Clocking in. One minute late, in technical consideration and color. Having one more glass of the Dutcher Crossing ‘PR’ Cabernet. Relaxed on the floor of the Autumn Walk Studio, no kids calling, Ms. Alice asleep. I actually get time to Self— huh, imagine that. Winemaker friend of mine, about the have a baby in, well, any day now. Due date known or publicized is three days from now, but as you know if you have babies it could be any minute. He knows that. He and I joke, joked today, about being on “high alert…planes ready to scramble”, that kind of thing. So tired from day and conversations, and the goddamn obnoxious heat I not so much wish to be at the keys, but I know I have to be. Thinking about making my own wine, my own label, sipping the PR again… smoke, grit, dark fruit, chalk, espresso mud.. where are the notes from today, what people said? One lady saying, after I described the Chardonnay and its fermentation past and barreling, “SO, is malolactic another grape you put into the wine? Where do you get it?” Something like that. I bit my lower then upper lip to keep from laughing, which I know sounds arrogant but you have to understand I just find it funny. She was from Ohio, or West Tennessee er somethin’, and this was her fist tahyme wine tastin’… I just had to laugh, but internally, later explaining ML to her, and why certain California producers elect ML arrangement in Chardonnays and other don’t.
Surprised I even have the energy to write, right now, to sit here on the floor and sip this Cab and type about my day at the winery, where I took more pictures than I probably should have— this one of my brother Cass, thieving from a bbl on the top stack, a Pinot from somewhere in RRV, then pouring for all of us into our glass from the full glass he pulled. My first group of day, people from the industry, winemaking team at Lancaster, actually. Good to meet them, see Dave again, who was there when I worked there for a short short time.
I see this writer staying down here, on this first floor of the A-Walk Studio, till about 11:50-sih. Specific enough? Already made coffee for morning. Planning on a full assault of 4AM. Now, with my record, one could prognosticate I’ll stumble, lose. But who knows, maybe I’ll before wake, hit the coffee I just made, dive headfirst into it and write away, away into the day, thinking about my books and wine love and get evermore closer to the story I see for Self. “So what story do you see for yourself, Mikey?” Thought this evening, while cleaning up in the bathroom upstairs after little Kerouac’s bath, of me in a Miami hotel, looking out at the ocean, what I can see of it. Sipping some red, scribbling in my Comp Book (as I never bring the laptop when I travel), and just breathing, in some place I’ve never been.
Submitted grades. On-time. So the beslubbering dean won’t get upset— like he does any-fucking-thing… Still here on floor, waiting for student grievances to come in. I’m ready for all of them. All of them. But I don’t anticipate many coming in as I graded rather gently, and those that received more harsh evaluations entirely deserved it. Never showing on-time to class, and never submitting what I asked, just taking advantage of my kindness and liberal approach to pedagogy, general instruction, only now finding I’m quite “conservative” when it comes to my job, what I expect from students. I just expect you to be a serious student. That’s all. Really, how hard is it? Maybe this is the Cab conversing, but it’s really a reality in the educator’s life, this evaluation process and product and then the result. And it’s funny, as I’m the kindest, most liberal college teacher I know. But maybe that’s my flaw, maybe that’s my error— I need to harden, become more stringent, be orthodox like these oldtimers. But that’s not me, certainly. I don’t want to be like Ed, or John, or Terry, or any of those elders in the department. I want to be me, that fiery student-empowerment one-MAN storm.
Looking at the clock, 11:32. Not trying to be too technical at the moment. I know what Mikey’s story is.. Professor Mikey, in the class urging students to just let their voice command them, “There’s two of you,” I’ll tel them this Summer.
Again imagining that hotel room in Miami, just looking at the ocean, listening to the waves and what they say and how I write to them, listening to the pen over the hotel writing pads, at some small circular desk— sure Dad experienced that being a pilot, just some quiet time in his room writing (and I know he writes, or wrote, no fuck that he still writes, and he’s a strong writer, unfortunately a closeted writer).
Getting tired, still hungry which is weird, and I’m ready but not at all fucking ready for bed. So I drink more wine— and this Cab, like a book I read that makes me want to write more or stronger or with more control over my own language, makes me want to make wine again. And I will this vintage. Should call my new winemaking friend Nick, see what I can acquire with his aid. Want to do Merlot again, but I know the Merlot we get is from Napa and costs a shit-ton, so no. Maybe one of those odd Rhônes, like.. don’t want to type it cuz I know I’ll misspell it. I’ll make something. Maybe a white. Chardonnay. We have more of that than any other type on the estate. Yeah.. how ‘bout one bbl (barrel). No ML, no oak voice, just Chardonnay in a neutral bbl. Okay, with maybe an oak chain, or sock, or “adjunct” (hate that word, for obvious bloody cognitions. Either way, I’m making something. And now, it looks like Chard— (11:51)