Posts Tagged With: wine industry

Critic Bull, not just “critical”

Coffee ready.  Utterly drained from yesterday.  Was reading an article about a writer/blogger who was murdered, read yesterday on lunch at the little Mexican place across the street from Oakville.  He wrote about religion, from what I gathered, as well as freethinking and Atheism.  I’ll confide I didn’t read the entire article, but enough to be haunted by the idea today, of going from one thing (job) to writing and blogging for a living.  And he was murdered for his beliefs, essentially, and again from what I can remember.  So many tell me to watch what I say and be careful what I write and post to the blog in fears of backlash, or fallout, or making it harder to find some measly job in the wine industry again that would pay spit seeds.  That’s what I’m holding back for?  That’s for what I’m self-muting?  Not anymore, not longer.  Ugh…  I’m 36 nearly, and with a son who thinks highly of me, loves me, but would his opinion be contrasted and reformatted if he were older and saw what I was doing in the wine terrain?  And what am I doing?  What am I hoping to accomplish?  Huh.. ‘accomplish’…  I can’t accomplish a thing, or advance, or be promoted, how?  They make sure that doesn’t happen.  Even my sister who’s a winemaker for a large producer is held back or only allowed to build, or accomplish, so much.  And she’s loved when there’s something highly scored but then when a bottle perhaps isn’t heralded in mainstream or is put on the cover of some drooping wine page-pool (magazine, which is focused on ads not so much or not at all the writing and the actual content, if you could call it that).  And another article, where some critic of Vladimir Putin was murdered, just the other day, and he too had a blog and wrote and started his own movement, if you would.  There are people dying out there for causes not even punctuated on and proximal to their heart but completely comprising their heart.  And these wine industry people think that what they do and what they represent and sell makes the world.  I know, I know there are exceptions, many actually, in fact I met on the other day for coffee (Friday, right?  Yeah Friday..).  This man, also expecting his first child, was kind, gentle, inviting of my thoughts and perspectives on wine and life, and just listened.  He was in no rush and didn’t try to dominate the discussion even though I would have been fine with that as I was sitting there, at the SBUX on Vine St. to listen to him, not give him some lecture and share what I’ve shared here.  So I’m reasonable, I want you knowing.  But I won’t be quiet about what happened to me the 2.5 years on the estate, and with days like yesterday, where I didn’t pour or talk about one wine but rather…  You know what, it’s not important.  Today is new, and I’m excited to be back in the tasting room.  Just know my eyes are open, I’m writing and posting all to this blog, and I’m a writer/professor before anything else, and I want Jackie and my next child to know so, to see so.  Oh.. almost forgot about coffee.

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And I have to say (no edits)

