Posts Tagged With: Creative Writing

novel excerpt.. this morning’s session

“Deadlines,” I say to myself, “Deadlines, Mikey.” I watch the people walk into the tasting room, thoughtless, careless and eager. I welcome them, the whole time thinking about how I’m going to use one line ‘Moveable Feast’ for a lecture on Tuesday, one of the last of the semester. “…belongs to me…” But I couldn’t think too much about it, I had to focus on these people waking in and how they looked around, excited and curious, some seemingly intimidated. They, group of 8, approach the bar. I put out four menus, then glasses, ask them if they’ve ever been here before and what we pour.. “Oh, I LOVE Pinot,” one lady says. I tell her she’ll love our bottles, start them with the Chardonnay, watch them sip, and right off the bat one of them asks me how long I’ve worked at the winery. “Not long, actually, just over a month,” I say. Then one of them, an older man asks why so many in the wine industry move around from TR to TR. I tell him I don’t know and I’m “only doing this part-time”, so he doesn’t think I’m caught up in that herd, their indecisive migration. So obviously, I notice, I’m insecure. But I’ll use this to build, build what I want with everything, then the next pour, a Pinot, blend of RRV and Santa Barbara-ish fruit.
“Yeah, that’s what a Pinot should be, definitely,” a young girls says, swirling, looking, sipping, smelling again.
“Yeah, it’s nice,” an older man to her right, more than likely her father says. I can tell he’s not thinking about it too much. And why should he, or anyone, it’s only a couple minutes after 11.
Larry walks around the bar, up to my right side, lean, “I’m gonna go check the back bar, you okay?” he says. I nod, he leaves.
“You guys expecting a busy day?” another man in the group poses. I shrug before being accosted with another question about my work history, as if what did I do wrong in life to be stuck behind a bar, that’s what the question intoned, or how I interpreted… ‘belongs to me, belongs to me…this moment belongs to me and these people belong to the building, the vision, the Newness of this idea I’m Crafting, construction.. I’ll tell people form now on I’m in construction, that’d be funny, and accurate and honest, ‘cause I am. Now.
“We’re gonna go outside and hang by the fountain for a little bit, we’ll be right back,” the calm man says. They follow, and I’m alone. So I build on the word ‘belong’.. “Ownership,” I write, then “control” and “possession”. “The writing that shows this ownership and control exudes an admirable power on page, and ads to its transcendence, the immunity to Time, and an irresistible sense of locale and character….” I watch the group outside, must be a family trip, and yes all are related, I then imagine that the tasting room is mine, or my characters, and how she’d react if she were in here by herself.. she’d love to see her bottles tasted and sold, but people walking through the door alone would gratify her, give her promise and that sense of ‘belonging’.. then I play with the word again, “Belonging,” I write, “as in a sense of calling, purpose, kinship and intimacy.” This empty room belonging to me, I give myself a new deadline, have a beaming thought for Tuesday before they come back in. They look comfortable sitting on that ledge by the water, just watching the upspurt, so I scribble more, I tell myself ‘I will take this thought to class and then on the Road’. I’ll devour this moment, consume it as if it were an appetizer at ‘Billie’s Oeno Go’, the favored wine bar downtown, I think Fourth Street. The glasses, just in front of me, empty, under the counter, who will sip from that one, and that one, I stop scribbling and just look around, like one of them. And I pretend I’m one of them, like I’ve never been to Livermore wine country and like I know nothing about wine, that I don’t think of making my own wine and like–
“That’s beautiful out there,” the man says.
“Yeah, it’s pretty relaxing,” I say, putting my notebook in my back pocket.
“Wine notes?” he says, looking outside noticing that the family’s very much stationed by the water. “They love it out there, oh well, they’ll be in in a minute.”
“You ready for the other Pinot?” I say.
“Yeah.. that one you just poured was great.. I love Pinot.”
“Oh yeah?”
“Yeah.. that’s all I order when I go out to dinner.”
I pour the next one, from Monterey, and I think how he has a sense of belonging with Pinot– and yes I know I’m over-thinking this, ‘reaching’, but I want to, and like I tell my students, especially the 1B’s, “that’s when you discover something.”
“This one seems a little richer, is that right?”
“Yeah, it’s kind of rich, definitely more oak,” I offer, hoping I don’t influence his sip.
“Yeah.. yeah.. there’s more oak, definitely,” he says. I write down his words, and think he’s trying to communicate something with me, I don’t know what, but he’s sharing his love of wine and the winery and this moment speaking with me, and he doesn’t care if the others come into the room, in fact he’d probably rather they all stay out there; his wife, the others his age and the 20-somethings. He looks at the glass, and I write something down, “Observation.. can we just observe and not think too hard?” Which many wine people love to do, especially those who want to be seen as experts. “Can you pour me a little more, I think I tasted some cinnamon.”
“Yeah.. I get cinnamon from this one, too,” I say, feeling a belonging to this moment and this dialogue with the man. I pour, benevolently. He smiles, smells, sips.. “Yeah, definitely, cinnamon. I’m gonna go out there and make sure they haven’t drowned, be right back..”
As he walks outside to his family, I rush to the back, ignite the espresso machine, “café au lait,” I think, just like Hem.. I heat the milk, make two shots of espresso– push the door open, they’re still out there, back to my mix.. done.. behind the counter, writing again, noting what I can for Tuesday.

