Posts Tagged With: Creative Writing


Home.  748PM, red wine, jazz and writing, night 2.  Got takeout from Jackson’s, as I planned…  And I’ll be printing ten pages tonight.  Of something.  Returning to Spring semester, the one that provided over 230 pages of work.  Today, in the patio area, pouring for club members and public alike, and the wines, what they’d say, pull this injured writer through the day.  Sipping what remains of the Reserve Cab, and I’m in the nook, in this unusually–confrontationally–quiet house.  but I keep writing.  Even with the typos, and there’ll be more, I’m sure, as the Cab’s trying to catch me again.  But it won’t.  I’m sipping slow, as I want to wake early, finally have a Hemingway session when I’m the only character in the condo castle.  This wine, in the glass.. so dark, heavy, foreboding, forceful and firm.  I’ll sip, imagine it’s mine, my Cab, one of my bottles, from my “label”.  But how…  I’m overthinking as always.  But I can’t stop, I just think, and with these Mendocino classes in Fall, I’m about to be more linear than I’ve ever been, thinned.  Think I need a quick break.  I don’t want to work the WHOLE night, as I do want to relax a little, save some of this scribble momentum for tomorrow’s early.  But I’ve never been good at saving.  I mean I’ve become better, with age, but I’m still not like Dad, with those envelope stories he used to tell me, and still sometimes references.


8:32PM.  I think of how the fog tumbled in tonight, and last night, the drops on my face; light, refraining, gentle, small and soft like kitten licks.  I imagine myself walking a vineyard, just walking.  No notebook, not penning, not taking pictures, just living, observing, commingling with the blocks, see what the leaves say, then the clusters, those that are ready to talk at this point in the year.  The little notebook, filled a couple pages today, while still damaged, up late writing.. why do I do that?  See.. that’s why I need Ms. Alice and little Kerouac here.  They keep me scheduled, balanced, consistent, not in any way incongruent.  And the book, when done, has to reflect my reliance on them.  ‘Cause I am, and I have no problem divulging that.  Family, what my winery will truly embody, convey and practice.  Not like these other wineries that just bloody talk about it and use it as a marketing anvil.  Needing that break soon.  Kerouac would probably urge me to drink and write through it, and I might, but I’m thinking of my next serious run, the Healdsburg Half.  Have to get disciplined and militant with my runs like Alice.  How does she do that?  How did she change her character as she did?  I find her so impressive that I boast to others, at work, about her ardor and ceaseless jaunts.  Need more wine.  I want to fight this filthy Bordeaux.  Write through its waves and drummings.  Who does it think it is, battling someone like me?
Walking to the bottle, looking left, through a coy crack in the blinds, still light outside, but just a bit.  Feel like I should go for a walk, do something out of character.. you know what.. why not?  I’ll log whatever I can from this Yulupa corner of the planet.  Just walk, think, or not think at all.  Why do I always have to be thinking, or intellectual, or writing?  It’s not a disease so much as it is a self-indentured character cell.  And that’s fine.  The music, “Land’s End” by Clifford Brown, telling me to stay here, don’t complicate the evening.  Stay in the chair, as one of your students, years ago said.  Last night’s talk with Dad, about.. well now I can’t remember (maybe the Cab’s catching me)…  Has me in lecture mode, talking to my students about something not entailing an assignment–  So very much excited about these classes for Fall, Mendo’ and SRJC.  Look at me, back in my own form, what Grandma said I should do.  And this moldy industry cant’d touch me.  I’m more than mighty in this Now– I’m constituted, with my new constitution.  The song now, something I’d hear in the lobby, after placing all my bags in the room.  I go downstairs to get a drink.  Only one.  Have a long day tomorrow.  Lecture, then a meeting with a magazine, another interview, then write in the room for a couple hours, call Alice and little Kerouac–  I realize where I am, here in my house, in the nook, this kitchen, all mine right now, with this red, the jazz, and the thoughts of when I first started teaching, how I’ve changed, what age I am now, what my sister’s done with her career, how wine’s in everything I do now.  And sometimes I have a problem with that, others I don’t.  My writer friend, writing me now over email and some social media slide.  My music, provided by way of net, quitting on me.  So frustrating, but beautiful, now as I only hear a lone cricket, or some insect out there, under the tree on the lawn in the center of this part of the complex, intensifying its expression.  My novel, minced into eight appropriate portions.. and I plan on untying all orthodox knots when it comes to fiction writing.  Like my writer friend, with her vignettes–


She pulled from one barrel.  Then another.  Both Zin.  Both distinguished and stubborn.  What could she do?  What WOULD she do?  Put them out in the sun?  Not her call, but they weren’t moving.  If she brought something up to the winemakers, they’d dismiss her, as they many times did.  The old team didn’t, but this corporate square was systematic, no soul, no life, no love, no wine.  It was a product now.  It was an ‘IT’.


