IMG_7135A thousand before we open?  I’ll see.  I’ll try.  Walk in an a little cold, thinking about the closer we get to holidays the atmosphere and feel on Chalk Hill changes..  Got here as early as I did of course to write but as well just enjoy quiet.  Enjoy no one being here but me.  This room, mine.  The dark production area with all the tanks and tubes, barrels and barrel racks, tracks on the ground and drains, everything, mine for observation.  I’m going to reach 50,000 by month-end and finish this book of letters and wined notes and NTS’, and who knows what it’ll say.  Technically behind schedule on book, but I’m learning that you have only so much control, and how much control, “control”, you have is only perception.  And another thought that pummel me on my drive up here, right about when going under the Airport overpass, is ‘impossible’.  And I thought of this from reading an article where organic reach on social media and for writers like me using blogs is now being made by companies to be nearly impossible, it said.  Well, “impossible” is perceptive.  It’s an adjective, therefore a word used for judgement, or assessment.  And that too, assessment and judgement are definitively subjective.  I don’t have to agree.  And I won’t.  I don’t.  I’m in control of what I do so I negate my early intonations on ‘control’, I guess a bit.  But either way I’m going to do what I do and that’s write about wine like a newer Mike Madigan, from one day to next, from this day to its morrow.

Before we open… oh this quiet.  Remember it.  Love it and learn from it.  More wine finds a permanency in my prose and poems, the faster I want to move, almost to combat wine and show it and the vines where the bottles came from that I develop with just as much character and dynamic.  I want, too, be more a fan of me, but I have to work at that.  If you’re a writer, or student in my class, or anyone with any kind of Craft, work at being more of a fan of your own creations.  This will yield results that you never thought of for yourself.  Don’t try…. Forget trying and just actuate.  Create.  Tell your story.  All these wineries are merely stories.  Some more interesting than others, yes, but stories with their own audiences intended and unintended.  Same for any business, really.  Family-owned or even the corporations… they all have narrative, some identity to be interpreted by would-be consumers.

What wine will cause the most reaction in visitors today?  I always wonder that… which one will be “the star”?  I’m a student, of everyone coming into the Room, no matter what flight they elect.  Sometimes I think I know quite a bit then after talking to someone who works at another winery either in hospitality or production I’ll be novice-y.  Which, to be direct, enlivens me.  The more I feel a student the more energized and excited I am.  About anything.  Any lesson in life that I’ve pocketed and would want to share, is just that—  Always be a student.  That’s why I have to laugh at my Master’s Degree.  I’m not any type, shape, phylum or genus of “master” or “expert” with writing, teaching, reading…. I don’t want to be.  I want to enjoy my studies as I enjoy the quiet of this room.

Just had an idea…. Tough to get anything done in that hotel, but it’s what I have.  I can’t escape, and not like I’m trying to flee but it’s my, our, current space and unavoidable.  So….  Get to work early, write, and stay after for an additional thousand words.  Will have to if I’m to finish book by month’s end.  I’m going to get guerrilla, special-ops, insurgent, ninja-like with my wine journalism, writing, blogging…. Maybe even escaping to the restroom to post a note to blog and then later rack it back to book, as I did several times when working at Dutcher Crossing.  And here I have more. Chance to do so, with the production area restroom.

So… “students”…..  Whatever chance you have to get something done, get you closer to your vision, to your There, DO IT.  Sometimes you can plan, but more often than, you’ll be an in-the-moment actualizer.  What I’m doing now.  Well, this was a bit planned, but…

I refuse to accept any kind of “impossible”.  That’s utter buffoonery.  Not me.  What’s here, all around the writer now is a precious layer of visual and motioned poetry.  Nothing but forward in my now and later hours.  Everything caught, documented, written and learned from.  Promise to self, you, and you need do the like for YOU.  Why even fiddle in thoughts that are even slightly antithetical to your Story, when you want for you.  I’m not talking about dreams and “dreaming big”.  I’m citing just putting a mentality in your head.  Right now.  That you’re there, you’re going too be there, whatever you see for yourself…. Blogger, doctor, professor, lawyer, store owner, artist, winemaker, winery owner, CEO.  Anything and everything.  Right now, put yourself in a savory quake of acceptance.  You’re going to do it.  Anyone saying it’s impossible obviously doesn’t know the full anatomy of that word, and surely doesn’t know you.  Not like you know YOU.

