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2005-10-29 - 12:13 p.m.

So I'm moved into the warehouse space and I've got roommates for the first time in three years. Dickie is the funnyman and he's very specific about how he likes things. He wants me to keep my bedroom door closed when I've got the space heater running and he'd rather not I parked in the garage spaces on the south side of the building, and so on. But he's stoned all the time and so he's silly for most of it. Geof is 31 maybe a little less quiet than he used to be but still strange in sort of lovable ways. He rides the razor scooter from the kitchen to the living room. He is not a manual labor sort of guy, but he works for a friend's cake shop. The cake shop is about to be famous. Two cable TV networks are bidding to make a reality show based on this cake shop. They really do make ridiculous cakes. Green tea flavored cakes that look like totem poles. Pumpkin spice cakes that look like whatever the fuck you want them to look like. So they're going to be on TV, it looks like for sure, and Geof is about to have some more money with which to buy a thicker iPod and buy more sneakers and buy more weird albums to load into his iPod.

In the mornings, the sun comes in through the windows on the east, on Greenmount, the sun slicing over the old cemetery where they say Edgar Allen Poe is really buried, and it lights up the couches and the rugs and the empty bottles and the stereo equipment and the ping-pong table and the concrete and it's a good morning to me because I'm the only one up to see it.

I thought that teaching this one class on Monday nights was going to be such a fun, throwaway sort of thing. It's turned out to be a lot of work and I'm starting to resent it. I wish I didn't resent it. Because I really like teaching. I don't like grading papers on euthanasia, however. And though that's not accurate because I told them they couldn't write about euthanasia, I still don't like grading three- to four-page papers by eighteen- and nineteen-year-olds. I just don't and no one can make me. Plus, I used the word "retarded" in class the other day. I'm pretty sure you're not supposed to do that.

Andre Dubus is the motherfucking man. I've been reading his essays. I've got a collection here called "Broken Vessels." They're the best kind of personal essays. Honest, sharp, a little sentimental, honest again, and every one of them bringing a last line from someplace where little league, ultimate frisbee, roadtrip trivia, and naked chess are played now and forever and off to infinity. He's good. The one I just read is the best of the bunch. It's called "On Charon's Shores," I think. I also have a soft spot for him because he wrote about baseball, and that one's called "Under the Lights," and that's the one with the last line from someplace special. Boom.

I probably shouldn't have gotten myself involved with a nineteen-year-old (who turns twenty in, like, three days!) but I did and because I wasn't sending letters and emails and text messages (I know!) enough, we had a fight on the phone. I really like her. But what can be done about this? Cold, factual monsters are in the way and I just wish we were three years closer in age. She nails my thinking, though. She's smarter than me by miles.

And I got myself involved with a friend's ex-girlfriend. Yes. She's lean and strong. And we have fun. And we've gone on a few dates and I made her dinner one night when she was still hungover. And it went all right. She's a tough girl. Goes on the offensive a lot when she's feeling attacked or inferior or anything that's from a position of weakness. Cynical but doesn't want to be that way all the time, is my guess. I wish there weren't so many shades of gray when it came to how I feel about people. Does bowled over ever happen? I remember it happening. At least once but maybe as many as three times. I want socked in the gut.

My little brother and his wife and their little guy move to Kansas on Tuesday. To the exact same town where I interviewed for a newspaper job (police beat) in 1999. I hated the town so much I wrote an essay about it and read it at a bookstore in Norfolk when I'd been in grad school for three months. The same town. Population 30,000. Eight miles from Holcomb, where "In Cold Blood" is based. Getting there requires taking several forms of transportation. But he's got the job he wants, coaching college baseball and I just hope his wife can make it out there. There's sagebrush and grain silos. It's just that I'm going to miss them.

I like Saturdays. And I like drinking coffee. And I like my little truck. The headlights stopped working so I took it in yesterday and they said a pigtail something had melted in the steering column. It cost $400 to fix it but I have headlights again and having headlights is better than the other way around. The best thing about my truck is the tightness of the shocks and struts. When I go over a pothole, my whole body goes over a goddamn pothole.

Remember the weight of the world
It's a sound that we used to buy
On cassette and 45.

My boss's boss, as overheard while walking past her office:

"It all started because Mark has his Blackberry set to vibrate every time he gets an email..."

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