Something. Is it a feeling. What is it. Look at me. I can barely write. Am I writing now, here in home, lone, listening to Coltrane as I do so often and thinking and thinking to despicable overthought trot. Receipts next to me I told myself I’d log to inventory somehow, but no…. Dream last night about helping someone write a birthday poem for a friend. I said something off the top of head and the person liked it. She told me to write it down, a co-worker at Sonic, handed me her notepad. More book than pad. Saw how much she’d written in days recent. Everything. Literally everything that happened that day and everyday before that was documented. Everything from putting money in her wallet for the day, logging that she bought a bottle of water from the snack shop in the building, everything. Not sure if I got around to writing down what I recited for her, so taken by what she wrote.
Now, I write. Or try. What’s with me, lately. And my writing. What’s holding me, stopping, stalling me. Have to figure this out, crack whatever code this is or cut through this fog before 40. Goddamn that number. Forget about it, I tell myself. Don’t think, just write, I tell myself. Just like one of the students in my class. The would-be scholars that come into my class, classes, hoping to be better writers. How’s their instructor, though? I’m writing, now. Early in morning, day of daylight savings. Would be 09:20, but I have 08…. Feel like a warrior, now, taking back my territory, ground, land. Still having trouble writing, typing. The jazz helps. Nothing more I want than this, this right here, establishing whatever legend or story for self I can. On writing. On life. On happiness and singularity. All of it. Just writing freely and not looking for any kind of synonym stream or beaming, shiny words to make my prose sound like anything else but me.
What do I write— My surroundings. So now, here in kitchen with no kids, wife, just these typing fingertips desperate for a story and some direction of something, something that…. Thought of taking pictures, of any nearby vineyard. But no. I’m not a photog. I’m a writer— A writer who does like to take pictures, yes, but a writer who has plenty of pictures he hasn’t used, of vineyards and other realities and scenes, things and people, so many somethings not yet put to blog or page or given a set of words, or even an acronym.
Kids clothes, pull-ups for daughter, coupon, a bag for something, headphones and a pen, more receipts, a mocha with 4 mighty espresso knocks in it. I’m here, present in the kitchen presenting my now-self to a later self, hoping that that punctuates a solid sense of self. Mood, in a one of those shapes of determined and eased confirmation. Who I am and what I’m doing. This started this morning, soon as I woke. I knew, I knew that narrative and personal essay were calling, and I thought of my story…. All the jobs I’ve had. How sometimes I’m embarrassed by such while others entirely proud and joyous as that’s what’s made me, me. From the grocery store, to the music story, while in college working in that office for can’t remember what it was, a medical something company that came to your house I think and took blood…. To the wine world. The wine world. The story always comes back to that, to them. Told a friend the other day that the only tasting room I’ll ever again set foot in will be my own. True, last night I thought sipping the St. Francis Syrah here in home before dinner out. Wine… wine…. Could write about that in only so many ways, then I think that’s the only thing I should be writing about. That’s the singularity, that’s the happiness. That’s where I write, that’s where I find self. I don’t know… this is a different morning for me as a writer.
Tell self to wash hands of anything stalling me, stopping me, putting up some kind of wall. All the praise and good write-ups I get for being a professor, or instructor, louden that. Be active from that. I know I’m using a lot of ‘I’ in this entry, but I’m just getting started. Let me warm up a bit. It’s morning 1. Of how many? Don’t know yet. I don’t quite know where this is going. I’m not meant to. I just don’t want to be one of those wishing writers after age 40, or even at that age.
Was near distracted by those receipts, off to left. To crumble them up and toss them in trash. No, I told myself. Stay where you are. Write. Write more. Never be not-writing. Keep with your composition keep and streak. Only 08:32, thank whatever. I need time. I need this time, time to just be with self, to write, to see where this project, or idea, yet another project or idea is going. Just see where it’s going, where it’ll take you. You only have to move, see what happens next. Knowing answers isn’t the objective. Explorations is. Just seeing, wandering, meandering, soaring and not moving wings too much. Let yourself be careless, free, free in the new freeness you’ve discovered.
Thinking of more Newness to embrace. That’s an aim that should be pursued. If you don’t know what to write, or what to create, what to do, just make sure you’re moving. You’ll find something, something. And if it takes a while then it takes a while. Enjoy the journey, enjoy the exploration, enjoy the enjoyment of you decided to move in a decided direction. Receipts crumbled and tossed into trash. Now more typed movement to this track. More New, Newness I can’t let slide or skip away from me. Teaching self to write and read, completely and wholly over again. Thinking of jobs again, then forgetting them as soon as they surfaced. While swim around in past tides where there’s a new one right in front of me. I see where I’m going…. Have always seen, but always been distracted.