She opened one of her blends, or one of the bottles she took home from that meeting with Rosie.  She hadn’t tasted it in months.  But tonight’s visit, one moving her, to study more and just leap at her dream.  Her label.  So what.  What’s the worst that could happen.  Sip…



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Next day, I’m up around 6:40-something. Sipping coffee, watching little Kerouac play, on this toy drum that talks back to him and encourages him to hit harder, make his own music which I like.  Last night, sleeping better than I have in some nights.. deep, composed, still and mentoring.  Jackie doesn’t like me typing, so this session has to be postposed.



Didn’t want to come in early.  And I’m not.  I’m just in the parking lot, the “overflow” as they call it.  Part of me was afraid to come to the estate early– “the estate”, makes it sound so exalted, so mighty, but it’s not, it’s an ordinary workplace, just much prettier.  I look out at the Merlot and Chard blocks, see the tree to my immediate left, nearly touching the roof of this Passat.  It moves with the wind’s orders.  And I listen to my music, pretend I’m not here, or fully embrace it.  Have to apply to that job, the distance learning assignment through Klamath.  OH– and I need to call Solano.  Should do that now, or do it on their dime, while I should be working or setting up or counting some bloody register.  This novel will reveal everything, showing all the industry that writers won’t be quiet– and I mean REAL writers, not dim-witted and dopy-brained bloggers or wine journalists, or wine writers– yes, I know I titled my latest blog, which I started over 2 years ago, “another Literary wine blog by Mike Madigan”, but that’s just it.. ‘another’, meant to be sarcastic, satirical and spiteful, and ‘Literary’ meaning that it’s more important than the wine component, and not just from being capitalized.  The jazz, telling me to go to San Francisco, walk where the Beats did, live like them, continue the revolution, or social movement.. move, you have to move and be in constant movement to be part of a movement, don’t you?  The mocha, in fact all the coffee I’ve sipped this morning, making me uneasy, a bit touchy, or “punchy” as Dwight says of me when I’ve had too much, but I’m rolling with it.. this fiction, about the characters based in the TR and the ones visiting, sure to change it all, strip this guised industry of the fantasy, show how most Rooms are merely revolving doors, only interesting in the “bottom line”.  You could call it justified in the capitalist net, but I call it carnivorous opportunism.  And I’ve had it.  Now the coffee feel’s beginning to balance.  Much better.  Miles Davis with me, and the image of a dark room, trumpets, saxophones, drums, a young female vocalist riling me.  On a trip, to Manhattan, for my book, then down to Missouri to see my brother, Dav.. check in on his photojournalism, his studies, his latest works.  Now Sonny Rollins, I’m on the Road, visiting people I never thought I’d meet.  So I continue with the logging of everything I see, each corner, light, building, smell, concrete stain, bookstore, auto repair joint and tavern.  But I don’t drink, not a single thing, which is hard to believe for one formerly in wine’s wicked industry.  I have only the little pages in my back pocket…


See a young lady, sipping her coffee at the bus stop.  Part of me wants to go up to her, see her coy red lips, not too bright, up close, and examine the pattern of her white shirt, sleeves only going down to where shoulder meets bicep and tri, how her hairs like a thick caramel path to her upper back, partially exposed; I wonder what she does, she’s probably a singer, or maybe a student, why is she taking the bus?  Maybe that’s what they do in New York, no one has a car– I’ve heard that actually.


Alley.  I want to go down, but something tells me know– I mean ‘no’.  See?  Too much coffee…  I only see a lone dumpster, no litter on ground which is curious to me.  No people, no cars, just quiet, and the dead-end, like an atmospheric message saying ‘don’t bother, you won’t get far’.


9:11AM.  Should go in soon, or not.  Maybe I should leave early.  That would help me, and that’s all I’m concerned with at the moment; the page, the characters, the story, my novel.  A former student, ‘A’, experiencing fiery betrayal from a loved one; I tell her it’ll get better, but I understand pain, the two-faced reptiles that hive and enter our lives.  And I think about what I wrote her, mostly questions– she, a grad student; me, envious.  But I’ll be on the Road soon, maybe visiting her, in Portland, or wherever in Oregon she is.  A little hot in this car so I roll down both windows, but no crossing breeze greets me– there it is.  How will I look back at my position here, at the winery?  Will I wish for it one day, regretting my resentment?  I don’t think so.  I’m 35 and know what I want– or more, I know who and WHAT I am.  Novelist, poet.. with maybe a short-short and/or vignette in between.  I heard a weed whacker, or lawn mowers, and it intrudes on Arturo Sandoval’s playing.  Goddamnit.  “Shut up!” I want to scream, and hope someone hears me.  Maybe I’d be fired.  Huh…

