I returned to lecture writing but in a different vein and with different speed. I just binged, on words, and no music to accompany. I needed to be focused this morning if I ever wanted to see the world and free myself from all the bullshit– just yesterday, seeing that aged and worn adjunct woman at the other campus, probably early fifties and teaching six classes. I could tell she was unhappy and disgruntled but too exhausted to express it and that’s what brings me here.. to this morning and my cognition now. I’m swinging from the pendulum and I refuse to fall. If I fall then They win. Then I wonder, what kind of novel would this make? How long would it take to finish? And would anyone care? Do I have to write mainstream? And that blog I want to continue, what can I do with that? Al questions from someone like me, nearing late 30s and wondering what, what next and what how and what what, what with everything.
Have to be at the winery in a little over two hours, so I don’t have all the time in the world to think or overthink this. And if this is an inclass essay as I have students do, what’s my argument? What’s the centrality to this character sitting on this couch and collecting himself in paragraph, a paragraph stream? That I’m done. Fed up with the bullshit. The scams. And that’s what the adjunct echo is, and for Them.. 75% of all teachers at the college– well, you know. But let them win, I now think. Focus on this writing, of the lectures and this novel, if that’s what you want to call it. So what’s the novel about? Not adjuncting, not teaching, and not writing, but wine, winemaking, a former teacher starting his life over in his early 40s to pursue winemaking and everything about it. Have his own label and sell and travel with his own bottles; small production, maybe 5k, and not a bloody bottle more. And the wine would convey his new freedom and views on life and just to have fun, not let in the negative, the stress. Wine is supposed to be freeing, is it not? Today at work, take notes, on everything, from where the pens and pencils and markers are by the register to how the bottles are arranged on the counter to how the clouds look above the small Pinot vineyard of 3 clones.
I’d start building today, the future I want and the days I want and the ‘career’ I need to have for sanity. I thought yesterday, after seeing that disheveled and aged adjunct woman, “How much longer can I do this?” And, quite bluntly, “Is this fun?” Everyone expects me to teach and to follow what I went to school for, but as my grandmother told me right before she died, “It’s YOUR life…you have YOUR choice.” And here I am, with Grandma’s idea in my lap. And I choose to re-build. To build the writing and lecturing life– I lecture on these novels and books and shorts and whatever other form’s in the day’s plan.. why not my own book? Why not my own novel? And about something fun. Wine. Wine is fun. And as Susie Selby says (a winemaking friend of my sister’s): “Wine is Life.” So here I go into a new story.. but where to start. How ‘bout with today, with the hours ahead of me behind the bar and with those bottles. Opened a Pinot last night and it had nothing like the bottled life I pour in the Room. I have to consider wine as it’s own entity, yes, a bit independent of the sipper just as Literature is apart from its Creator, and reader, but if I don’t find it pleasing or coherent, or convincing, then what? I’ll figure it out. My character will figure it out.
I’ll write the novel in a series of short but punctuating sketches. And I’ll have wine and wine in the glass be the commanding image. Not the people sipping. The reaction, not so much. Just the image of the wine in the glass before it’s sipped. Many times, I feel, it’s the sipper who detracts from the omnipotence of wine with their reaction. “But wine’s meant to be sipped,” you’ll say. Yeah, I know. But like with Art, you have expression on a wall, someone’s life and effort, and Time which we all know to pass us heartlessly and evaporate before it’s splashed. But then we simplify it by speaking, by becoming self-indulgent, wanting to be seen as wine experts, or “connoisseurs”, or “aficionados”. Why the fluffy tag? Again, I’m overthinking, so I move on, onto the coffee.. don’t want to rise from this couch as it’ll break the binge, but I have to, it’s part of the story and whatever the story commands I do.
Now sipping my coffee, typing madly. Taking the Kerouac thoughts and initiatives from my lectures and having it push me forward, away from the other winery, my old wine life and into this new one with promise and my own projects and this new story. And I don’t need a PhD for this. I don’t even need my Master’s for this. And the schooling and everything I’ve studied, apparently just a sticker on my CV– and that ‘CV’, what does that do for me? There is no Adjunct War, and there won’t be, ever, only fun, joy, and exploration, me seeing the world like one of my students now who studies and works in India, on Public Health projects and some community management in that regard, as well, I believe. Amber, if I haven’t told you her name before, which maybe I have but I’m in such a whirl now I can barely summon past tellings. She, now with her Newness, living MADLY.. I need to start a word list, concepts that dominate me and my projects, and I’ll be about the world soon like Amber with my thoughts, lectures maybe, on wine, on Literature, on Writing, on Writing Literature wrapped and rapt in Wine. Imagine the union of my past world and this new one, I think. I imagine now, me, like Amber, in streets thousands of measures from this couch, from Livermore, seeing lightening in the sky knowing the clouds are speaking directly to me, lecturing, pushing me to mold further in my new madness. Crazy in my Story’s continuation, craving all elements and characters and dishes; scents, colors, contrasts, crosswalks, all of it.
