No nap, today, fought against pull and push to do so. Thanksgiving over, wife out shopping at one of those shopping special eve whatever’s. Me, home. Wine. Just finished glass of Claret. The night passed with such cruel progression. Indifference. Babies asleep upstairs. What movie do I watch, my dilemma. My life’s trouble. Think of how fortunate I am with my family and to have such family, to be sitting where I am, here on this we seek to shed, new one one the way… Day of giving thanks, I need to show more giving of thanks, being thankful.

Tonight, I do intend exploring more wine. No aim to wake at 4am or 4:10 like this day. No. I may actually just sleep in. I will. What do I mean, “may”? May have to punch out. Take the night as it approaches me, describe and translate it, or in such order reversed… then wake tomorrow with more thought. More story. More ME. Tired now, forgetting I’ve been up since 4-something. Think 4:10. Has it been that long? Yes. It has. Me, that writer. Now. Time to Self and I sip wine and be here, writing. A writer.

Does the writer want apple pie or Chardonnay? Both sound like they sound, their own precise appeal and connection. I’m not torn between both but urge to be curved by both, somehow. 9:08. Feel like bed but I won’t. I can’t. But more, I refuse. Why can’t I be a human, just have dessert or drink wine. Is it that complicated? Are my thoughts the hinderance, the block and or impediment? I think it may be just that. Not in any kind of a writing swoop, and I can’t figure anything of it out. How does pine figure. What type a figure be me, I, this writer.

I feel like I’m not doing a thing, while doing too much. A mess. Should have taken a nap.

day’s 3 pages


In being a creative, doubting yourself is death.  Plath said in one of her thousands of journal entries that “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” So, no doubting Self.  Ever.  This is more than some cheesy manifesto or declaration for me.  Another of my favorite authors, as many or probably all of you know, is Jack Kerouac.  One of the first bombs of urgency that he projects at us comes in the inaugural chapters, “The only people for me are the mad ones…” Mad people don’t ever doubt themselves, they just do what they do, and with mad beauty, mad effulgence and placement.  Today is Friday, but not for me, as I work tomorrow.  I’m working today at the winery but I only feel a push, a creative shove that will keep me creating and walking around the vineyard blocks staying motivated, decided.  And what have I decided?  To create, teach creatively, share what I’ve learned creatively.  Frankly, doubting yourself is death to any forward.  I’m not hoping to be a motivational anything.  Certainly not “speaker”, or … anything.  I’m just sharing what I learn.  THAT, is my pedagogy.  Positivity is not optional.  The creative act is contingent upon a dominant positive and yay-saying disposition that visible in all creative work.

My 3 pages today, sharing what I learn as I learn it.  Just now, as I walked in, I saw a cluster of grapes going through veraison, just the beginning stages, very beginning steps toward ripeness.  In my head I thought, “I need to get inside, clock in!” But what I did, just stop, enjoy that moment and focus on and enjoy the varying shades of green, deep purple and light purple, that purplish-pink, light red.  I took a couple breaths for me.  Yes, I’ve written about breathing before, but those breaths just outside this building (house, actually), made me feel strong, confident, dousing doubt in weight more mightier than itself.  It was like those burning stars Kerouac talked about in that part of ‘Road’.  Burning, Roman candles, wanting everything right then and there.  The feeling followed me in here— and I sit here a creatively animalistic mammoth of this new teaching mode.

Another lesson from this morning:  Graduating.  The act of graduating is not just in school or academic contexts.  You move from one page to another, one geography to next, moving upward hopefully and not in an exhaustive lateral.  Two students of mine, past ones from just this last Spring, are currently at their school of transfer, UC Santa Cruz.  They’re excited, you can tell, eager to start the new Newness before them.  I know what that feels like and I want it again and again, again, and I can get that, I tell myself.  No doubt, I can get that.  The next step is teaching myself to teach more creatively and go as far outside the conventional box as your mind will let you.  And this mind will let me do whatever I want.  It’s my biggest ally, supporter, like a wandering cheerleader entangling and untangling my anxieties and insecurities.  At this new age of 37, in fact, it’s quite eager to hunt down and kill the self-doubt if it ever steps into sight or some subtle tangibility.  It’s more than an enemy to my 37 mind, it’s a bouldering threat.  But we’re not afraid.  And, if you feel something coming, some doubt or challenge, or collision, get in front of it.  You’ll love how you feel afterward.

