05:55.  Alarm going off

at 05:15, as did Alice’s, to get her to spin class held at 6.  She did, leaving house a little over ten minutes ago I think.  Me on couch with little Kerouac.  Have entire day to Self.  What do I do?  Run.  Write.  May go to Kenwood to taste a little wine and blog and write.  Tired.. keep rubbing my eyes.  Bought coffee yesterday on grocery run, but it was decaf.  Didn’t take it back as I thought I could use it for a night capping of sorts, but I didn’t go back to get actual coffee since Jack and I were already up to bat in the checkout line.  So I try to keep self awake with typing, thinking, thinking about this book, the next book, the port I opened last night (something I hardly ever do but have been a bit lately, slowly sipping to my end-of-day inner drawings).  Think… think about day.  What can I do.. how to stay constantly productive and creative.  Money tight, and on mind, but I can’t let that puncture my mood and my optimism with having the day.

And just like that, an idea.  Not going to write it here in fears I’ll hex myself and nothing will get done.  But I found a solution, or rather heard one spoken internally.  Will start construction when the house is all to self.  But.. how do I get coffee?  No way.  Emma’s still sleeping, and Jackie’s in his jammies, as am I.  Have to be patient.  But I’m not patient.  Well, I have to be.  And you know me and patience.  Well, too bad.  Jackie tells me how excited he is to go to the hotel because he’s never been there before, but wishes I could come with them, and that he’s going to miss me.  Now my thoughts are everywhere.  Everywhere.  Have to channel, have to funnel, have to move quick.  First business order— run.  Can still feel the eight miles I did from the winery, Wednesday, but I have to get out today.  May drive to Kenwood and rather than wine-taste run the Lawndale course.  Wow… haven’t done that in some time.  Launch from Kunde or the Kenwood Market, and add a couple miles toward its end.  OR, should I run Fountaingrove, or around here?  Stop thinking about it so much.  “Trust your gut.” As Heidi Barrett told me in that ’10 interview.  Okay… well… my “gut” tells me to launch from here.  Why complicate it?  Why drive over 15 minutes to run when I can literally step outside my front door.  Done.  It comes back to patience.  Wait for the answer to present itself.

I have the whole day.  Wine writing.  The wilder the better.  Jackie gets up to use the restroom and I lift my head to see the cartoon, but I get gypped by a commercial.  Alice making it happen, with her early rise and spin class, just as she did with her tireless pursuits in landing a FT teaching gig, about to be tenured.  I will hit all items on list today, all of them— long run, 3 pages, salable writing, sell something…

from wine book

“I’m wild, unruly with my illustration.. I’m beyond flavor and your languages… I’m lit in my own syllables and scopes.”

That idea.  The one that hits you and rattles your character and inner-composition.

Finally, I felt it.  I credit the Pinot from last night, and last night’ general vertex, and the past few days at the new winery assignment, tasting through the Zinfandels yesterday, a varietal I swore I’d swear off, and that I’ve always castigated with a venom that I didn’t display even in my Chardonnay War days.  I used to say Zin was a wine idiot’s grape type.  That it was plebeian, one-dimension, deaf, loud, dumb, clunky.  But what Foley does and what I narrate from the bottles I pour and market is a precise elegance and poetic set of notes that you don’t find in Dry Creek, and certainly not in other AV producers.  So far, Foley, in my eight days of repping them has taught me more about me as a wine writer than my entire “career”, if that’s what you’d call it, in the wine industry.  For a number of reasons.  Not only the vistas and the wines, the winemaker changing careers, utterly—even after going to law school and deciding that wasn’t for her, being brave and fearless enough to universally shift momentums— but for how the presence and the new narrative from the old brand perpetuates.  No drastic boost in production, no wild alteration of visual philosophy, or the pervasive feel of the winery and brand itself.  Foley’s doing just what I’ve advised students do with their writings, for years— use what you already have.  Yes, the winemaking style has changed, but immeasurable and irrevocably for boon.  This new winery assignment is doing to my prose and wine journalism what none of the other wineries were able to—  lasting Newness, new Life, new Self-knowledge… new languages and words and thought patterns associated with wine.  Hard for me to explain, especially as the coffee begins to take its hold, and the Pinot from last night again lasts on my thought tarmac.  But the idea is here.. wine, write into and out of and back into wine’s world, Life, business, the people, the seemingly insignificant objects and actions— dish towels, act of drying glasses, by hand, each one of them, then watching someone use that glass to taste a wine for the first time and fall into some irreversible wine-love affair that will immovably shift and staple their oenological understanding.  My inner-composition, the character that can be seen writing in the corner of this Starbucks, with caffeinated jitters and twitches and swift across-the-keyboard dashes and sprints, changed.  Re-written.  And it’s only been eight days.