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journal, 4/25/15

Busy day, workout where I did log 3 miles but with cost after attempting bike time; leg left instantly locked at about minute 15. So I had to stop. Tired and bitter and angry with my form for halting me as it did. While running I felt fine, fine, yes the left leg around knee was sore but I pressed on. And I now I further frustrate in this nook with all the topics I want to build– so build, I tell myself, focus on ONE thing. What. The novel. Mike Massamen and his search for his dream job, and he knows what it is but how get it, ‘it’, how to get there, how to BUILD ‘it’: the equation that’s in need of a solve. Just write me, write him, write about the students and re-tell what has been told to me through these books I so follow. Hem, JK, Plath– or no, follow the singularity in everything. This wallet for example, my wallet, currently with no cash only debit receipts, and business cards I’ll do nothing with.. and my insurance card, car and health, and some coins in the little pocket, right side when you open. Always in back pocket, but for what? Why do I carry it with me if there’s no cash? I know, my license, but it’s one more thing, another item that down me weighs. There’s cash in my backpack, stray 1’s I could put in there but then I have to use it, have it on me, whatever. It takes me away from being a true writer, I believe, always having to feel it when I sit, or fear I lost it, or misplaced, or left it at home when I’m turning left onto River Road (which happened once). It’s a burden, and that’s me being kind. Just took some papers and pieces random from its interior, so now it’s lighter. But I still don’t want it. Don’t want to have to have it on me, in my pocket on my person part of my anywhere presence. So I dump the pieces in trash and the wallet in backpack, with the cash. Think that’s a healthy compromise.
Tomorrow morning I should be able to early wake and put a maddened dent in the novel, bring it closer to death. And my death, I mean Life. Put it out there, promote a bit, then start the next, the next MS that will show me as a real writer, and not some blogger, not some wineblogging idiot who will do anything for ‘exposure’ or attention or some fucking social media ‘Like’. This next week, and I swear this on the future and Wellness of my son: I. WILL. PRINT. the novel’s pages. As I write, I edit and print. And my story as an adjunct– well, and Mr. Massanmen’s– will be heard, read, spread. Just opened the doc, and am on page 15. What if that was the only thing I worked on? Till my birthday? What if that was my 36th birthday gift to myself? What if I wrote a novel for myself? IS that vein? Do I care? NO. So away I go, and I’ll stick to a calendar like Dad with the payment duedates for Autumn Walk, which kept us all ontrack and uptospeed…. There, marked on calendar. And I may submit this novel, as well as Self-print it. I may write short stories here and there, some sketches, but they will be part of the day’s journaling, not a self-published standalone. I say that now but who knows. I’ll aim for 3 pages a day in the novel and go from there. And I have to finish this. I swore on my son, so do know I take this project more than just ‘seriously’.. it has, holds, and speaks, SCREAMS, dire gravity. Ten more minutes till bed. Can’t wait. I’m tired and keenly athirst for the morning, for my coffee and my three pages for my book. The wallet, still on right– trash in its delightfully welcoming trash and the wallet on ledge by door (backpack in living room and Alice take a nimble snooze. The novel.. what subject.. the adjunct trying to build; himself and his career and some strain of Peace, Personhood, Purpose.

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Seen Speech


IMG_5609I remember my intentions with wine today– charging ‘good phone’, ready for notes on ’12 Mendo Ridge Pinot, and the vines.. where they are what they’re saying and how I’m to look at them. Last night’s Merlot opening suggested to me that wine today should just be written in dialogue form, no notes, no thick-witted daffy descriptors. No, today me as a novelist and short fiction writer introduces itSelf to wine, and offers to not so much speak for it but translate its visual nudges into line, lines.
My ’12 Merlot, especially the last glass, offered something to a lean of: “I want to be seen as a song, a set on stage, with this light assertiveness…” Last sip was a little over 10 hours ago, so I’m remembering what I can.