I know, “You said you weren’t going to try to be some motivational anything…” I’m not.  And if I sound that way I apologize.  I’m advocating a complete absence—no, VOID, a total VOID—of fear.  Fear and doubt work concertedly, often.  If not all the time.  You feel a fear of something, then you doubt yourself letting the fear trample your ardor.  Or, the doubt morphs into a ravenous fear.  Just stand up to it, all of it.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You fall down, you lose once or twice, or a dozen times, but you again step and step, move forward.  Again, please understand:  THIS IS JUST SOMETHING I’VE LEARNED.  I’M NOT A SPEAKER ON THIS SUBJECT.  But I can share.  I’m a sharer.  Maybe an over-sharer, yes, but I’m intrepid to the point of not caring, just putting my thoughts out there knowing my inner-pushes and motivations are to help someone that feels self-doubt.

Plath and Kerouac both had their doubts and troubles, demons and challenges, blocks and bumbles.  But they created.  They brought themselves out of their nay-saying maelstroms and wrote, put books together, added to their stories with unbridled withstanding.  I learn ever time I read ‘Road’, or ‘Bell Jar’ or some other Plath work.  This is a dance, with me and literature, my story and paginated steps back and forth and teaching myself that I can teach myself and learn with more vocality than I did when in college.  I will graduate.  Soon.  Be in my travels, sharing more positive pulses and peregrinations with anyone who’ll listen.

If this were a Pass/Fail course, I wouldn’t even see the word ‘Fail’.  What is that, anyway?  Who invented that bloody word?  Like those grapes outside I come into maturity, finally, at age 37.  I’m not old, but I’m definitely into life, deep enough into the story where I can’t and won’t and don’t see failure.  At all.  I’m like the cluster outside that’s standing in the way of aggressive sun rays, saying “You don’t hurt me, you can’t burn me, you only add to me…” Or something like that…  Lost my train of thought, enjoying a couple breaths at this desk and staring out at the vineyard.  Oh yeah.. the Pass/Fail thing… yeah, who’s to say what’s a failure?  You have all the time in the world to get what you want.  Yes, tomorrow’s not promised, I get all that.  But I don’t think like that.  The urgency is here with me, and that’s enough.

Enjoying the steady, slow, accommodating beginning to my day, with the outside vines, inside this house with my coffee, no ringing phone, my projects for the day cued up.  The day teaches me something else, even more crucial in value than the breathing outside next to my car:  ACKNOWLEDGE YOU’RE ALIVE.  ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF YOUR CAR, BY A VINEYARD, AND BREATHE.  Yes.  Like I’ve said and written on my blog I don’t know how many times— ‘You know how many people in America would kill for a view like this from their desk?’ True, so I need to slow down.  I offer you do the same.  Just try it.  Move a little slower.  Don’t worry, the self-doubt and fear won’t catch you.  If anything, I’ve just recently found, this makes you more impenetrable as a person, as a writer and creator.  This day has also taught me that you can’t create when you’re negative, or in a mood or funk.  Last night, a disagreement with someone only weighed on my thinking, and I tried to write but only paginated word-sewage.  I hated what I wrote.  In fact, I deleted the whole piece, close to 500 words and I never do that.  Enjoy the steady, smile, be positive, and enjoy your writing fly and you away with it.

Goals…  I am in no way an authority to talk about goal attainment.  Goals, I only just the other week developed a methodology which makes goal satisfaction more seamlessly embraceable.  So I won’t even write about my “methods”, if they’re even “methods”, but I will say play with your own methods… see what works for you.  Goals are great.  They’re there to touch, to enjoy when you reach them.  In fact, if you have some goal obtainment practice you want to share with me, believe me I’m all ears, eyes, senses and thinking.  You teach me, you share with me, I’d be timelessly indebted!

‘On The Road’ taught me to just go.  Don’t think, just go.  Do.  Overthought is writer-death I always share with students.  And it is. It’s goal-death as well.  Just bloody try.  You won’t fail.  In fact, what others so hastily tag as failure is really character assembly, and addition to Personhood and thought fortitude.  Sal and Dean had destinations but more importantly they had a penchant for the journey, the travel, the Road.  They were high on ‘The Road’.  The Road was the pursuit, not some city.  As with writing and being a creative, we do have our deadlines and projects, the manuscript and tangible we rush to complete, but it’s the process and practice that keeps us positive, keeps us mentally live and more immune to self-doubt and fear, those horrible pessimism anchors that love submission.  Reminds me of this George Bernard Shaw quote for some reason, where he says, “You see things and say, WHY? But I dream things that never were and say, WHY NOT?” Just get up and go, right?  No meditation or measurement, just act, just create, just run, just write, just live.  Overthought in many realities is the offspring of self-doubt.  So, no thank you.

