Posts Tagged With: Creative Writing


Five minutes left to live before I get ready for work and then what, you know what, rush slip fall rush again when you get back up. Life or existence which is it how do I categorize? Just keep writing, finish the goddamn novel I tell myself thinking of the Kerouac study I did before Fall ’14 semester.. just tired of the pull, push, rush, flush. Down an obligatory toilet– and if I stop then I get to live, and I write about it while others just complain– er, I write my complaints, is that more sophisticated? Well if you ask him, yes, Mr. Emerson, Hemingway.. then the others, the insurance agent or the advertising Marin twits, no.. so… I walk, the Camino with my friend Anne and see what I see, see what Newness will greet me on my Road, me Paradise and Moriarty’s always there beside me in my Beat– get in the car and drive and don’t stop, but if you need gas then fine, fine that contributes to the composition of the travel– free, madness in the candle, burning with the flame licks you read about in mythology or theology, the punishment no just reward, reward for finally seeing, finally growing up, and I’m up in that sky, with cirrus and cumulo– so, onward to go to the next border, the next state, the next city and characters. Composed.


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novel excerpt, from today’s thousand…. (5/27/15)

the noble and all-accepting and caring English Department of the college, won’t. In fact, many of them, the full-timers roaming the hall or just sitting cozy in their over-decorated stuffy office holes won’t blink, acknowledge or even sniff, sniffle. They forgot me when my new-hire papers were processed more than likely. MY nephew reminds me that life is shorter than short and curter than curt, and I just need to build my own, my Self, and what I want to see from life and any kind of “career”. Huh.. career… good luck having one of those as an adjunct, at all down here or at any campus. Just going to teach a couple classes up in Santa Rosa, if they’ll have me, then go from there. And making wine and making wine my path or calling or career, have to plan that, save and write notes to myself on how I’m to sell my story, like the other day at the café, how everything around me had positivity, such life and laughs and smiles. She with her promise, with her target of being a nurse and all the life she propelled from her soft persona and personhood. I have to have that, and maybe ‘that’ means her or a life with her, not sure, but I can’t have that I guess since I’m going back to Sonoma to chase wine and its story or world or whatever– There’s just too much in my head now and I credit and blame this little character, my nephew.. look at him over there, trying to figure out with his little analytical powers what happened to Goofy’s hat? There’s quiet in the room now as he’s deep in study, assembling an understanding of just what he sees. I can only look at him and study his focus, hope I have that before turning 36 in a couple days.. old… old man…

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Conversation Found

I heard them talking, but then they stopped. They heard me listening, and that’s what I wanted, or not, I’m not sure, but I walked in. They watched me. And I did’t look at either of them. “Sit down,” he said.
“What’s going on?” I asked.
“Just sit down,” he added.
“Yeah sit down this’ll only take a minute,” she said.
I sit. I think I.. no, who knows.
“We have to let you go,” he said.
“Why? Okay… Why?” I said.
“It’s complicated,” she said.
“What you think you saw, you didn’t, but you reported it and.. this just isn’t working,” he said


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Too tired for the novel

and, or, its journal. Now wine tonight, not a drop, so I’ll sleep well I’m imagining and I’ll wake gorgeously early to type away on the Massamen novel. Will it be done by the 14th? Well… it has to be. I keep thinking “It has to be 200 pages, or 300, or something paramounting…” But I write what I write in that time, that’s when its due, and that’s it. So there will be a printed MS by 6/14. I have to teach myself better project management.
Back at the winery tomorrow and I’m looking to write at the Yulupa coffee spot after taking little Kerouac to school. Oh.. and I won’t give up short standalones, fictive and or non. The novel is my grand project, I think of it like these actors that work on sitcoms but work on a movie in whatever spare time they pin. In fact, a piece of flash, or rather micro fiction before bed, after this entry. Time now’s 10:02, and I can’t wait for bed as I’m sure I’ll early wake for some writing and some thinking, reading some of those Kerouac dreams– and print pages soon– and officially kill the other blog, the teaching blog, and then go further into wine’s story.

