4/1/20, Wednesday

8:23am

Up, and already having sent emails to director and prospect, then to Wednesday 1B students.  Kids are up, calm… for the most part.  Hoping to get out on another run today.  Don’t care if it’s short or not, just 4 or more miles.  What stopped me yesterday was that goddamn hoodie and the lower-back tightness.  Have to stretch more.

Slept in today, till about 7:20-something.  Sipping coffee, and I’m telling myself that I won’t get a latte but I’m sure I will.  Something about that cinnamon and whip cream harmony that just makes it, well, harmonious.  I don’t know.

How do I wake at 4am, and make it not just a habit but the ONLY WAY?  Bed earlier, less wine definitely, and write in journal by hand, note form… yes, more notes, less sentences.  Start now…. Sun out, birds, kids wanting to play, me having to work.  Memorable skirmish, given the events in the world and this whole virus thing.

Up to 32 pages in this doc, 17K+ words.  Just need this book done, this new journal…  Wine, notes from the SB and Cab last night, nothing capturing me.  Write only wine, yeah I know I wrote that yesterday, but……  Connect everything to wine.  Everything?  What does a blog have to do with wine?  Tech and being and AE for an ISP?  I don’t know, you need wine for the contrast, for the goal… you want a wine shop with what you make, your own label, three wines… SB, a Syrah, and Cab. 

Still nothing from Deb at Dutcher, so I turn to my boy Elton in Napa, one of the owners of Robert Craig.  Hoping to do a call with him later, get an order locked in.  Nothing too crazy, just some bottles to write about.. anything WINE to write about.

about the AE thing… what can I do.

I’m prospecting, networking, doing everything from this fucking chair.  I can’t speak to people anymore.  I can call them, but no one wants a call right now, and no one’s in the office for the most part.

A beer will help.  I’ll help self to one in a moment, and the rest of last night’s Shannon Cab from Lake County I think after that.  Wine, the vineyards… taking myself there.  That novel I want to write, or started taking notes on the other day.

Jackie putting away vacuum.  Can tell he’s annoyed.  I am as well.  But then I’m encouraged.  At one minute thinking the whole ‘what do I write’ pit of thought then I’m into a full yell of self-knowledge and know in the Now.  Almost 5..

This new journal is from a new state, new sight, sense of everything around me and with all the updating, none of it ever good, I try to compose composition when my character’s assembly and composition is threatened.  So, I’m in a kamikaze state.  Write, write about wine… this new journal, the regular journal… letters, and the novel about Eric and him leaving real estate for wine.  Starting a wine community, a family of wine-loving people.. no more pressure to transact, to go to those stupid fucking conventions or galas, or whatever they are…..  Tonight writing on the legal sheets, what he sees, the wine he sips that first night, at the hotel on the tasting floor with over a hundred small producers from everywhere in California and a small circle of Oregon and Washington houses. With a beer finally open, 4:51, I celebrate the realization that this ‘stay in your fucking house’ stage that’s been set by a dystopian spell is giving me a book.  A couple, actually.  And a new end-aim, or sight.  Writing about wine as I don’t even know how many people have told me to do.  Still need to post the Desmond Pinot page.  Write about the Shannon from last night.

3/29/20, Sunday.

8:23am.

Slept in a little.  As did kids.  Made them both breakfast downstairs, Jack some cereal and Emmie a bagel.  Then they back to play.  I get an idea for a novel, or story, or something.  I need time to write, I say to myself.  Start a new doc on lap—NO, don’t do that.  Reminding self of no new anything’s.  Use what you have.  So I tear off the yellow pages used on legal pad to left, and start jotting notes, world and life of a character in Redwood City.  Real Estate Agent, commercial mostly.  Very what you’d lament as successful.  In the business for over 20 years.  One night goes to a function at hotel, one side of floor, or one room on one side, a real estate gala for top producers and fancy glossy shiny characters showing off all their money and what they’ve done, their numbers and what not while on the other side is an event of over a hundred small family producers.  The character, Eric, buys a ticket on the spot to get into the wine event.  He sees all these small producers from Sonoma, Napa, Mendo, Carmel, Santa Barbara and the areas surrounding…. Lake County even, and sees the simplicity of it.  The family framing of it.  He’s always taken to wine, “collected” I guess you’d say, but never appreciated the love and family, the farming nature and step to wine.  He decides to take a step back, down… at first he wants to sell his business, or just quit and get out.  But no…. he wants use real estate to aid and abet and beget his wine sight. He wants that… may be too late in life for a family for him, single and 45-ish, but he wants the vineyard(s), the walks, he wants to be around family wineries, family people… THIS, whatever it is…..