9:17.  And the fucking countdown.  One of my coworkers just pulled in; Karen, in her red mini.  She has the same expression on her face that I held driving in, before I started writing: “And again…” I don’t blame her.  Why else would I be writing, wishing for a Road, wishing for visits, those Manhattan sights, the Portland micro-breweries.  Don’t think I’ll make a thousand or maybe I will, but I can’t edit a single thing– this does this to me, the schedule, the clock and how it’s always threatening; you don’t clock in you’ll be written up, you won’t make enough, you.. you.. you…..  How is that a Life?  Well, plainly, it’s not.  Certainly not Art.  I want more coffee, the most jurassic I can find; I want seismic coffee, that makes me rattle and results in internal tsunami.  Love.  that’s art– the push of Self.  Oh, jazz…  Kerouac…. poetry and Life and escape and Big Sur and the Bay Area, where I grew up.  I see my whole life and I’m not dying.  I’m just coming alive in a way that was drawn, that Grandma promised.


9:25PM.  Sipping the 2012 Malbec.  I know, I should have waited, but I didn’t want to, and I have no regrets.  Yes, it’s muffled, but I don’t want to think, I want to enjoy what I drink.  Nice class tonight– oh, need to post to blog, almost forgot.  I’ll do that after this little paragraph.  In full teacher mode, especially with the possibility of landing a Comp section at Mendocino, for Fall.  Couldn’t be more excited.  This weekend, my writer’s retreat, and I’ll write the whole time.  No Gatsby nights, as I used to.  Total isolation.. printing.. wine.. relaxing…  Jazz.  I want it to be one of those sittings where I remove all clutter from this kitchen nook table, maybe setting it on floor or on one of these teetering wooden cheap chairs, then having one of my favorite bands or artists play what gives them life, then giving me life, finishing my novel.. and the wine, only an additive.  Not really needed at all, just pleasant to sip in quiet, my peace, my place, my night.  Little Kerouac asleep upstairs, and I envy his peace, his optimism and joy and movement, how does he do that?  My notes from tonight’s class, just ruin, and what do I do tomorrow night to keep them interested?  How do I keep it “fresh”, whatever that means?  There has to be some teacher magic or resource, or “method” (hate that word when talking of teaching, sounding so clinical)–  But who knows.  And if I was traveling, how would I have time to teach?  It’s just what I’d rather do.  I do love it, but not as much as the reality of living by pen–  PEN, not laptop, which is what I now touch, these fucking keys and the noises they make, like little plastic giggles reminding me of what a bloody hypocrite I am.. no, I’m not a man of consistency, but one of layered pattern and myriad mess, failed test, just more unrest.

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Friday… [draft]

The next morning, I still feel the red I had– the CF, CS, and I think about work.  This has to stop, but I’m tired of having such thoughts, and I’m tired of exposing you, poor reader, to them.  It’s 7:23, I have to leave early to get my JC check, somehow deposit it– direct deposit doesn’t start till next month.  The coffee’s making me sweat, it’s that hot.  What if I call in sick, no, then I’d have to help watch Addy, Alice’s friend Lorielle’s daughter, which I’m not at all provoked to do, especially considering how much advantage she already takes, and I’m not wasting this page on her.  Jack watches his show, ‘Thomas the Train’, I know that’s not the accurate title, but it’s about a train, blue, names Thomas.  I can’t let that scene last night from my thinking, the deserted bar, the invaded hotel, the biotech company, that huge white tent down the slope of the parking lot, just off to the right.  What if I would have gone into device sales, or any kind of sales?  I’d have more money but much less integrity, or actuality, there wouldn’t be THIS me, so I’m content with my decisions.  Had an email in my account this morning, from a student who couldn’t sleep and at 3-something A.M. wrote a poem.  Haven’t read it yet, but I enjoy his sharing the work, and the fact he was compelled to tell me.  I need to stay in the classroom till I’ve written my leave.  The wine element must be stripped immediately.. killed where it occupies my time.  The short stories I’ve been collecting are really starting to collect.  Want to send them out but where, to who, one of those hair-brained lit mags?  What would that do for me?  Not going down that path either with this morning’s thoughts.  The hotel lobby reminded me of the lobby in Paris, where we’d meet before heading out for the day’s expedition, walking down Monteparnasse, enjoying the smells from the bakeries and the random shops and street vendors, and how the cars there somehow sound different.  I know how today’s going to go.. just how all the others go.. I’ll post details to the blog, and characters as they’re presented to me.  The aim of my book, well it was or always has been, to be FREE.  But I have to fight harder, invoke more discipline– run earlier.  Tomorrow morning, wake when my mother-in-law does, just before 5a.  I’ve made that promise before, but now it’s and ORDER of self.  So no wine, beers after work with coworkers, just straight home and to the writing, and think of what I’d see out there, driving across the country, or flying somewhere in Spain and how the dishes over there would present themselves.  Yes, this book reads like a wishlist, but we all wish, more than we want to admit.  And bringing wishes to any kind of fruition demands that we remind ourselves constantly of what precisely those wishes are, and how we’ll be once they’re finally planted.