Little Kerouac next to me on couch now, ready for school, ready for his day, this FridayIMG_5040 (which isn’t a Friday to me as I’m with my promissory morrow– the frenzying Saturday behind the bar, where people nearly have their iphones stolen (only happened once, and by accident, but the lady’s reaction was pricless, next to that drunk group, she saying to the reacher “Um, excuse me yeah that’s mine, thanks…”). And I’ll note everything, everyone today, in the spoken, the characterized.. characters, characters, in bottle and out. And there’s me, the adjunct, the writer obvious and then not so, not sure which I prefer.

Older photos from the last winery, some inciting me, others keeping me thoughtful, wanting to write that novel, finish it– the Massamen project, where I, or he, will disclose everything, everything about the wine world that people thinking of entering it on an occupational front MUST know. That it’s NOT fantasy. It’s a job, like anything else. BUT, you can make it your own, which now at the elevated age of nearly 36, I have decoded, mapped and staged.

IMG_5607Back from Jackie’s little school cruise down the Yulupa blocks. There was too much in my head in the way of wine and writing and the students, the Massamen novel, the final weeks of the term.. on the drive home, couldn’t concentrate on a thing, solely from the ideas, certain perceptive entertainments accosting me. Nearly ran a red, but here I am with the remainder of cup 2, left. Will try to take a picture every hour today, to capture my day’s moments should I not be able to scribble something, those notes I jot quickly, now more so just singular words and concepts/points for expansion (again, as I tell my students, 1A & B).. and I realize no wine writer’s like me, certainly no ‘wine blogger’, no hyperbolic glossy disingenuous rat of a somm’, that I know. But why take it in that direction.. they do what they do and I with my words and chapters and scattered Beat projects.

That quiet in the condo, that I experience occasionally, kindly confronts me, pushes me into these wine thoughts, the vinoLit approach to everything I sip.. just have to remember today: ‘dialogue’.. speaking, the wine speaking and what the sippers say in their momentary reactiveness. Can’t remember if I have to be at the vineyard at 10 or 1030 on Fridays.. I was given the option, just now, so I elect 10, or as close as I can come to it.. still have to get ready.. clock pushing and pressuring me.. but I don’t cower, I answer with more wording, more wine fantasy, more personification of my Merlot, and how it recited for me, to my ‘palate’ and senses all.. not sipping tonight, leaving rest for morrow’s eve, see how it fends off invading oxygen.. the writer provoking its intrepidity.

order no need stare
at vines and what they write so
i copy scribble


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Home and done

with prepping for 1B, for the most part. 1A this morning went quite well and I surprised with, 1, how early I was up, and, 2, how energized I was when I landed in the adjunct office. This morning seemed more still, more motionless than other mornings of the semester. Giving Self 10 minutes to type before getting into the shower.. write write write, I tell myself, and STOP THINKING YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING ELSE! Yes, my hustle will diversify, but I’m doing what I set out to do, and that’s teach, write, lecture, be one with literature. Wine is fun, and I will write about it as Dad recommended and that’s it! And if I make wine it’s so I can WRITE about it. Same with any wine “business” endeavor I have… Last night I actually thought about getting into advertising.. what the fuck. Yes, me, in a suit, in an office– NOW….. if it’s my agency, and it’s creative, and all stems from the story then fine. But I’m not working for some pig agency in… well, anywhere.
Just finished cup 2 of the day’s coffee cannon, and I’m more than different this morning, and I know precisely why.. 1, I’m not afraid of grading, my procrastination in grading, nor student reaction to my grading. That’s been my handicap for years now, and today it dies. And if I let papers pile or if I put them off, put them here or there on the table, or just let them ferment in my backpack, that disrupts the writing, the writing of lectures and the compilation of confidence before orating that lecture.. And 2. There’s no ‘2’.
Still with a bit over 4 minutes to compose Self, meditate if you will, but I’m ready for a shower, to relax, let my thoughts do whatever they want. So.. then go… and enjoy the peace.. Namaste.