Not looking at the clock as I usually do ‘cause I’m too busy enjoying this morning, like that morning weeks ago with the breakfast sandwich, where I knew something was different but not what, poignantly. Now it’s been asserted: enough. Done. No more waiting. Just taking. Just traveling. Seeing the entire world and writing about the travels a this New Adjunct, one speaking about Literature in his own octave, no papers to grade, just the Road, autonomy, writing, noting, no order only beauty and that’s my new Life recipe. “Wellness”, as a new writer friend I met in the tasting Room explores, blogs about. Phoebe, her name, based in NYC, younger than me, and living, truly living, no papers to grade, no scheduled classes, no rummaging for sections having to call into the department office at some ridiculous time and when you do you’re told to call back in five minutes, “They’re still with someone, Mike…”, goddamnit! No, Phoebe lives, establishes her own Wellness and writes what she wishes, has her focus, that she chose, like Amber. And here I am, nearing 36, exhausted, venomous, embittered and pugilistic. But I snap out of it this morning with my own spell. Coffee nearly gone so I need more, I have to keep with this morning’s binge. What are the other adjuncts doing, but driving to three campuses, like the lady yesterday, telling me she lectures at DVC, CSUEB, and a class one day a week at USF– which sounds prestigious, or accomplished, and I guess it is, but THEY know that, They know we’d think that! All that driving.. I’ve done it before but no more. Wonder what that section at USF is. Humanities-something, but what. I bet USF called her with this tone over phone waves, like “She’ll be so honored to get this one class,” or “I’m giving you the opportunity of a lifetime… you should be thankful.” I know one of those thoughts trampled in the caller’s head. And I bet is was some PHD or dept moldbrain in between classes, in their cozy fucking office. But, ha, I’m hip to the scam, and I’m done. No more. I’m headed to Paris, to India, to Africa, Spain, Ireland, New York….. The Moon if I want! That’s how free I am now, now that I see everything, and that I’m not at the old winery.
I just looked at the clock and I’m running out of clock ticks and tocks but I keep with it anyway, knowing I want my character to make only three wine types: SB, Syrah, and Cab. That’s it. And she, or he, I’m thinking SHE, will have a production strategy delivering not only story but the winemaker’s relationship with the grapes that come in. I one time talked to my sister about winemaking and superstition, and she said it’s not that uncommon, and it’s not silly. The winemaker, like the writer, has to have their comfort zone, and not avoid it but embrace, as that’s where you Create the genius works. And don’t doubt yourself: “If you doubt yourself you’ll never make wine,” K said. I interpreted this in a number of facets, now most immediately with my morning, this new morning and this novel idea and lecturing on Literature around the globe, and maybe a bit about my approach to wine. Newness, the Madness that will forever benefit my career and Life, my character and who I want to be. My ‘Mike-mirepoix’.
So today, when I sip, write down everything that comes to sight, senses, and be MAD with my consideration. Not simplistic! Be animated! Write a lecture for each wine! Why not? This can only build my intrigue and Life and get me closer to that Wellness. If I would have or were to chase the PHD, I’d be lowered, sickened, and even more degraded and devalued than I already am as an adjunct. So no. No, I’m forwarded in a new song, and ‘reborn’ isn’t the term I should have fostered but more so ‘supplemented’, as if by a food or a nutrient.. WELLNESS, as Phoebe writes. And the day is off, this new Me, this new story, this novel of what I’m to build from this first day. Should I blog about it, do a ‘Day 1, Day 2, Day 3’ thing? I don’t know. It may keep me on track. But I hate blogs. Maybe that should change, too. Yes, it does, starting now this morning right here on the couch I’m so frenzied in my typing that I have no time for punctuation and I’m beginning to wonder if I even need that THIRD cup.
Imagine complete Wellness, I am, I am, and the travels, taking pictures. I’ll bring my camera to the winery today, take pictures, and hopefully the clouds will burn off and more light will be let, but maybe the shade and cover will help with the images I catch– tangent I know but that’s what I’m thinking about: a photojournal, a photoblog, something to pocket every bit of the moment I can, and why not with words and images? That’s what wineries do, or try to do. The pictures aren’t bad but the prose, or “copy”, is always abhorrent, vehemently vile in all scales and chords. That won’t be me with my work, with what takes me to the travels, and to those hotels, rooms from which I write and wonder and entertain what the Story holds for me next. And this will be not a job, but, simply, Life. My life. No more jobs. Nothing more that doesn’t entail full, unfettered passion. This, now, my new way, and my new degree. What I see this morning and what I learned about my SELF holds immeasurably more value that any PhD. I won’t be her, between three campuses. I won’t be him, the tasting room director, or manager, or whatever they called him at the last winery, in my late 60s, miserable, and always having to order people around while I sit in my office popping pain pills. No… I’m alive, I’m a story, writing a story, watching a story itself write. So…