  The boy on the floor, with the bigger book is me, I see.  Is all of us, or should be.  Knowledge, thought, reading, writing, should always be in the main character’s scene.  And if not, then a puissant pursuit of something, even if you don’t know what. Maybe it’s just the pursuit of pursuit, having something to seek.  On the first page, we have a kindship and care for the boy, and his heard.  Why not? Why not want to see where he’s going…

1/1/19

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…..

12/31/18

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.

Kerouac has

all interpretation and meditations leaning toward more. More exploration, more scenes, more looking around and acknowledging Now. Nothing behind, all ahead and in front of me asking to be experienced. What am I doing here, accepting any order, any regulatory, any institution. More, on that Road, the music, lights, cars, families traveling in winter or whenever. Sitting on unfamiliar boards, me…

A Cytological

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35th Avenue, San Francisco

A beer, and some quiet.  After today, which wasn’t bad, or a blah-day, just odd, I need this.  I need this time for ME.  I need collection, thinking about what I was thinking about this morning.  All that “thinking”, definitely overthought.  Has to stop.  Wasn’t going to take bag to work today but of course I did.

I literally can’t decide what to write about.  I hate this feeling.  Catch self…. Not liking reading ways, or writing, so I re-instruct the one now penning.  What I just wrote in journal.  And that’s another thing, no more ‘I’.  Starting to loathe that letter and word.  So, over again.  Back to school.  More education.  Exploring language and how it’s on pages composed.  That’s another thing, no more ‘me’ or ‘my’ or ‘mine’.  Wanting these pages to be about readers, YOU right now reading if anyone’s reading.  Taking writing away from author and with more consideration of reader, seeing now here in kitchen.  Quiet, just jazz… Mr. Coltrane speaking in octaves perfect in pairing with this beer.  Wine next, the Cab last night popped.

Free in the moment, in present education.  Hoping to wake early and jump to gym for running on belt, but feeling’s though this could be a night for writing.  A night for assembling new curriculum, new sights and ideas for education, ideas offered, building not so much a brand but a story, a new identity and if not one new then one re-written.

Knowing just what to write.  Taking ‘I’ away.  Not even so much about you, reader, all respect meant, sent.  This page and all following about the idea itself.  Thinking… decisions that turn your vehicle, that shift and shape your voyage and trek.  In traveling from page to page, writing to writing, observations and rooms, new instruction and curriculum if you will, need to travel light intensifies.  More than before in before-pages.  Learning from today, to plan ahead and not pressure character if something doesn’t align with the envisioned.  Life is a circle, then a triangle, then something of square-semblance, and after undefined.  Present at this counter, going over day, from the morning meeting with T, to the drive to SF, to the hike south on 35th, to my meditation on 35th and Vicente, to the drive back battling traffic and seeing all those faces in the lane left and right, and in 6-facing mirror, wondering what their day said to them, where they’re going. 

Taking focus away from he in this seat, and seeing all around me.  My neighbors, the people with whom I work, Mom Dad, winemaking sister, this beer bottle, kids cups just behind this laptop, journal and pen.. scene, scenes, interpretations, days, weeks, year ending.  Just remembered, a 30-day project or challenge still progressed.  Day 19, just learned.  What’s wanted?  Hmmm…. Not sure.  Read with more strength and excavating traits.  Writing, same.  In class.  Only one.  All this still, music, time to seat, self.  Something repaired, cured.  Now, new advance, or forward, instruction, induction… not-so-subtle deduction.

(11/7/18)