all interpretation and meditations leaning toward more. More exploration, more scenes, more looking around and acknowledging Now. Nothing behind, all ahead and in front of me asking to be experienced. What am I doing here, accepting any order, any regulatory, any institution. More, on that Road, the music, lights, cars, families traveling in winter or whenever. Sitting on unfamiliar boards, me…
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.
6:42pm. Of course now the laptop wants to cooperate, after I vented all over the social and bloody space and place about it. This Rhône blend talking to me as most don’t. Maybe ‘cause it’s from Monterey and I one day want to secure a dwelling of any size there by the beach. Pairing the blend—composition of which I have no clue—with Sun Chips, I think sour cream and onion ode. Yes? Lifting up bag on side, learning I opened upside-down… and no. French Onion. Either way, nice harmony between the two bodies.
French Onion… have I had this before? Tomorrow to Healdsburg to get a haircut then maybe a little tasting. Want to put more, more into this, more… this blogging effort and step, how people see me as a blogger. I’m no longer concerned with books, or at least not now. It’s about the wine, this story. This journal. This ME project. Who is Mike Madigan and what the fuck does he want? About to turn 40… ran 9 miles yesterday on tread which he can still feel. Today the company meeting hearing CEO talk and more than forwarded and fiery from his humility and knowledge, his containment, speak.
I see my office. Right there. Healdsburg Square.
Learning from Now that I need to calm down. Not be so pressuring of self, Mike’s character. Sun nearly all the way in its down. Will go on patio and drink the rest of this blend. Pour Self more. Tomorrow in Healdsburg. Where do I go, taste?
Feel like bed’s an option now. Right now. Go upstairs, make coffee for morning first, and bed in bed. Sleep. The wine doesn’t communicate much to me right now so what’s the point in staying up hoping it gives me some vision… some business counsel. That’s what I want.. some free counsel for business. Okay, a side of me says, I’m right here.
What do I do now?
What you’re doing right now.
Amplify, intensity, diversify.
I’ve heard that before from this voice and I follow it, or try. I’m everywhere in my head after a longer than long week.
Then the red takes a shift. Becomes more than wine. Starts spelling certain spells and singing to me in odd octaves, saying that the day has taught me something. What, it demand. I try to explain but just take another sip, look left at the couch where I’ll be with babies in the morning, then think of them tonight going to bed, my daughter being silly and bragging about her new bed, and how no one can sit on it but her.
What wines do people want? I’ve all but given up on wine as a business, saying now I want to be a professional consumer, whatever that is. Can I start my own store? Open one. Then another.. then another. I don’t know. I’ll play with the idea, but cautiously.
Old videos from my winemaking days, now having me thinking of other approaches. Need this scattered ness to stop. Write about everything and have that be your one thing. Yeah, that could be a plan, right?
and what work he has to do, what I have planned the next day and the remaining hours of this day, I am honestly with nothing. But I make myself write. One student tonight saying one of her goals is, was, is to wake at 2am to get ahead in her studies and I assume write a little as she does write poetry and write in short lines, short stanzas, pieces that span only a page. And I say ‘only’ out of awe, that she does so much to a page in only a page’s pulse.
Was nearly too lazy to write anything tonight. Told self, “Just a hundred words, per blog.” But I can’t hold self to that. Should I do what this student plans on doing? Should I set alarm for 2? Isn’t that the time of the artist, the writer and poet? Didn’t I read that somewhere? On my lunch today grading papers and writing in the Sonic journal as this goddamn laptop didn’t want to let me use it. Of course, now, I do push the buttons and have a note in my writing normalcy.
Finish the fucking book, I tell myself. Like my son said tonight as I poised to make his bed with new sheets, “GET TO WORK.” I am. I say the same to self.
Sip the Barbera I popped last night. It, she, more calm. Me the opposite of anything tranquil at the moment. Working in the home office which isn’t as common as I’d love to tell you it is. But, WORK. Work. What I write about. Force self to write when I don’t want to. I do write about wine, but that’s not my only onus and thought light.
Now, I’m like a train with this, these writing thoughts. I, not failed. Not failing in my aims. I won’t allow that. No one should. Why would you. You are here, once. And I’m not addressing the fact one only lives once…. I’m speaking to myself and you, that where you are, right now, the opportunity and life invitation to bring a project to completion is singular. You see it once.
