10/23/16 –

img_7872This is largely what I’m addressing in being a writing father– time.  It’s more than just a snake, a tyrant, a bitch.  It’s an element hard to find.  Like some rare gem.  Either way this morning I’m pressed–  “Slam that coffee!!” The last cup in the house.  Need to keep more on hand.  Go to store after work and get some, Healdsburg Safeway– and see?  That’ll take time as well.  Time away from this book.  Everything targets my story!  Now I’m just whining.

Plug in iron, wait for heat.  More time from writing.  Oh, I haven’t even addressed the more humorous market in this days narrative…  The babies aren’t even here.  They’re at their granny’s house, last night spending night so Alice could prep for a big Halloween party planned for all the babies’ friends, and other moms.  What if they WERE here, then I would deserve some whine.  And later, ‘whine’ without that bloody ‘h’.

Alice off to her running group and I can only be obsessed with the quiet I have here in home like I haven’t with other quiet I’ve been invited to.  15 minutes till I have to be in shower.  I should celebrate, be effulgent in this time to self.  Music?  Yes.  If you’re a father reading this you know what time to yourself is.  Some watch football on a Sunday, some workout (something I should’ve been up earlier to do, but…) some sleep, some go get groceries… all a writer wants to do is get something on page before the day is off ahead of him like a hunted rabbit.

Open a new tab on net, that takes 20 seconds or so to type in “Pandora” and get the Hutcherson tune going.  Sip coffee again… that takes like ten seconds, or maybe eight away from my fingers typing something.  Fucking time!  “TIME!” I yell in my head, and only in my head so Bobby’s track isn’t interrupted.  Need to write all day today, eight hours.  At work.  Think about that, I tell myself, “think…” What if I had EIGHT hours to myself, to write.  How much of the book could I get done?  How many poems could I write?—  Shit, that reminds me, I need to type the one I wrote yesterday, the short one I wrote on my phone, in the bathroom.  Told co-worker, Lainy the sassy loud little Texan, that I had to pee really quick, when really my only ambition was to be in the quiet bathroom by the winemaking area to get in 10 lines, electric and varied.  That’s what a writer does, a writing father who barely has a second to self in his own walls and even less during the eight.  So what if those eight were all mine?  Today they will be.  A grand, explosive, mass-construction poem, one word at a time.  This ONE poem I write today will change the course of my life FOREVER.  I’ll read it, everywhere.  I’ll commit it to memory.  I’ll read it in New York, Paris, China, Japan, Egypt, South Africa, everywhere.  I have one goal today, and one mentality— the eight hours at work ARE eight to myself, and one poem is all I have to write.

Writing father, loving his time right now, his music, he doesn’t give a shit about all the red he sees above this very line, all the quirks and red line, all the instances of this fucking laptop saying “Hey idiot, you misspelled that.” I just listen to my brother John’s sax solo, him fly alongside that light high-hat.  Writing father sees himself on a trip with his book, talking about being a dad, to other dads and moms and soon-to-be-parents.  Not that he’s an expert!  Not that he’s even a good dad!  Just to share the experience of being a dreaming daddy, and because you are a parent with two or however many babies doesn’t mean you need to lie down.  You can still be alive with ambition and vision and have the plate you ordered before the babies were here.  Just thoughts, but thought I’m not releasing any time soon.

Goddamnit!  Only five minutes.  Are you kidding me?  I’m back to my full glass of whine.  Could I go till 8:40?  Take a quick shower, go to ‘bucks, get my heaping tumbler of Pikes and jet to Geyserville?  See, again.. time makes its way to the subject matter of my writing, in the little time I have to write.  I feel the ire quake in me like a fault that wants to show the world it’s still there, it can still move, it can still make you move like these Coltrane notes— me just bobbing my head and pressing the keys while the percussion becomes a bit more percussive but not so much it ruins the track’s mood— “My Ideal”, the song’s identity.  Funny, feel like my brother plays just for me, to go after my ideals he urges.  “Play your song till 8:40, Mike, don’t worry about it,” he says through the current scale of notes he sews before the track ends.  “Don’t go!” I say, but I know I need to be on my own in this story.  I will be, it’s inevitable.  The only one who can get daddy his ideal, for himself and the babies, are his own sentences and efforts, music.