8:01AM.  Alice on her run, even after the Chardonnay she had.  How does she do it?  Her devotion to her practice makes me look shameful, and I envy her love of running, and how she demonstrates repeatedly, days on days, what she loves, how she runs, how she’s a RUNNER.  My second cup waits for me, like the shift ahead.  Think I’m in that bloody lounge.  But I can make that work for me.. write about the tanks being installed, the interns buzzing about, the wines being racked– and I think something’s being bottled.  A Zin, the CV, I think. I’ll get footage of that– no, a still photo, more useful.  And what a correlation, something being published, Self-published.. that’s precisely what that is, bottling on the estate, of one of our wines.  We only need, or they only need, themselves.  I can’t criticize that, at all.  That’s just what I want.  But I need more energy.  I need Jack’s level.  Right now he’s still, watching his ‘choo choo’ toon, but when he’s running around this bottom floor, as he was last night when he should have been sleeping, I add something to the wishlist: his momentum.

Wonder how many glass racks I’ll dry today, or how many of those bloody cheese plates I’ll have to fetch, or how much I’ll sell, or how many precious clubs I’ll sign– for whatever reason, I’m curious to see how I’ll do today.  Usually I don’t care, but this morning.. must be the book, the story in front of me.  This is all fictive, this is all salable, all of it, all the characters and tastes and stupid questions from tourists.  It’s a marvelous mess meant for a manuscript.  Class last night put me in this mood and mode, I think, how we dove into Wolff’s book with knowledge of who he is and what he went through, and his thoughts on writing and developing a story.

8:42, less than ten to Self.  Bringing Camera, and one notebook– well, two counting the little pages.  In journalist mode like Nadav, reporting what I see.  I’m just afraid I’ll see much of the same.  But not if my viewpoint’s altered.  The veraison helps, the grapes coming to life.. that too could signal some change for me as a writer, like some fairytale I’m supposed to share for value’s sake.  My morning mocha, demanded, I’ll go straight to the coffee spot and stand in line like a surrendered shell, staring blankly at the line in front of me, lifeless, just waiting, giving that corporation my hard-earned demeaning wage.  But what can I do– make it work for me.  Poetry all day, ten by day’s close, written on phone or in little pages, and make sure they’re like choruses in a song.. brief, metered and narrative.. to jazz, random drum syncopations making people listen and dance and think and enjoy Life.



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note, 7/5/14

Coffee, now shower.  Thinking about that measly check from yesterday.  I’m going there today with a predator mood.  I want blood.  I need it.  I’m the orangutan.  They, my rue.  Making it known today, I’m moving on– mentally at first, then tangibly second.  What is that wage going to do for my family?  It’s not my Beat, that’s for sure.  So much time of my life, and for what?  My hangover, not tearing at me too tyrannically at the moment.  Glad I switched over to water last night before bed.  Mocha, now, just at right, reassuring me it’ll be a good day.  Hope it’s right.  Keep saying to myself, ‘my Beat, my Beat’…  And what it is.  Thought I figured it out at the end of Spring semester.  Think now– or realize now that I’m just starting to put pieces together.

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Nearly at two thousand for day.  Think I need a nap, much I want to read through Kerouac’s pages– no, I’ll read a little then sleep.  Standalone complete, about the East West [no forward slash needed, I learned] Café.  Looking forward to trying some new wine tonight, and restauranting again with Ms. Alice, dinner.  But I wish I could ask YOU for writing advice, reader– what should my character do the rest of the day?  A nap is senseless, a total timesuck.  So then what, how do I strut?