You are a train, if you wish be. Some unknown animal of fruition, bringing works to an offering stage. There are only stops that persist acknowledged. So acknowledge none of them. I see so many of these speakers and motivational-who-be’s profess all this counsel but don’t consider the most apparent reality… the audience member has to decide. They only elect to act if they bring themselves to movement. Tonight I could have just as easily poured this red from El Dorado, sat on the floor of this home study, went on phone and scrolled through some photo pour. No. We decide to draw, paint new plausible for our Personhood. Decide to move, be alive, mentally, alive, wildly alive in all movements of your steps and actuating saunter.
What work does for and to the character is animated in divinely lucrative chant. Dodge the task, never. Distractions and suitable sanctions to project-dodge are terminal. The panacea, always, is preemptive production. Never, labor deduction.
Now home. Today, sent me. Somewhere. Not sure where. This is more than work. This is more than a job, Sonic. The place where people walk around smiling and talking with each other, where they smile and greet each other and fall into a joyous back and forth about everything. I won’t get comparative, promised I wouldn’t do that in this sitting at day’s end. But today, did something. After my EOD meeting, on several worlds and ancillary topics, a conversation which I was more than merely invested in, I hurried on into the rest of the day and onto campus to give my most kaleidoscopic and axiomatic lecture yet, I think.
Sipping from a bottle Thomas gave me, and I direct further toward and into this meeting with self, me here having an inward conversation, hoping to come to some sort of useful singularity but maybe I won’t. Maybe this is just for the sake of exploration, for setting sail into some new thought stream. Where I’ll land. Not sure. And why do so many focus on destination? I know I do from time to time but even still sometimes we just need to relish and have internal dialogue and mediation on the trek itself… the voyage, the journey.
If I do manage to wake as early as I’ve drawn, tomorrow, I’ll work out while writing. Down here, downstairs, living room, in dark. And if one of the babies wake then I guess I’ll deal with it, I have to. A 90 minute workout, all core-honed, what I’m hoping for. I still feel Sonic’s office around my senses, all five, and the eighth, ninth. This Italian red proposes something different, as it’s something different in my usual sip pattern.
So I keep with kaleidoscope’s shades and telling. Don’t need to be yet privy to destination. I’ll get there…. I will.
Late, and wine and music, thinking about the day and week ahead. Day off tomorrow from office new but class later. Going to put thinking in mode of close, already for semester. The writing daddy thinking, thinks now, bigger than in past sittings. Tonight, Pinot Noir. Went to winery he just in the last month left, yesterday. He misses it, wine, the industry. Would he ever go back? Fuck no, he says to himself. He says it loud so he can hear himself think it and say it, and feel it more before the next sip. He’ll have his own winery one day, something small. That small little tasting studio and room where people, anyone, can just taste wine and talk.
He closes all the other docs on his laptop. Focuses on his memoir or note or memoir-ish novel piece, he throws more Pinot into his circuitry. And I’m tired already, even though I did manage a nap earlier, and after having some coffee. Guess the writer needed it. Mike looks at the wine, remembers his last days at that Chalk Hill spot, going into the vineyard his last day with the TR manager to do his exit and she saying this is how it should be done as he’d always talk about the vineyard and everything in it, how he’d walk it everyday.
He’d write it. That tell-all. Or something like a tell-all. He wasn’t trying to expose anyone or call anyone out, or do any tabloid shit on his blog, he just wanted to write the wine industry, the bar the glass the towels the inventory. Each turn, jot on a paper clipped by a spreadsheet metal clip-y thing. He looks again at the glass and writes more notes about it, what he thinks someone from, maybe somewhere like, Indiana would say. Some small town Indiana person, now a rich oil or farm behemoth. “That’s nice, that’s like one of those Pinots that tells you what Pinot is, what it’s all about… I’ve had Pinots like this before, I’ve had a lot of them…” He’d heard lines like this, so many times before, someone trying to sound like something, some wine something, an expert or “connoisseur” or “aficionado”, or just a fucking EXPERT. But it’s in his head. He knows he has to write this down. All of it. He sipped the Pinot faster, pour another glass or sip right from neck. It’d changed,
Wine speaking to him in octaves applauded, in his thoughts. Empty glass, full head of wine visions, walking a vineyard again like he did at every wine he’d ever worked at. He doesn’t know where he is in this session, and he doesn’t care. The mocha, maple, cherry and milk chocolate from the wine speaking even several minutes after sipped. He sees himself light up after writing about glass’ occupant, even after gone, even before letting it sing through a bottle’s neck like he were Kerouac. Much to tell, more now later. As a writing daddy ought do. Much anew do.
