Posts Tagged With: Art

NaNoWriMo (excerpt/standalone article)


And why wine.. for the narrative, for the story, for the love and life of her.  Across varietals, wines should be described as character and story, story in character and characters in a multitude of stories.  Like the blend I sipped last night, one I made in 2012 with a buddy, and now I’m here three years later still learning and evermore appreciative of the Roman-like presence of wine in the world’s collective and individualized momentums.  Wine’s its own scholar, its own study, and I don’t want to be anything more than a student, ever-learning and ever-growing with the ebb of innovation, from the Earth to winemaking approaches and methodologies–  Wine provides the writer an escape and a tally of rewarding inner-storms.

Stopping in my typed mayhem, I remember the first day working behind a bar, pouring wine for guests coming from everywhere it seemed in the world just to be at that counter, at that moment, to taste those wines.  That’s always provoked me to get closer to wine’s epicenter and intrinsic palatable parcels.  Wine is always inviting the lover and curious sipper to get closer.  It doesn’t exclude, it doesn’t judge, and I don’t think it very much wants to BE judged.  Just enjoyed.  Yes, I know, wine judgings and competitions, scorings, publications, blogs like this one.. I get it.  But at its most principal of principles, wine wants communication; the occasion.  That vie, cet amour.

When I drive from my home in Santa Rosa and east on 12, I’m reminded, that it’s everywhere, this story, and I need to commit to the story.  The story, wine’s narrative and cascade of short imagist disclosures, has done its part, very much, in fact ten times over and over; Repeated again from pure civil urgency, an exhausting kindness.  So I need to answer and keep driving, to Sonoma, over to Napa, stop in Calistoga in some tasting room I’ve never been in and taste, and keep tasting, write what I feel and capture the moment and know intimately this ‘why’…  Why I’m here, why wine wants me here, and why I want wine to want me here writing about her.

My notes from last night, on my own winemaking effort, reading them this morning after a rushed-sip sequence of coffee, teaches me to move slower with her, that she need to be listened to, not string-pulled, not steered, just let to speak.  My notes read like some cookie-cutter tasting room menu, “Wild Cherry, Chocolate, slight cinnamon, milky texture.” ‘What the hell’, I say to myself.  Wine deserves much more than that.  She needs MORE than ‘more than that’.  She needs time, measure, attention and always a more wanton writing than I last night gave.  She gave me a story, chapters and dialogue, images, and she knows I’m not the most wild plot enthusiast, so she lets me decide that.  She’s kind.  I need to be more a mirror, and reflect what’s on the other side, in that vineyard over there off Adobe Canyon Road, and over there off 29.  Everywhere and everything.  For her, me.

Wine, writing…  “Wine,” I call to her, “I’m still writing.”

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NaNoWriMo, une grasse matinée

…the wine story of me ever-complexing, pleasurably vexing, wondering what I can do next and where I can go, who I can meet who’ll provide something else to the story.  Took several notes in the new journal yesterday at the winery.  Still not in much a writing mood but I try to pull myself from it, and think more of the day, how I need coffee, the poems I need to gather, STILL, that collection of prose writings I set aside years ago and did nothing with.  What if today is that day?  THAT day.  That day I change everything and the habits in me that keep me from what I want and the office on the square, mind wondering, wandering, to visions that make me forget about this odd feeling, this lack of energy this morning.

Tomorrow, Week 15.  Short, short, so I don’t need to stress or worry about papers– in fact, I think everything’s handed back.  Can’t remember the last time that was my affairs’ state.  Nearing an admirable point in the novel, the ramble the ramble all started by wine– but I need more a story, something to investigate, something to target.  So I fixate on Healdsburg.  Why wish for a story or subject when I already have one?  So I start with the tasting room on Plaza, then walk to Flying Goat Coffee, or Oakville Grocery.  Get a small cup of black and walk around the actual Square a couple times, tourists just coming out for a morning walk, attempts to rid the wine from the night’s before’s reverb.  The go to the bakery just next to the bookstore, walk in but the smell is so delicious and believably rich they walk out, not ready for such toothsome treats.  They stick to coffee as I do and continue the walk, scouting the tasting rooms that dominate the downtown territory, already planning their day of tasting, the next one, today.  They can’t wait and they photograph everything and get their hands on and pocket every single map and guide and ‘tips’ literature they can.  “We should move out here,” you can hear some of them entertain or “I swear, if we could afford it…”

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Been writing for hours. 