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Massamen Novel excerpt II (once proofed)

I returned to lecture writing but in a different vein and with different speed. I just binged, on words, and no music to accompany. I needed to be focused this morning if I ever wanted to see the world and free myself from all the bullshit– just yesterday, seeing that aged and worn adjunct woman at the other campus, probably early fifties and teaching six classes. I could tell she was unhappy and disgruntled but too exhausted to express it and that’s what brings me here.. to this morning and my cognition now. I’m swinging from the pendulum and I refuse to fall. If I fall then They win. Then I wonder, what kind of novel would this make? How long would it take to finish? And would anyone care? Do I have to write mainstream? And that blog I want to continue, what can I do with that? Al questions from someone like me, nearing late 30s and wondering what, what next and what how and what what, what with everything.

Have to be at the winery in a little over two hours, so I don’t have all the time in the world to think or overthink this. And if this is an inclass essay as I have students do, what’s my argument? What’s the centrality to this character sitting on this couch and collecting himself in paragraph, a paragraph stream? That I’m done. Fed up with the bullshit. The scams. And that’s what the adjunct echo is, and for Them.. 75% of all teachers at the college– well, you know. But let them win, I now think. Focus on this writing, of the lectures and this novel, if that’s what you want to call it. So what’s the novel about? Not adjuncting, not teaching, and not writing, but wine, winemaking, a former teacher starting his life over in his early 40s to pursue winemaking and everything about it. Have his own label and sell and travel with his own bottles; small production, maybe 5k, and not a bloody bottle more. And the wine would convey his new freedom and views on life and just to have fun, not let in the negative, the stress. Wine is supposed to be freeing, is it not? Today at work, take notes, on everything, from where the pens and pencils and markers are by the register to how the bottles are arranged on the counter to how the clouds look above the small Pinot vineyard of 3 clones.

I’d start building today, the future I want and the days I want and the ‘career’ I need to have for sanity. I thought yesterday, after seeing that disheveled and aged adjunct woman, “How much longer can I do this?” And, quite bluntly, “Is this fun?” Everyone expects me to teach and to follow what I went to school for, but as my grandmother told me right before she died, “It’s YOUR life…you have YOUR choice.” And here I am, with Grandma’s idea in my lap. And I choose to re-build. To build the writing and lecturing life– I lecture on these novels and books and shorts and whatever other form’s in the day’s plan.. why not my own book? Why not my own novel? And about something fun. Wine. Wine is fun. And as Susie Selby says (a winemaking friend of my sister’s): “Wine is Life.” So here I go into a new story.. but where to start. How ‘bout with today, with the hours ahead of me behind the bar and with those bottles. Opened a Pinot last night and it had nothing like the bottled life I pour in the Room. I have to consider wine as it’s own entity, yes, a bit independent of the sipper just as Literature is apart from its Creator, and reader, but if I don’t find it pleasing or coherent, or convincing, then what? I’ll figure it out. My character will figure it out.

I’ll write the novel in a series of short but punctuating sketches. And I’ll have wine and wine in the glass be the commanding image. Not the people sipping. The reaction, not so much. Just the image of the wine in the glass before it’s sipped. Many times, I feel, it’s the sipper who detracts from the omnipotence of wine with their reaction. “But wine’s meant to be sipped,” you’ll say. Yeah, I know. But like with Art, you have expression on a wall, someone’s life and effort, and Time which we all know to pass us heartlessly and evaporate before it’s splashed. But then we simplify it by speaking, by becoming self-indulgent, wanting to be seen as wine experts, or “connoisseurs”, or “aficionados”. Why the fluffy tag? Again, I’m overthinking, so I move on, onto the coffee.. don’t want to rise from this couch as it’ll break the binge, but I have to, it’s part of the story and whatever the story commands I do.

Now sipping my coffee, typing madly. Taking the Kerouac thoughts and initiatives from my lectures and having it push me forward, away from the other winery, my old wine life and into this new one with promise and my own projects and this new story. And I don’t need a PhD for this. I don’t even need my Master’s for this. And the schooling and everything I’ve studied, apparently just a sticker on my CV– and that ‘CV’, what does that do for me? There is no Adjunct War, and there won’t be, ever, only fun, joy, and exploration, me seeing the world like one of my students now who studies and works in India, on Public Health projects and some community management in that regard, as well, I believe. Amber, if I haven’t told you her name before, which maybe I have but I’m in such a whirl now I can barely summon past tellings. She, now with her Newness, living MADLY.. I need to start a word list, concepts that dominate me and my projects, and I’ll be about the world soon like Amber with my thoughts, lectures maybe, on wine, on Literature, on Writing, on Writing Literature wrapped and rapt in Wine. Imagine the union of my past world and this new one, I think. I imagine now, me, like Amber, in streets thousands of measures from this couch, from Livermore, seeing lightening in the sky knowing the clouds are speaking directly to me, lecturing, pushing me to mold further in my new madness. Crazy in my Story’s continuation, craving all elements and characters and dishes; scents, colors, contrasts, crosswalks, all of it.

