What I’m Made To Do

by jkatejohnston

4 December 2015

It would be wrong not to record that two days ago was Pete’s one-year-old birthday. Good boy! Big dog! His present was something that looks like a slightly old-fashioned surface-to-air missile launcher (think Mujahedeen against the Soviets) but it launches tennis balls. Enzo loves this. Teresa got Frosty Paws for the dogs and Gunther’s eggnog ice cream for the humans. We lit a candle and sang Happy Birthday.


Enzo and I went fishing on Sunday. At Broadway Bait, Rod & Gun, they persuaded us to try fishing with live minnows. Two guys who work there and one customer talked to us for a long time about where to go, what kind of hook to use, how to thread the minnow onto the hook (though both lips). We were the center of a lot of manly-fishy attention. Enzo said, privately to me, “I like this place. It’s the ultimate hangout.” The minnows were a size that we’d be perfectly happy to catch. Enzo measured one at five inches.

Later, at the deep water channel, Enzo said, “Do you think it’s fair, before these minnows die, do you think it’s fair to feed them some salmon eggs? To plump them up?” I said okay, and he dropped some salmon eggs into the bucket, but they didn’t like them. We caught no fish and eventually set the minnows free.

Then we drove to a pond in town. As I got our fishing stuff out of the car, Enzo was starting off toward the pond. “Hey wait a minute! You need to carry something.”

“But I have to run my very fastest. It’s what I’m made to do.”

11 December 2015

I’m at work in my office at lunchtime trying something new.

Usually I don’t do any writing work in my office. It’s too full of other obligations—and they’re real obligations, that is they have a genuine pull. Instead I walk to the library at lunchtime, the best place in the world to for writing. But with a ten minute walk each way and only an hour for lunch, that doesn’t leave a lot of writing time. So here I am.

I’m trying to get to the embarassing part. In order to cue my subconscious and fool it into thinking that I’m not at work and that I have a lot of super-creative things to say, I’m playing fake rain sounds on my computer, I’ve cleared my desk and put my beautiful quilt over it as a table cloth, and I’m drinking coffee—something I associate with my morning writing. So far it’s not working. Maybe I need a writing scent (a candle would be perfect, but they’re not allowed), also, perhaps, a writing outfit, or maybe a special hat. I’m serious.

I remember way back in grad school, one of the better writers in the class told us all how she would light candles and burn incense and put on special music before writing. At the time I was brimming over with ridicule, though I didn’t say anything. (I liked her.) Now I’m inclined to think she was onto something. It can’t hurt, right? And if I have to cross my eyes and jump up and down three times and then do a line of cocaine to get in the mood—okay.

It’s nice to have so little pride left. Very relaxing.

I guess I should say that I’ve never even seen cocaine in real life—not even as a court exhibit. I don’t want to be accused of trying to sound cool.