It had been a while since he had an actual free freewrite. There was always time, telling him what to do, why, how fast, when, to where, for whom. But not tonight. His ’08 Alexander Valley Cabernet ordered separatism. He couldn’t, though. Wasn’t time, yet. He enjoyed a tidal sip, let his concerns away slip. He was about a page away from finishing this short. Seemed to him like he’d been writing in circles, back-and-forth’s, inside-out’s. So he stopped. He was done, for the moment.
Then, he found himself opening an atlas. He just stared at it. Looked for countries, areas he’d never heard of, or maybe shamefully forgotten. Slovenia. He’d heard of Slovenia, in fact he had a friend in college, at SSU, from there. A loudly shy kid named Ben, who loved wrestling, 60s music, Indian food. He remembered how Ben would share his grandfather’s stories at Thursday night dinners, a habit in his home. His grandfather told him a story of how Nazi spies approached him, but then quickly left, how frightened his “pop-pop” was, hiding indoors from that day on. Mike thought of investigating Nazi presence in Slovenian land during the brimstoning times of World War 2. Traveling there, taking pictures. Just walking around, stopping sporadically, writing. The mooring work week was coffining him, he thought. He wanted adventure, escape. Even the wine knew this was pattern detrimental, that it needed euthanizing, soon. He wished it would talk to him more. Possible he needed pour more. Possibly.
Wine tasting, he thought. This weekend. He owed it to himself. He just wanted to drive, maybe not taste a thing. Just wander, around wine’s country, zone. Find nonfiction peregrinations, for himself. Or any characters he’d push onto a page. He took a chunk of old writings from that plastic container. A 17-page piece he wrote in graduate school, about a young man, early twenties--how old he was when he typed it one night, after class, around 11:30p--that wanted to coerce the friendship with his neighbor, Cindy, into something miles beyond normal cordial association. Mike didn’t know what to do with it. There was a paper shredder in the closet. But no. He couldn’t. The Cab wouldn’t let him. And it was an ’08. He was shocked it was so forward, forceful.
Bed. Calling. But he wanted to read his work. Mike wanted to see how he typed, then. 2003, was it? He missed the scholarly days. Those, missed, dearly. He read a little. “...Carl sipped the beer she sipped, before she left. He was kissing her, he thought. How was he doing this? He should have stopped her, but that would have been...” Looking at his wine, he realized that tomorrow was closer. Is that what the wine wanted, for him to be closer to duty return? He wasn’t finished, at all, yet. He wanted to read more. There was something in these pages, he was convinced, like a child figuring out a maze, puzzle, math problem. Surprising himself, with his own effort. Not that it was anything absorbingly sumptuous. But it was his. Pages. Moments. His work. But, no. Clock called.
10:35p. Still awake. I always wonder when I’m going to have THAT sitting, write that page that’ll be the first step in a work splendrous. I remember when I wrote that Carl short story. Carl Taylor was his full name. Think I only edited it two or three times, then passed the copies to my colleagues, in that graduate Fiction workshop in Warren Hall. At the time, I was writing poetry, spoken word, song verses, for the most part. Feel like I did the night I wrote it. What was its title... Think it was... Oh yeah, “Now.” Chose the title in hopes of emphasizing the significance of single moments. Cindy, there in his apartment, kissing him, then leaving. Carl couldn’t believe she left, chose responsible behavior, early to bed for early work, over him. 2003, eight years ago. Time, defeating me, inevitably.
Seeing a certain disconnect with my writings, that merely need an immediate re-connect. No Lit Lunch in café today. Tomorrow, types, for sure, at one of those little marble table, with one of my midday mochas. Feasible that this late session’s the one that’ll purchase the new car I NEED, desperately? And I’m not asking for a porsche. Not yet. Just a new ship. Can’t afford. But these words can. Just waiting for the right ones to land on one my pages. Me, just the bridge. A puzzle, I’m tasked with solving. Christmas, nearing. Maybe the words map their attack, before the sapidly celebrated marker of gift exchanges, disfunctionality, massing messy masses.
Look at this weather man, channel 2, talking about the slight rain that MAYBE approaches, like some climatic cataclysm about to crack our comfort. What a clown.