Just an idea at this point, born in quarantine.  Raining outside, sipping my second cup.  Going to do some budgeting and more noting of this Eric’s echo and rush toward wine and being what he said.  Jack bounces a dying and deflating balloon around me… Jack calls to Emma, she yells down, “What you need me fo’?…. You call my name loud.” She says.  Jack tells her she’s hearing things, I laugh, ask what he wants… he tells me a PS4.  I say, “No dude, from Starbucks.  They don’t have PS4’s at Starbucks, bro..”

“Dada… hold on, don’t look yet…” Jack says behind me.  Me, a bit nervous, agree to wait.  “Say hi to my new friend…” he says, then showing me a face drawn with permanent on the balloon and a hat on the character’s head.  He has fangs and am told he’s 4 years-old, he loves watching baseball and loves the Angels, Jack furthers.  Jack reads what I just wrote, I edit from his reading noting slight flaws and exposures in the prose’s complexion.  I look out the window again, back to my Eric notes.  Finish a goddamn book, I remind myself… this quarantine is just what a writer needed to finish a book.  Not stopping this new journal, but noting that I’m noting new notes for another world and thesis, new voice and sight, climate and cause.

Broken from work, distracted by two, actually three, really four, people I met while in wine’s full wheel.  The first person walking up to me, gently interrupting my types, a girl who worked with me while I was full-time at FFW, then a club member of Dutcher Crossing and his friend, then my really good friend JK.  They all arrived at the same time, and I could only talk to them, hear what was new in their story.  And that’s what wine is, the connectedness, you’ll see them again and again, over years after the last time you see them.  Wine and its industry, especially here in Sonoma County, can do that.

Heading back home in a second, rest of day with family, and maybe a nap at some point.  No time soon after this small latte I ordered.  My own wine business world, thing, character and perpetuation… so, start with the day.  With the wineries I visited today, the people with whom I spoke and tasted.  Writing wine is putting on page the life and lives you experience in its world.

Was told that I need focus and self-contain and be singular in my written reason and narration.  So now, 17 days and 4 months before turning fucking 41, I decide to be attached wine’s ideas, her forms and stories, geographies and travel.  Writing only wine and the reactions to it.. my wishlist of travel spots, starting in the state just above me, the across however many miles to Spain, Bordeaux, Austria, Hungary…..  The people that “interrupted” my pages actually strangely centered me, putting my figure and fixation further into a firm singularity. 

Not in the tasting room, but my head doesn’t leave, my pages only speak in a wined and time-aligned way…. Vines right now in dormancy, and me unable to walk the rows from all the mud.  Well, I could, but I don’t.  Tomorrow back in office and I carry this with me in a peripatetic insatiability.  So, then, before I leave write it again… WINE.

And more…

WINE WINE WINE.

The only thing I’m to write.  Book done before month’s end.  Gives me 19 days.  Doable.  Ray Bradbury wrote ‘451’ in 9 days I think, in the basement of a library.  This current beat I’m listening to tells me to remember wine’s music…. Write more music into wine, and write the music in wine, be it jazz or hip-hop, rock, ambient, whatever else.  Wine… start with her, then fly, come back, transcend the possibilities with writing and what’s looked at as unattainable.  That’s what you should reach for, what you should write.

Two of the Chardonnays I tasted earlier, not my style.  So whose are they?  What is the audience, what is the music in that bottle, and the other one?  What does it say, emancipate?  Either way, me of wild weal today.  And from Mom’s instruction to contain and singularize the pages, to a book, to a one-voice shape and shake, to convoke my composition. 

I want to take on the industry, if you must know.  Challenge it, have it answer to and for certain specific transactions and occurrences.  Friend that came in earlier, years ago fired from a winery with no cause, no explanation or compensation adequate, or anything said.  He wrote the then-CEO, and all the ivory tower sog-slouch could say is “I wish you the best…” or some bullshit.

I’ll start with pay.  Why don’t they fucking pay?

Why don’t they encourage you go after what you want, rather than tell you you’re better for this, or that, or some other thing.

Vine Street Starbucks, where I’ve written and worked several times, but not in some time.  Thought about stopping at a third winery for tasting, but no.  Was feeling a bit famished and needing more coffee.  Hannah the first stop, White Oak the second.  And from both stops, seeing that wine should be that ever-amplifying anchor and angle in my writing.  And a tasting room of my own, yes.  One day.  But by invitation only.  Don’t want those event crowds, and those passport sippers that only want to keep sipping, and not stop until they have some escalated effect and then keep sipping wherever they can.