Then maybe you put something in cellar.
More than a discernible thing.
See and understand.
Feel and fall.
Into more questions and exploration.
I last night opened. Dinner done, and I’m in euphoric diarist skips, missing no riffs or dips into meditation and recognition, reflection. Coltrane gets Sentimental on me, again. And I on this page, perorating and placating my own sense, thinking of the mornings I’d get to Windsor early, that Starbucks on whatever street, writing before a long day in the tasting room. I look down at that glass and think about my wined past. I take a picture with my phone but don’t sip. Just stare. Me in a tasting room, no more. Out over two months. Two months. Told and old friend that the next tasting room I work in will be one I own, and by appointment. And how amazing and atmospherically rewarding that will be. Doing so for the love. Love of wine. Love of people that love wine. If I’m in the red, or not making money, I don’t care. That’s not why I opened my tasting room, or lounge, or wine room. Label. Wine… my topic. Still. Harvest still verity much in muscle at Roth, my last winery. More than however-many hundred tons that still have yet to land. How is that possible, here at the end of October? That’s not wine, to me. Over-production. Wine ought be small lot, art, expressions and voice, character and personification. I see wine and intimate. Some want to make money. Lots of fucking money. I do, too. But not at the expense of soul.
Need this. Wine and jazz. Poetry and me. Home. Wine. Merlot, the character that pulled me closer to wine overture and angst cure— composition expanded and remanded, new thought-lots landed. I sip soon, hear daughter upstairs cough in sleep. Have to run in morning, 4am. If not, I hope for death. Just looking at the glass, wine tells me think of all the dreams materialized and realized I’ve seen in my wine life, emblematic and symbolic of possibility’s promise. What can happen and will happen if you will the happening of it all, the story and narrative and music— each note.
Didn’t think I’d make it over 1000 words, today. Maybe I will. Or won’t. Not. Coltrane has me playing alongside his notes, the night speaking to me with kids upstairs in their sleep. I’m not stopping ever, for anything, no matter what kind of threat or deadline looms or lets, gets, sets. Sometimes when others talk I wonder if they hear themselves talking, and never stopping to let others contribute to discussion— just robotic repeat-puppets, dogs, pigs, ones professing something they’re taught to profess. Nothing in mind specific, really. Or, yes. So much in the industry, I guess. A wine sales organization, or just an organization. Not so much concerned with sales delivery or craft, practice, just the numbers. And certainly not wine. I look down at my glass and it’s so transcendent and matchless, visually, to me, now, that I stop. Hate the industry for what it does to so many loving wine.
Well, I’m in love now. Right now. With this saxophone, the Merlot, my throws to images and poetry, the now of it all in my home with my family. All concluded and composed. I’ll sip soon. See what happens, in each note.
End of day, nearing. Sunday. Day with kids, wife, no time to write. Own fault. Woke later than desired. So I have now. These words and a couple sentences paired with cheese, turkey, some Sauvignon Blanc. Not as cold as I’d like, but I knew that when I pulled it from the closet.
Have eyes on early run, tomorrow. 4am rise then on belt by 4:20 at latest. Wanting more before I’m 40. Get into office, travel, and whatever I wrote in the Sonic journal the other day in terms of aim. I started a list, the last of its kind I vowed.
Wine… definitely part of the grand vision. My label. Watching others’ reactions when sipping on some trip. Just had a thought, consolidation-focused. Putting all these wined thoughts to book. How wine’s to credit for forwarding me in my career and wine story.
Also opened a Cab, but will only have that with dinner, this flatbread pizza we’re all going to make together. My son today assembling fully his Lego Batman vehicle that I bought him today on a trip to Best Buy to scope something for my eventual office, in one sitting. I was astonished by his dedication and feeling a bit envious of his devotion to that toy, how he stayed on the floor and even when miffed or perturbed he remained with legs crossed or on knees in his deeds. He has a standalone project, done, finished, for display, in less than one-tenth a day.
I leave the house. Come to downtown Santa Rosa, to Beer Baron. A place I’ve only been once. Ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, one I’ve never had before and don’t think beyond that. Just enjoying this whim, this sudden cruise downtown. Not sure where the direction of the writing’s going, and I don’t need know. To the characters I was thinking of in the tasting room. Yes…. The two that are behind the bar and want to get out of the industry, starting their own wine gallery. That’s what they call it at first…. I came here just for this, for new ideas and brainstorming, not be at the drawing board but to draw a board of ideas.