Not looking at the clock as I usually do ‘cause I’m too busy enjoying this morning, like that morning weeks ago with the breakfast sandwich, where I knew something was different but not what, poignantly. Now it’s been asserted: enough. Done. No more waiting. Just taking. Just traveling. Seeing the entire world and writing about the travels a this New Adjunct, one speaking about Literature in his own octave, no papers to grade, just the Road, autonomy, writing, noting, no order only beauty and that’s my new Life recipe. “Wellness”, as a new writer friend I met in the tasting Room explores, blogs about. Phoebe, her name, based in NYC, younger than me, and living, truly living, no papers to grade, no scheduled classes, no rummaging for sections having to call into the department office at some ridiculous time and when you do you’re told to call back in five minutes, “They’re still with someone, Mike…”, goddamnit! No, Phoebe lives, establishes her own Wellness and writes what she wishes, has her focus, that she chose, like Amber. And here I am, nearing 36, exhausted, venomous, embittered and pugilistic. But I snap out of it this morning with my own spell. Coffee nearly gone so I need more, I have to keep with this morning’s binge. What are the other adjuncts doing, but driving to three campuses, like the lady yesterday, telling me she lectures at DVC, CSUEB, and a class one day a week at USF– which sounds prestigious, or accomplished, and I guess it is, but THEY know that, They know we’d think that! All that driving.. I’ve done it before but no more. Wonder what that section at USF is. Humanities-something, but what. I bet USF called her with this tone over phone waves, like “She’ll be so honored to get this one class,” or “I’m giving you the opportunity of a lifetime… you should be thankful.” I know one of those thoughts trampled in the caller’s head. And I bet is was some PHD or dept moldbrain in between classes, in their cozy fucking office. But, ha, I’m hip to the scam, and I’m done. No more. I’m headed to Paris, to India, to Africa, Spain, Ireland, New York….. The Moon if I want! That’s how free I am now, now that I see everything, and that I’m not at the old winery.

I just looked at the clock and I’m running out of clock ticks and tocks but I keep with it anyway, knowing I want my character to make only three wine types: SB, Syrah, and Cab. That’s it. And she, or he, I’m thinking SHE, will have a production strategy delivering not only story but the winemaker’s relationship with the grapes that come in. I one time talked to my sister about winemaking and superstition, and she said it’s not that uncommon, and it’s not silly. The winemaker, like the writer, has to have their comfort zone, and not avoid it but embrace, as that’s where you Create the genius works. And don’t doubt yourself: “If you doubt yourself you’ll never make wine,” K said. I interpreted this in a number of facets, now most immediately with my morning, this new morning and this novel idea and lecturing on Literature around the globe, and maybe a bit about my approach to wine. Newness, the Madness that will forever benefit my career and Life, my character and who I want to be. My ‘Mike-mirepoix’.

So today, when I sip, write down everything that comes to sight, senses, and be MAD with my consideration. Not simplistic! Be animated! Write a lecture for each wine! Why not? This can only build my intrigue and Life and get me closer to that Wellness. If I would have or were to chase the PHD, I’d be lowered, sickened, and even more degraded and devalued than I already am as an adjunct. So no. No, I’m forwarded in a new song, and ‘reborn’ isn’t the term I should have fostered but more so ‘supplemented’, as if by a food or a nutrient.. WELLNESS, as Phoebe writes. And the day is off, this new Me, this new story, this novel of what I’m to build from this first day. Should I blog about it, do a ‘Day 1, Day 2, Day 3’ thing? I don’t know. It may keep me on track. But I hate blogs. Maybe that should change, too. Yes, it does, starting now this morning right here on the couch I’m so frenzied in my typing that I have no time for punctuation and I’m beginning to wonder if I even need that THIRD cup.