8:30— no, no more talk about time.  I’m giving it too much identity.  “Blues of the Orient” comes on, Yusef Lateef.  One of my favorite jazz pieces ever, one I haven’t heard in a while.  I slam the rest of the coffee, with an indignant glug, forwarding my writing daddy self into this 23rd day of October.  Think about certain shifts, if I were to make them, what would happen.  If I rose earlier, I’m still convinced I would have everything I need or ever wanted “professionally”… time to write, more finished projects, more to sell, time to work out, more story.  MUCH more story.  So why the hell don’t I do it?  ‘Cause I’m some unruly beat writer?  Yeah, partially.  Have to keep writing and sipping this coffee to find out.  The day and its poem will tell me.  So here I go, here daddy goes, for my babies, for myself, for the story, so one day little Kerouac (son, Jack) and Ms. Austen (daughter, Emma) can read what I did, see how we arrived where we are, what I did for the family, what I did…  What I did.  Everything I did.  With the time I had.

When I am fully self-employed,

img_7859will I be scared?  I mean, will I totally just flip the fuck out, become some how manic, and maybe in a way that benefits me?  I hope so, ‘cause it’s been a struggle getting to that day, where I go to MY office for MY workday, talk to MY clients and just build MY brand.  And part of me feels like I’m already there, or just before that leap where I realize, “Okay, Mike, you’re on your own!” Great.  I think. Is it great?  If I dive into delirium like this so quick, there’s no way I’ll be “great”.

And, if I’m self-employed, like one of those one-man-band types, who’s HR?  If I have some kind of complaint, or am having a bad day and I think it’s task-related, to whom do I turn?  Know I’m overthinking everything at this stage and technically I haven’t really started.  Well, I’m trying with whole “word of mouth” and brand-building, jotting notes whenever an ideas lands in my head.  But, getting to that raving and rabid stage so soon… yeah, I need to calm down.

Somebody at one point told me running a business is always a farm— and there’s always tons of shit to shovel on a farm.  Not sure if I like the analogy, or am encouraged by it, but it tells me something.  That any preemptive angst or worry, or even the over-planning and overdose of thinking is understandable, just not needed.  Not helpful.  There is no textbook for this.  There is no template for this.  There’s no ‘thing’ for this, starting and running and later existing in self-sufficiency from your business, right?  And I’m seriously asking, ‘cause if you know I’d love it if you shared that book or pamphlet series with me.

I do want to know who HR is in my business.  I want to complain about the owner, how he’s always complaining, always whining that things aren’t happening fast enough for him.  Yeah, I’m confessing I’m impatient.  That stops with this article, okay?  So does any complaining.  Okay, so I AM HR…  Just build the story, take notes, be crazy with ideas, and I mean batshit creative-crazy with images and plans, the image you see the plans taking you.  I’m talking to myself, so you know, not trying to sound like some beetle-brained “guru” who only has such a title from self-knighting him or her self.

My office.  Well, I guess it’s right here, where I’m sitting at my current job, but in my head— yes, the office of this article’s sculptor is in his head.  He sees everything there.  The chalkboard is there, the war room is there, the steps that will get him to HIS workdays and HIS clients, HIS desk with HIS view, are all there.  That, I’m finding, is the solvent for attaining self-employment: knowing yourSELF, and that you decide to employ that SELF.  “Yeah,” I realize, “I AM already there.” It’s liberating, I’m finding.  No overthought required.  Just action.  Trusting your Self.  Now, no reason for complaints or doubt.  And, I’m not scared.  Not microscopically.



img_7794Halloween in ten days.  I keep asking myself the whole ‘how is that possible’ but I get it,  I get it ever do I get it.  Friday and I have yet to pour myself a cup of the coffee Debra bought me.  Already with pictures and content, stories in bucket for this writer’s day.  The positive ebbs are more numerous than I can keep with, but I’m catching what I can, immersing my character in the lines I need and see so fit.  No clouds outside, working on letter for new client.  Everything is a standalone piece, like I tell the students.

Thinking no vineyard walk today.  Just pop my head out, stand on the deck for ten seconds or so then come back in to write an article.  On what.  How about how I learned and am still learning from my son to pack a lunch everyday rather than drive down Dry Creek Road to be ripped off by a same-named store.  Paying like $7 for a “poor boy”.  Seven dollars?  And why the fuck do they call it a “poor boy?” You have to be a rich prick to afford one.  Jackie said this morning like he, “Me and mommy, we pack our lunches, Dada!  You need to pack you a lunch!” He gave such instruction while putting crackers and those pre-packaged oranges into his colorful and car-decorated lunch bag, zooming back and forth throughout the studio’s bottom floor.  I could only watch and assure myself that this scene had to be captured, put into the book.  And, I needed to make myself a lunch, pack something, so I did— pb&j, those pretzel goldfish, and some trail mix I bought weeks ago but hadn’t even opened yet.

