Posts Tagged With: wine

First Time Now Again

Walking the vineyard in A.M. Fall engrossing all steps. Color palate adjusted purposefully, for me, I have myself believing. I feel like a traveler from Iowa or North Dakota or Canada visiting ‘wine country’, my first time. This weather is a postcard. I’m walking in a postcard. I don’t want anybody to buy it, pull it from the spinning rack, shake me from my cooled post-harvest hosting.

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10/23/14

Writing like a journalist today, inspired from the Hemingway research I did for class, and a documentary I found– that’s what I chase, the who what where why.. and all other “facts”.  Then I’ll fictionalize.  I can write for papers, I’m seeing, now at 35– why am I developing and settling finally comfortably and confidently into my writer skin now at THIRTY-FUCKING-FIVE?

Already wrote a 500-word piece, sent to the whoso issue, which is nearly done.  And that’s another thing, as a “serious” journalist/writer I need to be known as one practicing the deadline!  9:09.  Will write here in the Kenwood lot till 9:20.  Which is now 10 minutes away.  hoping the day treats me well in terms of story.  I’ll post to blog covertly from phone, deliver little vignettes and see what the reaction is, and I’ll compile formally, or more formally, later, but not too formally.  Whew…  Thought I forgot my green journalist notebook, or little scribbling sheets but I didn’t.  It was in the bag, my teaching bag, thank the Craft.  Wore a jacket this morning so I wouldn’t be so cold as I was the other morning.

Need coffee though, all reporters or journalists and us crazy Beat writers drink coffee– dinosauric amounts of coffee.  That’s what keeps us in scribble.  Short pieces sent somewhere.. who do I want to write for?  Well, me, but.. let’s see…..  The New Yorker.  The New York Times.  SF Chron.. anywhere with a height to it, you know what I mean?

9:14.  All I can do is count the minutes down.  And I’m relieved; no breakfast burrito at the market this morning, has a asiago bagel with cream cheese– I know, a lot of cheese.  But it hit, it sufficed, it leveled the writer who had low estimations of the day’s beginnings.

Knocking on 1,000’s door.  But I don’t know if I want to get there so early this morning.  Want to do more thinking and analyzing and observing than immediate writing.  And that’s what I’ll be doing.  End of harvest, wine and fermentation in the air.. looks like this year has a quantity that trumps ’12 and ’13, in some areas, and quality that rivals as well.  Interesting.  So what can the consumer expect?  Another pronounced character collectively as far as can be gathered.

9:23PM.  Home and I don’t want to concentrate on much just the pages in front of me and the next novel but how can I do that when I haven’t edited the first, ‘Quarry Swing’?  It just sits there, or here on and in this laptop like a fish on grill, charred and marred.  And the magazine, think it may have been a bad idea maybe I should ask Amber, one of the contributing writers, the featured writer actually in its launching issue– I can’t surrender, won’t let Self, what was I thinking just then I deserve another sip of this Syrah, the ’11 that I opened on Tuesday night.  Planning on waking tomorrow morning, when EH would, 5AM.  The winery today, definitely reflecting the season, at least in the main area, the TR itself, but where I was on that patio altogether lively– tips, laughs, new characters, and me sipping the Chardonnays.  ME.. sipping Chardonnay.  Odd day means odd new practices.  And I wrote in my journalistic little pages– who what where why…  Now, 9:26, kitchen nook, crowded table with dead flowers in vase from our anniversary, oranges in a bowl (the ones Jackie loves to eat), Alice’s lunch bag, and my glass of Syrah next to laptop.  Hungry for assignments and Newness.  And Hemingway shows me keys– Wolff, I have to say, didn’t grip me as I thought he would.  So this will be the only semester I teach or discuss his work with students.  Next term: Poe, Plath, Hemingway and Faulkner for 1B– I guess, but no idea for the 7AM 1A section.  No idea at all.  But no Mendo, that’s for sure.  Which means I’ll have much of the day to me, Tuesdays & Thursdays, right after the 1B at PC [Petaluma Campus], return finally to the Redwood Café to write and sketch what me surrounds, find stories just as a journalist would and what have.  Alice just went upstairs and I should follow her soon.  Must fall early to rise early, yes?  So many stories I’m noticing in the winddown from harvest this year.  Wish I could have gone out as I did in ’12 to see them actually picking, all the lights in the rows and the tractors slowly clunking by the cordons.  But those lights and the surrounding dark, only for people like me, with a pen, looking for stories.