And now I get tired.  And miffed.  Perplexed in lost in my thoughts and realization of time and times and how both pass with disregard for me and my body’s ability to catch them.  But I keep writing no matter how scattered I get.  Some standalones, 50 words.  Others, 50,000 like my novel which I’m still picking at, dropping into my laptop.  Spin spin spin–  And I sip X 3, this Chardonnay that tells me to get lost, lost in my own time and forget the clock.  The wine, boasts its freedom to me.

Do I get angry, or bemused?  A-mused?  Where is my muse?  Which chapters to I choose?

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NaNoWriMo, more

…laptop next to bed in case I woke at some ungodly early hour, then I could write.  But no.  My body insisted I get the sleep.

Hear a train, THE train, passing outside.  Travel.. travel, I think to myself sipping more of the Ale than the mocha.  Everywhere now screams Autumn; from the vineyards and their leaves to the way the wind pushes the leaves from trees and vineyards from one side of the street to the other.  In Napa today it was especially encouraging for the writer, this adjunct who today does nothing associated with his bloody adjunct role.  Solano re-scheduled to evaluate me after I learned the delightful secretary or clerk who always finds a way to infuse some commentary rude when we speak failed to put my 11/5 observation on the dean’s calendar.  12/3 he’s supposed to drop by.  Twelve days before the semester’s to end.  Such a bloody joke, I swear…

Behind in the progress I have set for this wine-wound novel I’m writing– no surprise, adjunct in the adjunct world for nearly ten years has always flirted with wine’s industry, even taking jobs but being let go from a few of them, only now seeing an entrepreneurial approach, selling wines by writing and blogging about them.  Obvious, yes, but I have to try.  And now, to be honest, I am in the mood for wine.  But I’m going to sip a bit more of this mocha so it’s not a total money disposal–  And on such note, spent just under $12 yesterday, all day.  More than tripled that today, but oh well, it’s another day off for the adjunct.

Essays.. I start writing politically charged responses and opinions, mainly geared and shifted toward the reaction of politicians on both sides concerning the Syrian refugees.  Ted Cruz, one of the presidential hopefuls for the Republican trough–‘hopeful’ very much being an intentional word in more than a dozen ways–decries any empathy or concern for these exhausted and frightened peoples from the cataclysmically parceled country.  And then, you have President Obama and many democrats who appear to not exercise enough caution, adhering to those American principles of the promised land and ‘people come here to escape danger, find freedom, establish themselves’.  No other time in America, that I can remember, has a middle-ground on a national security/immigration matter been more necessitated.  If we knee-jerk, react with too much dismissal, and distrust, then we’re viewed as cruel.  But then, if we blindly open the doors and have no system, or even a moderately practical system in place, we put danger in our place, potentially harming our country.

I begin another essay, 502 words, on Donald Trump, and what a laugh he is, more than he’s ever been.  He’s a celebrity, for what.  Money.  And now he’s a potential political figure, the leader of the country that embodies and boasts freedom like no other?  This same stooge suggesting we give all Muslims in the country IDs, much like the Jewish population during Hitler’s short-lived Reich.

My desk soon becomes littered with printed pages, pieces I fancy submitting but not before realizing I’m better off publishing it myself.

The mocha’s disgusting.  Could use a beer.

Fine.  But I’m not wasting the Ginger Ale.