This morning, this whole day, about learning and appreciation for what I already have in place as a writer and business owner.  ‘Mike M’.  He creates.  That’s it.  So simple.  So promising.  So if I’m to teach anything in this article, or share a useful idea, it’s merely what I punctuated just now— USE WHAT YOU HAVE.  If new elements and character constituents develop, you accrue new realities, then wonderful.  But, don’t wish for or be down about what you don’t currently hold.  You might as well be in costume, pretend to be something else.  You’re You, and that’s all you need to create, be creative and all the justification for tireless positivity and cavaliering creativity.

What am I going to be for Halloween?  Jackie’s going to be either a Ninja Turtle, or Batman (again), or some Star Wars somebody.  I know he’ll want me to dress up, so what do I do, what do I go as…  I’ll think about it over lunch, over my 2 pb&j’s and pretzel fish— or pretzeled goldfish, that funky trail mix I bought at Whole Foods.  Laugh to self, “I’m such a dad…  That’s such a dad lunch.” And I am.  That’s what I embrace and what I work from more than anything.  Coffee, thoughts, view, me, my reality, vines out there looking back at me telling me to type faster!  Tell your story quicker, and with more fury, more life!  Too many standalone pieces throwing themselves at me.  Need a walk, need a closeup of that vineyard, just some steps, breaths, thinly crisp Dry Creek oxygen that doesn’t cost an arm and a leg.

wine sketchez: Three Fat Guys Wines

Three Guys, Two Wines, One Obsessed New Fan

Chardonnay.  Cabernet.  So how are you to be bedazzled or even a little taken by varietals that so many producers bottle?  Easy.  When they’re done to this stratospherically savory extent.  Before I get into the wines my and Three Fat Guys’ vin ami, Wes, sent me, you have to examine their story, which starts with genuine tempo and color.  The elevated interest and tireless curiosity for and in wine.  Tony Moll, one of the Guys and Owners of the this playful yet prominently tasty enclave of a label, tell me his fascination with wine started just before starting Three Fat Guys with partners Jason and Daryn.  He tells me that in the off-season he’d go to local wine bars in Sonoma and just immerse himself in everything about wine.  Oh and that’s another facet to this brand I find immeasurably interesting and encouraging as a wine consumer—  all three played professional football, and those journeys together on the Road for the game is what actuated their chasing a more oeno-centric story.  When home from the season, Tony would find his favorites, what he liked and didn’t like, and intensify his fondness and acuity in wine’s world.

He knew he wanted to create a “premium wine,” he tells me.  Well, if I’m to react to such a remark, he failed gloriously.  The Fat Guys’ wines are anything but premium, in my language—  Words I’d employ then immediate deploy to this page are ‘cosmic’, ‘inspiring’, ‘vocal’, ‘inter-dimensional’… inexplicably delicious.  The Chard and Cab Wes sent me were anything but template, anything but expected.  Yes, the common consumer would note their “premium-ness”, but I find myself in uncommon sphere and state tasting these wines.  What I tasted was something of a quality that we consumers wish for.  You can find a simple “premium” bottle on the shelf at Safeway.  This is different, another planet and page, story, narrative.  What was in the bottle was true fermented magic, a lively literary quality that educates a sipper’s senses, like I jotted in the Composition book, “Moriarty-esque reflective madness”…  But, again, more on that in a bit.

This is a small producer that’s not on the “I’m a small wine label” self-anointing chariot.  What you have in your glass with TFG is three gentlemen who love wine.  That’s it.  The fervor of their fondness translates to what you sip, exponentially.  You can only be smitten and seraphically instructed with their bottles.  Tony tells me that he loves the reaction when people taste his wines, when people merely look at him and utter in tremor, “WOW.” Remember, these are offensive lineman, put on the field to protect the quarterback, to block, to be firm and stern.  And how serendipitous in how they don’t care about notoriety, awards, scores, or any other kind of pseudo-prestige.  They just want to be known for wine, wine that is “damn good wine” as he tells me.  Well, with this motion, he and his Guys succeed ad nauseam.

I started with the Chardonnay as you might expect, the other night, hoping that I would taste something new from Chardonnay’s all-too-frequently harangued identity.  First nudge of fragrance after opening bottle, smelling cork and then into bottle’s neck, was pair and vanilla, apple and a cinnamon-sewn pie crust.  On palate, I was greeted with tame acidity coupled with the apple and pie crust, vanilla and almond, a little toast… lavender?  There was a that jazzy weather I dream I’ll one day taste in Chardonnay.  Finally encountered, finally taught something new.  And as the wine invited and later fully embracing the temperature of the room, the texture became more sensual, the apple and pair soupçons more immediate, more visible and believable.  The Chardonnay took on a haunting and persuasive, bewitching quality I’ve never experienced in a Cali’ white Burgundy.  This was a new experience, and I was renewed as a wine lover.

