Cappuccino Heights

Friday, June 08, 2007

June 8.

I left Sol Stein's book in the car. Mary drove me to Panera since my car is in the shop. I meant to have it keep me company- to use it to spur me on. Now a moment of anxiety passes through me- " I can't write. I don't have a thing to say and if I did, it would be written poorly" The really bad thing about this is that I have been looking forward to this moment all week. I had an outline in my head about some things I would write. I had more than one of what I think as a writer's fugue when first the trees melt away, followed by the cars, the road, the steering wheel. I am no longer commuting but communing with the collective unconscious, plugged into some mysterious process that writers can understand. This morning nothing of the storylines, the essays, the beautiful ideas that were going to flow forth in language clear and musical. Nothing, Na da, I am trying my trick of typing, tapping on the keys in hopes that somehow I will dislodge some of that. You would have loved some of that. I think some of that may have been good, worth recording, worth your effort at reading it. Nothing but this flow. This undirected flow that is sped along by my first sips of caffeine. My car in the shop and the day supposed to be oppressively hot and no fugue ideas only this flow. This tap tap tapping on the keyboard no raven to peck at my brain and dislodge a story, a poem, a description so beautiful that if written on paper the tears would wash it away. I have only had a 1/4 cup of coffee but I am fully alert to the sounds of steam flowing into the milk reminding me that I will head to Borders later for a large cup of cap . The coffee grinder is whirring away whir whir whir whir. the classical piano in the background, the voices unintelligible, the dyed blond at her notebook computer, her hair a raging torrent of blond over dark rocks, her fist up to her face, supporting it? tormented by what she reads? from her short sleeve a sausage arm, her blouse barely containing her upper body, but her bare feet seem thin and sexy, she turned and wrote something into her binder, she has a pretty face, fat but pretty, her chin and its chin. My prejudices show, I hate myself temporarily. I don't know this woman, why should I be so harsh, Yea she's fat.--I amend this. She has a pretty profile when you see a quarter of her face-full on I'm afraid it is not that great. It is too bad I am so shallow.

That last description throws me out of that flow. I'll have to try anew. I hear Jamila behind the counter. I know many of the people who work here and they know me by name. I should try describing her voice, her face. It would be a good exercise I think to myself. I am getting no where in my head.Her voice once heard you'd know it. Putting it in words is not that easy. I think about what writers describe as a "her mouth hardened." The thought passes through my head that I am particularly stupid because I don't know what that means. Who do I ask?

There is a man I should easily be able to describe. I should be able to show his half glasses dangling from his too large nose- his hair creeping back from his face as if in horror and the way it has pooled on the back of his neck like one of those funny bicycle helmets worn by Olympic athletes. The hair has also abandoned the top of his head. I can see that despite his efforts to conceal . He should have used more hair spray because 4 or 5 strands have escaped and like fingers point to that bald spot.. There is an intensity about him. He is staring at the paper, looking over his half glasses, his legs doing a nervous dance under the table. I wish there was a way to photograph people without their permission. I would use a tripod, a long lens, a shutter release, full frame, waiting for that moment of expression and light that peers into the soul.

I go into a new flow. I want to invent something. - I have it Rose colored glasses... HMMM someone has done that. Robots to do all the work and let people pursue that which frees their creative self. Oops . I don't have to work today so it is as if I had such a robot. My mind isn't free and can only doodle. I admit doodle writing is kind of fun. Ah I have it. A doodle writer organizer. It would take all my writing- accumulate the good bits, analyze them, find the characters, take my descriptions, apply those descriptions to characters, look for story lines, put the characters in stories, find an agent, sell the story, win the booker prize, become an Oprah pick, pass Nora Roberts on the New York Times best seller list, go on David Letterman , and kick me in the pants so I would write a real story instead of doodling.

Scribble, bibble, bubble trouble. I have become possessed. The caffeine has taken over my brain, I am like the ballet dancer in the red shoes, I can't stop typing. Soon I will breakdown, my fingers in rictus, words bubbling from my mouth as in a grand mal seizure, rolling around the floor I will scare the patrons.

