Posts Tagged With: wine


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.


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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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Readying for dinner.  Pulled a Lancaster to sip when back.  One standalone for day, done, on East West.  Love how that place has the most eased pace of nearly any eatery in Santa Rosa.  Haven’t touched one of the ‘100’ papers.  But today’s to celebrate– MY independence from the wine world, from any rule it thinks it can throw at me, or code it wants to comb through the shapes of my days.


9:47PM.  Loud shakes in air, firecrackers they call it, celebrating the sounds themselves and drunkenness, so I join, adjoin, in such a celebratory coin.  Sipping Lagunitas, and I go stumbling into my session, after a day quite long, and no nap for the writer.  But I’m relaxed, in a way I’ve never been, after such an episode with Ms. Alice– race, relax, brunch, rest, walk, dinner, movie, and now.. Now.  This new Now.  I’m off to watch the ‘Big Sur’ movie, from Kerouac’s novel.  Should order those books, already, have them sent.  My check today, from the winery, turning me into that snake that begs to strike.  And I hope they’re reading this, those indenturing overseeing tyrant bubbles.  And I realize, the one I thought my writer friend, on I thought a serious writer, once, I now realize is only one posing, one acting, and she acts quite well– well, I’m not impressed, I may have been once, but no longer…  Either you’re a writer, or you want to be one.  That’s very much all–

And I’m struck by strangeness of explosive modes in what I thought was past but now present.  It’s everything I thought I learned in grad school but now cut, reshaped, repasted, and now disseminated.  Interesting how that happens.  The fireworks, done, and I lose myself in a mist fog and moon pudding, indecisive but yet coagulated in jest.  Funny how that happens.



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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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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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Started a new short story today, one about a journalist, struggling with the reality of being assigned what to write and what to write about, and what if he went freelance.. partially inspired by a friend of mine, who’s a photojournalist, with more than advanced knowledge in journalism, but also with my own edge, incorporation of occupational qualms. I’m sipping the remainder of last night’s Sangio.. the one made by my friend Mike.. and, curtly, it’s completely changed its intention, it seems. But that could be a result of the exhaustion I feel, currently. Kenwood Foot Race, three days away. I’ll run tomorrow, anywhere from 6.2 to 10 miles, we’ll see. Then, no running on the 3rd, then the 4th, the race, where Lawndale and I meet again, competitively. Relaxed, finally… Another sip.. more showing of the oak, that’s for sure, but I don’t mind.. I still deem it integrated, rather than hindering, or overcompensating. When I make this year’s barrel, or barrels, what should I want to accent? Yes, vintage, to an extent, but I want my wines to have a distinct voice, intention, presence– I want them to be truly alive– So many say, ‘wine is a living thing’, but have no idea how that can morph. I want my wines to be stories, characters, captures of moments, of moments, dilemmas and dreams. More poetry needed, yes, but it has to take prose form, and I have to rely on this wine, and I have to imagine mySelf sipping it on the Road, in some Italian village, not some swanky hotel, or resort– that’s not Literary, not at all, that’s falsified. Tonight, in the lobby of the Fountaingrove Hilton, not quite the fluffy aura I’d hoped for. Everyone was so normal, calm, but I did pick up on some travelers talking about Racer 5, what I was sipping, saying, or one character (man, early 50s) did: “Yeah, this Racer 5 is pretty good, a lot of the locals love it…” Not sure if he ordered it, but I thought his vocal pulse was interesting, like he had the scoop on what we drink. Not sure how to measure it, but I heard love for the county’s beer, and whatever else he wanted to say, which I can’t remember right now. But it was so quiet there, relaxed. Was hoping for the traveler tavern, but no, I had normality.. always my bloody story. And my character, the one I created today, doesn’t want to be “assigned” anything. He writes.. yes in journalist mode, or form, but he wants to be free in his paginated prance.. truly freelance.. he’s beyond the simply ‘who what where why when how’ tumble. But I become incensed thinking about what he has to ingest from the authority, the bloody devil editor. So that’s my fault, and I don’t mean it like that.. I mean, that’s a fault of Mike Madigan’s, that I have this ever-going skirmish with badge-holders. The goddamn editors. They can’t write so they judge writers’ works. That makes sense.