08:54…. Should go get some pictures of that Sauvignon Blanc block.  Or should I just stay here, write, about the day and the wines and this winery I’m presently managing.  All the “jobs” I’ve had in my story, in the wine industry and out, this provides the most story… the most words and visuals, the most forward to my There.  I will be at 2,500 words for day.  The winery will make sure of it.  I will help, I guess by writing, but the winery will get me there— with this side room with the polished tree half that was hit by lightening in ’12, split into however many pieces… the dark production area, left, with the tanks making those deep grumble sounds that will at times startle me and disrupt the paragraph… the wines themselves and the reactions, what people say, how they describe them… lady yesterday saying the ’11 Napa Valley had “notes of chocolate asphalt and Heath”, as in the candy bar.  I was by myself in the room but I looked for someone for some eye contact, ‘cause the first thing I thought was, “Should I ask her to say that again?  Would it be weird if I wrote that down?” Well, I just did.  Or typed it directly into my ‘Wine I’m Here’ pages.

Bed early…

Not used to this. Closing chapter at 20:16. But here I am. 3 babies in room. Not resisting or indignant with a single slice of my Now. And that’s about it. Hope I wake early to work out… exercise downstairs somehow. I do see the story in place set for my benefit… won’t lie… a famous feeling. Saving this draft– returning early, so early tomorrow it’ll even me shock.. Ignoring the last few hours and rewinding. Running, don’t have the right socks but what the fuck does a real writer care– nothing. Not at all. I have the opp’ to fall asleep so early that I’ll wake up so early I’ll get done everything I wish. This is like a dream domain and demand. So I answer.

The coffee’s definitely working,

I’ll tell you.  Hotel room writing.  I quite like it.  And I don’t know when the next time I’ll have a session like this.  When the babies get here, I’ll be leaving in the morning to take one of them to school, then to work.  So this first morning writing I swallow whole.  OH… I’ll be able to write like this a bit after Thanksgiving, when Alice stays in Sonoma with her sister and nieces, parents for a bit.  The whole room to myself now.  That’s what I’m focusing on.  Now.  MY Now.  Here I am, Friday morning with a view of a glowing pool behind me.  My story is Education.  Learning.  I’m learning more about myself this morning than I maybe did in all graduate school.  And it’s musical, and Kerouac said music is the ONLY truth.  So I write from the furthest stretch of my thinking, from when I first started taking myself seriously as a writer, when in high school, right after that shit happened to me.  I’m here, I’m alive, so I write… write about writing, learning, how others learn, how I learn, the act of education and being educated—  Be it in wine or lit’ or any whatever.  This room, this second floor hotel room is a classroom.  The most invaluable of classrooms.  How many others have stayed here?  What did they say?  Why were they here?  For the casino, or to see proximal relatives?  What did they see, learn while here?

The human contour fascinates and emboldens me, this morning.  Why.. ‘cause none of it is definite, and it’s barely defined, or concrete, final.. the randomness makes it ravishing.  And to be curt— wine did this.  Wine has shown me that humanity is a deliciously ambiguous and nebulous tangibility that we’re meant to learn from.  My letters now, and I’m measuring for my life’s forward and surplus, to be predicated upon and necessitated in this daily sagacity, the pedagogy of each hour.  Education.  Learning.  Each word I type, write, entertain, muse, gander, anything, will be with students in mind.  Myself, in mind.  As I AM the forever-matriculant of this world, universe, Humanity and all angles there in and of.

Wine too has taught me that there’s no reason to be anything other than obnoxiously elated in each morning, with each day.  NONE.  Stresses precipitate, sure, but they shouldn’t consume you.  They shouldn’t have the power to juggle your joy.  First four words in today’s page, “Education… Learning… Smile… Now”.  Then I stop to look around, look around the room and know my babies will be here with wife and I tonight.  Can’t wait to see them both.  I love this quiet, but what it teaches me is that as much as I wish for quiet I can’t get enough of their noise.  Their running around and taunting each other, the way Jackie shares his most recent knowledge and understanding of something as simple as rain, like how he lectured me for nearly five minutes driving him to school the other day that it only rains and gets cold in winter.  And little Emma, Ms. Austen, how she points to herself and always wants to be included in conversations, wants what little Kerouac has, and says, “mo’… mo’…?”