The alarm on my PDA breaks me from the caffeine web. I have to call the trapper. We have caught our 4th ground hog

I am hoping that Border's opens at 9 am since I am going to brave the heat and walk over there. after I finish this 1/2 cup of coffee.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Friday, October 13, 2006

Friday the 13th

here is an unedited free writing piece I wrote today 10/13/2006 10/13/06 Freewriting the words tumble down the rocky slope of my mind. In each sq inch of mind the words stop, hit a giganticus boulder of unformed, poorly formed, amorphous ideas They stumble on the if onlys. If only I had started this journey earlier, if only I had more talent, if only I had read more, if only I had a brain, if only I wasn't so easily distracted (the scarecrow song ray bolger voice wizard of Oz sounds go through my head), if only I wasn't so tired after work, if only I had more time, if only I wasn't so lazy, if only I had studied harder. I reach a stream of consciousness and plunge in. Headlong rushing into swirling swishing swilling spilling cool water realizing that I have broken into the strange creative world that so rarely visits me. I ride along. Catch on to a newly fallen, brilliantlyy yellow maple leaf that comes to the waterfall and suddenly I am airborn. and floating. Frogs serenade me froom below. Hawks think I am a small finch and I in a blast of old ocean liner fog horn blow hawk feathers into chief pantahawks head. I land in the Indian village. The chief welcomes me with great sweeps of his hands and offers me a peace pipe. I smoke and night falls. Stars flicker. The fire flares up and sparks rise up and I ride on one of the rockets red glare. to the moon, Alice. I meet the white rabbit and we're late. I eat the date and ride a camel. I wonder if this is a bicameral or a unicameral. I walk a mile for the camel. And now I pause from this avalanche of words or do I afraid that this great tumbling of monkey on a typewriter will stop and the excitement of the moment of tapping into this well of words will stop and some one will put their thumb into the dike and no more words will pour forth in this rush of free writing. I feel exhilirated. I do not want to stop. My speed on the typewriter is unparralled. My leg is whirling under the Panera table hitting the under booth tap tap. the sound of coffee brewing, newspaper turning, ice tumbling into cups, bagels cutting, unheard talking. like in a foreigh language, sun streaming like the hands on the clock "Jo do you want to sit here,without the sun in your eyes" indecition on their minds... their words starting totake me out of this stream. I take a sip of coffee.
I am exhausted, exhilerated. I read what I wrote above and wonder if it was me or was I possessed. When the muse or the bemuse strikes, I think maybe I have something. Is it possible for the non reader to write? I only know that I love to write because it makes me feel alive. "Getting and spending we lay waste our powers. 'Is that something from the bible? I wonder if the materialist, capitalist society is the best? Have the pursuit of things added to my life? I am full of questions this morning.
I don't want to go home, cut the grass, mail the packages, put up the fans. I want to sit here and watch the mother and her young girl sit close all their body language facing each other. the daughter, cells dividing, nearly a blur of motion.
I think my 10 minutes of free writing time has expired long ago

Monday, October 02, 2006


11 11 2002
The trees in one last best burst of beauty,
orange bleeding off to red,
the leaves most beautiful before their death,
the trees to sleep.
The brook folds
and speaks with quite voice
who sits by my side on such a day?

Magic Day
The day started badly. I felt sick, bloated, the bags under my eyes were dark, puffy and I had a rare headache. In the mirror I saw a face which looked like a troop of ducks left foot prints on my usually smooth skin. I hate when my expections of a beautiful sun filled, exploding color filled day are frustrated. . It was raining. So I paid the bills.

