10:56a. “Today does feel different than others,” Mike thought, walking out to his car. Driving to his coffee spot close to home, he noticed the melting ice on his windshield. He thought of places where ice wouldn’t melt, the outdoor numbers wouldn’t permit that. Once in the coffee shop, he stopped, looked at the cover of the NY Times. Photo, actioned, of strife in a distant country. What journalist shot this, he thought. “That’s brilliant.” He, too, wanted to be on such an assignment. He wanted the danger, the difference.
No line, right to register.
With his 3-shot mocha, he drove back to the condo. He didn’t know what he should do, on this day before a New Year he was certain would be THE year for him. Writing-wise, career-wise, Equilibrium-wise, all. He just sat, decided not to rush. To let the day speak. He remembered asking his students once, “Can inspiration be planned, or is it always happenstance?” The class’ majority resounded that it finds you, you don’t find it. But maybe it’s a blend of both, Mike thought. So, he just sat. Sat. Sipped.
After .5 pages of notes in the Comp book, Mike stretched horizontally on the couch. Looked at the ceiling’s odd shapes. A dog. Giraffe? Leaning building, storm cloud, tire... One shape that uncannily boasted a book. One maybe, Mike saw, 300 pages or so. Like his, 301. What was this trying to tell him, day before 2012’s 1st? To write. Write whatever you want. Mike didn’t have time to think about what he should write. Not anymore. Just write. He’d be 33 in less than 6 months. What?
Write faster. Write more.
Forget about the wine industry, the publishing world--what they want, what they see as “marketable.” Just keep the pen moving. The short story ideas propelled themselves at the former English Instructor like ushered missiles. He had trouble scribbling them into the Comp book, with their legerity. So he stopped, let them compile. He’d write them as he could. Whichever ones he couldn’t recall, retain, may not have been worth record. A new short story stream came to him in waves of spicy, sparse dialogues.
“Altitude 34,500. Set cruise. Heading...” Mike didn’t know if pilots spoke this way, or if this line was believable. He’d need his dad’s counsel with such a project.
“Did you want any of the large formats we have left?” He knew where this one came from.
“Your narrative has this sort of lazy charm to it.” This was something his Creative Nonfiction Professor said, when he took her class in early ’01, his last undergrad semester. He always like her, Sherril. Her assignments were fun, not too ridiculously detailed or confining. He enjoyed her class, the workshopping element, which was where, when, she made this assessment. Lazy charm... Mike always thought of different ways to translate that, perspective her perspective.
His mocha, already out. How did that happen? Maybe he was making too much of a deal about the new year, tomorrow. This year’s last episode, today. What did it matter? It was only time. And he would write though it anyway, just as he was. Novel or short collection, it’d get scribbled, somehow.