All this before class. All of it, of this, my new stories and wine thoughts, wines I’ve tasted recently, yesterday with the St. Francis Chardonnay then some Kobler Viognier when home. Everything in the pages, on them, constituting them.
This place, a serious bar more than a restaurant or any wine bar I could see myself opening. Earlier thinking of self as failed in some wine aims and dreams. As the waitress just now puts down the glass, I find I’m not in any way “failed”. Have I even really started? What if this could be my office, everyday, I think. Come here and work from noon to whenever. Why not.
I stare at the Sauvignon Blanc for a bit before smelling it, and much before tasting. I let it be a symbol, a reminder of wine’s life in my life, its presence and my past and present, all futures. I won’t let self take a sip just yet, but rather draw my characters at their winery, at day’s end, having a glass of Pinot on the patio. They talk about just going for it. Saving whatever they have saved and putting it into some wine business. A brokerage, they think.
But then I as the writer put the idea on hold and think of how I’ll approach them, this story. Their stories. The wine story coupled with their stories and mine. I stop everything and focus on them, Jane and Elly. Jane out from somewhere in the midwest, always wanting to work in the wine industry, years ago and now here and tired of being tasting room locked. Elly, from San Francisco leaving her corporate corner to be in wine’s everything. She’s worked two harvests, then to tasting room as production for some reason just wasn’t her thing. She knew why, and didn’t know why. She loves the winemaking process of course and everything that goes into harvesting and fermentation, barreling-down lots and pressing, even the shoveling of tanks. But the people in the tasting room and the words they’d say, the interactions with people, called to her and wouldn’t let her ignore.
I take my first sip of the SB and focus on me writing, what brought me here. Then the two characters. What we all have in common. They of course, or maybe not so obviously younger than me. I keep writing. Till this is the ONLY thing I do. Writing about writing and people and what they do for work. How work and our jobs, labor, determines so much of our character and how we estimate the world around us.
Think today is the day I finally killed overthought. I’m not editing, or measuring, forecasting or worrying about how anything I write, type, is perceived. I’m just moving and not allowing any stationary sets for this writer or any of his characters. The two girls start a website, for anyone coming to wine country. They see themselves as fashionable intel, something to make people more pleased with their choice to come to Sonoma County much the way I’m please with my election to come here and write. Relax before class. See me in business with son and daughter, eventually. I quit the wine industry but am very much back in it on my own accord and set of terms, rules, and I guess some regulatory rattle.
Second sip. Such real and truthful tropical body and bravado. Nothing invasive or excessively aggressive. This is a character that has me more into my characters and these new characters I’m writing. I return to them and what they want, what would make them happy, what in wine they want to grow toward. What do I want to be, grow toward. Wine, travel, speaking on wine both metaphorically and immediately. Tonight, open something new. Study it. Let wine dictate my own fate, give me direction and more introspection. Tempted to take the night off from class. No. Use it as speaking practice. Not practice at all, the second sip says, and I sipped minutes ago. Can still feel that tropical shock and rush, set of steps.
I pick up the glass and nose what remains, which is a good two sips I’m guessing. 40 next year. That’s where my head is. And then what. Maybe I’ve overthinking that as well. Sure I am. Look at the wine, focus on it… wine writer and journalist, one who actually writes and journals and doesn’t just take a blare of ridiculous shots of himself and other wine “experts” or “writers”. Glass up again, sip…. Follow the stories, MY story. Don’t think at all. Just write. What I tell the students, every semester.
Talking about writing, tonight. That’s it. Beyond simple argument, or any attempt to persuade which was the chapter they had to read in that “Prose Reader”. Or maybe that’s singularly what I should discuss. I think about taking notes, but the wine says no. Be in the moment. Or be above the moment, flying and hovering above simple time and whatever that clock reads, dictates.
Finding that when you write down ideas, they speak back. They instruct you on possibility and presence. They talk back, love back, write back. Thank fun to the Story, and everything, LIFE, for today. For the embrace and blind subscription to whim. To not sink into overthink. To blog and jot against any overthought.
With he glass done, I slow. Thank of the walk yesterday with my son in the vineyard and showing him the remaining clusters on the canes. I had him taste a couple…. I thought of us, in business, how our visions of our company will differ and will be surprisingly in some places identical. All this from wine. Thinking of wine, living wine, writing wine. Wine writing me, since my first day in the St. Francis tasting room, 2006.
Has me in a thought train and throw of a certain sow.