Need to type the ’35 Laws’, either tonight or tomorrow, night.  One of them, to read more, starting today; my goal, two books a month, outside bloody school.  I’ll start with On The Road, then go to…  Maybe I should re-read Hem’s ‘Feast’.. yes, good idea Mike.  Wonder what my little Artist is doing, down there in Monterey with his grammy.  Hopefully acting well, as he’s become a bit audacious and defiant, in late.  Part of me stays quite proud of his convictions and writer-stubbornness while the antithetical consciousness continent orders me to discipline.  And I am torn, without confusion– but I guess that’s the very nucleus of confusion, being torn, and nothing has done that to me like fatherhood.   Which I like.  It’s made me more of an Artist, writer, thinker, being, all.

Hungry again.  That’s peculiar.  Or entirely expected, considering I blew through the 10K this morning (which reminds me I have to check my time..).  When I walked away from that table I was placed in a placid food coma.  And now again I long for bites.. some charcuterie sounds intriguing.. maybe some SB, or light red, something with full palate but light weight…

I’m giving into the napping tempt.  What else can I do– no, frankly, I deserve it.  And it’s my off day.  So away… Nite-nite, as little Kerouac would say.



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7/4/14. 10:21AM, out of shower, done with 10K. Pretty sure I beat last year’s time, but I’m not stoically sure. Beautiful scene arrangement welcoming me in, with low fog, slow moving and welcoming. But that soon burned away, climbing those hills around Lawndale, and whatever that other street’s name was. So many passing me, early in the race, and I became frustrated, near bloody angry, but I refused to let it in my thinking– I was out to enjoy a run in the morning, with strangers, no music, feed off their sounds, momentums, and passings. And while upstairs, dressing, I thought of the standalone pieces I have in cue, and I think much of this mental direction was seeing my journalist/photojournalist friend Dav at the finish line, snapping pictures of me, and later Alice and Katie crossing that line of closure and fruition– each run for me stands as its own standalone piece. And that’s what today was, is, a contribution to a series, or sage, or maybe not, maybe just its own story. I can still feel the run, tightness in several portions of my standing, or when I’m sitting. But the day is off, that’s for sure, and I’ll only write, write, finish the short story, finally, and type the short standalone freewrite from class the other night, and all my notes from yesterday. That’ll be three pieces for projection, to whatever magazines’ll take them. And if not, I have my own collection. Music, now, I need music, the jazz to which JK would write. It’s that kind of day, where I can’t stop, and the rhythm was started by those hills, me having to battle them again.. views of vineyards, waves of sun shooting at me like invisible sniper columns, the trail portion towards the end, and the older man that always managed to stay ahead of me. But I was there. Running. For me. Freely. Now, the mocha closes, and my eyes catapult to crazied compulsion.. the Beat’s ways.. observing everything and making a story from it.. but there’s too much around me in this cluttered kitchen: my wine bottles of there, slight right and forward by plastic trash bin (raising lid with foot press), little Kerouac’s toy truck to left on table with me (currently low battery, which frustrates the little Artist, forcing him to shout “Boken, Dada, BOKEN!”), my wallet, little paged notebook, papers I still have to grade in plastic bin, the notebook I took from Dept mailroom.. Alice’s running shoes, on chair to my left. the blend wouldn’t work, so I have to extricate one or two, maybe more of the constituents.. wine, keep. Notebooks, keep. Jackie’s truck, keep. Alice’s shoes keep. 4-varietal blend. And what I have is more motion, with Jackie growing faster that I’m comfortable with and me wishing I could write it all down, and Alice with her religious, near orthodoxly fundamentalist running habit and pattern and practice.. I have to catch them, both of them.. all of IT, whatever ‘it’ is. 10:34. Brunch with Ms. Alice, at East/West Café. Really hoping this could serve as a new writing sight for me. Haven’t been to the Redwood Café in some time, most because of distance and the obvious timing, but I need Newness, the travel that Kerouac sought, making him join the navy. With the day’s rest, I’ll time myself with the writing.. first assignment, have a standalone fiction piece in 45 minutes.. you make your students do it, so you must as well– practicing what you promote, or what you passively gloat in your instructional position. But my routine, or my subject– no, my ‘BEAT’– is Life, the characters, Me, little Kerouac, the wine and how it’s made– which by the way, my sister told me today that in a couple weeks she’ll bottle our 2011 MKCS Cab! I’m beyond excited, more than excited, actually. Finally, my first wine, ever, will be bottled! I will go forward with production this year, on some project, two bbls max.. write about it, name it after my son, and keep after the process, with each calendar square, with my wife’s level of devotion to her running. A fruitful morrow it’s been, and I’m only starting, the story’s still leaping from the soupçons of my momentum.