I’m a “Cabernet guy” you could say, so I’m exceptionally welcoming and nearly a bastard critic with Cabs I’m sent.  Like the Chardonnay, TFG’s Cab had a dark personality and widely-erotic electricity to every parcel of its palate.  This is the wine that had the personality of Dean Moriarty, his wild charisma and irresistible allure.  The fruit that spoke to me was in the purview of blackberry and dark chocolate-adorned cherry, then cocoa powder and espresso, a wink of mint and black licorice, smoke.  Doing both its vineyard site, vintage, and varietal a marathon of justice.  There was a rare coherence in this bottle, a bewildering synergy of all parts and personalities, measures and clefs.  If one of these wines sends these gentlemen to some unseen notoriety, whether they want it or not, their Napa Cabernet offering will cement such.

Three lessons learned for the writer, here.  1, Chardonnay is the most extraordinarily effusive and gorgeous white varietal, if done the way these lineman have ordered.  2, if all Cabernets were done this well, I would not drink anything else.  All other varietals would be hit with a preference asteroid which would tie them in certain extinction.  And, 3, the focus of any small label—rather than telling everyone they’re a small label, or artisanal label, or some cult wine producer—should be to just make some damn good wine.  Well decreed, Mr. Tony.  These wines are unlike any expected palate presence of Chardonnay and Cabernet.  Par conséquent, their unique beat, their instructional quality, their haunting stubbornness in anyone who sips.


10/18/16 – Tonight I’m writing freely, sipping

a new Cabernet from Napa, from a small but beneficent label.  One of those stories I only img_7711want to mimic.  Would have written earlier, but I thought it the need and the optimal for the writer to speed to vineyards, walk around an take pictures.  Be a photog’… or a writer that loves photography which is more the case.  I have thoughts in head and Mom told me not to be too wordy with my reactions to these wines so I won’t.  And she’s astute, my amiably-set mama.  She urges, more than her assertion of not being “too wordy”, to just be me.  More conversational about wine, no so syllabically analytical, or at least that’s what I read into and from her speak.  So these wines, like new characters on the stage— unexpected and theatrical, but not overstepping.  A Chardonnay, which I always have trouble listening to, no matter how it’s crafted and cared-for.  Then the Cabernet, which has that flex and broadness, but with unexpected Victorian angularity— romance, and a dactylic disposition you wouldn’t forecast for a Cab.

Tonight the writer’s in his wine mood and mode.  Wish I could play some Hutcherson, but the babies are asleep.  And wish I had the energy and concentration to get to a thousand words but the wine’s catching the writer.  Still, thought, this beatnik writeth.  I’m like Dean as he parks cars.  Sal, as he observes everything around him and listens to the jazz with Dean but doesn’t quite know what he’s seeing but looks anyway and writes about it later.  This is my maison, this book, this story, told in wine’s accompaniment— a movie and just a moment, not so Hollywood or theatrical but if you spent a couple days in a tasting room you’d see the stage, the act, the interaction, the dialogue that begs to be captured.  Yes, I’m more than liberated in this sitting with my Cabernet glass, here at the desk with barely any light above the writer.  Just the way I prefer it— like I’m in some dark bar, overseas, writing while everyone else connects to conversations that go nowhere, conversations I capture and use for my book— people in the corner playing pool, talking about what to drink next, but I’m writing, sipping wine and digging in my own brain for ways to make their speech more seraphic.

Evening, this, sovereign.  Still with a bit of Cabernet in glass.  Surprised and a bit proud of Self for not drinking it too speedily.  My book, narrative, begs wine’s involvement.  Stepping slow in that vineyard block today made it more than clear.  I’m under the lights with wine, in front of an audience, talking back and forth— wine trying to categorize me, me just sipping it but trying to sound like some expert or critic or voice that should be heard.  We frustrate each other, but can’t stay away from the other.  Odd love whirl.  Not so much wind, but ink from my urges rescinds.  Why.  Why need there be a restart?  Refocus on moment.  Look at images.  No act.

Going to create

something life-changing today.  Creative all day.  ALL day.  Writing and photography, video, storytelling, wine and people.  Making everything a part of my character and Now.  My Nows constitute an electric reality and page pile.