my day was very much defined by the visit to Williamson.  Stopped by one winery, earlier, close to 11AM, and the guy acted like he was too busy for me, social awkward and pressured, when I told him I was just stopping by to say hello, and maybe do a tasting.  His Room wasn’t open yet, so I understand, but there was no call for his disposition.  Then I went to Lancaster to pickup my shipment and taste a bit.  Walked into the cave with Amanda, a new employee to the estate.  Hadn’t been in there since I worked there.  She showed me all the corners of the cave and they all looked the same, but now they have a concrete egg, for fermentation (I’m guessing ML, but I could be wrong).  Then I went to WW.  Had me again thinking that I need to make whatever relationship I have with wine my own, whatever it is and whatever context it takes.  Didn’t go to HBG as I wanted to get home, quick as I could, and write the letter to Dawn Williamson, well as the reaction piece to my time there.  WAS tempted to go up the street to the golf course as I did my last day at the Sonoma Valley winery, have a beer, maybe a burger.  But no.  I came straight home.  Had lunch, then the meanest most energizing cup of medium roast I’ve had in months.  And here I am, writing the last entry for the day with the last of the cab I opened last night.  Travel, in the hotel room with a bottle of red, writing, night before I’m to speak the next afternoon, tomorrow, a lecture on Kerouac and his punctuation shunning and embrace (embracing how he shuns conventional punctuation)–  Tomorrow’s lectures to be short, as the students in both classes have to arrange their rough drafts, first of term, so after 1A I’ll come back to the condo and start writing my Gorgeous American Grim statement, 500 words at a time I’m thinking– shit, just remembered I needed to backup everything on this monster today, but I didn’t have time and I can say that honestly, I stayed busy, so I can’t be too whip-wavy with my actions, character.  I need to just relax, enjoy the connection, or reconnection I made with WW today, and the wines I brought home, that Merlot and Rosé.  When should I open them?  Maybe this weekend, or Valentine’s weekend.  I felt a resurrection in my Sonoma presence today, with wine and my relationship with it, and I realized it was never tarnished, not in the most minuscule of manners.  Only have a TR’s worth left in my glass.  Damnit, why did I sip it so fast, the St. Francis Lagomarsino Cab?  This red is one that forces me to reconsider my own senses and how I interact with wine.  And my conclusion, the “result”, if you might: slow down; enjoy; don’t asses, just experience and sip, think…  And I finally have time to do just that, now.  I can see that others see the New ME, after last Wednesday, how I love, love, love to be in love, with everything and everyone positive surrounding me; the forefront of reflection lies in a smile, or a collection of.  I swirl the last sip in the glass, more than likely just over an ounce, smell… chocolate, cherry, vanilla, light oak and damp soil.  The palate’s not important.  Olfactory’s what adheres most to memory, and that’s what matters to the writer.  I couldn’t care less what these winemakers that can barely write their own tasting notes and these sommeliers that can’t write at all would say.  I’m noting what shakes me senses and currency, currently.  That’s poetic, and to paginated.

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Over 3,000 words for the day, and I’m exhausted, but I still want to write.  And my writer friends, can only wonder what they’d say.  And my friends that teach like I do, all of them with FT jobs mind you, never having to worry about pouring for tourists, answering stupid questions about wine that they are convinced are so glowingly important– no sales goals, no threatening, no reprimanding, being treated like a wandering toddler with a gnat’s attention span– none of that.  I sit here, an adjunct, in a shared office, in a noose of malignity.  And I’m more or less prepared to meet with students, those that choose to show.  And my notebook is…

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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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Written to Many

Just back from a 5.17 mile run, my last before the Foot Race.  Not bad time, 8:01/mile average…  Started typing the short story, this morning, to my three-shot mocha.. not sure how I want it to end, but I will cap it at 1,000 words.  Then, send it wherever I can.. maybe even to the New Yorker– but I’ve said that before.  Felt a bit of a scratchy throat this morning, but I’m ignoring it.  Warm outside, but not hot, just perfect for my run, clearing the writer’s head before class.  Tomorrow, back at winery.  Meant to go in today for some Cabernet blending, but the time just wasn’t there.  And I wanted to start writing this story, this short about the journalist, David.. how he keeps the camera close to him at all times while out, then writes to what he captures with his lens.

Quiet down here, condo’s first floor, with Jackie and Alice napping upstairs.  Both have a bit of a cold, but I refuse to let any bug, even the briefest of stays, stay with me.  No class tomorrow night, so I’ll have chances to collect Self, rest before Lawndale and I go at it for the second straight year.

Maybe I should rest my eyes, be horizontal and still for a moment or two..


tonight in class: about writers, how they are…

Walls… her siblings in book

Essay topic

Groups, object of meaning (symbols, metaphors)