Taking a break but only for a minute looking forward to sleep and what the morning will feel like– what I’ll do: pretend I’m a journalist covering harvest tomorrow morning.  Have to be at launching site at 5AM.  Not a second later.  Which means I should wake before 5, right?  Yes, I’ll be with this laptop on my lap as it is now on the couch with the humming refrigerator and start my story.  College student working harvest for first time, doing both picking and lab and cellar, a rare opening and he could only take it.  He thinks it’s going to kill him, how hard he’s working, but he knows it keeps him alive, this new passion, that set of CF skins he pressed to make his own juice, his own project.  Earliest he’s been out so far this season, 2:50AM.  And that day he worked till 5:30PM.  Again, craziness that rewards.  That’s what he keeps telling himself.

I know I have my comments about the wine industry and winemakers, but they do follow through, especially the winemakers and vineyard garrisons.  When they schedule a pick, they pick.  When bottling’s on the calendar, it’s done.  And that’s how the journalistic writer need be.  Found my Beat, so I leap.

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novel excerpt (no edits…)

“No, I’m good with these,” the first option, “thanks.” I went to the first isle open, the only one open actually, and I was behind a women with probably fifty items, most food, cheap sweet and rich, high in everything bad and unhealthy for a Human, with her kids, much of it for them, “poison” I thought.  Another employee, older lady, probably early 50s, saw me behind the woman with an inventory of her own, decided to open register 1.  I flew, checked out, total $1.09, left, walking with clothespins in their original plastic wrapping, no company bag, to Los Tres.  I walked in, placed order with the man, ordered beer, then a younger girl came to ring it in, completely confused, asking me to repeat, asking me if I ordered the combo, and if I was sure I ordered carne asada for both Alice’s tacos and my burrito.  Once that was settled, I enjoyed my beer, 24oz, Lagunitas IPA as they were out of Racer 5, for the first time.  I watched the three men at the bar watch the football game.. Tampa at ATL.  Can’t remember who won or who was winning but one of the men had a Raider’s jersey on.  I sipped, took my notes, watched people come in, ask to be seated, arrive late looking for their party, the employees scramble, orders taken, calls, the ‘ready bell’ ringing at that high counter marking the border of kitchen and floor.  Interesting place, Los Tres, and it makes me want to travel to Mexico, any part, like Dean and Sal.

Today there was a loud man in the TR from New Orleans, with his wife and son and daughter-in-law.  He was loud, cocky and eager to let everyone know he was there and what he thought of the wine he was sipping and that he had some expensive shirt on.  I laughed.  He saw.  Said, “Hey there, Bob, why don’t you come join the party?” Bob? I though.  What?  How did he think I had that name, Bob?  “Well I can’t see what your name tag says but I see it’s a short name…” he said.  I was still confused.  Bob?  Do I look like a Bob, I thought.  I just watched him, a show, a loud flabby display of contaminated circulation and filter void.  I still laughed and was still amused.

Then there was another guy with his girlfriend, from some part of NY, that just had to have the remainder of the tab, and even $100, put on some AMEX giftcard.  IT wouldn;t go through, for some reason.  He called, we tried again, nothing.  He insisted.  He waited.  Again and again, and repeat the whole…  Finally connection, coherence, agreement, he smiles, and leaves.  Then we smile.  That’s what we needed.  Him gone!  And I was more than relieved.  It was coming to a place where I couldn’t even look at him.  Why the giftcard?  Just use your bloody credit card, a real credit card, one that won’t struggle with low limits and drive us crazy.. just leave!

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excerpt from this morning…

That will be an experience, one writeable. The estate last night, so dark and threatening and everywhere, appearing larger than it is or maybe just how grandiose and expansive it is just magnifired by not being able to visually assess it. It was like a pool, or river I was in but could breath, but no sight– that added to the story of it all thought, I have to admit. I wanted to walk around, hike with only flashlight, and see where I landed. And he’s down here with me, playing with the ruin, the toy pile and luxuriates in his known province. Saved my grades while he re-stacked each character in his toy cannon. And now, I’m totally committed to Fall, clear head and clear vision. Make sure that everything about the reads this coming semester are maddened– need coffee, more of it, keep the story cartwheeling into its own depth. Rereading Crystal’s story and there’s something about it I want to fiddle with on my own, something subtextual but I can’t pin it. Why do I want to? Go with initial impulse, sensation or tickling– well, it’s exhaustion with what she does and that she does it for someone else. She wants her own winery, or label– small, distanced from anything corporate and she also wants to be known as a writer, one of small pieces. She hasn’t the faintest compulsion for novel. Her masterpieces are her bottles– the Chards Cabs and Zins she’d produce. That’s her latest menu vision. She wants a small counter for her Room

