Posts Tagged With: Creative Writing

Week 2 Starts

And I have the same positive invincible attitude I had last week that only met once, Wednesday.  This has to be the semester, I tell myself, the semester that I use two classes, just these two, a ‘Critical Theory’ and ‘Composition’ to build what someone, most pertinently ME, would consider a career.  Should get to the library but I’m quite cozy in this shared adjunct cell after having to leave the peace and isolated boon of the conference room.  Felt like I was in one of those balloons over Dry Creek, just enjoying the view and the placement up there, the moment which was all mine.  Would love a nap right now but I can’t afford a pause, or such halt.  What I should do, is leave my bag here and head to the library with my Composition Book and scribble some ideas for the PhD sample (shooting for 20 pages, not an inked character more).  Pleased with myself for already having a thesis in what I’ve written for the sample, Kerouac and music as his savior, his “religion”, how he gets his “truth fix”… you’ll see.

The other adjunct leaves, and I’m quite out of coffee.. shit.  Well, perfect time to get some at the coffee shop in the library.  Brilliant!  Done!  Leaving!  (9:38AM)

Back from the library and I wound not getting a coffee (no cash and didn’t want to use debit).  Emailed self article for PhD research.  Should stop calling it that and just “my own research,” a lecture I can use this semester or later, or whenever.  It’s my writing, I’m merely sharing it with those reviewing the applications.  A student from last term, ’T’, applied to Stanford, Berkeley, Harvard, and I think even too Yale.  And she’s the level of student that would be admitted into schools of that magnitude, I have no doubt.  And it’s funny that this term I seek to be more like students of her form and habits than the English “professor” I’ve been all these years.  This semester I’m more a student than a professor.

10AM.  Office hour starts now— oh shit!  Forgot to include in the email my office room number.  I blame the exhaustion, this fading coffee.  There… sent it.  Now to focus on the 1A class.  First meeting on Sylvia Plath.  Should print some poems for them, which I will.  Talk about ideas addressed in the text without getting too into the text itself… just scribbled a couple ideas.  Will do the rest at home.  This semester reinvents me as an educator but as well as one knowing what he wants from life, in his life and how he wants his children to see him.  Professor— or teacher— educator…  Just happy.  Me as a brand, that has to be part of it, seen as someone who LOVES and is obsessed with what he does.  Words.. literature.. pages and expression on the pages.

A student again.  With aims, and end-game, one I can see, finally.  And yes, I garrulously keep the invincible sense about me.


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Project A

The semester starts today, but I don’t teach till tomorrow.  7:30AM.  They won’t know what hit them, these English 5 students.  And with all positive intents.. my enthusiasm, elevated.  My ownership of my pages and position as a professor, ascended and more emphatic…

This is the semester that sends me to the Road.  I’m sure of it.

All these other professors and teachers and whomever is a writer, but not like me.  This is where I show them and the world and light their world in a resplendently grandiloquent blaze.

Cup 2 for me this A.M., and I’m prepared for the next 18 weeks.  Finishing my new book by

Week 9’s end.  And send the bloody thing out.  I’ll be blending that memoir I wrote in ’14/’15 with the novel I wrote in 11-2015, and some other works.. this memoir is meant to be a rejection of my own limiting patterns.. writing something and letting it sit in this laptop or the blog, when I should be selling every goddamn thing I write and type.

So no more.  By the end of term, I’ll be on a flight, somewhere to speak.


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A night for everyone, especially Alice who now sleeps with Jack, and me downstairs with Emma after walking around this very lower floor and talking to her, kissing her right cheek, rubbing her right shoulder with my thumb from the arm wrapped around her.  No one in this house has slept.  But I leap upon this eventual invitation to write.  More and more seeing Ms. Emma as a sort of liberator, savior, or even a simple coach or instructor for my writings.  Helping me rise earlier and forcing me to produce material.  Of course I made coffee, but it’s not helping so much.  What does propel this writer is the sight in front of me, the petit professeur trying to sleep.  She squirms a bit but without  moan or cry, any kind of protest.  So at the very least I calculate I have a few minutes.  Luckily no work for me today other than prep for the semester, some writing, cleaning and clearing of desk, but that’s all.  On no one’s clock but my own, and hers of course.  And I know, she could be much more challenging as a newborn, 4 weeks old today—

I walk over to check on her, and eyes open, looking at everything around her especially the light hopping into her senses from the kitchen.  See?  Just like that the moment to write, that free collection time can evaporate.  Still, though, no crying.  Odd.  What is she thinking?  What does she want, if anything?  What is her pedagogical intention with this minute?  I sit here and do so bemused, abstraction and meditation, her and I as part of some momentum toward.. what.  I don’t need to know, right away.  Maybe eventually.