All my favorite wineries entail some address of family, family life and family dreams coming to fruitful fruition and that family sharing their success story.  Family…. Like my visit to Calluna last week, with David telling me about his wife and three kids, how they got there and how they found the property and planted the vineyard, their first vintage, the reception of his wines, etc.  Wine also teaches me to trust myself, to trust that what I’m doing is right and the best thing for my family.  Wine has always equated to family, for me.  One of the primary pillars of reasoning for why I’m in “the industry”.  Looking to one day have what David has… my vines, my little tasting room, my label and story of how I got there— behind the bar pouring my own timeline.

Tempted to go downstairs and see the breakfast setup.  Should I?  Or should I, do I, just stay here, keep writing?  I’m thinking about it too much, I know.  And part of me doesn’t want to leave this hotel room… how many times have I fantasized about just THIS— writing in a hotel room with work the next day?  Well, in that vision I’m giving a talk on writing, or literature, or something to do with wine, or something to do with education… but this is a tease of that vision.  An encouraging note from the Story itself, that I’m close.

We’re so much closer to our ideal circumstances set than we realize.  We just have to be tireless.  We can’t pause, we can’t halt, we can’t think too much.  We just have to ACTUATE.  Keep going—  Do more than simply “keep going”.  Light your world on fire.  Create like you have only an hour to do so.  Have a conversation with yourself, how you plan on getting “there”.  To your There.  I’m having that conversation right now, this morning, in this hotel room with my coffee cup empty.  Quelle?  Comment est-ce arrivé?  (What?  How did that happen?). Need more.  But do I get up.  What does the Story want?  Vines don’t think about growing, they just grow.  And they don’t whine in the presence of too much sun, heat, or if it rains right before the clusters are cut.  They grow.  They create.  So “Stay put.  Work.” I self-instruct.  Learning this morning that I’m here, my There.  Just a couple things that need adjustment.  But I’m at where I need to be, with everything I need in my idyllic role.  Which is…. Writer.  Educator.  Writer again… lecturer.  Je ne sais pas.  But I enjoy what I sense, this morrow.

Breakfast.  Downstairs, calling.  Maybe I should at least take a look, see, experience.  Maybe I’ll learn something on the way, and then when there.


In hotel room. (NaNoWriMolecules)

All unpacked.  This is exciting and odd, excitingly odd with concurrent flashes of education.  I sip what’s left of the Calluna blend and continue with the day, here quiet to me— and I think to myself, “Well, you’ve always wanted to write in a hotel room, on a trip, well here you go.” Laughing to myself and needing music in this odd, unfamiliar room.  Falling behind on book progress but the decline in pace isn’t terminal like last year’s attempt at a book.  This is so many letters.  To me and to students and to everyone and everything around me, that I accept it all and don’t resist a thing.

The wine tells me to put on some Hutcherson, or Coltrane, to relax and not think about a thing…. This is not for you, but for your kids, for your students.  You work for them, just know.  Getting a little hungry and wonder when the bar downstairs opens.  I remember they said 17:00 (they just said “five o’clock”, but that’s how I in head noted).  Irrelevant, incongruous, my overthought.  So I persist pervasively in this strange room.  If I were on an overnight, here, or say I’m somewhere like New York or Miami, Texas or Portland, what would I be speaking on, tomorrow?  Well, writing I guess.  And how what you write is more of a statement than what’s on the page.  It’s more than a statement of and on you, your like.  You’re tossing a significant thought stone into the collective brook.  It will ripple.  You should be mindful of the ebb and ricochet of your offerings.  Writing, reading others’ writings as well, has alway presented a bewildering intensity of intimacy to me.  So I always offer to students, “Don’t think, just write.” I admit.  But know yourself before you start typing, or start penning.

Finally, with some Coltrane.  “Equinox”.  I’m on the Road, literally.  Or I was, on the way back here after retrieving some particulars from the Autumn Walk Studio.  But I’m not going to overwhelm you nor I with why I’m here in the room.  I’m activating my son’s mentality, of this being an adventure… being excited to be here.  I’m here because of a disaster and that hour I now re-mold into a manuscript, this month’s/year’s novel.  A letter to me, you, the students, and everyone around me… the tidal wave of perception doesn’t halt and neither will the writer.  The Calluna deceives me in its gentle landing and traffic.  The prospective pathos forwarding me in a  tiered and tireless rhythm of Me.  This new writer, this new student, and I guess Educator.  What I’m learning from this, more than perspective, more than managing my attitude, mood, but opening my eyes…. Looking.  Understanding the scenic ingredient and calculating my composition.  You want to write?  Yes, just start.  But, know why you want to write.  I was recently told, “The ‘why’ doesn’t matter.  The ‘what’ does.” This remark had to deal with winery inventory, so the speaker was actually I guess correct.  But in the literary world, my world, my educating efforts, in the lectures and letters I’m about to offer the planet, the WHY is the functionality, what breathes, what circulates blood in the idea.  The what proves ancillary.