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7/31/14–

Tomorrow, Santa Barbara.  And I may have an opportunity at Sonoma State.  Not sure yet.  Will send my materials by way of email, tomorrow, before I leave, while Alice is on her run.  My first Kerouac book came in the mail today, a collection of his letters.  Didn’t know I bought a used book, once in a library, somewhere, can’t remember where.  I will write the whole time in SB, if not tangibly then mentally.  Bringing my Lagunitas Ale into living room with me; not breaking law of no drinking, anything, on the new couch.  Promised Ms. Alice and I will obey…  The ocean, the sand, that view from our Room down there, just waiting for me.  What can I do but be patient.  I hate that.  HATE it.  The power went out on campus today, interrupting a poetry writing activity, right after we began.  I urged the students to write through it, and they did, after two, both vets, walked around the building, outside, to make sure all was okay– their impulse, prompted by a rumble, heard by everyone in class.  But we wrote on, past it.  It was interesting.

I try to relax, but I stress thinking about the fact I only have, basically– no, less than– 48 hours in SB.  I shouldn’t do that.  Why am  I doing that?  Just enjoy.  Have a run, get one page into the book, and enjoy.  And just because you’re not physically writing doesn’t mean you’re NOT writing.  You are.  Living IS writing, I tell myself.  And my writer friends would agree.  Should sent one of them a note tonight.  I will.  But I doubt she’ll return.  She’s free, flying, a flight attendant, attending flights and her flights attend to her, her pages, her vignettes as she recently told me she’s scribbling.

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Sipping Pinot, the one my friend Ed gave me a couple years ago, or maybe early ’13.  Not sure.  It’s a Pinot; earthy, light fruit, a tad vegetal.  But with a refinement I haven’t encountered before.  9:33p, and little Kerouac very much in his little dreams.  Takeout from up the street, Legends, and I elected my usual, the mushroom/swiss burger with fries.  Not the best pairing with the burger, but that wasn’t my aim, anyway.  And now, I’m truly tired, ready for bed, but I want to research the authors I’ll be using for Fall.. no time.  Can only think, and as I research Kerouac, watch that Big Sur movie, over and over, I understand that the best act I can tell is inaction, just taking it all into character.  So I will, without over-thought.

Tomorrow, I hope something interesting happens, anything, some story, some development.  I don’t know.. I just want something, for the story, so I can be with them.. Scott, Glenn, Bob, Crystal, Dav…  But I can only hope, write, write while I hope and hope while writing.. somewhat deconstructive and destructive.  But that’s Art, strange, and liquified, the more Pinot I sip.  Ed, once a clock-puncher now a wine-wielder.  How?  And why can’t I transcend and time-bend?  I’m not with talent like he.. and he has strategy.  I’m just a fucking writer…

Alice’s shows violate my auditory, like bees, or something that stings, sneaking through screens.  I’m hurt, disrupted, I hate the TV, and anything on it, except for Nat Geo docs.  I can’t wait for my marathon, Santa Cruz, May 2015.

And the Pinot’s gone, thank the good of ness.  What if I could sneak in 3 miles tomorrow morning, or even 2?  I’ll see, and then have more coffee.  And if those devils are reading this, they’re probably laughing, or scratching their heads, ‘cause Literature, true Writing, hurts, as it makes them think, and thinking isn’t for everyone, especially Them.

(7/30/14

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29

And to Mendocino I went today.  Wrote about the heat in my new notebook, the one I took from the SRJC Eng Dept copy room.  It was so intense I was nearly convinced, thoroughly, that I was going to get sick on the ride home.  But on notes more uplifting, I only have official transcripts to send them, then I actually exist, or am “a real person” as the HR lady, Nicole, put it.  I did place a tentative book order, though, and did settle on the books just disclosed in a recent entry: Feast, Road, Wolff’s stories, and Me Talk Pretty by Sedaris…  Being on the Road today, as I was when commuting to Solano in Fall ’10 brought back not just memories but values, a world view I haven’t had since before Jack came into my play.  And all in a positive way.  The drive north, to Ukiah, taking a little over an hour at my slow speed, giving me mountains, a little river peek, vineyards, clouds, intense green then the barren…  It’s the Road, or as much as I can experience now.  But I’m doing it again!  I am!  A freeway flyer.  And I used to have the pessimist’s stump in my mental, since I let the wrong people infect me.  But not this time.  I’m in a true 35 Lark, honoring so many of my Laws, my new notes…  And I couldn’t be happier.  Yes, I know it’ll make for days long, so long, torturously.  But I’m set to be more regimented than I’ve ever been.  The days of wine’s world and industry in this writer’s wheeling ward are nearly executed.  Today’s drive made me feel independent…  FREE!  Just what JK would want for me.

