New Affair

On campus.  Took nap before coming here, after getting some takeout brunch for self from Piner.  Was in a bit of a mood knot so I said “NOT” to self and went to get an omelette.  Regret a bit the nap, but I feel enlivened.   More than that, I feel snappy, with an unusual bit of comedic pep.  Am I prepped for class?  Not really.  And who cares.  How I’m dealing with these mood knots, now, going forward, my truest of true business plans if you would, just laughing at them.  Laughing at myself.  What do I have to be in a mood over.  Really.  Nothing…. Here over 90 minutes before class and plan on using every ounce of it for writing.  For words.  Oh, ‘nother nice thing, little treat for self was gift to book store.  Bought copy of Castle and the David Sedaris Diaries that came out fairly recently think.

Devoting life to essay, essay writing, essay philosophy and practice, the habit of that practice and how I, we, maintain such as essay writers.  Who cares, my approach to essay.  Which sounds dismissive and perfunctory, but not so.  Anything but the case.  In writing essays as I urge us all to, we write them not convinced with convention and structure, construction and orthodox diction and thought prism.  We write freely.  We write unconcerned.  While waiting for my Denver at Piner Café, I thought of all the essays I’ve written as a student, and all the essays I’ve had students write.  Have I done them a disservice by instilling and advocating the structure and formalistic tap-dance the course outline says?  I think a bit, yes, if you must know.  But now, who care.  Who cares.  Or, who else cares… Or, who cares who else besides ourselves cares is what I SHOULD say.  

I’m laughing at myself, writing this essay.  If it’s an essay.  Maybe just a free write that I could submit as an essay.  Submit to who, my own blog?  Is that where?  I’m in the conference room, not the shared office with adjuncts where they have us cooped like chickens or ducks or pigs about to be slaughtered.  Could write an essay on that, the shared office for adjuncts, or just an essay on adjunct-ing, or on students of the adjunct.  Essays should be rooted in singularity and extend from it.  After my nap, I’m a growling lion, or bear, hungry for more pages and more climates to feed the career of essays I’m about to paginate.  I feel exacerbated by the time I’m in, the time in my life where there’s a decision to be made yes but just where I am and not necessarily solely to do with age.  What exactly then I don’t know, though note there’s more vision.  Not doing this, following through with this recent singular call to build a career on and from, and explore essay would prove mordant.  So I follow through, and just follow.

Being on campus does something to me.  Always has.  Though I deplore adjunct-ing, and being an adjunct, I love the proximity to students and the act of learning, self-study, and of course the English Department where essay is the interminable nexus.  Or at least it is in my vision.  My proclamation today is that I finally have a proclamation to make.  Finally.  At nearly age 40.  Ugh, I sigh to myself and I’m pretty sure I did so aloud.  Cant tell with the music in my ears, but I know I did.  I know someone in the department heard me.  Essay… essay… essay… on daddy-ing, wine, reading, journal keeping and habit practice and maintenance, on ME.  I am an essay, and argument maybe.  What’s my argument.  Keep learning, about you.  Learn the outside but the inward is the apexing aim.  To understand self.  How is that vain?  How is that egocentric?  I offer it’s healthy.  And what more optimal approach and averment that with words.

Reading through my journals and diaries today I see these lulls or stalls, funks surface every-so-often.  And now, I forecast less of them, less occurrence and their beat which I loudly detest.  I’m here, gathering thoughts for class, and for me, thinking ‘Who cares.’ With a smile, with eagerness to see more in this day and learn from everything.  If not learn then gather, collect scenes, write them all as there’s singularity in all.  Just a moment ago having quick chat with a full-time professor about beer.  She told me years ago she was a beer fan so every time our presence eclipse, we talk beer. One of the only full-timers here, if not the only, I enjoy talking to.  That I even have any interest in exchanging words.  Note of our talk in journal.  So what.  Little revision, little concern, free in my thoughts.  Could use one of the beers she just mentioned to celebrate.  Do I finally now have a job, a dream job, any job— writing composition.  Who else cares?  I don’t care.  I’m preoccupied with the essay form, and how so many in this department think they know what an essay is.  How to write one.  Where have they been published?  Forget that question… have they even self-published any of their work?  And if so, where is it?  Did they only offer it once?  Maybe some of them can write, but how far away from the course outline have they composed?