This thought of wine and how finally I have control over its story and thematic makeup, and how to place it in my story and it has nothing to do with the act of sipping, tasting or drinking, but just observation, how so many walk into the room with this blank canvas or palette, and with that I see and I hear and my senses are elevated as they are now– empowered isn’t the word, but more of a voluminous story compounded somewhat cubist-like.. not sure it rings any bells for any of the readers, but I’m getting somewhere I know with my story, with the shorts (my TV show, if you would), then the novel, my movie.. This can be done this will be done it is done.

3 days till 26.
I mean 36.


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MOCK SOMM: Thomas George Estates, Cresta Ridge Vineyard, Russian River Valley, Estate Wine, Pinot Noir, 2012

IMG_6191This Pinot caught me, instructed me with its night-noted poetry, soft but coercive palate.. wish I had it in front of me now to sip but I look down at my notes and read two words: “diffident” and “daunting”. I know, ‘diffident’ can be read negatively but it’s hardly the matter with this bottle, as it’s not at all shy or coy with the amorous and melodic progression from initial contact to sip’s conclusion; you’ll be caught, too. Okay I know, descriptors.. uh….. Spicy cherry and blackberry, undercurrent/subtext jam-reminiscent texture and pace aligned with cooking spices, light black pepper and earth, or the soil type at the vineyard itself which strains the berries and limits yield, so the most forward and fervent of clusters see the bottle– What kind of “earth”? [And shouldn’t ‘earth‘ be capitalized?] The romantic kind, the type of Earth, or earth, with all sensory antagonizations.

I sipped this bottle toward the end of my tasting in that incredibly atmospheric and literary cave, with my friend and we both affirmed this was the more impressive Burgundy in the flight.

When I taste Pinot I really never know what to expect or if I should expect much from a Pinot and if I have the right to “expect”. I mean what do I know, I’m not a somm… Do I have the right to have a critical or professional opinion about a wine, any wine, especially a Pinot which is hardly the varietal for the beginner. I’m not a beginner, I don’t think, but I know I’m not an expert, or a Master, or.. whatever I am I’m made insecure by Pinots, especially ones with this confirmed and confident a character; making me a bit more confirmed and confident, hence the pedagogical facet of wines like this– So I’ll go back for some soon, add to the already ultra-condensed Pinot frame in my bottle colony. Can’t remember if I had any expectations of this ’12 right before sipping it, but if I did they were trumped by the sipped actuality, the tangible and savory rhetoric of the Pinot itself.



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I know I

should be working on the novel but the Story has thrown me a bit of a curveball, if you would– Nick sending me some information about a place where bloggers/writers may be compensated for content (what an idea!) and Jackie staying home with his writer-father to ensure he gets better and back to his ever-frenzied form. Going through these pictures of IMG_6238wine in glass and the vineyard, the tasting room and my notes even on wines I’ve tasted at the winery and elsewhere, I’m clear what my beat is, not just wine but ‘Wine Language”. And buy such I mean the communicative properties of wine, how it speaks and what its intent is, and what we say in response to wine, how it impacts and stamps our memory. Reading again Kerouac’s ‘Atop and Underwood’ piece “[One Sunday Afternoon in July]” I appreciate his sentiment “My eyes were glued on life./And they were full of tears.”, a reaction to a song, music, music associated with memory and Time and Life and our place in It. Kerouac remembered exactly where he was when he heard that song, the exact point in New York. Just as we remember the setting and Time and mood when we sipped a certain bottle, or walked a certain vineyard block. And that’s why I only stayed at that tasting room on the Healdsburg Square for a couple weeks– it wasn’t on a vineyard, they wanted me to recite from some hokey simplified and non-inventive scripts they wrote (at the fourth-grade level); no stimulation, no push, no curiosity to follow. I was dead there. That’s not wine. At the current estate with whom I’m working and writing about, there is only life, only the constant reiteration wine and the pours and the voice and Time and Literature to wine. It’s own story, and one I want to read. Kerouac later writes, toward the middle of the piece: “…I find myself the brethren of many other poets…what is my next move?” My next move, this writer, can only be with wine, this new winery (Arista, Westside Road in Healdsburg). And to what and to where, I don’t know, and I shouldn’t know, not now. The story will take and tell me, the wines and those Pinot Blocks in front of the tasting room will instruct me what to write while syncopatedly encouraging autonomy. Delicious duality in this wine, this wine scribblers life.