Tonight’s session with the ‘100’ section went well, more than “well”.. it was energized, and I know they have to take control of this final assignment in a way they never have with the others, or with anything else they’ve done with other classes.  And that makes me.. I don’t know if “proud” is the word I’d zoom, but something like it, I guess.  Or how about ‘subtly supercilious’?  It made me feel good.  Healthy.  Alive.  And again, after my drives, even more FREE.  Little Kerouac, fell asleep with unusual diplomacy tonight.  Which is wonderful, I want to run tomorrow morning after Ms. Alice.  She registered me for the ‘Healdsburg Half’.  So now there’s no turning back.  Have to get on a training program.   And I love that feeling, the commitment on MY bloody terms.  The sounds this house makes always distract me, and I don’t know why.  I don’t believe in the supernatural anything, but I just get spooked when it’s too quiet.  But then so oddly and contradictorily I only long for quiet, like a couple Saturday nights ago when I was charging at the Reserve Cab, in the kitchen nook–  And I hope I’m awake tomorrow before Alice leaves, when it IS quiet, so I can add to the 40 pages, for the first of the series.. don’t want to call it a ‘penny dreadful’, but something like that, just more substance, more Literary, more hope and Humanness I guess.  And the coffee, that’ll always be in this writer’s morning recipe.

(7/28/14)

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(from this morning’s session, 7/27/14…)

But, anyway, from my tangent, re-focusing on today’s mission: objects and dialogue; the guests, anything.

Coffee, ready to be made.  I’ll start combing through old entries this week, possibly tomorrow, after Mendo.  And the students, my ‘100’ group, in their final 8 sessions.  And Santa Barbara approaches… Already looking forward to my runs on the beach with Alice, writing about it afterward, or to some ocean frame, just sitting and enjoying the sounds. and I won’t write full paragraphs–  object here at home, empty beer bottle by sink last night, just one, rare for me.  Wasn’t in the mood for beer or wine last night, what happens after a boring day in vindictive heat.  And the phone here, the house line, hardly ever used, it just sits over there under Jackie’s play table, bored like me behind the bar yesterday.  But I carry a phone with me everywhere, like everyone else; I feel like a cutout character, no voice, no distinction.  What if I left my phone in the car today, in the parking lot?  Only wrote– a different character today, me, one only writing, not talking as much, and no sips.  Short phrases and if I was to practice now:  ‘Jackie’s humming, song snippets he’ll maybe put together but indicative of contentment, peace, his ever-smiling bursts/This new couch: already seen enough of me, read enough of my prose–’  This will be the practice today.  EVERY OBJECT.  The stapler, the pen container, the water bottles in the fridge, wine bottles empty with DNC written on them, meaning ‘do not count’.

Cup two, and Jackie and Ms. Alice go for a walk with one of her friends, the more consistent of the aggregate, Lorielle, with Addie the daughter.  Already after looking at these pictures of SB and the resort at which we’ll be lodged, I want to change my story, the surroundings for Jack.. Santa Barbara, my next chapter, I’ve officially targeted it, and this will be my logging of the journey there.  Why there?  Well, I’m an ocean lad, don’t forget, having being born in Santa Cruz.  And the runs along the beach the writing in water-bordered cafés and the dolphins my sister used to tell me about…  And UC Santa Barbara.  I will write my way onto their grounds.  The motivations buzzing in me this morning like some opaque haze of mutant bees, just out to sting.  Now on the website of UCSB, English Dept.  This will happen before 2014’s end, or I’ll all but give up.. Alice, Jack and I will move to UCSB, my writing will have me on the Road and I will have lectured at enough arenas and multi-purpose rooms to afford the relocation.  Down there I will finish my second novel which will lure me invitation onto staff.  And I have no problem leaving this, all these vines and tasting rooms and over-exaggeration of something I fucking sip behind.

8:15.. need in shower soon be.  I have a vision, a target like I haven’t before.  And all because of Nick’s wedding.  Can’t believe he’s getting married, and I even more disavow acceptance that I haven’t met his artful bride-to-become.  Everyone tells me how sweet she is, and I very much trust their words, but I need to meet this character.  Guess I’ll have to wait for the day of wed.  Should be hot again today, and if I were on the beach, in my new home, SB, I’d go for a family walk, with little Kerouac and Ms. Alice.  They’d stay at home afterwards while I go to my on-campus office to get a few things done– well, that’s what I told Alice.  I really went in to finish a chapter for the second novel.. I do that every then and once more.