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Up with Jack, 6:41AM, and I have the coffee at ready.  Ran 6.33 miles last night in a time I’ve never before hit, averaging 7:49/mile if I’m not error’d.  So I feel amazing this morning, only that I wish I’d woken earlier, to have one of my Hemingway sessions.  But I can only wish so much, and I’m tired of wishing.  Last night, only 1 glass of the ’11 Merlot, which maketh me more mobile in A.M., the less wine I sip.  Planning another run tonight, so I won’t be tasting too much today, behind that counter, nor from tanks, or bbls.  Want the head to be clear, for both poem and prose.  Still have to respond to student blog postings, and plan lecture for tomorrow.

A beautiful day promise, hot and clear.  Hoping I see a snake, preferably a rattler as I did last year.  Wildlife documenting, in the Amazon for example, or Yellowstone, something I see doing.. for Nat Geo possibly, or some other publication– going out for the New Yorker, or NTY, or even the SF Chron.  I want assignments, just as my students have, although mine would make me mobile– articles, stories, sketches.. then later a book.  The ideas in me, now, in the A.M., assault me, and I don’t mind.  Keep them coming…

Coffee.. another sip.  Mom and Dad in Sunriver.. could write about Mt. Bachelor, or the river, or the bike paths, or the golf course pictures in winter..  Just so much to see out there for this writer.. my thoughts torment me, telling me I should be out there– THERE, not here in this pattern, but you’ve heard this before.

Looking out at a field, small lake in distance guarded by mountains.  No movements, only though from a watchful groundhog, I think it is.  He remains still for well over a minute.  I don’t want to even bring out the pen, paper from back pocket.  He’ll see, if he’s not already focused on me.  Or maybe he’s enjoying the view, like me.  We have so much in common, at the Now.. we’re observers, we want to just look, out, at all this.  When he trots off, I go back to looking, how the sharp blue of the sky blends with such a circulatory softness with the fields, and the patched gentle white on those peaks.  I have to get back to my hotel room before it’s dark, but I think that’s a couple hours away still, so I’m fine.  Then a bear, of some kind, quite far away.  I start to write, about its slow movements, its downed head, looking at the ground– now she lifts her snout, eyes, looks around, like me.  My first time here and I’m so welcomed.  Clouds.. where did they come from?  Many of them, wanting to have this scene theirs.. thirty minutes later, they’ve nearly occupied the sky like a revenge invasion.  The drops’ll find us soon, so I have to go back to the room, overlooking those trees, where the bison show up from time to time.  And work, type what I’ve found.  But what if I don’t want to?  What if I just want to keep it here, with me.. leave it with the powdered tops, tall wild blades, and the little coated character that could only stare?  It’s meant to be a moment, and left.  “Don’t write it,” I tell mySelf.  Make something else up for them…  (7AM)

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Morning 3, sans mon petit Kerouac.  Still feeling very much yesterday’s run.  And today, more waiting…  Not necessarily my life story, but certain a noticeable portion of it, thus far.  More looking at vines today, watching them grow, get closer to their show.


7:48AM.. Laundry done, trash out, now the writer writes, listens to music, and relaxes.  Coffee, keeping me as it always does.  Short entry this morning.  Why?  Well after watching Alice print three pages of a homework assignment for her seminar, I’m taunted to print five pages, at least, of my poems.. for the first chap.  Going into the TR today with no cares.  It’s Thursday and I’ll just ride this day wave, this melody and scaling piano dazzle of thought.  And my focus, wine.. again.. may bring a bottle into the lab, see what they have to note about its character.. think they’re bottling.  Again.  Sometimes that seems all they do.  When I have my smaller label, there’ll be short runs, as we’ll never go over 5,000 css.  And if I, or we, do.. I cap at 10k.  Never a bottle more.  But why would I even want to do that much?  10 THOUSAND cases?  Stresses me just thinking about it– like publishing, Self-publishing I mean.. having to edit some brick of a MS.  No, I keep them curt, consistent.  Want them to be sketches of sketches.. sketch collections.. on the mountain today and I’ll have a chance, a couple opportunities I’m sure, to make a couple notes about the wines, the view, the drive up, getting out of that bloody room, away from that bar.. the air and feel and personality up there, more for writers.. anymore, the TR suffocates, and compels me to shut down, which I can’t afford at this stage.  [...]  Surprised Self.  Nearly done printing poem collection.  DONE.. can’t believe it.  Who will first buy?  Only running 20 copies to start.  Don’t want to find mySelf as I used to, with so many unsold copies I’m only punishing a closet shelf with unwanted weight.


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Morning two with no Kerouac.  Still not favoring these mornings.. I need his voice, his quickness, his play, his questions, his new sentences.  Starting on this first cup of coffee, and I’m thinking about what I can do with this blog, and the writing paired with photography, moderated photography.  Going to drive out to Russian River, and I think to Dry Creek.. maybe get a sandwich, write, take pictures.. be a journalist, on the Road– granted these Roads will be local, but I’ll be mobile nonetheless.  And that’s what any writer should be.  Or any writer like me, anyway.