Imagine complete Wellness, I am, I am, and the travels, taking pictures. I’ll bring my camera to the winery today, take pictures, and hopefully the clouds will burn off and more light will be let, but maybe the shade and cover will help with the images I catch– tangent I know but that’s what I’m thinking about: a photojournal, a photoblog, something to pocket every bit of the moment I can, and why not with words and images? That’s what wineries do, or try to do. The pictures aren’t bad but the prose, or “copy”, is always abhorrent, vehemently vile in all scales and chords. That won’t be me with my work, with what takes me to the travels, and to those hotels, rooms from which I write and wonder and entertain what the Story holds for me next. And this will be not a job, but, simply, Life. My life. No more jobs. Nothing more that doesn’t entail full, unfettered passion. This, now, my new way, and my new degree. What I see this morning and what I learned about my SELF holds immeasurably more value that any PhD. I won’t be her, between three campuses. I won’t be him, the tasting room director, or manager, or whatever they called him at the last winery, in my late 60s, miserable, and always having to order people around while I sit in my office popping pain pills. No… I’m alive, I’m a story, writing a story, watching a story itself write. So…

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The adjunct gets out of his car into the light drizzle, reaches into the car for bag, grab coffee, up stairs.  To shared office.  Now what.  Prep.  But he’s too tired.  He just wants to sip his coffee and read, or write, or just listen to something, Sonny Rollins or Miles.  It’s early, too early, but this is his time, the time before the class he selected– or the only one that was left for him.  No sight of full-timers.  No shock.  They wouldn’t do this to themselves but they would do it to adjuncts.. give them the shit, right?

Adjunct looks at the time, 6:22, he still has time, time he can make his but do what with it, so early.  “Get ready for class, come on, do it!” he fires at himself but no action, just sipping coffee.  And next semester, another class at this hour.  No shock.  That’s what was left.  He’s that buzzard that gets to the meal after lions and hyenas and wild dogs, leopards and what else have had their ravening with what be.  And what was he, the adjunct, and adjunct, part the 75% that were played with, shifted, looked at with certain lowered eyes.. noticed it every time he’d walk through the hallway or into the mail room where they were having a cute little gossip chats about someone or about some students or class– that’s what he never got, did they think themselves so aloft in stomps that they could talk about them, the students, like that?  Making fun of their writing, their troubles, something holding them back?

The adjunct packs, readies, sips the last.  Sore from yesterday’s gym visit, where he tried to expel angst, but now it’s all over him with the pain from weights, the running.


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I’ll be ready if

my knee starts to pain me at the gym.  Bringing swimming attire, which I haven’t used in whoknowshowlong.. more added to day’s list but I’m not writing it down, none of it(other than the items Alice instructed).. hoping to face my budget and money onhand head-on..  no spending foreshadowed today, so that will quite help the writer, bought coffee yesterday which I’ve already been into today but only one cup.. need two-to-three straight hours of writing, right here in the condo, on floor as I am.. Jackie finishes his waffles while I type, watches his Mickey Mouse cartoon, and I can’t wait to be on that treadmill, seven miles I’m hoping.  Really want to destroy that half-marathon in Santa Cruz.  Still regret downgrading from 26.2, but it’s for benefit, for sure at this point in my life and condition, Wellness..

7:49.. takeoff in 11 minutes.. wine for Mom and Dad also on list as I last night noted but I don’t see any tasting in my presence there, have to stay quick today, and wine only slows the writer.. was thinking of taking notes at Jackson’s on 4th and whatever after stopping by Schwab for house deposit.. maybe, just keep writing I tell myself–  Odd and frightening dreams last night; first, my email and other accounts social were infiltrated, sending attacking notes to everyone and everything connected to me; the next dream, I was driving with two other people (think one may have been my sister), and we witness a tremendous explosion.. “Is that a nuclear explosion?” one asked.  “I think it is,” the character I believe to be my sister said.  The connection’s obvious, I need minimize my usage of social media and tech and the internet.. just write as Kerouac did in Sur and when on the Road.. no laptops no cell phones not a device on my person holstered or handed.  That’s Peace, that’s Personhood (AH!  Return to this in 1B!!).  Now I see.  Not blinded anymore, not that I was, but I’m awake alive sightful.


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Record the For

I have every aim to transfer today’s winery and wine notes to this blog, but I’m again tired and just want to write freely.  Finally posted the Pinot promotion, and may have the first case sale, or some sale, yes to friends but I’ll take it.  I don’t want to get too wrapped up in social media and sales, I want to remain grounded in the Art of this wine life and the writing and the stories, and the wine I might make.  Again making wine.. makes me research the stories of these other label, in Dry Creek and RRV, Sonoma Valley and wherever.  I want to be a Story, be read and sipped and in people’s homes, part of their conversation.

Tomorrow, my day off.  First target: gym.  At least a 90 minute workout, running and swimming or running and basketball, haven’t decided– oh, and maybe some weights.  Keep writing, don’t get distracted, Mike… by these social media apps and programs and tricks.. just stay a writer.  And I will.