Now she becomes more agitated.  I pick her up and put her in that shaking seat with the animals and the little pull-down mechanism or string, rope, lever or whatever that activates some bird sounds and short song snippets.  She’s made it clear that this morning is a test for the writer, “You better write faster,” she thinks, I know.  She grows frustrated, trying to move but can’t as I’m sure she’d like—

Back at keys after a 30 or so minute battle to soothe her, a diaper change where she wet more me than her, we’re back downstairs.  And it starts again, this is to make me as a writer, father, writing father, stronger.  More disciplined and direct with my efforts, I’m sure.  She again in the tremoring chair becomes colorfully irked but I let her frustrate, study from my peanut professor.  She calms then cries, reaches for the green circular lever and koala bear then cringes, yells.. what, I think, what is this lecture about?  She’s teaching me something, more than what I’ve already cited and acknowledged.  Maybe my semester has already started.  But as a student, not instructor.  I’m no authority here, very much a matriculant in the private seminar of Emma.

And the solvent, food.  Upstairs she nurses, forcing Alice out of sleep unfortunately, and now I’m here in total quiet and I feel odd.  And THAT, is odd.  I’m at odds with the result.  Was this in her lesson plan, to leave me flummoxed and scrounging for resolve?


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Project A

9:48 and at winery, not yet clocked in just gather Self to rain and listen, watch, window at left and watching, watching, and the analogy is clear, quite vocal and obvious.  I need write with every free second, but I stated that already and now more of a redundancy than anything, so no more—  Not expecting many people to come through the tasting Room today and even if they do they’ll be greeted by a writer that I’ve never been— a revived and rebuilt English professor, or teacher, or whatever..  I love listening to rain more than watching it, and with each drop from the clouds comes a piece from my character, even if only a couple lines, or a couple words just bombarding the terroir of reality and my career as a writer— shit, forgot to post piece from yesterday, from after haircut.. the rain persists with more ferocity now, and I realize there’s more to the ideological alignment and intent of rain and a writer— the consistency and the obviated momentum, to get something done, to finish a project, to live and relive what you want to live, how and what, where when and all.

I start the project late as the idea came to me only last night, with every bloody second, write.  Sure, there’ll be an honor dimension to this, of course, but I trust myself and another purpose is to singularize my writings— the singular concepts and ideas, placements that I stress upon my students, using what you already have.

The four-shot mocha does its job, me forgetting my tumbler at home or somewhere, so I had to pay today, nearly six fucking dollars for this cup.  But well worth.  Well WELL worth.  Coffee and me work in concert, like thunder and lightening (which were supposed to get today at some point, I think early afternoon but who knows, another bonehead prediction from the weather twits), rain and soil, vines to grapes.  Think I have a new favored writing spot here at Arista… as you walk in, the small wobbly square table of gorgeously syrupy wood, that’s mine.  Just off to the right.  I sit in the chair closest to the wall, by the lamp.  This place had very much honed into my character and story, and I credit the owners, brothers Mark and Ben, whom I regard as more brothers and not in any way bosses (though if they gave an order I’d be happy to perpetuate it, provided there was no compromise to my character), how they operate their business and trust us to sell the wine, run the Room, and continue with daily operations; they’re convivial, respective, again communicative, honest, approachable.  Certainly something that the highers at the other place, whose name I so determinedly want to here specify (but won’t as that’s attention to them, something upon which they could capitalize, use to sell their mediocre at best wine), never did.  And yes, never.  That winery was run like a Target, or Walmart, so some trashy supermarket, a ‘churn ‘em and burn ‘em’ joint as Dad would say.  There’s probity at Arista, not and never at K——.

10:01.. should start to get ready, I guess, take out the pour buckets, open the wines if they’re not already, turn on some music (my music, the Morcheeba station and not that melancholy nonsense one of the other workers here loves to listen too.  Revolting and tired, that station).

The rain lets a bit, but I can’t, have to clock in ready the room, move on with the day.  Again, write every chance you CAN.  Not every moment, period…  Now the rain remerges more angry, as if to tell me “Don’t you move from that fucking seat!” But I have to.  “I have to work!” I answer.. “You don’t!”



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No time for one

of those extended prose progressions that I’d like to do, but I sit with img_0343wine, red, a single-vineyard Pinot taken home, only poured from a couple times and knowledge of certain winery operational specificities.  I think and think and think about my winery, the professor’s winery and how I’ll sell my bottles through narrative, through words, the radiant realism from the vineyard’s stakes, rows and cover crops.  I’m going everywhere right now, I admit, as this is glass 3, but I’m composed and writing where others might just vegetate in front of a screen, or just fall asleep or go to some bar— no time for such with my inner paragraphs that I can’t catch, that I can’t replicate, and I find I miss the weather, that weather we just had which Hem quickly dubbed as “bad”, I long for— the rain on the Autumn Walk pavement, and my travels to other states lecturing on literature and theory and journal practice.

