3/18/17, journal —

Then one day you wake up and you’re 11 days, two months from 38.  You have writing to do, you can’t keep perpetuating any kind of pattern.  Everything has to be done differently.  You map out a map, some plan for doing what you need to do, and you know… if you don’t follow this, you’ll go nowhere.  NOWHERE.  An option not.  So you type, you tell your story, every detail, even the ones that hurt like the details surrounding when you got sick in high school, the ex-girlfriend, all the nights you went out with an old friend when you should have stayed in and wrote.  Everything.  The story… the story…. Your story.

Just thoughts I had ringing in my ears and sight and conception as I woke up and while the coffee machine was making that horribly encouraging sound and song as it finished the cup—that forced airy rumble and growl.  This kitchen, the island counter, littered with parental evidence.  Tranquility in the house at moment current but that will be anything but, this evening.  And I can’t wait, frankly, have the babies home from their grandparents’ house, here with me and their mama at bath time.  And their daddy’s about to be 38.  How did that happen?  I can’t dwell on hypotheticals, potentials, and a tirade re-evaluation of the past.

Still quite taxed from yesterday’s 6.3 miles along Dry Creek Road and around the Dutcher property.  Need to get back in shape, I know.  But when does the writer have time?  Not an excuse.  Make time.. sleep less, get up earlier, write first thing.  And if you run first early in the A.M., as I always want to do but never do, then sit for ten minutes and take notes.  Just move the pen.—  Find that I’m teaching myself now how to write again, or something.  Do everything different, today.  Everything.  See yourself on a plane, traveling to a reading, a “lecture”, traveling somewhere to meet with publishers and discuss book options and tour dates.  I haven’t been dreaming enough, lately.  I haven’t.  And that’s gruesomely unacceptable.

I sip wine, I write about it— each sip should be at least 100 words, ideally 250.  Wine is everything in my life a the moment, in terms of how I make income finds its slithery and slippery way to my account.  And writing… teaching…  Why would I ever consider applying for some office job in a fucking real estate office… or selling software?  Mom once said, “Make what you have work.” Translating or analyzing her dialogue line like a professor, or professional reader, I see it meaning that I don’t have to only do what I’m doing, in terms of job quantity and location, but the elemental composition and worlds is where I should hold.  In other words, ‘Don’t move from education and wine!’ Approach those two solitaries creatively, and everything you want will find YOU.  In a way, 38 can’t get here quick enough…. I’m ready.  Not for a new story but a revision of the manuscript I’ve already composed.  (07:18)

Woke in somewhat of a mood, but

that’s just me being stressed out me.  Started writing a poem in class, while students were in groups.  Hopefully will remember to finish it later.  Not in much a mood to go to img_1052Healdsburg but I’m going to force myself to work harder.  Will need coffee.  Much more coffee.  Well maybe not “much more”, but certainly more.  Was reading an article today that instructed on success in sales.  Was somewhat template and trite, but nonetheless valuable, and I guess encouraging.  One of the pillars, if I can call them that, was attitude, or general disposition.  And I thought of what that insurance agent told me years ago in San Leandro—  “Your biggest problem is your attitude.” Seems that it still is, sometimes.

Going to pack and leave after this sitting… giving self 8 more minutes.   I know what’s held for rest of day… sell wine for client, finish that poem…. gotta move— not feeling this conference room, and hearing the other instructors, the full-timers which could never understand this adjunct’s angst, start to annoy me.  Need to move, need to stop writing for a bit, return to this later— break patterns and find newness… be confrontational with the day, demand goals materialize, be more poetic, settle for NOTHING—