Today, both Pinots on our main tasting had my attention, especially with the Mendo Ridge project, now showing more coherence and poetic principal, more narrative qualities disclosing whatever it thinks it’s meant to do.  It’s color hasn’t morphed much but the the texture and sensory enigmas had more volume, for some reason.  And I love that I don’t know the ‘reason’.  It assures what I’ve always known true, wine having its own life and vision and cognition.  And that’s why I re-attach myself to these vinoLit principles, and why I do this, this wine run, and I’ve finally settled just days, weeks really, before moving into this new home.. before staring the Story of New Mike.

I stopped typing but I won’t again– burdened by emails and other messages.. this goddamn phone, taking me away from the writing and the notes, the thoughts from the day, why do I let it do that?  I won’t, and stop dwelling I tell myself, think like Jack Kerouac and his days at Sur, when he walked those paths and stared at the ocean from that one spot and wrote his poem.. just keep simple, all simple, and the stories will land.

In Sunriver, I just think, what I’d be doing right now, if I were there alone and just writing and sipping wine and– think I just answered my own question, not much of a question, just the anxiety felt by an adjunct of my age struggling to settle and find settlement, having a family to support and wanting to build, build his Life writing, a career if that’s what you want to call it.  But I don’t think of these pages that way, not like it’s something I punch in and out for, no that would kill the joy of it all, minimizing it to patter– so tomorrow, some tasting, somewhere, possibly up the street to get SB for Mom & Dad (Matanzas Creek).  I may taste a little, or even have a glass by the lavender, write in the comp book (no device– oh, which reminds me I have to xfer that short piece I wrote in class the other day, with the 1A-ers)…

Plans and plans and plans.  Hope I keep one of them.  I deserve that much I think.


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Merry, Boisterous, Convivial

6:05, quite quiet, me on floor, typing, not letting Self back to sleep.  Still tired from the day yesterday, the onslaught from when the doors, or gates were opened till we left.  Hoping today’s a bit more tame but who knows.  And with my label, or “winery”, what do I want?  How would I have it designed?  By appt only?  Could I even pull that off?  Probably, but what if you don’t book as much, or do book and they don’t buy enough to cover a day’s overhead demands?  More I think, this may happen, especially after the remarks, two in one day (day before yester’), messages on social media and emails about how wonderful my wines are tasting.  One of the notes, written by Katy, the wife of a winemaker friend of mine, read “Had your New Dad Red.. keep making wine, you have a real gift.” I smiled and smiled, waiting for our order up the street at the golf course, while I enjoyed my beer.  And the other note, from a couple living in the East Bay, actually pouring it (my Merlot) for some company they had over.  So I reasoned right there, sipping the last of the Lagunitas that I’ll make wine this vintage, not just write about it, and get closer to the winery, Arista, learn more and take notes and find suggestions in the wines that I want to mimic or perhaps build upon.  Winemaking is not beyond any ability in my continuum, at all, and I will do it.  As well.. I will move wines on this wine blog, wines I believe in and ones that I feel exhibit some entrappingly ambrosial character, and all through words, the words and the wines will forever be linked– and that IS what brought me into the wine world, quite frankly, as I’ve disclosed to so many people: the stories, the STORY.  And that’s what the story wants me to do, I’m realizing, be one with wine and one with wine in my writing and teaching and every literary and/or pedagogical effort for the remaining days of Mike Madigan.  I try to ignore wine and the industry, but I find it too interesting, and that question Dad posed at Monti’s months ago still very much me haunts: “In a perfect world would you write or teach?”


“Well you should write about or do something with wine, ‘cause you still like wine and find it interesting, right?” he said, sipping that PlumpJack Merlot I brought.

Yes.  Definitely.  Now I see it.  I see it all.  And if I could get more into how the brand of Arista is managed, not so much by Mark and Ben but just how it, the brand, expands and retracts and what wines are grasping sippers’ assiduity.

Back from working on the RRV Pinot push through the blog.  Think this will work.. the idea is to bring the winery buyers through the blog, sell it but don’t sell it, if you know what I intend.  And the adjunct role in my life diminishes then, right?  Well, I guess.. I certainly don’t want to teach 6 or 7 or more classes if I don’t have to.  I’d never see the little Artist nor my wife and candidly, it wouldn’t be as much fun as wine.  Wine is simply more fun.. ‘fun’, need a better word, I’m hating my wording this morning in this entry, if I can be honest.  And, like Dad has always told me, “You have to have fun.” And that’s especially known now, since the weekend of Uncle Ross’ service.  Still can’t believe that.  And I have to write them, the cousins, another letter.  And a former student.  And a couple others.  And organize this laptop.. all which gets done tomorrow, an awaited day off.  Drop Jackie off early, get coffee, grade for a bit, then write then grade then have a surprising streak of words streaming from my senses if I have any left.  And, I guess, try to run, at gym, and if the knee talks to me then I’ll swim (which I’ve been meaning to do anyway).