Wine never needs to frame complicated. Wine should never direct prolix. She’s inviting, approachable, narrative and affectionate. What’s surrounded by curved glass reads a presence, a prophetic face and storm of versifying lines.
After a day, working, wine waits, debates her approach to me, my life and day and immediate room. The room, now, connotative in resonance, assurance, a perceptive seat. I’m at a table with her, being instructed, listening,eating leftovers and coaching me on Now, this doesn’t have to be layered or codified, and sort of sophisticated set.
Haven’t touched this glass. But the visual and nearness has me. Inward recite, and known night, thrown toward a lone vinified light.
that there are certain moments just for me. That I don’t have to share. Life is mine, all of it, and it’s cruelly curt. It flies by with no minding and I can either observe or fly with it. Wine sings, again.
Telling the kids we have to go up and get dressed, brush teeth, get ready for day, but I give in and let them have more time. And I could use more time on the day’s story, this second day of a thirty-day measurer. What will I be at the end. Who cares. Have some time to self today, and I’m thinking after the run go somewhere, to some coffee shop, locally, and write. I do want to take some vineyard pics as well if I can. But Saturdays are busy, no matter where you are in the season, so that could prove problematic. Maybe just down the road, to Hook & Ladder, or De Loach. Don’t want to do too much driving. So remain close to this writing studio… needing to take a break, now, go cuddle with my babies, there on the couch and before they’re so grown they’ll avoid writing-daddy at whatever turn they see. I laugh to self, looking at them. I’m a dad. ME. 40 next year. So now I see the inner-shove for this 30-day project. Get self as close to what I want for self at 40 as possible. My office… travel… more wine notes and tastings, blogging and… yes, I need to go tasting today, somewhere just down the road. I’m thinking De Loach is my spot. Little Pinot, or Chard, think they make a Syrah of some shape. But, after a run. After a run, no buts. How far will I go.. how far can I go, what distance I can produce, better question. Haven’t been running as much as the running writer’d like.
After kids are dressed and with teeth cleaned, they draw. I’m back standing and typing. Wife on way home from workout and I need to put self in runner’s head. Will do normal route, then something added.— Jack harasses Emma by drawing on her sheet, Emma growls and I laugh which doesn’t help. Ready to run…. Between 5 and 10 miles. That’d be lovely. Lovely. Get some healthy mile count and come home and shower and head out to write more. Make as much use of the day, this “day off”, as writer and new techie can. Am I a techie? I’ve learned more new worlds and specifics, more Newness, at the office new than I ever did in the wine industry’s joke of an industry and business. I’m a wanna-be techie, I think. I have a blog, but that doesn’t make me a techie, tech, technically savvy strut.
Hours after run, 10 miles, then nearly 3 miles of walking, I’m tired. Kids back from pool and I write as I did this morning. Jack continues to contribute to his math workbook that he created and designed himself, this morning. Emma, little Ms. Austen herself on the couch with her laptop. Would be outside but too hot. And I don’t object. Walking around Bottle Barn I imagined my eventual wines, that I’ll make with sister, there. Just one bottle. Not too many. I’m very anti-inventory, since leaving Roth. Too many SKUs, too many blues. And, the counting is just a pain. More than a pain, like a relentless sickness. That just returns and returns. Tomorrow helping friend at Idlewild off the square. Don’t have to be there till noon. Wife heads out to Train Town with friend and her daughter, so I’m heading to my day and creative missions early. Take pictures of vineyards and walk around blocks, catch views of harvest if I can. Definitely heading to Roth, maybe Foley Sonoma, or something outside the Foley book. Just want to be in wine’s world and valley to do just that. BE there. Not working, just being, creating, writing. I’ll be Kerouac as well tomorrow, but a Madigan model and chronicle. Writing everything down…
Daughter slides off couch and walks around, dazed. Can tell she’s tired. “Emma, you wanna play with Dada?” She doesn’t answer, and I head back to these keys, hear train passing outside, Jack still very much in his authoring actuation. I ask Emma again, she lazily and with extended annunciation, “No.” Okay, so I don’t feel too bad about typing as I am. Again feel the depletion from the ten mile run. Wanted 13.1, but the heat stopped me. Surprised I got as far as I did. While walking around Spring Lake, I thought to myself about stress and how so often it coms from trying to control something and not being able to. So my new resolve, resolution and trenchant view involves just dong what I want and if something blocks me or impedes then loudly amplify ( a word I much prefer to “scale”) demiurgic movements. All of them. I watch both babies, Emma now visibly drained, trying to fall asleep on the couch. I offered to take her upstairs to nap with her mother, and then she revives with no notice.