I went to Panera’s for coffee and a cinnamon bagel. I am glad Sammy is not reading this. New Yorker's would probably not approve of my order and especially not toasting it and slathering it with butter. I let the three advils and two cups of coffee drug me into thinking it was a good day and finished the book I was reading on my e bookman. I don't think I should tell you what book it was. I would hate to admit I liked this book set in PEI. I am sure Anna is sick of Anne. Hey it came with the e book man.
"Why did you read it?"
"It was Then I went to the Worthington farm, camera in hand, a blizzard of leaves floating down, an orange confection of trees to feast on. My finger twitching on the shutter, Anna, you must, like Jas and I get yourself a digital camera. I took a hundred and twelve shots. I'll try and pick the best to send with this.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Tommy drew close to his grandfather on the weathered boards of the pier. Cold fingers of the lake's mists sent shivers up the 10-year-old's spine. Patrick, noticing Tommy's discomfort, reached around the boy, enveloping him with the warmth of his strong arms. The lad smiled up at old man's face. He was too young to notice the touch of sadness that lined the old man's eyes.
It was a perfect morning. The mist and sky and land and water blended like an abstract watercolor. A chorus of peepers sang out to the dawn. The scent of wisteria from vines crawling along the fishing shack perfumed the air. Soon the sun would rise and write a poem full of color to the sky.
Patrick's soul had come alive again after years of tedious and mind numbing work. He had made so much money that he could give away half of it and still not be able to spend the rest. He was a well-respected business and community leader. None of this paid for the death of his soul. He looked deep into Tommy's eyes and saw his daughter. Why had he stayed away from Tommy so long? How could he rejoice in Tommy's new life when Annie's life bled away at the boy's birth. There sitting next to him was all the wonder that was Annie.
Tommy was a bright boy. He knew that his grandfather liked the early morning quiet. He held back his questions and his endless imaginative observations for later in the morning. Grandfather would tell him stories later. He was content to watch the sky reflected in the water
Patrick's thoughts were somber this morning. As he became older, thoughts of his end came more frequently. The death of his soul was something that troubled him greatly. He wasn't thinking about the soul in any religious sense. He went to Sunday service to maintain his standing in the community not because of religious belief. In fact, he deeply resented religions. Too much blood had been shed in the name of God. How could God, who is supposed to be all good and all powerful let the Arabs and the Jews spread their blood on land where God once walked? He was ashamed that the descendants of his ancestors fought each other as Protestant and Catholic. He didn't like thinking of scarlet soaked green hills.
"Baba look" Tommy could no longer continue in silence. He pointed to a school of tiny fish that swam close to the surface. Their movements were like a ballet. They moved to the rhythms of the water. Patrick's dark thoughts swam away as quickly as the fish. He was as happy to be around Tommy as the boy was to be around his "Baba." Through Tommy's eyes, Patrick looked around at the world as if it were new again; as if it were Eden and man had not sinned.
He listened to the "weeta-weta-weeteo" of the magnolia warblers who decorated the pine trees like yellow Christmas ornaments. Tommy was humming when all of a sudden, he stopped and stared at his Grandfather, his eyes wide and his mouth open like a fish gulping food. " The angel's are coming for you." A tear rolled off the boy's cheek. The casual observer might agree with Tommy. At that moment a bolt of sunlight rent the early morning clouds and illuminated the old man's fine white hair. He looked like a saint in a painting until he slumped over.
Before he could open his eyes and gauge where he was, he felt himself gently pushed as if by the breath of a girl's first: "I love you." He expected tubes in every orifice, glowing fingers checking his blood pressure, electronic monitors upon which the lines of many lives have gone flat. He didn't smell antiseptic cleanliness of a hospital. Strangely, he was not disoriented. He felt serene, at peace for the first time in many years.
He wondered if he was dead or was this an "out of body" experience that occurs before the grim reaper takes in his crop. When he did open his eyes, he couldn't tell if he was prone or upright. The first thing he saw was a stream of bubbles upon whose surface were beautiful pulsating patterns. He passed his hands through the surface and as he did, he heard wondrous tones, songs of dying sirens, whale sounds, and the tinkling laughter of children. Abruptly, all of the other sounds stopped and all he heard was the relentless beating of his heart. Louder and louder it beat. Faster and faster until finally in one gigantic whoosh, as if all the blood in his heart gushed out, all the bubbles flew away from him. To his left was single chair. It was an invitation. In the distance, he saw a line headed toward him. It was small and he didn't have a clue what it was. As it got nearer to him, he noticed that it consisted of words; each letter of which had a three dimensional form. They were his words: Words in big red jagged letters spoken in anger to his mother. Fat wet letters that were the lies spoken to excuse his laziness. Tall tales in white letters on a black background told to teachers as reasons why the assignment was not complete. Cube shaped cold letters reflecting his rise to the top of the corporate ladder. The letters came at him quicker and quicker. He felt trapped by the letters of his own words. He began to struggle for each breath. He felt his arms flailing away trying to rid himself of the morass of his own words sticking to his face.
Just as he felt himself lost in the quagmire, he heard the words: "I love you." All of his words fell away revealing the tear stained face of his grandson.
copyright (c) 1998 by Jack Berg

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Recognizing the Sublime and Lost in the Ordinary