Tonight, while writing, or reading, take notice of where you do so.  “Location as character.” As I used to offer in class, more often.  Where I am.. this hotel room.  This hotel.  Never been here before.  Never seen this building from the outside before, I don’t think, let alone its guts, or this room.  My view… a pool, a hot tub, parking lot, casino across the street.  Love the room you’re in, even if it’s a dentist office, or cubicle, or waiting room, if you’re waiting for your car to be serviced.  This hotel room is like a place of worship for the writer…. Regret missing class today, and very much wish the day didn’t dictate as it did with it integral complicit contingencies and volume of steps in my house, people I didn’t know.  But it was there.  THEY, were there.  Didn’t want Alice alone.  So I stayed, called both sections, and am here now in a hotel with the sun running away and this seat, this jazz, this wine, and quiet.  No air cleaners, or people ripping tape off anything, people talking to each other about something I have no fucking clue what—  Relax.  This is the day, and the day is done and this quarter is my Now, mon espace.

Can’t believe I’m here.  Singular word for me, now, in this Now…. ‘Everything’.  I’m taking everything.  Everything used for the story—  Was just interrupted by a business call, someone tapping me for creative input for his friends’ label.  I’m flattered and inspired by the call, but as well a bit irked I was taken from my sitting.  Mr. Coltrane speaking to me through randomized note tangential.  Know the bar’s open downstairs, but I don’t want to hear any voices, not even my own.  No noise, just this room, this room, MY room.  Or at least at the moment.  The room tells me to stop writing, enjoy the view.  Then I respond, “The view is of bloody Rohnert Park.” It says nothing back.  Which means the writer/teacher/displaced daddy has to cull his next command.

Not really unpacked.  All the bags are here and I haven’t touched them since I put them all here, there, on the bed and floor and the room me makes anxious when I look up.  Empty glass, full thoughts, new notes, and this table makes a funny sound when I type now, without any justification since I plugged in laptop to wall outlet.  New Room, hotel… want to go for a walk, observe and capture all that I can.  Could go to bar and write what I hear people say.  Not have anything to drink, but merely sit, scope, scribble.  What’s left in the session, time-wise?  Not sure.  The pool behind me glows, that cinematic blue-green-white.  I have no idea what to make of it but I’d love to jump in, swim while it rains or drizzles.  Walking away and jumping into the pool could be MY statement, in this writing.


I will hit 5,000 Words. Wine shows me and tells me, educates me to focus on my “master passion”, concept I was introduced to in grad school. Education… teaching, writing and literature. It’s shoving me to follow me. Develop courses, lectures, ideas, curriculum… This year’s book, this month’s, educates me and educates anyone wanting new ideas.

Standing in line, Starbucks. Learning from everyone and everything around me. Don’t wait. Don’t plan, or at least not too much. Just act, be open, write, react… that will take you to the world, to travel, to learn more.


Time.  Why so difficult with me.  Thought we were getting along, lately.  At winery and have to be across the street for a Cabernet tasting, which I guess I’m a little excited about.. more excited to hear how others taste and what they have to say about the wines offered.  Today, sprinting toward 5,000 words.  The likelihood I won’t hit that is more than high.  It’s likely.  So, I just write whatever comes to head, this “Wine Wednesday”.  Didn’t open any of the Calluna bottles as I wanted to.  Had my eye on that Merlot, but settled for the rest of the Roth Pinot.  Can’t remember vintage.  May have been the ’14, but again… who knows.  Loud sounds on the crush pad this morning, washing a bunch of bins and tanks, I think the press (one of them) again.  And I listen from up here, not yet taken sip of winemaker coffee.