Just told Emma she’s cute and she took such as an insult. “ I not cute, Dada… I big guuu’!” I laughed and went back to these keys. Like I’m in college, writing something just before deadline. Not editing a thing jus typing and using everything around me to get to demanded word or page tally.. Or a wine journalist and blogger, notetaker, feverish jotter, scribbling more on the wines I last night had, the Italian white then red blend, not Italian like other character, providing contrast valuable. Both said something to me about my relationship with wine, and how wine’s provided a platform for everything, everything, even getting into tech… the office new. Wine and I, together out of the tasting room. And what now… write something. Wine, writing, running in Sonoma County in view of vineyards, sometimes. Not today unfortunately. Just wasn’t in the story for day. 15:39, and I still have a lot to do. Stating and staying busy, working on this writer’s projects and everything in his writing ways. Just charged camera for tomorrow. Not sure why I’m so set on doing photography, tomorrow. Why not. See what happens. One of my secret aspirations is to be somewhat, I guess, a photog. Never sacrificing the prose, but more pictures.
Kids unusually calm, and me getting tired. Hope they don’t get frenzied and decide to confederate against the running writing daddy. Or, I hope they do. There’s more story and AMPLIFICATION in that.
English 100— Week 2, Meeting 3.
Not sure how I’m going to make it through the semester, possibly my last. And I know so many people that, like the wine industry when I left, are saying, “But you’re so good at it… people love you when you…” Yeah, well, time to move on. Being an adjunct over the past 12 years has only obstructed and interfered with other efforts and endeavors. Tonight’s class went well, though. Essentially lecturing from the heart and nearly no notes. I didn’t wing it, I trusted my Self. My ability to lecture and share/generate ideas. I’m concerned, though, about when the semester really gets going, becomes a nonstop storm of papers. But maybe it doesn’t have to be, I think. Tomorrow will be easier, with me getting out of the office at 5, not having class till 7. Can get some grading done, and that’s the key, stay on top of that paper-stacking foulness. Have to stay in calm’s pose. This is just Day 1 of such a day. 30 minutes to get from Sebastopol Road and whatever-street to SRJC. I can do it. I will do it. Rewarding the writer with some Cabernet the sis gifted me the other day when I stopped by. Need it. And yes, NEED. Poured self a soothing pour, needed and deserved stemless goblet full of the Bordeaux bull.
The English 100 class has me humbled, frankly, after tonight. After the quickly compiled and accumulating prod of stress making it nearly difficult to focus on the drive from Roseland’s district to campus. But I did it. Today. Rest of the days? Well, I have to. That simple. I’ll wake early, hopefully, when wife does for her bootcamp whatever, make coffee tonight and start chugging right when I get up. Grade a couple pieces, if I can. And if not, then write— This semester. All projects not only on hold but pushed into a literary coma. Will only think of waking when the last grade is submitted. And that’s the key, to all of this. The grading. The thing that holds me up semester after semester and what always affects my mood in the most torrential and terrible way of ways. Just put a fucking grade on it, I tell myself. But do I? No. Procrastinate, instead. Fool.
This semester, my last or no, will be my best, the most enjoyable for me and anyone registered, and the most self-educating. The office new, today my first full day, will serve as my freeway for self-discovery and building not just a career but creative life and fold, dimension, self-sect. This will work, and it will be challenging, demanding, painful… but like I told the students tonight, as I do every semester, “the main character has to hurt. And guess who the main character is in your story…. YOU.” Beginning week two, I centralize in this project, logging the entire semester. I, not failed. Not in any aspect or tilt, pan, scene, theatre. Today affirmed my elation in December’s end.