What she’s saying in certain parts of the book.. or what she could be saying

journals, maintenance…


4:56PM, and I’m in the adjunct cell.. prepared for class..  Think I’ll get another Racer 5 at the Hilton, think about this new short story.  No class tomorrow night, and while at work, I’ll be sure to bring this new story with me, contributing only notes, short sentences.. nothing full.  Dad sent me a video of a thunder storm in Sunriver, right over the house.  Wish I was there, badly, writing as the flashes encouraged me.  These teaching assignments, the winery.. what is it doing?  What is it REALLY doing for me?  Yes, I get the whole bills notion, reality, but beyond that?  How long am I, are we, supposed to be living like this?  I’ll tell you.. I’m changing.. all of it.. with this new short story.. I’ll ride the short story wave, then put together a book, or I’ll ride it while I put together some MS.. I don’t know.  I’ll just do it.  The winery will be the first to go– then the classes.  THEN, I’ll be living by my pen, like my character, David, or “Dov”.  5:01PM.. feels nice having this time to collect Self.  Sipping a 3-shot mocha, yes again, and I have a bottle of water waiting in the freezer, in the mailroom.  My checking account, right where I want it.. and I have a budget for Saturday night’s dinner.. have to have everything perfect that night.. as I will both finish my short story, AND put together, somehow, a sellable MS.  I will.  This is it.  This will be a bold, vicious, and truthful work that will show everyone I’m the writer to read.. and that I’m not in any way mirrored in wine’s floppy industry.

Feel the run, definitely.  And I can’t wait for Friday morning.  Wonder how well I’ll do.. pretty sure I’ll beat last year’s time.  I will.  Don’t even know why my mind’s going there.  Funny, usually I don’t care for this office, but tonight it very much suits.. need to find a word and quote for tonight’s meeting…  Done.  And with more than enough time.  Rest of night?  Well, I’ll now write it–  class, beer, home, put Kerouac (little) to bed, dinner, early bed…  but not before I have 1,000 rough words in short story’s body.. two objects: one character’s lamp, not used, and on desk, then Dov’s camera…  And I’m here, I realize I’m here, a teacher, what am I teach, why.. Self, or at least passionately promoting it, I guess.  I have the visions, the visions, of me on the road, and how I’ll get there, what I’ll do when there, how it’ll benefit my son, how he’ll have a more equalled father– one happy, not ashamed, not questioning.. I’ll live in my words, the words of others, I’ll drive over the Golden Gate, back from the airport, SFO, thinking about what I saw, did I write everything I should have, or that I could have?  It’s imagination feeding, not necessarily lying, but certainly conveniently creating.  Eight minutes to class, and I know the students will have questions, questions, so many questions.. good for them, my studying Human forts, with their journals filling, filling, page addition, I see it in so many of them!  This does something for me, believe!  IT does so much, something the fucking wine world could never do.. there’s no Beat there, only here, with thought, freedom, no chains or restriction or signs saying ‘go another way’.

Poetry, what if I just spoke in it, all the time, what if I always wrote before I spoke?  What if I just drew my language, and told people this was the only way I could think, talk, walk, breath, be, see?  That could do something for me, make me “successful” maybe?  How about that, I’ll look at everyone around me knowing they know, who I am, that I put my envelopes in the mailbox differently than anyone else, because they’re manuscripts most of the time, not bills.  I sold my TV, I don’t want distractions, none at all, only my little boy, Jack, little Kerouac, how he plays and makes new sentences and just IS.  Why can’t I do that?  I don’t know, but I can write it, I’m pretty sure.  I’ll have fun though, and I’ll have this thought tonight, just as I take the first IPA sip, to its last sudsy stroll down the glass’ side, to my professed purpose.

Scrambling to realize where I am.  At work.  I have to go to work, go teach.  But not for much longer.  Thinking about my beer, precipitously, with a Zen’d pen.


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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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And an offer.  $15 per hour.  IS that what I’m worth?  I’m fed up, and I can’t take anymore of the dismissal, and the reduction, and the interviews, and the applying.. I’m hiring mySelf, and I’ve said that before, but I’m changing, tonight, doing what I want, curing mySelf of this regularity and boredom.  Would have another beer, but I’m saving it for another time, for the Road.. may write at 3rd Street tomorrow, or somewhere else I can observe characters, other lives, and just record.. indulge in whatever, whomever I want.  The objective: escape.. through fiction.  Have to wake early tomorrow, start more than early on something.. anything.. not necessarily project focused, but more on the process, the writing.. the characters.  Will I run as I aimed?  I doubt it, as tonight I’m too very much fixated on the writing.  I can run another day, but if I don’t make progress on a MS tomorrow, then that potential advance will be lost.  So the pages deserve more attentions, immediate attention.. MORE immediate attention and address.  I don’t want to die never having seen the Road.  That would be defeat, that would be failure, and I won’t be a failed writer, I’m not a failed writer, and I never will be.