                White Oak as a winery up for sale.  Had no idea.  Guy behind the bar, Jeff, selling me six bottles at half off, and giving me a Merlot at nothing.  Felt sad, as that winery years ago I visited during barrel tasting weekend and had fun yes but tried bottles I’ve still never the like experienced.  Can’t remember what it was, but the Cabernet of which I bought 3 bottles today had to be similar.  I mean, I bought three bottles.  That has to mean something, right?

                Listening to Lo Fi beats and typing.  Don’t want to taste anymore wine, if you can believe it.  Know there’s someone in some other state probably reading this and thinking “What the fuck?  How could you not want to taste more wine?” I just don’t.  I don’t want to sip anything else.  I’m wined out.  Want to be full of caffeine, and write about wine, people in the wine world, behind the bar listening to people tell their stories of how they got there, and what wine is to them.

                At Hannah, talked to some young girl.  Been at winery for about two years she said.  Asked her what she wanted to do in the industry, what the apex of her aims was, is.  She said she didn’t know, but wanted to continue with DTC operations, dealing more closely with the people that visit the winery, wine club members… what I took, that she wants to have more close and involved dealings and conversations with people rather than the big crowd surges, the cattle flows a tasting room can sometimes have.  Good for her, I thought.  The wine industry shows you one directions, then another, then tries to herd you a certain straight.  She, though, knows what she wants and Hanna Winery appears to encourage her consistency of pursuit.

                I will write wine, this morning telling self again.  From when I woke this morning and could barely concentrate with the skirmishing of Jack and Emma, to now on Vine Street, just a couple blocks away from another winery to write.  Part of me wants to go find more to write about.  Some new tasting room but I feel like I’ve been to all of them on the square.  And, I’m not wanting to taste anymore.  A wine writer not wanting to taste any more wine… so write about it.  Write what… what wine should do.  What I want from wine.  What I don’t want.  Don’t in anyway seek to be full-time at a winery again, ever.  Ever.  Never again in this life.

1/12/20

Writing offsite today.  At winery. 

And throughout the day.  Putting self in winery owner’s jacket.  Always wonder what it means to have it all come back to you.  All of it.  All.  From the inventory, to the reservations, to the tours given and the fucking patio furniture.  All of it, your Now.

New wine blog, not so new actually, re-activated again today.  Wine business but not.  More conversation from writing, letter writing… or something.  Wine… focused and centered in wine and its industry, doing something different than just a tasting room 1-to-1.  And more than some silly “1-to-1”.

Wine and its stories to me over the past twenty years since being here in Sonoma County (How has it been that …. Long?) have shaped and re-shaped everything.  Writing, business ideology, wine itself.  Hoping to do some “outreach” today as they call it, hearing other voices….

Can’t focus with the kids being their lunatic selves and eating breakfast, yelling at each other… need my own office.  Hate that expression of necessity being the mother of invention but that’s precisely what I’m thinking.  Have to get out of this house when writing, if I’m to finish these wine essays, or any essay.  Today is a wine day, though, do note.  Where I become a tourist, exploring innocently and with a hunger for I guess you could call it knowledge, but I don’t.  It’s something else.  A wine story, not so much about the wine or anything else, but seeing all of it.  This was entirely my mind last night, sipping the Aperture blend.  Different than the Malbec I had years ago in the hotel while we were out of the house.  Everything about it different.  And more than the wine…

Again with concentration contaminated by noises around me.  Leaving soon, hopefully.  Literally incapable of writing… anesthetized by everything.  Chipmunk voices, Jack pounding his water bottle on the little table.  I know my Now, more than closely and with a thorough throughness of thought.  Everything around me, meant for the wine story… the kids one day in the office with me, managing a part of the blog, or business, the blog’s business.  Wine and literature.. where it all started, this entire wine story of mine.  The first blog, the first conversation with my sister-in-law.  Cab last night like a beaming and subtle jazz vixen telling me to move one way then other.

Wine when I was first interacting with her topic mad me hesitant to speak, or write anything critical about what I was sipping.  I didn’t know, and I still to some extent don’t, but I just react.  Wine is reactionary, much beyond what I’m writing here, what I’m trying to do in this room caked in distraction.  People in the tasting room, regardless of the side of the bar they’re on, have something they bring to the counter, to that pour.  What then… what transpires in the interaction centered around the glass’ contents?  Maybe that’s what I’m trying to do, this day and others, getting out to the winery, other tasting rooms, wherever.