Am I even capable of recognizing the sublime? Would I feel it? Would I know it if it was there before me? Would I see, hear, smell, taste it if it were near me? Do I even know what sublime means? Sub- under... Lime... a substance- mineral with a high/low ph red/blue (I don't remeber high school chemistry...yikes) litmus strip. This substance is used to shovel onto dead bodies which are piled in mass graves ala Mozart in "Amadeus" or is it a green skinned, green citrus acidic fruit. I have forgotten basic things. Maybe I have experienced the sublime... maybe in the throes of Passion with Mary, maybe while listening to Beethoven's ninth, maybe at the death bed of Mary's father deep in the night before he died when I was so tired I thought I saw angels.

Why does everything have to be so ordinary? Why can't I be touched by muses who fiddle with the electrons in my brain?

It could have been me. This thought has haunted me with snipers loose in my area. I have changed my gas station. Mary and I went to the gas station to fill up her car's tire. One car used to block a sniper's bullet. This is certainly paranoia. I can't help but think that this is a terrorist act. It is innocent people. It is a well trained sniper. It changes the behavior of the population.

I am angry this morning. I have two broken lawn mowers. I just picked up one at Bill's lawnmower service and it won't start. I had them put a new cord on it because the starter cord had broken. Do you think they pulled on the cord to start the engine?

Mary's back! She had her hair cut this morning. We're going to a movie. Which one? Don't know. Our company is gone and we are going to

Drawing Contest

Be the first in your neighborhood to create your own Jack. You can make a jack in the pulpit. You can draw a jack of all trades. You can draw a You don't know Jack. You can draw a jack in the box. You can show Jack in a Jacket. You can show Jack Jacking up a car. You can animate his mouth and make Jack Yak. (Remember this is a family site so I don't want any thing about Jack's day off and no duplicating Jack so you can play with Jacks. )

Friday, September 22, 2006

Spilt Salt

Instead of a "to go" cup I am drinking my magic elixir, put me in the write mood, cappuccino from a mug. More like a beer mug than a coffee mug.

A mother is playing peek a boo with her daughter. Why do such simple joys have to slip away? Why do we have to get used to things? Perhaps waking up each day with no memory of the previous day would be a good thing. Everything would be new, fresh, and full of delight. Seeing a sun beam creep in under the window shade for the first time again, watching the dust motes swirl around in the stream of air made by your exploring hand, getting up from bed and feeling the covers fall away and the coolness of the morning against your skin, wondering who was the marvelous creature that says, "Jack, what are you doing?" and you answering back in words as if you had not ever said them, "Good morning, the day is a newly born baby." You would even feel the physical nature to the words as you say them as if for the first time. "Good" Feel your tongue go to the bottom of your mouth to form 'g', the expulsion of air as you form 'oo' and finally the clicking of your tongue against the roof of your mouth. "D." Wait, wait... Isn't that what a writer is supposed to do... form a new world, show it in a different way? Anna tell me if that is the way of a visual artist. You show things in a different way. Novels are appropriately named. See these people and their conflicts in a novel way.

When I came here today, I thought, ‘I have nothing to say today, I am tired, cutting the lawn and whacking the weeds left me as limp as the lawn in a drought and worse my back aches. Pains can drag you from the place you need to be to write. What will I write in my journal? Then the mother's peek a boo and off I am on some thought holy grail or as I have said almost every time I write these journals... it is the cappuccino. No matter. What ever it is that keeps me tapping away on these keys is a good thing. Let my mind wander on whatever path it can. It is such a feeling of being alive. Off to read a bit.

What if someday by some mysterious and mischievous act of fate, only your words were found by future anthropologist. What a thought this is! I want to throw my words into an incinerator, mash them until the a’s and z's look like underlines. Nothing I write is dredged up from the collective unconscious, formed from the primal soup of the universe, or spun from the gold of genius and therefore not worth future recognition. So why write? Because it is a way to feel alive.

Spilt Salt

His hand tried to touch mine
Across the table
After he confessed
He no longer loved me

Salt shaker in the path
The salt spilled
He put some in his hand
And tossed it across his shoulder

I fell feint, whack
Crystal light arcing
Freshly salted burning wounds
Falling, falling for him, from him

Whiff of wake me up something
"Are you ok?"


Spilt salt tears