Posts Tagged With: Creative Writing

NaNoWriMo, near neb

“I’m giving my notice tomorrow, a 90 day heads-up.”

Now this I didn’t expect.  She’s quitting?  Obviously to either go somewhere else or start her own thing but I doubt she has the capital for that as she just bought the Sonoma house and hasn’t much settle, and was just last night talking about some remodeling notions, ‘what is this’ I ask myself and how concerned should I or shouldn’t I be.  “What brought this to the table?  Did something happen?”

“Nothing happened?  It’s just time.”

“And money?”

“What about it?”

“Do you have enough?  Are you going to work for someone else or……..”

“I’m doing it, starting the label, I have to.”

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MOCK SOMM:  Gundlach Bundschu Reaction; Sustainable Farming Boons

IMG_9604 Sipping some of the Merlot I bought yesterday at Gundlach Bundschu, the ’12, and I can see why so many are behind sustainable farming, and the stark and boldly beaming evidence that it translates to an increasingly truthful, more site and vintage representative wine.  The fruit is more rounded and robust, engaging and elemental in its palate gallop than other Merlots you’d pull from a store shelf, or even find at esteemed wineries in any valley.  And the Chardonnay I opened last night had a similar momentum, holistic and embracing in its flavor modes and moods, and a storyteller unto itself; naturalist and natural in its voicing.  A relief for a wine consumer like me, finding something forthright, a winery that respects its vineyards and the environments and enabling a candid couriering of terroir as other wineries merely aspire to.


As I now tilt the class toward my senses, it yields a riveting richness that you can only experience, I believe, from wineries that farm sustainably.  ‘Gun Bun’ as it’s amiably monikered, has been certified by Fish Friendly Farming since ’12, and you can appreciate and actuate in their adoration for the environment by tasting their wines, as I did yesterday after my draining workday, stopping in somewhat randomly (and I say ‘somewhat’ as I was thinking while earlier IMG_9605prepping for the day, “I should stop at Gun Bun’, haven’t tasted their in years), hosted by Ms. Danielle, a sweetly soft octave’d young woman whose familiarity and oeno-prowess was visible but not bragged.  Which I enjoyed.  Nothing more irking that being hosted by someone who tactlessly aims to perform what they think they know.  Nothing like that from Danielle.  And each wine, composed and coherent, convincing and wildly indicative of meticulous nearness from the farming and winemaking brigades.

IMG_9614Just a little bit of the Merlot left in glass, and I’m annoyed with self that I sipped it so swiftly, but I couldn’t help that self, and what can I do but follow the wine, wines like this, of this elevated character and deific loop.  My thoughts triangulate taking the next sip.  Showing me the rows, the temperatures and amalgamated atmosphere of 2012– This wine teaches from its acutely touched rows, and I sit here at the end of my day and sip, envision what happened that year on their property, and know I have to go back for a few more bottles.  Wish I could sip some more but this is all the warrant I need to put more on the shelves of my quasi-”cellar”.  Enough for me to get more than enough.  I think 6 bottles, then a case, then I don’t know what I’m thinking only I know I want more and I will get more, sooner than soon.  And who authors this entry, the Merlot.  So I’m sent to go.

And it’s more than clear, the sustainable treatment and relationship with IMG_9607vineyards bridges to a more appealing cluster.  The other wines I sipped in my quick visit, such as the Gerwurtztraminer, Rosé of Tempranillo, the Tempranillo, Pinot, and all the others Danielle politely place in the bowl cemented the validity and visibility of sustainable farming’s bounty.

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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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Behind on novel progress, but I don’t care.  I refuse stress after that last assignment, and after this semester.. my next students, next term, will have a bit more emphasis on temperament with writing, and with assignments, more deliberation and meditation before picking up a pen.  Being rushed doesn’t make you a stronger writer, and deadlines that are enforced are lines that truly make you creatively dead, so I say to hell with them.  Write for yourself, and write what you want to read, not what the course outline stipulates and has been negotiated by who knows who.

I’m a new professor after this term, and certainly a stronger one.. so I write on and play in Literature and my own writing as I never had.  These old timer professors, which yes I’ll one day be, are speechless at my boldness– “Oh how dare he, what is he thinking, how can he teach like that?” I do.  I just do.

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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 (no edits)

…on giant corduroy beanbag on the first floor will Joyce upstairs naps.  I should be working on my growers assignment, deadline tomorrow at first morrow, but I’m deciding to write freely, play with wine illuminations and deconstructions, words and rhymes and poetic flyings of reacting to wine– “palate peril… song’d stretch..” among others, just writing like I did with those poems if you could call them that.  And I think, gather poems and wine sketches and odd writings, outside the blog, and bind them, sell them, have and be my own merchandise.  That would fill these income gaps, being paid once a month as an adjunct, then the microchecks from the winery.  Enjoying my day in words, opening the Comp Book to a blank page, just noting and writing, scribbling and drawing or doodling around the words like that one student from English 5, Fall ’13 at the Petaluma Campus.  Never forgot that, how she made the journal her own and noted how she felt aught.