I push the ‘Underwood’ MS to the side, open some of JK’s poems, much of which I can’t understand but enjoy. And that’s more than lovely with me… So much to do today and I only want to write, escape into my wine fantasies, of when I have my own room and pouring out of state at some restaurant or hotel, explaining and showing my story and how the Literature and the Wine formed what they see, taste, hear– All five senses arrested, and that has to happen with what I produce.. so picture: The Cabernet chasm; dark, deep, opaque; you smell the chocolate darkness and espresso whirl and the subtext of charcoal and rich thick moist earth; you taste and feel a texture essentiality you never have, heavy and holistic, softly aggressive; and what you hear, your own thoughts and voice and the elatedness of learning a new character, a new reality; new Newness…


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A Family Winery.

IMG_6361Of my own. Of our own where I could involve Jack and Alice if she wanted, and whatever other little Beat’s on the way. Sipping the Meritage the other night and my ’12 Merlot last night confirmed what I’ve already for so long apprehended and arrested in my scope: it’s wine, and that’s it; written about and explored– but enough dreamtalk, time to plan, my wine and vintage this vintage and what I want expressed in my bottles– half to secure 1.5 to 2 tons, 80% Cab the surplus Merlot for this chapter, this year. And the wine itself tells a IMG_6359story, something like the thoughts of Kerouac and Hem how they absorbed the moment and just like that my wine needs to absorb and propel not just the conditions of the vintage but the winemaker as well. Me. A winemaker, and why not, I’ve done it before and I thought yesterday when in the ‘TR’ I had a thought.. “color, focus on color not marketability and I want the wines to taste how they look”… Like with my Merlot last night, the lighter red presentation with magenta edges and a seemingly raspberry or rose subtext in its visual, and that’s what I tasted. And the Pinot yesterday in the room, that ’13 Anderson Valley, the one I couldn’t stop visiting and re-visiting and trying to understand, each sip with a new paragraph or a revision, and then the next bottle I opened for some guests from IMG_6275Southern California, with the eagerness and vast cellar they couldn’t help but tell me about, too saw something different than I did earlier. And I just like realize: ‘evolution’, in so much, both wine consciousness and interaction and language and connection to stories and how the production of the wines and those sipping scribble their own autonomous notes and pages. So what do I with them, translate? Not so much, I don’t know, certainly draw and share certain observations, isn’t that the job of anyone writing, writing about wine? Again I’ll try to be Socratic and say ‘I don’t know’, but I have quite the anchored idea.
A small family tasting room, of my own, my own ‘TR’, but just me, a 1man show, no? My son greeting people as they walk in and charming them with his energy and grin and how he knows so many new words and where everything is around the winery… A dream, more dreamtalk and dreamchat with myself but that’s how something reaches a bottle, that’s how winemakers finish their projects and pour them for people at a table, at a dinner, or for themselves– and there’s nothing foul or disturbing about that! And on that first day, the first day we open I’ll have the bottles pre-tasted and in-the-moment characterizations of each bottle more or less prepared, memorized.. nothing written down, I want to be in the moment with my room and my wines and the visitors sipping them for the first time. New stories, characters, and me with a new role in the cast, sipping and talking with them, holding the wine up to the nearest bulb to see the color and character clearly, examine what it promises…..