Sinew in this renewed page stride.  Edit minimally.  Delete nothing.  Free.  Freedom.  If you’re to write an essay, you’re to surrender to yourself, perforce and ambivalently.  Remembering my master’s thesis, other essays written at SSU, Foothill, even in high school like the one I wrote about Bubba our pet rabbit and how he would always lead me to chase.  Any mood knots remaining are now carrion.  I’m understanding self more in the last hour, since getting to campus than I have in the past ten or so years.  What did that nap do?  Was it the omelet?

(11/5/18)

And I have that again.  That ‘I don’t know what to write again’ feeling. 

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.

(11/4/18)

11/1/18—

New lunch spot in Berkeley.  Crepevine.  Ordered Denver Omelette with Coke.  Eating by self on a lunch break, finally.  No reps or leads with me.  And I love my crew, truly love.  But I needed a minute or set of minutes to self, to collect.  To write.

Lady brings over Coke and I’m more than content with my choice.  Other lunches I can cite I regret ordering what I did and not spending the time writing or doing something for writing, blogging, business.  Something.  The music of the day is more than just an encouraging nudge, but a direct instruction to make everything of the day I want it to be.  For a minute considering dropping the only class I have for next semester, but then rationalize it a marketing opportunity, and speaking practice.  Or, not so much practice but a training lab or ground for ideas new.  I see the chef or cook making my plate.  This town, as I’ve always seen it, one of activism of course but art, people and poetry, art and music, expression and freedom.  So I write in the same sense and sameness.

Chef brings over brunch.  Looks indescribable, if you must know.  You must know, I tell myself, and you. These Road notes, city to city speaking Sonic engaging the population and principle communities.  I want just a couple more sentences.  Tell self to put down just a couple more, older guy on other side of restaurant with wife and friend, looking at menus while group of younger girls sits outside and laughs, enjoying their mimosas and talking to each potter like they haven’t seen each other in ages.  This is what I do.  Write at cafés, restaurants, random places and what’s happening— Chef tosses a bunch of clean silverware in the holder at distant 12, on the other side of the counter.  Cook is on other side prepping plates, cooking or boiling, simmering something.

My time in Berkeley before working with Sonic is limited, to be brief.  I came here a couple times when I lived in San Ramon, early 2000s.  But now I’m here quite regularly.  And the feel and voice is perfect for where I am in my story.  Looking for more, more stories and more people, more experiences that contribute to my business identity and aims.  Sounds of the restaurant move me, provoke more.  I’m right where I need be.  This is where my story really begins its composition and construction.  If the Roads of Sonic and I never intersected I wouldn’t be here with this view of Shattuck, eating here, with this cold Coke, the omelette, the sliced sourdough toast, the ladies just outside the window at the small table eating salads.

Nearly done with lunch, thinking of getting a refill of Coke so I can write for a bit longer, just stay here and enjoy my time, the time to me to collect.  Lady sees me either getting ready to leave, or that’s what I think she thought I was about to do but I ask her if refills are free, she says yes and rushes to get me another.  All that remains on plate is some of the country potatoes and the sliced sourdough, which is surprisingly sour.  I’ve never found sourdough bread sour, really.  These slices are.  Not to their detriment, just I notice, that’s all

This will be my last meal out, in field, for a while.  That’s what I say now but who knows if I’ll hold to that.  Want to open a store, store front of some kind, or at least have my office set up.  Yeah, that’s what I really mean.  Just my office, my blogging hut, little literary parlor, outside home.  I pick at the bread, again.  I’m unusually relaxed.  And not just here at Crepevine, here in Berkeley, but today.  Today is a day for me like few are.

Catch myself spacing out a bit, and pull myself back to keys.  UPS driver a couple tables behind me having something for his lunch break I calculate, then chef tells one of the girls from outside group that he’s going to bring out some specialty crepe, complimentary.  I look up at see Chef holding crepe on plate with some mint leaves around it and a birthday candle.  Woman comes back in to check on it carrying her little one.  Candle lit and Chef’s daughter, I’m assuming walks it out, carefully.  She looks uncomfortable in each step, like she’s never walked out a candled plate before.  Hear them all singing, then clapping, then nothing but cars on Shattuck and the music they have playing in car.