Week 13.  So what.  I’m done, as I said, done done–  Not getting overzealous in my attitude I hope, but I’m lazy now, sinking into this bag, looking outside and the sky tries to rain but doesn’t, then the patch over the fence outside, the thinning gray with a small lenticular black arm is pulled, exposing blue.  Sunny, that Fall day where the air becomes even more savory than it was just ten minutes back. 

I hear James wake, upstairs, but he doesn’t come downstairs as he usually does.  He talks to something imaginary, possibly the stuffed animals I put in their for them, and some provided by Jim.  I go close to the stairs so there’s more shot to ear but not too close to alert him to my proximity.  I write in the Comp, “converted, conversation…

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NaNoWriMo excerpt (no edits)

Looking through the papers from students this past week I realize as well I’m allotting any energy toward them, the papers, nor them, the students.  And I love the students you should know, but today is me, solely me–

I  begin writing odd and random poems in the composition book, some that make sense and others that make no sense.  That’s just the mood I’m in.

I start with tangential haikus then work into odd sonnets, the spoken word verses that rhyme unexpected and at times overwhelmingly, showing I hope yes a playful relationship with language but as well some handle on it.  I don’t know what I’m doing this morning to be honest but I know I quite enjoy it and I continue with it for another hour or so, till I have to get in shower and be, I guess, responsible.

My nephew said something yesterday that hasn’t quite yet released me, “You’re a, you’re a.. special friend to me..”.  Not sure how to interpret him in that moment or his words, of if it’s even to be interpreted, but it sticks with me.  That my character and place in his story has value, some gravity or impact.  I forget about everything ‘adjunct’ when with him, when listening to his speech and seeing the ease of his amusement in things I otherwise pass, have already devalued in my sight.  Joyce makes me forget about the work and the having to work, the papers and the driving.  I could write a novel just on him, maybe… and if I had a son, or daughter, imagine what I could and would write, have a family business, a vineyard and winery, my true end game.  But an empress, and empyrean opposite to further me in such a story, of course missing.  I go everywhere in my thoughts and get lost, don’t mind and think of Hemingway and all the traveling he did, Kerouac to and how it aided in everything.  I then with punctuate purpose realize my problem.  Me.  My attitude.  The moods that invade every so.  So they stop.  I make them stop.  Or, I will. 

Time for day.

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MOCK SOMM:  2 Wines from Jesse Katz 

Aperture Cellars, Alexander Valley, Red Wine, 2011

IMG_9274A wildly vocal blend, Bordeaux varietals, Cab/Malbec, and one that commands the sipper to be lost, twirled and whirled in the body of the wine and its speech; darkness of berries and vibrant and confident presence, impact and influence on senses.  And, you taste more than structure, you’re greeted by a communicative being from the bottle; the words and story of the vintage and winemaker, Alexander Valley’s relentless promulgation of Bordeaux varietals.  There’s no halt to this wine’s momentum and palate placement.  Like his father’s photos, you’re caught, not anytime soon release but held in one place to appreciate and be lost in the visual, the scene created and captured, measured and treasured.  Of course I’m partial loving Cabernet and Bordeaux blends, and being one of those fervent followers of Katz, and his father’s work, but I’m instructed to appreciate Cabernet and Cab-honed blends differently with this bottle and most notably since it’s from ’11, the vintage that so IMG_9275many of these wine “experts” and “critics” want to dismiss so knee-jerkingly.  This wine is a taste of place, the alchemical invitation to experience stylistic translation of Cabernet meeting Malbec in bottle, in the perfect accompaniment, actuating its own autonomous atmosphere.  This wine reminds me of my relationship with wine, frankly, what I’m after and what I’ve been after in wine; Literary qualities, a story, the sipped-written; Wines that have their own character development and past, future, that are part of my present.  And I found another, finally, from an old friend, now infused to my wined picture and life more clearly– another sip, and I hear its voice.  Again, again…


Devil Proof Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Malbec, 2012

IMG_9041A Malbec, on its own, defiant in its delicious dichotomy of a disposition.  Loud and assertive but still very much elegant and poetic, not at all overreaching or stretching into a stance it shouldn’t.  A harmony of red coupled with its principles as a Bordeaux.  And you’re thinking to yourself, “And this is 100% Malbec?” And yes, there’s no support from another varietal, and no odd adjustments or anything strange in the writing of its story.  And like other wines from Katz, we see that understanding, and that winemaker influence and innovation sans trumping the identity of the varietal itself.  So then… we sip again, and experience what wine should be, or wine of this elevation; Art.  A story, a new story and new IMG_9044adventure for Jesse, when I asked him how he knew it was time to begin his new mission and venture he simply responded with “It was the right time.”  and it was the right time in my oeno-apologue to meet this bottle, having me feel immune and impervious to all ill elements, and how could I be harmed with such didactic wine in my glass, and the woman smiling back at me, holding her cigar herself aware that nothing and intrude on her proverbial quietude?  Cinnamon singing from rich raspberry and antagonizing cherry and other wild berry suggestion, lively spice song and tannic accents supply memorable structure, and more story, more memory, and what critics say about Mr. Katz’s passion project matters but doesn’t.  There’s mastery, visible, tasted, cellared or poured, it’s there at your table and you live, feel, and see it.  All.  And you’re proof that nothing negative can puncture you’re moment.  So you smile with her.


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