Wine… what else do I write about you?  I think this, a lot, actually.  Why?  ‘Cause wine’s very much a mystery, a codified myriad.  I want it to stay that way.  Why would I want to know everything?  Why wouldn’t I want wine to be intriguing and provocative, something to interact with and get to know better?  I look through one of my journals, the “Carpe”, see some jots from a couple weeks ago where I say.. “dark sexy vampire seductress, enveloping me in her new language, something Plath-like, assuring me that life is to be treasured and taken slow, enjoy every moment.” I’m not saying that this is how wine writers and journalists should write about wine, but it’s how I do.  And, I will say, that wine is much more deserving of intimacy than just a banal, proletarian monolith of “descriptors”.  I’ve never understood that, as I wrote earlier.  Wine deserves conversation, intimacy like I said.. the genuine, the truthful, the personal.  It needs you, and you it, if you’re ever to even remotely “know” wine.

And on with the day this writer goes, refusing to get tired or slow, or even miss a singular step.  Walking around the new winery, finding that graveyard with a co-worker.  Or, me finding it from he, Nic, taking me there.  I couldn’t ignore the obvious contrast and lecture from the moment, education new for me in the immediate juxtaposition of life, death, back to death against then back out to life with the vineyards, this vintage, settling into its life.  Life is short, wine reminds us.  And that walk between and around the stones urged me to be more wild with my wine writings.  When I first started to receive recognition, or mild praise for my wine writing, a radio guy called my blog posts “wild wine writings”.  It’s never left me.  And since lecturing on HST last semester, and a couple terms before that, I have to be crazier with my wine words.  Do what my sister-in-law ordered back in ’09… write about wine.  Only about wine.  I may stray for a bit, but I’ll always come back to the juice, to the Pinot I last night glass-tipped, to the Merlot I had in San Ramon back in ’02 which started me on a casked path off which I never want to hop.

from wine book

Sit.  Coffee.  Ahead of clock-in time, which I set for set at 08:20.  Last night’s wine still on thoughts, like a storm just hovering over some already-drenched village or enclave.  But here I am, a day off which I’m using for work, of course.  The work I one day will ONLY be engaged in.  Today I show people I’m a tireless writer, the papa of all bloggers.  Material everywhere— young woman to right, doing some kind of math homework or assignment or probably final as it’s the last week of term, with her TI-whatever calculator out, here head going back and forth, as mine does internally with the ‘SLH’ Pinot.  What was that note?  Talk about a singular address as I’m always trying to stress to students…what was it?  Wild herbs?  Licorice?  But then later transmogrifying into maple or some caramelized berry, then back to that herb or wild standing-in-a-field-like tone.  I watch people walk in and out of this room, waiting for their coffee or mixed madnesses of choice.  New visitor, young lady with her daughter, daughter climbing all over the chair.  Can’t hear what they’re saying, listening to Hutchinson, but I heard daughter say “This!” What, I wonder.  Now they leave, she carefully climbing down from the chair, carrying her book which in multiple colors on the front, each letter a different chromatic form, spelling ‘PIANO’.  She looked a little young for lessons, but then what is too young?

Too old, I feel, sometimes, to have these dreams, these visions of me traveling, talking about writing, wine, blogging, creative.  But how can I let the father of my babies think that?  Looking at the time, still before clock-in.  I have plenty of time, plenty.  And I’m not old.  Or, not as old as I think.  Sip the coffee again and let the wave ride, or let the ride carry me to whatever with wine.  May go tasting tomorrow, somewhere I’ve never been with my second day to self.  Wine is about learning, I’m seeing more and more, and exploring, finding what speaks to you—  “Write only about wine.” I tell myself.  So I have to search more, like Ray and Japhy, climbing mountains and just seeing what’s out there.  That’s the only way to know wine, and even then you may not “know” it.  Just a romantic partnership, or some elevated accord or collusion.  Write about wine, write about wine…. What was that note last night?  Am I looking for a descriptor?  Well, I guess.  Maybe.  But I hate that word.  Such a pseudo-wine journalist speak.  I don’t want to sound like them, but like me, actually.  So was it an herb I’m unfamiliar with, or some flower, some foliage?—  Dried Oregon leaves, branches with clay soil-powder doused in raspberry swaths.  What?  That’s the thing, I don’t know.  With wine, you don’t always need to know.  You know?  Now I’m just having my fun, post-Pinot night.  Going to break from wine for the night, maybe.  Just let myself simmer and stir, quake in wined ideation.