9:06PM.  Home, done with dinner, babies and wife asleep.  Me with Chardonnay, brainstorming move next with wine.  What if I turned into—  No.  Don’t give away the idea.  But I have to write it down.  Shit… where the fuck is my pen?  ‘A’ pen, for whatever’s sake?  No, don’t write it down.  If it’s meant to stick, it will.  The Chardonnay I’m sipping has me thinking of a trip, a trip to the East Coast where I’m by the water, back in my hotel room after a meeting, and winding down.  I call my wife and babies, talking to their visuals through my phone, already eager to be back home.  But I have work to do.  Wine brought me out here and I have to follow through with the story.—  Tonight’s a night of reinvention, the entire day, especially when I was thinking about where I am, about to turn 38—  I sat in my car eating some shitty lunch in Healdsburg, in a quiet spot behind the Safeway on Vine St, with a view of 101.  I could see the cars speed north and south, and wondered what each would think of my thoughts on wine, about me as a brand, my thoughts on wine and literature, how wine is entirely literary, that kind of thing—  AND, how my son will see me when he’s my age.  Need another glass.

I have another glass.  My evening’s last.  Want to get up early and work out here, home, strengthen core, lift weights, meditate.  This Chardonnay reminds me I’ve changed.  I mean, I used to tell people I wasn’t just one of those ‘ABC’ people, but I downright hated Chard.  And some would say, “Well, what about your sister’s?  Didn’t she build her career on Chardonnay?” I’d dodge the question whenever that happened. I’m different now.  I don’t know about more mature, or more open-minded, or what, but I’ve changed as a wine drinker.  And Chardonnay is one of the voices I look for on restaurant menus, on store shelves… everywhere, and for whatever justification I see ought.  Yes, there are still some interpretations of Chardonnay that perpetuate that stereotype and type I’d rather not drink, ever.  But right now I’m in a positive spot, sipping this Monterey version from ’15.  Not going to launch into descriptors ‘cause that’s just getting to be some exhaustive overplayed bullshit.  I’m enjoying my evening, out of any mood that started this morning.

Need my pen.  I’m going to forget that idea.  Not before another sip.  Ah, I love THIS attitude, this altitude.


Before Bottling

photo-on-3-3-17-at-9-00-amSpending the day appreciating the day.  Not enough gas to make it to winery so I’ll have to leave this Yulupa coffee spot early.  Think I have around 45 or 43 minutes to write.  Wine industry telling me not to move too quick, but I have to, stresses of money and life but then the day, visions of the vineyard I filmed while driving to downtown Healdsburg yesterday just after 4pm, everything in every vineyard tells me to re-plant.  Re-write.  So I’m here in the old neighborhood Starbucks re-writing 37 years.  Break pattern.  I keep talking about 4am as my wakeup time, how I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.  Well, now I need to.  This morning I was pulled from sleep by something at around that time, but let myself fall back into dreams, odd dreams of SRJC and me on campus, waking with my mouth open and hearing myself mumble something.  Today’s already taught me, and reassured me, that everything I need to get ‘there’ is already here.  The sentence from Mom, again and again echoing while waiting for the mocha—  “Make what you have work.” As always, Mama’s sagacity proves itself more than apt, more than applicable, and more than just ‘relevant’.

Kids dropped off, now time to get REALLY crEATive.  Always tell my students at the JC that “creativity solves everything.” Period.  And that period’s intentionally part of the quote, not because some might see it as mechanically correct, but the emphasis and declarative feel’s necessitated.  Need to actuate what I advocate.  39 minutes and 38 seconds left in my sitting.  People around me, but I always observe that, them.  These other characters I don’t have time to get to know.  I’m getting whatever I even think I want from today.  Selling wine, building business, teaching—  Teaching myself to keep the mood aloft, to keep selling, and that selling is not selling.  Especially with wine.  Appreciating this day.  I get another day to build, to re-write, to keep writing and exploring everything around me.  But how do I break the consistencies?  What do I do different?  Have one idea, but not going to write it here, on this page, or screen in blog.