6:53AM–  Thinking about last night’s session with ‘100’, and how Gatsby’s written, the omnifarious arrangement of Fitzgerald’s words– more than poetry.. it’s like a revolving color wheel, one that’s hard to follow but the reader can’t help but enjoy the struggle.  I’m there with Carroway, Jordan, everyone, at the party.  Now I start a party of my own.  The run I planned for today will have to wait.  And on that note, a lady came into the TR yesterday, saying she recognized me from the runner’s group, and that I was an amazing running, which is more vocal gust motivating me to even closer link the writing to the running.. so maybe I should run today.  Just for an hour.

Cup one, nearly done.  Cogitating over me, at 35, where I am.  No job out there can give me the career I want, it’s clear now.  I have to build it mySelf.. so I’ll start with printing the chapbook, rush edit it today.  Deadline, deadline.. due date, due date, as my students would think.  Then, to the Road.  I’ll run later, as Ms. Alice told me it would be cooler today, hight of only 81.

Going to type the 35 Laws today, make sure I follow each one.. and have a daily reconciling of my adherence to my own laws.  That’s why I wrote them, right?  I mean why else would I have assigned mySelf that project?  Starting with.. ‘a poem a day’.  Writing one now, reticently not, however dumbfoundingly expository.  All my work should be that shape, that Literary Shape.

Before launching, I need jazz, lots of jazz, music to make me more musical for the day.. and only the Road, I’ll look for all the music I can.  Nothing will be disrupting or soiling my mood this morning.  Nothing.  And no one.


Feverish to get my day TRULY started.  Second cup of this Darker than DARK French Roast, and I’m thinking about the morning air, outside, how much I want to taste it, the start to my day.  In pajamas, in present, so I’ll look clownish, but I’m thinking of the day, all I can do with it…  The birds, can’t hear them.  John Coltrane has my attention, indivisibly.  I should go out now, get pictures, report back.. quick teeth brushing, some jeans, and GO.  See how the vineyards are waking to their day.. are they as optimistic as I am?  Are they in similar state, are they writing in their heads?  I should go..

I’ll be right back, reader…  I need follow this impulse, this pull, this drive, this galactic go-round.


9:22, back from drive to Russian River.  A couple photos of note…




But none that really gripped me profoundly.  Entertaining my run, now, get it over with, then return to write more, go through these photos AND older ones, see what I find, any inspiration or new directions to take.  All revolving around wine, the character, and characters, in wine.  And how it affects and influences us as characters, parts of a story, whether longer or shorter fiction..


Computer giving me grief.  Making a call to a winery’s GM in a little under an hour.  Going to get mocha.. may walk.  Yes, I’ll walk, clear head even more so after relaxing drive down Piner, Olivet, then Fulton– I mean River.. Road.  New chapter, I’m hoping.  I need that Newness.  So in true out-of-character form, I’m walking to get my morning mocha.  I’ll run at some point after the 11AM call.


11:48.  Alright, no more distraction.  Had call, we’ll see what unfolds.  I’m tired of this, though.. the chasing, the negotiating, depending on others.  Why is it so hard for a writer to be free?  You know what…  I should go tasting, examine wines from my angle for me, for the sake of doing so, find what life I can in those pours.  Why not go up the street, to Matanzas Creek.  Mocha done, and I feel even more frazzled than I did before.  I need to clear this desktop, be able to stretch, breathe, think, and with items circling me, rotating like a bully solar system, I get stuck, blocked.. and I used to not believe in that, that THAT happened to writers like me.  Need a drive, again.. where do I go?

Nearly noon, so a decision has to be made.  Made a gesture to de-clutter the closet, left, but just re-introduced the clutter to where it only moments before sat.  So no progress.  I had to write, I thought, keep the typing in tandem with thinking.  But I need material.. something to write about.  How about a winery I haven’t visited in a while, or ever.. like what– no, keep it simple, just drive up the street to Matanzas.  Then get lunch.  Students, tonight.. rough drafts due tomorrow.  Need to bring the Walls book.


4:27PM, and I’m in the adjunct cell.  Tonight’s class will be relatively brief, probably about 1hr 15min, as I want them to have a chance to make progress, significant advances, on their rough drafts, that we’ll workshop tomorrow.  Already had my iced 3-shot mocha.  Now I’m thirsty.  Is there a vending machine around here?  Asked my students the same thing last night, one of them, Clarissa, even volunteering to find one, or search for one with money supplied by me so she could buy both herself and me a cold something.