What’s right in front of me, what I write about.  At least now.  And maybe onward.  Take fork into hand scooping some peppers and bit of onion and potato, bite.  Wonder how I’m still hungry but I only had that cereal at desk this morning.  I look down at a more barren plate and realize I am still hungry.  Need to wait.  Need to write, what’s here for me in Berkeley, my new writing city, the streets and communities and the more collective community of this area.  Couple more bites and push plate forward with napkin atop.  I’m done.  Now, just sipping the Coke refill and typing.  Man walks in and asks questions then leaves, thanks the lady for something.  Directions possibly.  I can see this as me when I’m on the Road, like this but more expansively, in other states and countries.  What’s in front of me, my topic.  Restaurant staff ever-observant of what happens around them, who’s here and who’s walking by and the ones that actually stop here.  And am I ever please with my election to here stop, order the Denver, sit here by window.

Readying to leave.  Walk over to crew in the Safeway parking lot.  Chef talks to hostess, which I think might be his wife.  He jokes with her about a dollar bill, about money or something.  All in fun and good.  Feel a bit tired, sip Coke, more people come in.  Rub right eye once.  Then I tell self not to leave.  I don’t want to leave.  Pies in display case behind me and to left, chef and consistent cook laughing about something.  Wanting a shop of my own…. But of what.

Home and sipping wine.  What a surprise.  Merlot

Photo on 10-30-18 at 9.28 PMI 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.

(10/30/18)

Not going to get in 3000 words today, just like I won’t more than likely even get in a thousand, or like I didn’t wake at 4am.  I’m on campus, after a beer much needed, and now I’m composed, with character composition, or so I tell self.  Ready to be home.  Tomorrow morning I vowed to workout buddy and self that I’d be on the treadmill.  4-something A.M.  Who knows.  Today was odd.  Not bad, or negative or something bringing me to some lower ebb or rhythm, just odd.  Off.  Off-putting.  How do I get out of it, by pulling self out of it, thinking of my daughter this morning in her pink or light purple Batgirl dress.  How happy she was once putting it on and how much in loud screech objection that she made sure I heard and succumbed to.  I’m here, on campus, thinking of essays to write… about work, about wine, about music, about jazz, about me, about essays…. Sonoma County, the fires last year, making wine, my sister making wine, driving, being an adjunct… anything.  I’m in thought and won’t let self step out of its clef.

Why did I start the piece proclaiming there was something I either wouldn’t or couldn’t do.  Maybe I will hit 1000, or 3000.  Who says I can’t.  If I overthink or excessively measure as I did early today and in fact all the way to this sitting, even when sitting in the Whole Foods taproom seeing self tonight and what I wouldn’t teach and what I didn’t write today at lunch, telling self I’d go to a Starbucks and write when really all I did was have a sandwich at another Whole Foods and talk about he wine industry with an old friend.  Should have written but pushing self with the fact I didn’t is an anti-fact, serving no purpose for purposes of reflection or growth.  Certainly not any kind of success.  I’m putting certain projects on hold, deleting rather than adding.

York Peppermint Patties on one of the conference room tables.  On my second.  One of the few candies I’ll actually if I see, eat.  Too relaxed to teach.  Need a glass of wine, some freewriting, some time with kids, in home, family time that I won’t ever be able to get back and wouldn’t have if I we’re to stay for the whole 90 minutes I’m expected to lecture.  But I was just evaluated.  Received a yell, a howl, a loud choir of praise on page.  But, now what?  What happens now?  Will I be more able to land a FT position, were I to apply?  No. Do I get a raise?  No.  So… where’s the encouragement?

I move away from that topic and back to the day, back to writing, back to knowing that more self-study’s ordered.  An instructor walks by the room, down the hall, into mailroom.  He checks his little box or slot then walks off.  No headphones.  My jazz, Mr. Coltrane, loud.  Or audible, at any rate.