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MOCK SOMM: Kosta Browne Winery, Giusti Ranch, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir, 2013

IMG_6243So I opened it. Yes, I opened it. Because I wanted to. And I’m sooooo glad I did, elated actually, visibly fractionalized in my joy. The first Kosta Browne I’ve ever opened in my home– “Oh, Mike, you’re such a follower…” Yeah, so? Don’t you buy the wines you follow, or open the ones from the producers you admire? And I didn’t buy this enigmatically verbal bottle, actually. It was a gift from Mr. Michael Browne himself, and I drink this and feel inspired and moved and wanting more exploration of Pinot, but why, I think, none of them will be this good, with the amorous ebb of thick cherry and raspberry and a little Dutch chocolate.. not much pepper or spice but a marvelously meek terrestrial hug and herbaceous jab on “the finish”. But this wine doesn’t finish, it’s prose and poetry and a novel and a short narrative flash. And I couldn’t be more eased and in a wondrously warping Utopia oeno-coma with this bottle, this modernized yet integrity-checkered staple doing true to those imbued Burgundian roots.

Drank the remaining two glasses the following night, which is tonight. And it’s gone. And I’m lowered, with a reflectively slow but charged tide and cognitive seismology, and how, well it’s a Kosta Browne, what do you mean ‘how’? This Pinot makes more more a lover of the type but also more reserved– I mean, how many out there are with this fortitude and charm, allure, enchantment, bewitchedness? Honestly I’m not in my prowess usual to react to what I met in this gifted bottle– and Pinot, such a shapeshifting character and amebic transient of a wine structure I’m not at my most stalwart with the pen, this evening. I’m looking to the Kerouac ‘Book of Dreams’ for answers, since I feel and felt and still so much feel like I’m dreaming after finishing a KB Pinot in my new house, that I’m just a sipping wine-loving-writer-wandered, shamed, and humbled, and taught. And maybe that’s why he gave me the bottle, my new friend Michael, to teach me something; about wine and about Pinot and about me, my unionization of wine and Literature and about everything, some Postmodern pondering. For what? That’s the point: no “point”. Just the moment, the capturing of it in my wine journal, this dream, this new bottle Beat in Pinot’s pervasive pulse– cherishing the trenchant charm of what this is; wine and love and Art, all in Pinot, from a lagniappe, a chorded exhortation and discourse; a class, a notestream, and lecture and story and containing instructional and ambrosial hilarity. A wine that teaches and so much else in its verses, and that’s what I should have been writing about this entire oration; the musical tide of this RRV Pinot’s voice. It was like Michael told me, about the river of Life, riding it and seeing where it takes you, and at times it’s trying and turbulent, but the reward’s there. And I sipped one of them last night and this eve. So I’m sent, taught, reconciled.
Vino. And Literature. Like I’ve always lauded.



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4th dream sketch

Listening to music. And that’s all. Some Indonesian electronic fusion. And reading Dostoevsky, trying to understand him as others do– I’m relaxing, a day off. Of course, it’s a dream. I’m just listening to music. I put my book down. Think of Paris. It’s a dream, and with me, around me, the thought of the street and the walk down whatever street that was.. sure I remember but I don’t want to be one of those Americans that misspells it. Now a guitar, light but consistent with chords; musical all like the wine I sipped last night, what probably gave me this dream.

I lost the way to where I was going and I never have a way. Had it. Now gone.


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Work Log, 5/24/15

Up with Jack but I’m going to wait a bit to step into my novel’s area and focus. Jackie woke quite early this A.M. and I needed coffee before even touching the keys. Time I saw before going upstairs (as he again wanted to sleep with mama) was, believed, 6:04. Now the coffee and another busy day I’m quite sure ahead of me, thoughts of the novel and Mr. Massamen’s story, me having to translate, having to figure something out for him, like Kerouac down in Sur, and me here in the Autumn Walk base. How I’d love to be home for the day and just work on and in the novel, its circuitry and all the dimensions I’m maybe not seeing. it’s obvious what he wants to do, get away from the adjunct world and into wine, but he doesn’t want to stop teaching, he doesn’t even necessarily want to leave the classroom, it’s the other matters he wants not a fraction of a part of. So there you go.. I have a novel, done in my head and I just need to write it or type it here in this new house in one sitting to several cups of this breakfast roast.