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Professor NaNoWriMo (no edits)

…I’ll have coffee for the students as I did in Spring 2014– my hands type faster now than I’ve ever seen, a fiery adjunct with a determination to end this semester as a bold and meteoric victor, soon to see the Road and soon lecturing around the country and writing on my travels, sipping my red from a high floor in Florida, and coming home to my children with stories.  But I need to meet someone first I know.  But how?  How when I’m as busy as I am?  I thought about calling her, or messaging her, but why, we don’t talk that often and she’s busy with her studies, and I’m a mess most of the time with my writings and projects and moods, and disgusting grading.  I shove myself to a more Panglossian pose but it evaporates when I peer at the time in the upper corner, right, of this devilish laptop.  My teaching blog for the students, ‘maddenedread’, I’m thinking of expanding, maybe…  Making more into a brand and something the students follow rather than just a tired blog I instruct them to check out or follow–  The ideas precipitate faster than I can type or scribble or in any way log them.  Love this feeling.  If any negativity’s intent on finding me it’ll have to skirmish through this elevated and hortatory wall first.  And it won’t.

Another full-timer passes, says nothing, just walks to her office so assured she’ll have a job for life and what does our struggle matter?  Well I’m turning all this.  I’m going to make them all adjuncts, and with the brands and businesses I’m building I’ll be the full-timer, the comfortable one; the one not worrying ever and the one looking forward to work in ways they could envisage.

Have 40 more minutes to myself.  To write.

Ideas continue their swoops, landing on my thought’s block.

And what do I do but write faster.

The department secretary, or administrator, or clerk, or whatever her title is this month just was in view, in mailroom.  She saw me and said nothing and I laughed, maybe even loud enough for her to hear.  Not sure.

But I’m building the brand of maddenedread, to read madly and crazily and formulate a more creative opinion on Literature than an academic one– oh, topic for an essay…  Can’t wait till I’m on the Road and my reputation building and these full-timers will wish they were me.  The dept. chair just passed through, lightly, barely with audible quality and height said, I think, “Hello, Michael..”.  If he knew me, he’d know that I hate being called Michael.  If Mom calls me so, or my sister, fine.  But no one else.  This is more evidence of the disconnect between this department and me–

He passes through again after using restroom and doesn’t even look at me.  Good I don’t want to be distracted.  None of them could relate to what I’m doing right now, what I’m building…

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NaNoWriMo & Merlot

Well, I wound up buying three, a Chard a Cuvée a Merlot.  And the Merlot’s what now I sip.  And what I think… well, was going to do another MOCK SOMM post to blog or write some article how this is an example of the benefits to sustainable farming, but no.  I fly directly t my novel and keep writing till the dryer upstairs stops.  This Merlot’s darker than most, with more charcoal and smoke insinuation than others I’ve tried.. and the fruit, unspeakably immediate and believable in all its circlings and savory speech.  I imagine myself giving talks on Merlot and why it should be loved, and how so many times even before that movie it was expected to be weak, to be dismissive and hindered by its lightness.  I need travel more than ever, I see.  And how I see the road, the remedy, frankly, focus on this tie between wine and writing, Literature and the stories you see in wine.  If I had my wishes pocketed, right now I’d be in Florida, on a high floor staring down at some beach sipping a light red, Pinot more than likely, and scribbling in the journal Mom and Dad bought me.  No formal writing like I’m now doing for the novel, and no new typings of any sort.  Just a sip, then a scribble, then another sip and another.  And at night, light gusts only to remind me I’m finally on the Road and the air is different here, this is the difference I’ve sought.  I’d finish my wine and odd scribblings and walk the beach, thinking of poems and paragraphs for the next novel, how I should finally write that novel about the grad student, 23 and in grad school for Math, working at an Insurance Agency, selling, and just wanting to photograph things, people, traffic, even the garbage that people dispel to roadside, capture everything.  He even wants to travel and shoot in war zones, get the pictures that no one else will to tell some kind of truth–  Then I start thinking, I want to be him, I want to be this character I haven’t even written yet.  The wine tonight is very much working as I wished it to.  And, Merlot, no shock, the varietal that brought me into wine’s story in some serious strand.