MLK said that stars are only visible in darkness.  True.  And I’m seeing everything… all the possibilities.  I do more than merely dwell in them, but thrive in them.  You should as well, reader.  Defy your mood if it’s ever low.  Just say, “NOT.” Period.  Be firm with yourself and harsh with your occasional low self-estimations, should you ever have them.  Log everything.  Find a lesson in everything.  People next to me… lady on this long sofa-like wall seat while man across the little square table, both are on phone, in their phones, those little screens, missing everything.  But not me.  Little boy across floor, at one of the tall chairs, elbows up on that long table, looking out window.  Probably no focus in thought, he doesn’t have to.  And maybe I don’t either, have to be so focused all the time.  I have to record.  Everything.  As vineyard managers write everything down about their vines and the winemakers with their little ledgers with all the notes and numbers of what the juice does during fermentation…. me as well.

If wine is my thematic, metaphoric anchor, then see this as a racking, moving the entity from one barrel, one ecosystem to another.  Change the profile, change the makeup, change the chart.  No filtering, don’t want to strip anything away.  But, precise re-calibrations need fruition.

Try it.  Let me know your results.


On lunch, and I can’t get the thought of wine in other countries out of my head. So much out there, the terrestrial extensiveness. And I don’t fixate on the wine so much as I do the locations and the histories, the families, everything that’s out there. I’m in the office now, quiet today, a Saturday, snacking on the crackers and cheese I brought for myself and can’t wait to be in the vineyard, go for my daily saunter, tilt my head back in the quiet of the Rhône block, listen to the creek. Set my character on a dash of pleasurable scrutiny and surveying of wine, everywhere.  The world, total…  As a journalist and diarist of wine, I don’t want one set beat. I want everything. All AVA’s and sub-AVA’s… regions and highways, streets and hillsides. Today’s lunch feeds me with visions and promise, new pages and insights to my wined character. When home tonight, Bordeaux will be my research station. Being what some would call a ‘Merlot guy’, this is only sensible. Didn’t expect this degree of meditation paired with the mozzarella and Wheat Thins. Wine’s story again surprised me.

wine sketchez 

img_0830-1Interesting sense and bravado to this wine… decided, somewhat codified and shy, but that’s just what makes it a gem…  full narrative and composition, poetic intro and conclusion, affirming its identity repeatedly to the sipper, making you take your time with it so you miss nothing.  Soft texture with pronounced drum rolls of cherry and blackberry, spice and herb, dusty olfactory and palate rally the wine into more engaging and unique sensory rhetoric.  I’d lay it down for a few years, as to let the more wooing and symphonious qualities appear.  Right now, though, its assertiveness isn’t any kind of interference or intrusion.  The current language of this bottle is cinematic and entrapping.  A highlight in my month, my year.  Certainly.

inward jot

img_0822Just wrote another essay.  That’s two in this I-think-collection I’m gathering.  Not sure how many I want to collect, but each piece is an essay, standing alone.  Gave a wildly poetic and energized lecture on Plath and her poetic radiance, this morning.  I keep thinking of the fig tree mentioned in Bell Jar, how the narrator cites starving to death in her inability to pick one.  Then, while walking back here to the conference room I though of a singular title on a business card— my sister’s, “Winemaker”.  What the fuck is mine?

What do I want it to be?


No punctuation.  Just the word.  I’ll keep writing, through this whole day, and inventory every effort as I did the other day.  Thinking of an essay on Plath, that part of the novel and its universality.  Everyone feels that way, at one point, having to choose one thing, or at least something, to be.  That’s what they are, that’s what they do.  And you live once!  Which, of course, makes it even more stressful.  “…choosing one meant losing all the rest…”, Plath wrote, but I wonder— Does it have to be that way?  What if you limit yourself to a small number of figs?  No, you have to choose one.  You want to have to only choose and have one.  You’ll be stronger that way.  I can write, run a business, be a winemaker, be a marathoner, be a tutor, be a copywriter…. One thing, one ME, one story—  WRITER

I don’t want any punctuation touching that word, or at least in this context.  One author for my study concentration.  Yes, her… my darling Ms. Plath.  And she’s right, the figs do eventually wrinkle and blacken, so I have to move quick, and I have to choose and never look back.  So, changing my mind, I’m a “WRITER.” Why the sudden punctuation, now?

‘Cause I’m a Writer.  Period.