Jack, coughing, not in the mood for his waffles. And he’s such a great eater and acceptor of foods, as I disclosed to some of the neighbors the other day, two of the wives. They said I should be grateful or it’s great that he’s so agreeable when it comes to food. One of the two I can’t remember I’m still waking up and I feel pressured for some reason.. well, with all the papers I have to grade of course. I’ll make a gorgeous dent on Tuesday, then enjoy the rest of my day maybe go for a run or just write from somewhere– and that’s a lesson from this novel worklog, already: don’t work on the serious projects at home.. just freewriting or small projects or poems, or other entries. There needs to be isolation with the novels, especially the Massamen work. Finish it, finish it! I tell myself, over and over, and I want to conventionally submit it, and have it read and disseminated properly, have a Tobias Wolff-type career. Just write and live from it, not have to do what I don’t want.

Back to entry. 204 words of dialogue in novel to get me to new page, page 18. So I want to set one word onto page 21 by day’s close. I’m eating J’s waffles now, as he made it clear he was in no mood for what I heated for him. He makes me laugh, walking over here to the island and saying “Oh, Daddy, you work like that?” Not sure what he meant but I laugh, and I think of his character in the novel, Jim’s son, Mike’s best friend and essential brother. Then there’s Massamen’s sister, the winemaker.. should re-read what I’ve written so far, but the two grounding characters in his life have to be his best friend, his nephew, and his sis. And Lila, his friend from undergrad, I guess. But not too many– oh, and Michael, the PhD friend of his at the JC. But expand upon the idea and concept of Mike Massamen, I tell myself. Then wine. That’s where you want him, I tell myself, and that’s where he can build. He can’t build as an adjunct. The adjunct gig is just something on the side, he realizes, and his energies are meant to be missioned in wine and its world; there’s room for growth and expansion and play, fun, learning.. it’s wine! Certainly more fun that battling with an institution and its sweeping disregard for what he and other adjuncts do.

Looking at clock expecting to see a time after 7AM, I see 6:53. So very early for the writer but not Jack, he seems quite at peace with the hour and his cartoon and not having the breakfast I heated for him. And I’m still hungry. But I need more coffee, I see that as more necessary for the writer at the moment than actual sustenance. I know that’s unhealthy and I can see Mom reading this and thinking “You should eat breakfast!” And she’s right. She’s always right, I’ve found. And that’s candor from me, not sarcasm. She’s amazing, my mother, and she sees it fitting for me the form of shorter writings, fiction and other. And again, she’s right! But it’s an apexing aim to be a novelist. Yes, I’ll still write short fiction, but I want novels– I compare it to an actor who’s harnessed somehow to TV Shows, and just wants to do film, full movies, and stay, grow in that medium.

The Massamen novel starts with him noting the significance of a single morning, and he’s eating breakfast, ironically, a breakfast sandwich of sausage and egg if I remember right, and sees something– so then, like I tell my students to expand upon singular words and ideas/concepts, I think of ‘vision’, having a vision and seeing something out there for yourself, wanting to see yourself doing something, and if you don’t know precisely what then you’re at an advantage, propelled beneficially, you have something to find and hunt. That’s how I feel this morning, this first entry of the Massamen Work Log–

Another word for expansion, for the day’s 2000+ words: tell. Massamen telling his story and his dreams, his story, and that’s all the wine industry is, and that’s what he loves about it– you don’t see that in academia, no matter how noble they say it is and how honorable it is what they’re doing or how they see themselves.. where do you go? h thinks.. with wine, with having his own label maybe some day and writing about his journey and blogging it and somehow infusing it with his favorite Literary works. Have it all come together. A blend.. see? The wine solves everything. It’s world, not so much the “industry” moiety.

There. A thousand words in the work log. Now ready to work. The novel. Here I leap…..

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