Set the German cuckoo clock in the library and feel a sense of paranoia for the future, a tension gathering like clouds before a storm. Plan to start book work at the strike of the hour or wait for the next hour to chime.
Sit down again and on your list write, “check balance” and “pay Sal Brown” and “column.”
Make tea. A pot of jasmine.
Force yourself to remember how good staring out the window is for you—out into nothing, out into the fields, yellow and dry now, a snowstorm coming by nightfall. It’s a Friday—you have to check the calendar to know.
Add to the list: “Midnight Special,” “Harmonium,” and “Yesterday’s Post.”
Stare out the window at sky so gray it looks like back home in San Diego and think about Mission Valley, suicide, and the backseats of cars.
Take two decongestants so small they’re hard to hold.
Pick up the Eve Babitz book and read the page that begins: “On the plane, Jacaranda drank diet grapefruit soda.”
Plan to drink three jugs of water. Put that on the list in code as “WWW” along with “text the boys” and “Sal Brown’s Press Release.”
Put music on.
Say nonsense words to the beautiful, silent Siamese cat as he steps into the room, blue eyes watching you.
Write “Eve Babitz memoir and biography” on your list then “Large shirt out of stock from combos entry.”
Pour the first cup of jasmine tea.
The black kitten stands on a chair by the window now and stares out past the glass, looking for winter birds, green-flecked yellow eyes active, lovely, wrapped fully in the moment.
Second cup of tea.
Hit “Go to album,” hit “Play.”
Sit still and write from 11:30am to 12:30 about Mission Valley, suicide, and the backseats of cars. Write about Juan Rulfo, Mexican wineries, cocaine, French bread with warm olive oil, and dark stormy seas. Write about tamales, sliced limes, corn tortillas, mariachi bands, car accidents, newspapers, journalists, and cops. Write, “I roll down the window and the fresh air feels good on my face. Downtown is gray. Shades of gray.”
At 12:30 save and close the file for the book, shut the computer, and on your list write, “Make lists. When you don’t, you forget all the things you’re most meant to remember.”
– Adam Gnade