Read somewhere that today is “National Wine Day”.  Huh, I thought.  So what do I do in reflection and code of such call?  Write about wine.  Weird, illusionary descriptions and personifications, thoughts and connections.  Whenever I go to a tasting room and the wine’s poured, then s/he just lists notes, I always wonder, “What?  Am I SUPPOSED to be tasting that, or is that something I might pick up?” Example: Woman pours me some Rosé a couple years ago, in Kenwood, small tasting room, says, “Here’s our Rosé of Sangiovese… cherry, mint, white pepper, lavender, floral, waxy…” And then she stopped.  “Waxy?” I thought.  What does that mean.  And what am I supposed to do with all that stuff you just said?  No one else was in the room, and I know her, have known her, for years…. And she knows I’m ‘industry’.  Why did she recite the script?  And even if we didn’t know each other and I wasn’t ‘industry’.. even if I was in horrible need of “wine education” (a phrase which I think is a king joke of jokey-jokes), why couldn’t she just talk to me?  Pour me the wine, then ask, “So how’ve you been?” Or if she didn’t know me, “So where are you from?” Or, “So how’s your day goin’?” Why the obsession with these grocery list “descriptions”, which aren’t bloody descriptive at all?—  Then I’m hit… forget the note in the Pinot from last night.  Who cares what it is… what did the wine say to you, Mikey?  …. “Wildness, electric forms and directions to unknown cosmos, calculating without numbers, traveling and on my own exodus to redefine Pinot Noir, Burgundian perception…”


Self-note: Before walking out the door, remind yourself of the utter amazingness you’re definitely capable of.

Easy drop off for babies, now at red light on way to treat self to a mocha.  Woke in a bit of a mood, but I’m capable of anything, so I am going to be in the road soon, reading my work, sharing ideas.

In line now for coffee, and of course its long.  Everyone here for the same thing– that fix.  Caffeine, whatever form it takes.  People here with their kids, I just want quiet so I brought my headphones so I can have some playlist drown this all far away and out.

Drink ordered now waiting.  Anyone who knows me knows I hate waiting.  But that’s part of my general re-write of character– patience.  More patience exercised.  Like Dad had always said, “You’re not always gonna go from zero to sixty.” So, I wait.  Man with his coughing daughter waiting, left.  She says something to him about the cookies she saw in the glass display.  I’m out the door, and building as I go.  The whole day writing, educating… EDUCATION.  This is all a compounded education set of measures and chords and melodies.

Seated with mocha.  They got it wrong the first time, not having it non-fat as I ordered.  But here I am, tired from yesterday’s 8-mile run, and wanting to run again somehow tonight.  How can I do that?  How WILL I make that happen?  First couple sips of the mocha, very much helping.  Trying to eliminate distraction around me, but it’s harder than I thought.  Should leave… this writing scene doesn’t feel like one meant for me.

‘Nother note: Know when to stop, when to re-start, when to re-write.  Know such is integral to the creative.

Now home, sipping the Santa Lucia Pinot I bought from Bottle Barn on the way home.  Needed something new to interact with and write about.  Finding I’m easier to bore with wine, nowadays.  Not sure that’s a boon, or maybe it is— always wanting new worlds and material addresses to deconstruct or at least converse with.  The Hahn, this Santa Lucia, more herbaceous when first opened and now such a note morphs to caramelized some-fruit.  What.. raspberry?  Cherry-bacon?  What the hell is that?  Had a perforating understanding today behind the bar while looking down at those old vines on that property, that… not sure how to phrase it… well, that I need to only write about wine.  And in my own way.  Follow my sister-in-law’s advice from years ago.  Back in ’09 is when she advised I start a blog, about wine.  I did, but keep changing my nexus— “OH, I want to write about fitness…” or “I should write about parenting.” Or, I should just write about education, ‘cause I’m a teacher.  Well, no.  I’m a writer, ever before I’m a bloody “teacher”.  And I love wine’s progression, the difference in a single lot, plot, vineyard block year to year.  This Pinot reminds me that I need to quell all doubts or reservations, or double-takes.  I’m a wine writer, maybe even journalist.  Period.  There… more coherence to its code and conversation with my senses, demanding I be the like as a manuscript molder.  No more teaching… no more settling.  Write wine.  Fuck it… re-write entire industry.  Okay—  I will.  I’m more than capable of such.  I now I am.  Tonight.. read.  Some HST.. Kerouac, Plath… Coelho.  Quotes I’ve collected over the years.

Learning from another me.. the forward-Mike.