Finding with wine and writing about wine that the declarative statements and promissory words are the block, are detrimental.  Write wine as it comes to thought.. me walking the vineyard as I do when it’s warmer, or could now but the rows still caked with mud and an obstacle to themselves.  Even still, I see the wines on the shelves, people looking at them, me looking at them, holding tastings for people and seeing what they have to say about what’s said to them from the puddle in the bowl. I’m giving myself a writing lesson on writing wine this morning… it should be FREE.  The freest of freewriting.  Wine IS writing.  She IS the expression the movement of the pen, the typing, the three pages a day.  Excited to see what the wines have to say to me today, the SB to the ’16 Estate Cabernet.  What will I want to say back in writing.. what will they make me think of?  Can only anticipate but I shouldn’t even do that.  Be as in the moment as you’re able.  And of course I’m speaking to anyone wanting to write wine, or about her.  Not as some expert or authority, but just as thought offerer.

Should be leaving soon.  Should I go to the store and get a little notebook, of course I shouldn’t.  Use your phone.  Less clutter.  Just earlier I was cursing self for this backpack and how it encourages clutter and gather, and now I want to add another article?  Comedy.  Unintended.

Sniffling a little, but ignoring.  I need to be on property, writing about the wines as I taste them.  Maybe then I can go home.  Show up, taste, then BOUNCE.  Sounds like a plan.  And I don’t think I’m joking.  Getting tired of this Starbucks and the noises, even over the beat I have playing.  Enjoy drive on CH Rd.  Think about wine, the book… finish the fucking book already.. write more freely.  Get out of the adjunct cell, as the TR eventually, and write wherever you can to whatever bottled voice you can.  Pinot or…..

Going in, but at 11.

After a morning of some of the most intense sibling skirmishes I’ve seen since having two littles and both could actually altercate with the other, I have time to self.  At the old Windsor coffee spot.  Last night, Hitching Post Pinot.  Can’t remember the last bottle of HP I had.  Was a while ago…. WAIT—After or actually during the fires when staying at Uncle Mike’s house in El Dorado Hills.  HP of course reminds so many of Sideways, that movie… you know… Pinot Pinot PINOT, but for me it’s not that.  Not anything bad being associated with fires, but just something different.  The not-knowing… the something of something having to do with life.  Wine is the unpredictable and the whim, both dangerous and delightful.

Had to move seats.  Only one open was the little table by the napkins and shakers and other shit bar.  So I came to the seats I used to hate writing in.  I can tell, I’m thinking too much about what I’m writing.  Second-guessing self and getting uncomfortable in seat, feeling a mood approaching, already disrupting my work.  Writing about wine, and how again I don’t see a wine bar or shop for self, but some resource for wine drinkers, no matter their “level”….  But then I back-pedal on that as well.  Just write wine, same as when my sister told me that if you’re going to make wine then just make wine.  Don’t think about it.  She said, as I’ve written so many times before, and quoted conveniently, that if you second-guess yourself you’re never going to make wine.

Another quote, from my grandmother, only days before she left, “It’s YOUR life… you have YOUR choice.” So what do I want, I’m this morning asking.  How should I know… I do, a bit.  Don’t I?  After submitting grades yesterday, or the night before, I very much am convinced that the adjunct thing has run its course.  I still want to teach, I guess—or not “teach” but offer ideas.  By way of essay.  Like this one, this piece, this article, whatever the fuck this is… going in later so I can have some fucking time to self.  To collect, think about my mission, and how much life I have left.  You never know.  So where you are and what you’re doing has to be defining and absolutely declarative in its progressions and steps.

With wine, as metaphor or no, I’m told to respond to conditions around me, favorable or not.  The fires, 2017’s, obviously not hoped-for but still present.  Winemakers had to deal with them.  Work with and around them.  More with than around.  The defined the wine of that year, much.  Even if the clusters were pulled before the blazes initiated and flew and grew as they did.  Wine… definition-prone and aided and slated by everything not-controlled.  I start to see…. Something…. Defining wine.  Or characterizing her.  No, something… not sure.  Wine and character.  What everyone keeps telling me to do.  So why do I ever stray from what everyone hopes I write, DO?  Frustrated with my handle of my own pages so I convince self to challenge the same self in writing ONE world.  One character, language.

Wine wants us to be puzzled, wants us to have to contemplate next directions, just as she did.  She demands we listen, be more observant, more connective and connected, composed and by the moment towed.  Today I’ll taste through the flight, a couple times I’m sure.  Write everything she says to me… make it personal, and wine should be personal.  At times moody, confusing, a myriad of varying and unpredictable echoes and dialects.  The Pinot last night speaking differently than the first HP bottle I had years prior.  That’s the music to it all, in wine or anything else entailing life and promise, some dream, some chance and happenstance, a reactive and spontaneous dance.  If I do open a wine shop, it has to speak in this language of spontaneity, of artful reaction, of a lick of luck.  Traveling to other countries and streets far away to gather bottles for the shop…. Ideas, from her, wine. In the convex consideration of my reflective armament.  What am I doing but walking with her, in the step of steps, not so much divine or even delicious, but decided.