I sip the Pinot, a ’13 Anderson Valley, and look ahead, just over the top of the laptop’s screen and see a bottle of the cuvée Blair and I made in ’12.. next vintage, my second Merlot, but I have to sell some of these writings, and yet no budget wiggleroom for printing— so, dilemma, crux of conflict and disposition of stall— what now, WHAT— my mood, favonian, but not for long, I’m sure.  I’m certain money and the reality of reality will have some way of scalpeling that from my sitting, walking or strolling through whatever block I tomorrow walk.  Had the vision of walking those crisped frozen rows on Wohler Road, off to left and right.  Why didn’t I stop?

Glasses and bottles today, a heavier crowd than any of us measured or saw coming through the doors, but it felt like a circle of sun around my senses being in the Room again, pouring and talking about the wines and the various Pinots and the ways they might talk to a sipper— the different sites reflected, and then again wine tells me to push onward, be both professor and writing, and winemaker, then the big brother in this writer shouts, “Yeah, teach your winemaker sister a thing or two…”

Both babies asleep, and I hope they enjoy, as I want them to be rested for the days they have to charm people in the tasting room.  And yes, part of me’s joking but the other quite punctuated in my purpose and purposeful poise in the end-game of a winery.  And so many call me crazy, even my sister, the other night when I asked her “So when are you starting your own label?” She back-jabbed, “Never.  I don’t want to pay my own bills.  I have someone else paying my bills now, and it’s nice.” I understand, she’s timid in the entrepreneurial wingspread, and so many are.  But not me.  I don’t want my little Beats to see me as a hesitater or some figure who talks but jamais walks.

This is more than I expected to write and I have to thank this Pinot and Arista, and Tony for letting me take this bottle.  These people don’t know that little echoes and ripple in the peregrination pond so much affect and push, shove the writer.  Especially a writer like me.  I stare at what’s left tin the glass, this Pinot.  Probably a 2-3 ounce pour.  And I just look at it, the low light of the office with Gothic suggestion and a certain grimly cloaked layer to its nuance roster, profile or whatever, and get lost in my stare.  And it marvels a certain sound, song, talking to me in its visual, and it knows I’m a writer staring at it, this ’13 Ferrington, telling me to walk the rows and see such frost and breath the Anderson Valley air.  Forget obligation and bills and schedules.  This is why wine is such a lens in my writing, and like today in the tasting room watching first-time visitors walk in and not knowing what to expect but are pleasurably confronted by wines that say something, that have a distinguishable voice and narrative, that tell a story and cement a certain savory thesis.  Again, more than I thought I’d be greeted with.  I peek around the corner, see my daughter resting on Alice’s chest.  The winery’s near.  I just need certain wheels to turn a certain way.  Then all from the dream’s to be obeyed.

But I need that rain again.


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Ma Chance

In 48 hours, I’ll have very much met her.  Little Emma.  And I’m doing everything I can to get my character as prepared and primed as I can, to be the most perfect Me, feasibly.. no editing, just writing and releasing– every piece has to make money, I’m realizing.. balanced account, cash below desk and I think I may want to invest that, seriously, in my business.  The money is in the wine and all the content I’ve been gathering, like the tasting at Bergamot after Sanglier pouring.  And the tasting at.. where was it.. it escapes me…..  Either way, the story with wine grows and expands, and I know where I’m going.  And I credit Emma, whom I’ll personally express gratitude to in a matter of hours.

Nearly finished with the night’s cap, and I’m thinking how to market this piece, and the others I’ve written today.  To whom, for how much, and when, how frequently, and so so so.  Tomorrow, Day 1 of Week 18.  Finally, the death of the term.  Was looking through the Comp Book, reading the first page, first scribble of the semester, the heat and the wind and Solano, the hassle with everything there, from the dean to HR to payroll, to the writing lab or center or whatever they call that useless pit of hair-brained writing coaches that do more battling with student immaturity and apathy than actual instruction; every time I looked through those windows, going to the adjunct hole after parking, students on their phones, glaring at those screens.  Not writing.

Started writing lectures for my online wine writing class.  Hope I get some registrants.  Have to start promoting it.. doing so now…..  Done.  Let’s see how many “students” I get.  My lectures will be provocative but not in some quasi-polemic way, but rather my usual presence in classroom encouraging students to just writing from their cores and not care about reaction, but to just write.. write!

Bought two wines at Bergamot.  Can’t remember exactly what they are, were, at the moment as they’re both imports, but one red and one white.  On Tuesday night I’m set to be here in home by Self, as my superhuman mother-in-law has insisted on staying the night with Alice and Ms. Emma, in hospital.  Odd that will feel, here, lone, in home, but I’ll open something, have one glass to celebrate Emma’s awaited landing then go to bed as the next day I have to collect final submissions from students at 10AM.  After that, I’ll speed straight to the little beat-ette, see how she enjoys her new world.  Another baby.. I know it’ll be different in here, but I’ll write the whole thing, the whole story–  I see my writing now being more character study of Jack, and now his sister.  That’s the writing approach and life that will keep me leveled and with my rich waves of Zen.  What character type will she be?  I don’t want to know, not till I meet her.  And not even then.  I want her to develop at her speed, no rushing this little love.  No interference, just kind observation.


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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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