6:33, fridge stopped humming.  So much to move out of this house, or condo and into the new house on Autumn Walk, where the New Mike finally starts his Story.  And with this journal and my wine writings and pursuits and curiosities and links to Literature and jazz and everything Art I can only succeed.  Why?  ‘Cause it’s honest, it’s Truth, it’s what I want to do.  So pleased I didn’t let myself fall back into sleep.

Thinking of coffee.  Of course.  None in house.  Why didn’t I get some the other day when I was at the store?  I had the sense to get those snacks, beer, and something else.  But not coffee?  Shame on me!  Well, I’m somewhat paying for it now, but I’m quite quick this morning for not having a cup yet.  Part from me tempering my wine sips last night, bringing home that ’12 Zin from the winery.  Another wine I want to write about…..

Interesting how I went away from writing/blogging from wine, but here I am, where I started in 2009, writing about wine in my own way, the whole vinoLit approach.. thinking thinking thinking and the ideas swarm to me this morning to assist their writer and developer into something no one’s seen before.  That’s the point, wouldn’t you say, of any Artist’s effort?  Truth.. be ‘declarative’ like Hem urged.

Think I hear Jack upstairs, walking around, or searching for something, he’ll call for me any minute, but I’ll beat him to it.

Going up.. breaking from my ideas, and if they’re as valuable as I think they are, they’ll stick to and simmer in me…

Posted Pinot Promo to blog.. see what happens.  I’ll push it the best I can, and in the tasting room the RRV PN will be my focus wine for the next 4 days (how long I’ll push the promo)..

Jackie plays downstairs now with me, while Alice upstairs rests, collects.  Back from store with coffee, and a new perspective and encompassing scope on wine and me as a writer/adjunct professor.. thinking

9:11, set to leave in 4 minutes but I’ll probably launch near ten.  The stress of the move is certainly getting to Alice but not so much the writer; I see transformation, I see motivation and rich challenge and I see another standalone piece, or set of, in this new house.  The condo now quite quiet, and I’m on the floor where I started this morning, but surrounded by more evidence of Jackie’s play and reign in this structure and surroundings set.  Today at estate I hope to have some notes taken, all wine-honed and starting of a story built.. and I can’t forget that, the notion and persistence and reality of building something, what I want to build for my family and me and the Life I see for myself as a Beat writer…..


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Mock Somm– New Wine Love/Promotion: Arista Winery, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir, 2013

And we find a balanced, artful, poetically polite but potently IMG_5461persuasive Pinot. First impression, or ‘nose’, entails strawberry and maple-ized raspberry and a coy courting of chocolate. The sips’s summation reveals herbs and wild earthy electricity, and encompasses everything one loving Pinot from Russian River may seek. This is the idyllic etching of not only the varietal, the AVA, but the vintage… Arista brought to fruition what other producers only hope to with 2013 RRV wine, with this balanced bottle of musical and new-world oenological jazziness; a terrestrial palate hug; a Burgundian smooch.IMG_5463
IMG_5460I sip now, and find more notes and subtexts to the wine’s whirling, whether intended or unintended, I don’t care.. at this point, and this is not to discount the winemaker’s meditation, I find more taste tiers: caramel, rose pedal, cinnamon, and evasive cedar (but I’m on glass 2, in ever-truth..).
I guess the most charming element to me from this bottle is that initial palate contact that brings that wild, unfettered fruit; strawberry, cherry, raspberry, and maybe a little cranberry, maybe. This is the wine I brandish for occasion or just when I get home from work, when I don’t want to grade papers but just want to enjoy a glass and collect.

Small production, and I’m quite serious.. SMALL. Secure your bottles now, and be confronted pleasurably by this provocative interpretation of RRV Pinot!

Call Arista Winery at 707-473-0606 to secure your bottles! Again, inventory is low to begin with, only 250 cases total production on the ’13 Russian River Pinot, so move quickly!

AND… they ship cases for FREE!!!

Tell them the Bottled Ox sent you! Cheers!

Again, Arista Winery’s phone: 707-473-0606

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