A bird outside the condo, here, singing in repeating rolls, like I’m not listening but I am.  And he’s not recording himself, he’s just singing to sing.  Maybe it’s a blackbird, or a Jay of some kind, or who knows what.  I have to keep writing, all day, log everything.. another aspect of Mike Madigan which makes him marketable is his obsessive qualities as a penner, always logging, capturing, unconcerned with form… Good.  Then that’s how I’ll be today.  So…  NO.  SIPPING.  Wine is what I want I want, NEED, distance from.  So coffee only.  OR, those new sodas that Jillian ordered– the root beer, Stewart’s, so far is my preferred.  Have yet to sip the Izzy sodas, have my eye on the blackberry or black cherry– can’t remember which flavor she ordered.

8:21AM, and Time rushes, like the flood Kerouac wrote about.  But I don’t care, the priority is thought, and my lack of vulnerability now.  I’m a bull, a bullfighter…  Hem would be so proud.  Declaring mySelf the best writer this zone has ever known.  And it seems that these “wine writers” or “wine bloggers” really do think of themselves as people of the pen.  How?  You write about the same thing, time and time again.  Yes, there’ll be a different bottle or ‘terroir’ or producer or winemaker, but it’s still wine.  But, let’s be honest, how often do I write about writing or teaching or struggles of being a writer, or…  wine.  There, I lose.  But I was honest, true with my thoughts here in this morning nook/coffee session.  Not sure if I’ll have time to edit.  So maybe I should just have the Kerouac attitude, “There will be no editing this MS”.  My wallet, right, only with a few bucks in it.  Should take one out, restart the dollar a day habit.  Will need as much cash as capable for the SB move, 14’s end or 15’s liftoff.  Can’t wait to see that water, hear the waves, smell them, close eyes while painted terrestrial mist lightly brushes my face like a lover from one of my forgotten notebooks.  And the clock reminds me again…  So the rush is hushes, but I’m still ablaze, buzzing.

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28

And I was reminded, again, organically, by my own thought stream, to put everything out there– everything I write.  And I’m 35, the journey should have already catapulted, no?  but I can’t get into that again, that’ll only halt me.  And I’m not a genre fellow, I won’t write something that’ll be so conveniently marketed and categorized on Amazon, or at B&N.  I don’t know what set me on this road, but I’m thinking in dismal droves.  For what?  My Beat, my beat, like I’m an officer on my own streets.  Took my first sip of the ’10 Lancaster Cuvée, and I swear it wants me on the Road, in some hotel, writing, finish or just beginning something.  One of the people I took to the mountaintop today asked me, “So how long have you been working here?” That question I hate.  ONE, why do you care, and, TWO, I’m slightly embarrassed to disclose that two of my life’s 365- blocks have been consumed by that place.  And it’s a celestial spot, really, but the job is what ruins it.  The job.. another fucking job.  Dav showed me this collection of articles today, in a book.  I only had the chance to skim through it but none of the pieces, if I heard Dav right, goes beyond 800 or a thousand words.  And it’s journalism, reporting, accuracy or the hope of.  And my character, and characters, still waiting for their placement.  But the wine motivates, like that tree the other day, the one I saw from the gravel lot.  Still not sure why it folded me as it did, with its everydayness, but it was there, and so was I, and we were meant to see each other as we did– or I was meant to see it.  Right before leaving for class, just before 4:30p, I had a huge sip of the SB, the one from neutral oak, and I looked at the tank room, all that steel, and hoses, and puddles, discolored concrete– purple, red, slight brown or yellow or some shade I can’t parlance in this pulse of prose.  But today it took me, and as I succeeded in my gulp, I saw myself there, another direction, on that walkway above the tanks, looking down, or doing additions from up top, or watching the yeast react, eat what they could, but just watch either way.  OR, I could just stand in there, on the clock, find some hidden corner and just write, no photos, just notes, spy on them– these epoch edgers; what they do, how they talk, how they walk around like all of this is because of them; they’re so elevated and sagacious and sterling with their stenches and barreled tumbles and everything they deem an obscure and intriguing subtlety.  I pull label, and it is, ‘buffoonery’.  Comedy, meant for me, but I’ll still sip, ‘cause that’s the point, correct?  I mean, did I miss something, or am I just off-topic again?  My students need one speaking this frankly, so I completely let go, for the first occasion in 35 years.  So take that, devil.. machine…  And on my run tomorrow morning, I’ll recite this all in head, or what I can remember.  And I could care less if it has a SKU, ever.

(7/24/14)

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25

7/15/14–

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.

 

“Owed…”

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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