My bag.. too heavy.  Walking here I thought about the type of writer I want to be, or the one I am– as it’s too late in life, my life, I feel, to ‘want to be’ something.  You either are or you aren’t.  I’ll fill this bloody Comp Book, even though space is becoming more and more limited by passing days…  Just looked inside its borders, and it’s a mess, a disaster.  I need a new notebook, Composition Book, again.. ugh, again.  Then I will get one, post haste.. this will serve as a new start.. to one of the 35 Laws, stating ‘less tech’ or something to that effect; actually write, as Kerouac did, even though he was a master typist.. but I need to capture, capture.. two full-timers in the conference room, grading placement essays, leaning back into their chairs like royal characters not acting, so sure, so self-assured, so right, always.  How do they know what strong writing is?  Because they’re full-time?  That’s insane.  I don’t want to teach much, anymore, I realize, but want to write– but I have to be on the Road.  Well aren’t I already on a Road?  My Road?


Okay.. heading out of this cell, looking for a bottle of colder than cold water.  And after class, to the Hilton bar, with my Comp Book, something for record, for this new book, for any book, or maybe just a sketch (had that idea today, to collect sketches, of people, places, objects, thoughts, dreams.. anything…  Wine…).  The Hilton bar, from what I remember: dark, shiny, rustic but modern, space-age with the light pulsating slowly from counters; and all the guests, happy to be there, happy with themselves that they’re there.. at ‘The Hilton’.  Chic, suited, celebrated, and seen.  Disgusting, the vanity, but invaluable for a book, for my book.  I want these people, these self-anointed boobs, to act as obnoxiously as they wish, it makes better material.  They’re mine, in that hotel bar.  All.  Mine.

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Kerouac down for his nap, and I’m tempted to take one myself…  Class in a little under four hours, nearly all grading done.  Admirable progress today, I guess.  I mean, I’ve shocked myself a bit with it, if you should know.  Quiet in here, peace.. think I will rest my eyes for a bit.  And when I’m back up, ready for class, this semester that has so far proven to be arguably the most rewarding since my first classroom in ’06, at Chabot.


10:25PM.  Readying for bed.  Couldn’t just sit here, watch the news.  Another lighted session with ‘100’ group.  And now, back to that bloody tasting room.  It’s fine, I make it work for me.  No days off.  Have to plan everything.  Going to charge this device overnight.. write lesson while in Room, go to class, come home and enjoy one of the Lancasters that was delivered to the winery the other day.  Need to get to the Road, break this curse of regularity that’s lasted far too long.


6/19:  In classroom, 5:26p, students’ll be arriving momentarily.  Today was painful, not motivated to pour a single one-once hint of wine, nor did I want to give any tours, information.. nothing.  There was a mood there with me, one sharp, dark, and it’s still somewhat about my character but this mocha’s assisting in its removal.  Tonight I’m most certainly opening wine, some kind, more than likely Lancaster as I said in the last entry.  More poetry, more poetry…  Have to think in rhyme, and finish editing the book.  This semester’s taking all the surplus time I thought I had.  But it’s fine.. I’m teaching, writing, having incredible discussions on Gatsby, and I’m sure the books we address from here forward will be equally electric with reaction.  Could use a beer right now.. Sophie and I shared the same thought, driving around the estate, around 2 this afternoon.


9:07PM, back home, exhausted, not wanting to go back to the winery tomorrow, sipping this Lancaster SB, 2013.  Finally a moment to Self.  But not many.. so tired of this cramped schedule.  If you removed “the industry”, I’d have more time to write than I’d probably know what to do with.  But that’s how it always goes.  The mood from the winery today still crawls around my thoughts, motions, and unseen makeup.  I’m a wreck I feel, but that means I’m more of a writer, right?

First longer reaction paper assigned.  Will post to the teaching blog tonight– Have to check on the pizza, in oven, and get another sip of this SB…


10:18.. now to that Cuvée they do, the Sophia’s.  Running tomorrow, hopefully, right after work.  Ah… this is the type of wine I see mySelf sipping while on the Road, in a hotel.  My focus, straying, but I stay typing, just again reiterating my intention for the Road.. with my fiction, the stories I see all around me, but I’m not in many places.. only two, now: the tasting room and the classroom.. two rooms that dominate my swoon.  Not letting mySelf go much beyond this line, but I still thinking of what I’d write if I were in that hotel room.  I’ll be there soon.  What if tomorrow’s the day, the day I have that singularly and definitively rearranging day, the one that changes everything, the one for which I’ve been hoping since 2011, the days at ‘the box’?  We’ll see, all I can to Self say.. we’ll see…

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