This tasting… going to settle on one word for each wine.  Yesterday to students again stressing singularity and the explosive desire of a single word.  Like for me, “Wine.” What I write about, but I write about so much more than wine, like my teaching and being a writing daddy, being Daddy, being the writer, being the tasting room person, runner (lately more of a wanna-be runner… have to get to the bloody gym).  Loud bangs from pad and then I hear the hoses spray down something.  Time running away from me.  I feel frustration compound and mount and double and triple, and fly everywhere looking to feast on my patience and composure, character composition.  Time, its seconds and minutes, hours, are like yeast chasing that sugar.  Winemakers try to keep the yeast happy, but time is cold.  Time is vicious.  Time just passes, passively— heartlessly.  So in writing about wine I can only dismiss waiting for the right moment to brandish any particular bottle, ‘cause who knows when the “right time” is.

Should get up and leave, within the next five minutes.  Would rather be there early so I can photograph the empty room, the bottles if they’re there, and whatever else.  Have a little notebook on me for such jots, my ‘vinward jots’— in the moment wine musings and deconstructions, introspections and metaphysical elections. The tasting room, have to be there in a fashion as well punctual.  Okay, so getting up.  I promise.  Right now.  “Aren’t you excited to taste wine?” You might be thinking.  Well, if you should know, no.  I’d rather write, set up for the day here.  But I’m not going to grieve, I’m not going to resist.  I’m going to fly up there and fly around the room with my vinward jots, notes, wine… stay in wine… what she says to me, what she wants me to do— realize there is no time.  Life isn’t “short”.  It passes too speedily to be measured or appreciated with simple words like “short” or “long”, “quick” or “slow”.  Life is, then it isn’t.  So while it IS, taste it all.

After tasting, I had funny descriptions in my thinking, circling and swarming and swimming rambunctiously from one continent and zone to next.  Now that I’m home, driving through rain on Chalk Hill and 101, I can collect.  Not sure how much writing I’ll be able to get done today, I mean tonight, with packing to do for hotel and how late I’ll be up.  May do it, finally.  Have that late night cup of either the cinnamon dolce stuff or the reg’ medium roast.  Either way, I need to hit 3k, for day.  At least.  But never mind word counts, I want to think of silly sayings for this, what’s in my glass now, this ’14 Lancaster Sauvignon Blanc.  OR, you know what, I don’t want to be humorous.  Not with a winery like this, a wine like this, a winery and story I’ve been following since working at the box— in that cubicle, with that goddamn headset around my skull thinking to myself, “This isn’t wine life, this isn’t wine, this isn’t me…”

Not even the slightest diminish of rile or fortitude.  Still with bright lemon and lime, melon muscle, a bravado’d acidity and coherence from initial to when she’s on your tongue.  This bottle tells more than just any story, it tells THE story of wine and what it’s like to have your wine visions materialize.  I refer to Ted Simpkins, the founder, working on the distribution side of things but really only wanting to have his own winery and name it after his family.  But okay, all factoids aside, I’ll let you in on, well, what I’m pairing it with…. Goldfish.  My babies’ goldfish snacks, the Pepperidge Farm huge pack wife emptied into the plastic container for them.  Pairs well, if you must know.  The SB’s acidity cuts right through and aligns divine wit the fishes’ texture and note composition.  I’m set in my sitting, and I have to write fast, not edit at all as once the littles are home it’s daddy mode.  Which I don’t mind at all.  This wine writer needs as much balance and Equilibrium as possible for me to see the wine world and the world with its characters, for my books and my mental pervasions.

Not sure I ate much today.  Must be why I had, just, my eighth or so handful.  The wine opens up and welcomes more fish. I hold off to think about the different styles and shapes and dictions of Cabernet in the Chalk Hill boardroom.  None of them riveted me, I have to say, confess… yes, more of a confession as I’m hesitant to write that, but that’s what wine is— honesty. I’m being candid.  My friend Robert, Master Somm’ for the Foley fold, provided more than a resplendent and telling excavation of Cabernet’s story, purpose, application.  But the wines themselves said not much to me.  But my co- workers, all around me, from all Foley properties, wit their deconstructions and verbal elucidations of the glasses’ contents.. just what I needed.  Once of my own notes, for Cabernet 6, one I could barely put to lip, “Chlorine”.  And, “rotten egg-white water”.  I know it’s indicative of either style or region, but at that point I was just enjoying language and its tussle with a particular wine.

Time runs out in my day.  Quickly, more than quickly.  It’s indignant and venomous in its passing of the writer.  Pour self another…. Don’t care if I hit 5,000 for day.  I’m taking all this delicious moment and pairing it with wine.  My kids’ goldfish.  What else do I need, does this story need?  Don’t overthink it, just sip and scribble— or in this time, type.  Vinwardly.