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more NaNoWriMo… (no edits)

Back at Vine Street, before going into tasting room.  And the assignment’s been submitted.  I think I may finally be rid of it.  And them, the growers.  So now, I focus on me, the Me I have to be in wine and as a writer.  Today as I said I’ll be on a hunter for dialogue, writing as much down as I can.. currently with no earphones so I can hear what people order and the conversations they hold but unfortunately I can’t hear much as the foaming and coffee and all other machines behind that bar obstruct.  “Goddamnnit,” I think, “don’t they know I’m trying to write either a novel or series of sketches?” Indeed I’m a selfish writer and professor, teaching the students the best way I think but who knows.  Well, I know, I think.  Brought a copy of Hemingway’s ‘Sun Also Rises’, left in the car as I wanted a moment or two to collect and meditate before a day of pouring.  Not sure how busy it’ll be, cold outside and the holiday’s approaching, didn’t seem Friday like many people were in town, many tourists anyway.  So what to do but walk around taste the wines make notes and be as crazy and poetic and different with wording as I can.  I guess that’s my brand, this wine writer form the Literary and academic world as non-academic but more a writer and speaker, sharer of ideas.. even with how some pourers disclose the blend breakdown, why? I have to ask.  Let the visitor experience the wine and add when asked, or necessary.  I see my wine story compiling and becoming more narrative, and more riddles in question, sweet inquiry, like “What wines am I going to taste today?” Or, “I wonder what this Zin’s like?” And that’s healthy, a Socratic and humble, humanist exploration of wine, and its words, what it narrates to me a narrative writer and page producer.

11:41.. should go to bank and deposit check.. get some cash, pay back the stash, what I’ve been taking these last few days before getting paid from JC and client.  The end vision, what will be brought to fruition: the label, the wines I make, how I speak about them and write them, and ask people what the wine is saying, and to perhaps try writing it.. had idea yesterday:

ITEM – Online courses on writing, wine writing, more onus-driven reading…

Not sure where to start, but I know how to share ideas in an educational context and I have my subject matter set.. so maybe now I develop, draw more, put it out there and see what courses draw in the way of clientele.. hmmm……..

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NaNoWriMo excerpt, 11/15/15 (no edits)

…everything they see and see what that shows and teaches me about wine’s story and my place in it.

Been writing and editing all morning, but for them, not for me, but now everything’s for me and I see my words in the New Yorker and the NYTimes, and everywhere, submitted and self-published, best of both world and an entirely new world for me–  I’m stopped by the chapped lips condition, always happening around this time of year and it’s electrically annoying.  but what can I do but embrace it, part of the season and my Now, the immediacy around me.

ITEM – Short stories, 500-1,000 words.

Should I put together a collection or just write as I go, and about what?  Adjuncting.. wine?  Both?  A blend if you will?  What do I want to do–…

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from NaNoWriMo project (no edits)

…And Monday will see the most enveloping and impassioned talks ever from me.  The students won’t know what hit them.  I’ll even get into some rubric discussion, how I’m evaluating their work and general presence in the class.  Just honestly, I’ll do so, not to bring negative attention to any one student although I’m sure some will feel that way, and what they’ll feel is only sharp and harsh self-awareness.

I’m quite proud of my progress, I must say with today, this morning, how I felt waking up and only writing all those sketches on a couple humble cups of coffee and this microscopic mocha.  I come across some older writing, just roaming around this laptop, some writings I did in the parking lot of the Kenwood Market, before going to work at the winery.  Seems like forever ago, and when I read how visibly unhappy, I’d say miserable really, I was there I feel shame, and a very presented form of shame, like a fault or flaw in my character.  Life is far too short to ever feel like that, I now meditate and wildly realize.

ITEM – No fear. Just live.