Mike turned off his laptop, hid under sheeted shelter. News, over. Thankfully, he thought. So depressing. Tomorrow, he would commit to a “good” day. He needed to finish his submission packet, but where would he submit? Should he just post it all on that chthonian “wine blog?” He was so sick of that thing, he didn’t know where to start in his berating. He heard his phone shake, but only once. Text, he thought. He sat up, read screen. “Hey,” it read. From Kelly.
He didn’t know where to go with his words. With her, he never did. “Hey...” he typed, unable to believe that’s how he responded.
“Did I wake you?”
“No. R u painting?” Mike wrote, ashamed of his texttalk.
“Taking a break. Just wanted to C what U were up2...”
Was she making fun of him? He couldn’t tell. “Just getting ready for bed.”
17: 12/15/2011, Thursday [noted...]
Lit Lunch. 1:27p. Have to be back in ten, exactly. Came here today with a goal. And, if you can believe it, I didn’t change my mind. I wasn’t at all distracted, discouraged. 500-750 words, submission-intended piece. Short fictional narrative. Actually, wound up being 775 words. I’ll allow it. And I am going to submit this piece. Today, payday, and I plan on scooping what I can for submitting to publications. What do you think, 2-3 mss per week? Mss = manuscripts, by the way. Little rain, last night, this morning. Had that fog on my AM commute, that I endlessly love. Something about that thick mist, generate, enlivens a Literary carnivore under my skeptical skin. “Confidence,” I kept thinking, from Kenwood to 1st & Main, downtown Napa. Need more confidence in Self, I have to admit. Maybe that’s why I’m despicably coy with my work, why so much of it goes into that plastic container in my closet (formerly under desk), or just indefinitely ferments in this little monster of laptop. 1:34p, have to pack. Barely touched mocha2. Wonder what she’s doing, right now. Painting, I’m sure. Enjoying her day. Can’t fault her for her newfound fame. On me, shell-shocking shame...
8:55p. Last pour of the AV Cab, right. Today, providing reason, with blend of fog encased drive and verbose cubeNOTES. Now, eased in castle. As Adrianna always encourages at work, with clients, “swag.” Swagger, what I’m trusting. No more withholding. This wine, telling me to study, return my winemaking studies. Katie, too busy to field my naiveté. And I don’t fault her, even a little. Don’t want to sip this glass too fast. As it is, honestly, my last. From that bottle. Cabernet, what encourages my mind to just play. Enjoy night, all day.
Not ready for bed, by any sight. Loving these Wine Bar beats, intently. Can’t believe the speed of this year’s closure. Meant to read some Capote tonight. And I will, downstairs in a bit, while not watching the sickeningly sensationalized news. Do I want short stories from Mr. Capote, or Portraits and Observations? Decide in a few. Decided to blend the short piece I wrote at lunch today into the book. One of my cubeNOTES today stressed that freewriting will always have commitment. No more scribbles whose only fate’s to be stuffed into a file, or container of folders. Not more tombed sessions. All alive, with each other, in one way. Some way. The fog told me that, too, I think...
Starting with short stories, as I’m one writing fiction, day2day. Ten minutes, going downstairs. Didn’t get a run in this evening, but tomorrow I’m demanding my structure be on that relentless belt. Find spoken word always landing in my cognition’s cage when running. Hardly ever fiction. Pretty certain I know why, with poetry’s more fluid, less-regimented, more liberated stream-of-consciousness. I do think of characters, occasionally. But, most often I’m reciting, playing with rhyme connections, meter, with breath patterns. Last sip. Cab, past. Now, news. Capote. Tomorrow, all fiction. No verse. Character obsession. Lists of them. Kelsey, Jewel, at the café. The new paintings on that wall, their pained voice, darker contrasts; the write that goes there everyday on his lunch break, scribble what he sees, living on his pages before his Equilibrium is cracked by occupation’s string avulsion.
10:53p. Tomorrow, only fiction. Character obsession. Kelsey, aside from her nettling humor, persists in revealing Literary value. Innocent, but mischievous. Perfect for a coffee shop. What does she do in her spare time? How old is she? I’m estimating hang out with friends, for A. 22, B. Doesn’t really matter, as I can make her what I need be in these pages. Fair, wrong? Not sure. It’s fiction. I don’t think it’s anything, but everything.