a fanged mood already. You know why, you know and you know me and you know it would fracture my mood, either slightly or significantly, that review. Mendo. I’ll specify, why not, what do I have to lose at this point. Downstairs in dark, mouth dry from the Zin last night and ales that encircled. A problem with my writing that can’t be overlooked, lashings from a full-timer, a teacher, how much a writer be he I wonder. If any point to be remembered or relished in this transaction it’s this: the writing has to happen NOW. No more of this delay and play with certain methods and recipes or tricks– it has to be this. And, as my wife said quite starkly last night after Mom and Dad left, “so who cares?” She’s right. I’m not teaching there next semester or ever a-bloody-gain and it’s Mendocino… Mendocino College. In Ukiah. Ukiah. Where’s that? I’m a writer, my own Beat has been carved at this old age 35 and I’m not budging or compromising. My teaching’s fine, okay, but my writing cited? I can only laugh, in the dark here with this Sahara tongue. Water, that Perrier that Alice bought, wonderful– I’m sharpened and I have to be and with thicker skin like Kerouac with people reviewing his words his books and sharings. I guess why I’m bothered is ‘cause I’m tired at this age; tired of being reviewed and approved and applying and the back-and-forth and the commuting and the trying. “So stop it, stop it all,” a voice says, probably one of my characters from the novel, either Glenn or Dav, or Crystal the winemaker. And like my sister once told me, “if you second-guess yourself you’ll never make wine.” Or never write which is what I was drawn, my character, Mike Madigan, to do. Would I want to be him, I ask myself, the full-timer that gave the review, be a full-time English teacher at a removed and obscure college that’s known for…? No. Now, if this review came from SSU, or SRJC, or even Napa when I taught there, I’d have reason to be even more hungover than I am, but this is silly– I would deplore that role and reality, a teacher there. “That’s where I teach,” I can’t hear myself say. “I write, I self-published a novel and am selling it.. I wrote it how I write not how I think it’d sell, or it should be written.” There I am, me… And then further into this dream I add, “And I lead a fiction seminar at Stanford.” Ha ha, I reel to myself. I know what I want and this, that school, isn’t part of it. So he can sip his self-indulgent defamation and entitled mumbles up there in the mountains, on that campus that barely outsizes this condo complex.
Tried going back to sleep but couldn’t. Yesterday, more than crazy at winery. More of that crazy you’d expect from a rainy day where the only alternative’s to taste inside. Wrote down one line, from a guest, not sure where he was from and I overheard him say this to Gary who was pouring right next to me at day’s end, for a little over and hour and a half: “Old vine Zins always taste too incense-y to me.” Funny thing, I somewhat agree with him and understand his idea, so what did I write it down? I’ve never heard it put that way with those words before– well that and I didn’t write anything the whole shift into my little pages so I thought I should scribble something. I poured my people the ’11 Cab and turned around, brandished the little pages and used the back bar for support.
Wonder what Mr. Dav is doing. Still haven’t sent him that letter. I’ll print it tomorrow at Mendo and send it from SRJC’s base. Keep typing, I tell myself down here, keep typing. 6:45, and I hear Jackie upstairs, coughing a little and saying something to Alice who’s probably only wanting to sleep, poor thing. Going up to rescue her and him and further distract myself this morning. That review of my teaching or writing, now far past my care, gone into some sewer of dismissed ideas where it certainly belongs. And when we meeting, this reviewer and I, I’ll be silent, no comments, I won’t waste my words or respiration or time. I’ll just nod and tune out and leave. And, frankly, I have to get to SRJC so he only has so much time anyway. As much as I permit and budget.
Jack and I now, on the couch, Alice sleeping upstairs. I’ll make sure she rests till 8. She told me that he was kicking and nudging her all night, my poor wife. I’m sipping the only k-cup I had left. Well, I have those decaf doses but those are worthless at this hour, or any hour other than those close to bed. This coffee bouncing in my rhythms, just what I needed.
I just looked at the evaluation again and it’s just plainly droll, dull, and just what I wanted now that I see my students highly approve of my performance, in fact he himself even noted that my student evals are “exceptional”, and that most obviously means more to a writer like me than what some full-timer documents from having to. My students’ approval has value. His thoughts are just part of a machine, a track, an intoxicant that he’ll probably read to himself and show off to the other FT-er hogs. “Look what I did…” Pig.
Miss the rain. Want it to come back and I want my little boy’s cold or sniffle set or whatever afflicts him to just bloody fly away. Now he plays on the ground with a small colony of coins he took from me; everything, pennies nickels dimes even quarters. He won’t give them back, “My money!” he reminds me. This is what matters, him, my little Artists, and my students; that they’re pleased with my lessons and the ideas that I offer.
I need more coffee and more time to write, prep for tomorrow. I know how tomorrow will be approached, just how, Mendo will be conducted slightly differently, meaning I will have my students there enjoy their session with even thicker pleasure entanglements both in idea and expression and the reading– and with Hemingway on the platter now.. we have only the fruitful ahead of us. I’ll wake tomorrow morning, I’m hoping, when my mother-in-law does, before 5. I’ve always admired that about her. I’ll try to run tonight, just five miles, which means NO tasting today. Nothing. I’ll let the guests tell me how it tastes and what characters and notes they encounter in the wine.
Jackie continues to throw two footballs at me, one small, which he calls the baby, and the other which is ‘dada’. He laughs and stresses about nothing, bothered by nothing, just enjoys his morning around me while I type and record whatever I can to make myself feel like a writer. When Alice wakes I’ll go get us coffees and then come back to shower. I’m realizing that the music in my life is everywhere and that’s where the truth and gems are. Not in the routine and the documented and the official.
IDEA: write a short piece, three pages, and distribute to SRJC colleagues.. no selling, just promo, sharing, for Art’s love, Life– and I know what to do, what to write, about what.. that eval from that gudgeon full-timer only convinced me that I’m a writer, one who will by the pen his way, and won’t be in the adjunct role or anything stricture-bound or pinned by any document. I’m on and in my own Beat. No more being beaten.