Yes.  From all days and onward.  This morning, I’ve been more alive and more accepting of a challenge, something I didn’t want to do, than I ever have, or that I can remember.  I’m a writer, a “professional” writer as they’ve been introducing me at the office, which I’m not sure I like.  I just write.  That’s it.  When you call me a “professional” writer that insinuates a job title, some clinical coat that isn’t anywhere needed or instrumental in producing more convincing writing.

I look around the shop, people with their coffees on laptops, studying and talking when they should be studying.. I become infatuated with the role of a student, their priorities and deadlines, their studies and growth and notebooks out on their tables when they sit, their raised hands.. am I becoming more a “professor”?  Did this writing assignment do this?  Should I get a PhD?  “Not that thought again!” I say to myself.  Maybe later, maybe.. I don’t need one now.  All I need is time to read and write, react to what I ready.  Study my focus authors like Plath and Kerouac, Hemingway and Faulkner, Thompson…  To be frank, I can’t remember the last time I sat for this long and wrote. I know that’s pitiful, being a “professional” writer, but I now see this, and the benefits unexpected of the growers assignment.  Making severe headway with my writing life, my teaching life, with prose and poem and narrative and my wined story.  Feel like I should dart to downtown and find the first sparkling producer I can to celebrate, taste and toast with somebody, but je ne peux pas.  I haven’t even risen to use the restroom.. I apologize for going on about this but this is truly remarkable to me.  In this same chair, writing, for close to FIVE hours.  And I could push it to six if I wanted to, but I should be going. 

To the next song.

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I’ve Had It!

You have enough on your plate.  Don’t stuff yourself.  Knowing Enough, and the concept of Enough, WHEN you have enough is much of the way to build character I’m finding.  Yes, work ethic is always praised and it’s admirable and makes you look strong and supreme.  But, the mentality of always needing an assignment and being busy can be toxic.  What’s not emphasized enough today is just relaxing.. or better, meditating, taking time for yourself.  Having that cup of coffee or taking yourself to lunch, listening to jazz as I am this morning and just taking a second, or two.  Yes, I could be “working” right now, grading papers or trying deathly to meet someone else’s deadline but the stress serpent won’t sneak on this writer.  Not this morning.

I just learned this, the whole “Enough” thing.  And yes, at a price, but it was and is a lesson.  One I plan on sharing with my babies when the time invites.  Why always more?  Why do we always need MORE?  Why not just revel in what you have, and perfect that?  When I first started my business, Mom and Dad said something like “Don’t book more than one, maybe two more clients and that’s it.” Of course, even at my old age, I dismissed them, thinking “I can handle anything.. I always want to be busy and working and work 18 heart-testing hour days.” But that conception is intrinsically flawed.  How can I specialize in anything if I’m emaciated?  How can I focus?  How can I perfect?  What was I thinking?

Enough.  I have what I need, assignment-wise, and I’ll go from there.  If something else introduced itself, another client or opportunity or writing prompt or direction, I’ll measure it first.  I’ll think.  I’ll meditate.  I’m not moving too fast as I in the past have shown.  Measure.. meditate.. think intently about what you’re to do.  And if you have enough, then ENOUGH!

One semester in college I took something like 20 quarter units, one of the classes being Intermediate Algebra in which I ultimately earned a sterling ‘D’.  I’ve always blamed the professor, who was not even partially complicit in fact he was rather funny and versatile in his lecturing techniques.  Now, this morning, and yes this very morning, I see it was me.  I earned the robust and curvaceous ‘D’.  I should have known I had enough, dropped the class or not in the beginning reg’d for it.  There was a price for my ambition, wanting to get it all done fast and stay busy.  Which, once more, I have to say, on paper looks great.  But if the fruition is rotted, then you’ve passed Enough.  And you have to learn that, just as I am now at my old age.  But, it’s all a lesson.  This whole living and growing up thing is a class, and you’re not going to ace every assignment.  So breathe, meditate, and enjoy your morning.  Have another cup, and have it with me.  Isn’t it wonderful?  À la tienne…..  Mike 

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