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And I’m sipping Sangiovese, from my buddy Mike’s label.  Loving everything about it.. and I know I’ve found my subject, in wine, winemaking.. making the ground come to life by way of a grape.  It’s amazing when you think about it, really.  Tonight, in class, while the students reacted to Walls’ book, I could only think of what Walls shares through her pages.. everything she saw, was exposed to.. how she had to battle Life.  And what am I battling?  Strangely, wine’s industry, still.  That other winery, wouldn’t budge with their $15/hour and 90-day waiting period for benefits.  Well, neither would I, as I told India.  So now, where do I go?  Well, to my own office, of course.  Took a notebook from the department’s supply drawer, this evening.  Wrote a couple lines in it.. and have to put together a book– now, it’s dire.  The industry, where it puts us.. we don’t have to accept if we don’t want to.  The guy I saw at Palooza the other day, once a TR employee and now with his own label.  Like Dad has ALWAYS said: “If that guy can do it, then so can I.” I’m not settling for nonsense, and I won’t be kept down.  This wine, made by Mike, delivering a thickness to its palate.. and a theatric pulse to its “finish”.  Why do guest always comment on that.. “Oh, this has a nice finish,” one guy said the other day, I think he was from Ohio, or Utah.. or the tannins.  “Tannins…  Tannins…  This isn’t as tannin-y as the other one…” I’m not saying there’s a way to talk about wine or a way you shouldn’t, I just don’t think it should be over-thought– or ‘OVERthought’ as I write for the students.  This Saturday I’ll have a writer’s retreat, here at home, and I plan on going further than I ever have with such a night, having more pages proofed and printed than I ever thought I could in a single night.  And I’ll compose new material, don’t worry, I just want my book to take shape– and no excess fictiveness.  I’ll write the True, the true truth.  And I’ll enjoy wine, interpret its steps.  This one, Mikes: bold, forward, yet subtle and poetic.  There’s scenic circles in this bottle, music too.  I love it, frankly, and this is the type of bottle that only emboldens my passion for wine, how it gallops across a palate, how it recites to all senses, even ones that haven’t been discovered or categorized.

What do I get mySelf for dinner this Sat?  A steak, somewhere, I’m thinking.  Create a scene here in the condo.. clear this nook table, open the wine, play some of the jazz J.K. would enjoy, and have my tasty tableau.  IT, will be perfect, I promise my Self.

Still feel the runs from the last two days.  I’m hoping to fit one in, come Wednesday.  A ten-miler.  Let’s see…  I want to feel alive, more alive than I’ve ever felt.  And with this age, thirty-goddamn-five!  No more applying.  I’m doing what I want, recite to MY Beat–


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6/30/14–  And the month is done.  How did that happen?  Tonight’s class.. looking for gems, beauty in the Walls family experience, hopefully finding something useful for mySelf.  Legs exhausted from the past two runs, last two days.  I’ll need a break, today.  May do a walk, which somewhat counts for cross-training, I guess.  Hot and uncomfortable, and in a mood of sorts, but I’ll write and coffee my way through it.

Everything funneled into one MS.. I’ve always thought that possible but now it’s just necessary.  That simple.


One sentence at a time.


That’s all I have time for.




My character, J, and his pursuit, C——, both in the same calculation, and I’m the one writing about it, as a local journalist, covering home winemakers…


4:28PM, and I find mySelf in the adjunct cell, more or less ready for class.  Sipping an iced nonfat mocha.. doesn’t taste as good, but I needed something cold, or quasi-cold, with this heat.. each square-millimeter of my person feels like a heated cuff chokes it.  It’s uncomfortable, and I don’t at all like it as I age, this heat, or any kind of heat, and if humidity were coupled with it, forget it…

Ditching the last book idea, or thinking about it.. I’m just going to write and I need something to shock me– or scare me into printing my pages, stop chasing anything in this industry, with the exception of my own label.  Going to the Hilton Bar after class tonight, hopefully, see all the snobby travelers in there, how they look around, compare themselves to everyone around them.  I think it’s so humorous, that self-elevation and anointment.  But I need that.. those characters, for my sketches and stories.  I want to log what they drink, what they wear, how many people they’re with.. all of it.  Would they look at me funny, there, sipping my Racer five and writing in the Comp Book?  Would they wonder if I’m writing about them?  I don’t care, I’ll tell you right now.  I’ll keep writing, recording, everything.  Thinking of a GREAT consolidation.  Of everything.. EVERYthing.  Into 80-page mss, as that’s all I can afford to Self-publish at the moment, and I’m not sure I can do even that much.  But I have to do something, de-emphasize this blog.  Produce only books.. and why not?  Okay, maybe I’ll hang onto the blog, but like I said, ‘de-emphasize’ it, dramatically.

The jazz, making this small, sterile office into a more human space.  Still no word from that other place, and I’m beginning not to care.  I mean, what would change?  How would it help the writing?  Would it?  I can’t say for sure, but my doubts are beginning to mount like collected debris from a flood– a pessimistic surge in this area deemed paradise or a vacation spot by outsiders.  That’s always made me smile, grin dismissively, how these tourists think it’s so easy to live here, that we must have no troubles at all, that we’re on vacation ALL the time.  But that’s worth writing, how they come into the Room, in just the most rounded of awes.  And we, behind the bar, stare back at them annoyed– well, sometimes.  They’re more enjoyable when I’m sipping with them, especially the people that ask things like, “Do you have any sweet wines here?” Or, “Is there wood in this Chardonnay?”

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