And the location, any location, any setting, a scene and character to itself: a subject, something for standalone submission, to my own publishing company.  You should read this offer letter, it’s humorous.. but I won’t go on about it.  I’m already bored, after being insulted.  $15 an hour, me.. wow, thanks.  Already know where I’m going tomorrow to write, to plan tomorrow night’s lecture.  And poems.  What if I surprise mySelf, over lunch, a couple afternoon beers, finally get what I want.. in one day!  It can happen, right?  I’m fed up, completely, utterly.. I don’t need another entity, 2B FREE!  Time for some sparkling water, sip it slow, hydrate, percolate…


Drinking this sparkling lemon water like it’s scotch.  I don’t drink scotch.  I never have– well, that’s not completely true.. I had some at that 2006 wedding, my sister-in-law’s, in Virginia.  I hated it, the scotch.. like hell vintage elbowing and clawing its way through my orbit.  Tomorrow, I’m writing in the Comp Book, and I’ll sip like I’m on the Road, at whatever pub or bar or restaurant I find mySelf at.  And I’m going there, wherever ‘there’ is, for material.. to add to the book, the next one, after the poetry chap.  Adding more money to the petty cash.. what I’ll use for my chapbooks.  What’s in Schwab is for MY wine label.  At least that’s the now-plan…

I haven’t given up on wine, nor am I dismissing it, but everything has to be on MY terms.. everything.. even the quick stills I snap at the estate…

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Second cup, ready for this first day of summer.  Everything kept simple, from assignments to assessing them to the grade book itself.  Bringing in two poems, one from Plath the other from Kerouac, of course.  I’ll post to maddenedread and talk to the students about the blog and for what it’s intended, at some point in tonight’s introductory meeting.  Jackie over on the couch, watching his Mickey Mouse show, and I hear the alerts on my phone, either people “liking” or responding to a poem I just posted…  And I was right.  The phone situates atop the TV cabinet, and I’m back over here on the couch, watching Jackie wag and shake his feet with a large careless smile, extending his cheeks outward like a famished animal enjoying its first meal in weeks.

First summer semester since 2009.  Five years.  Just my recognition of such scores another victory for Time.  This is the term that will free me, I promise mySELF.  Write everyday, check the grade book everyday, and always be writing for the blog and lectures.. especially if you want to be on the Road with your thoughts.


9:53PM.  Posted to teaching blog.  Great first night…  Now I sip the beer Mindy brought me for Father’s Day, relax a bit before sleep.  I need to wake early, get my writing in before going to winery, as I have to head straight to class after shift.  I am certainly going to have to change my character for this semester if I hope for it to change my character.  I want this term to free me, in the way that Spring didn’t.. namely, get me out of the wine industry.  The quiet right now, a loud slice of peace, just what the writer needs, really.  So, my plan, simple for this summer semester: wake early, everyday, just after 5, write, go There, then to class, then home to write, grade a bit.  Lunches at work, M-Th, spent doing something for this class.  I will have this semester separate me, have me be noticed as that passionate advocate educator, truly for student empowerment.

Getting a little tired now, but I have to keep typing.  How am I going to focus on work, tomorrow, on wine, and repeating that same script, over, over, when tonight I was endorsing individualism?  Am I a hypocrite?  Can let mySelf fall into the humdrum.  This class drives me.. this is the class that will free me, from everything pressing me into any type of mood mud.

Had a wonderful run earlier today, about 6.2 miles.  Can’t remember my time.. I think 48:57, if I remember right.  Not bad, but I still wish to bring that down dramatically.  At this point, 35.. I will have no objectives unmet.  And I will let not one of Them into my armor.  I’m done.  And the students tonight affirmed what I should do.  Not sure I’ve had a first session have this forceful a forward on me, before.  The grip it exudes designs me, a new ME.  In love.  -6/16/14

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