Happiness is the path…  I remember a friend in college, undergrad, fellow English major always used to say this.  Think it was a quote from Buddha, I think.  But, I’ve always remembered it, sometimes say it to self while driving Dry Creek Road to work.  I’ll get out there and walk, let the day and the vineyards teach me more.  I have more to learn if I’m to forward as a strong creative.  When out there, I’ll take pictures of what the vineyards tell me.  I’ll let the atmosphere and stage’s character instruct me.  I have no reason to doubt the self if the vineyard’s promulgating me, supporting my curiosities and scholastic rhythms.  I know graduation’s near.  Where am I transferring?  The world.  The whole planet.  Writing in spots you wouldn’t think to write… a bus stop in Zurich, a field in Norway, a café in Egypt.  Travel isn’t a goal just to be a goal and to travel, just to tell people something trite like ‘oh I travel a lot for work’.  Annoying when people say that, like they’re so burdened by the flights and the hotels when they know so many would love to experience what they are.  I’m on a tangent, I feel…  I’m just motivated for graduation, to my next campus, passing to next stage— out there.

After my walk in the vineyard with a co-worker, taking dozens of stills of clusters and the canes, the rows and soil, irrigation lines, I’m not just ‘moving’ upward, it’s become a sprint.  And, I just realized, maybe this goes beyond instructional and matriculated containment, maybe it’s life, the life of a writer and style of life (not necessarily ‘lifestyle’) of a truer than true writer.  Thinking and brainstorming on a separate sheet of paper from the Composition Book and I know that my first travel is close, that assurance and coated affirmation, coated in assurance from what I see around me in the vineyard and this very office, that what I want is right there.  To live madly, having any self-doubt so far at my 6 that it dissipates, halts in any memory or semblance of existence.  The walk was the topper, icing on cake, cherry atop, whatever cliché you insist be inserted.  It’s there, here, now, with me.  Like visual music and poetry.  We can all have what we want, all of it, I’m just now learning.

You know who, or what, or more so who is the motivational speaker today?  This vineyard.  That one across the street from us.  All the patches and stretches and blocks I saw driving to work.  It’s more than motivating, or “inspirational” for me.  It’s the Road, it’s the Roman candle, it’s a story that doesn’t stop.  Happiness with exponents with exponents.  Today’s been like that day in the semester where you know graduation is near and you want to conclude the term stronger than you have the others.  You’re strong.  The feeling is a cosmic intoxicant.  you can’t get enough and you wouldn’t if you could.  In fact, the thought of it leaving you or getting your fill frightens you, but emboldens you.  You’re going to pass to the next campus and stage in your self-education and edification in ways that you’ll yourself want to study, repeat and repeat repeatedly.  You’ve acknowledged that you’re alive, your life is being written, by you—  Before you say anything, I’m not in motivational mode.  Not at all.  I’m in assurance mode, or affirmation morphology, speaking to myself and sharing what I’ve learned and what I’m realizing about myself and what I’m capable of, with you.

Creativity is life.  My life.  If you write or draw, take pictures, make music, make wine from the grapes out there, or express yourself with and/or through anything, then you’re lively with an alive liveliness for which you should compliment yourself.  Keep creating.  you’re far from that doubt, now.  “Huh,” I just thought to myself, I may have a goal strategy now.  And if not a rock-solid strategy then certainly a thought of one.  That’s a start, right?  I’m passed what was, forgetting it completely no, but moving past.  It’s part of the writer’s past, which is essential otherwise I’d have no present nor future.  We creatives ramble, which is precisely what I’m doing right now, a consequence of condensed inspiration, the atmospheric nudges from vineyards, views of vineyards.  Always coming back to those grapes, the canopies, the leaves and extending canes.  There’s life out there, self-life, self-education, my newest self sense.

4:13— late lunch at winery, so I’m in the office of the club manager, one I occasionally share with when having copywriting to do.  Had a snack earlier, so no need for the writer to eat.  I mean, I would have a snack if I had one, but since I don’t I’m fine with just doing some work for bottledaux, writing a bit, going through the pictures I took earlier.  It’s clear to me, after pouring what I did today for whom I did, people from out-of-state, that I will always be here in CA, in Sonoma, and my ultimate of ultimate apexing aims is to own a vineyard, a winery, possibly even with a farm element to it (goats, sheep, horses, whatever).  Think I have till 4:20-something for lunch, but I can’t remember, and it doesn’t matter as I came in earlier for writing-purposed proposed purposes.

Huh…  Now I am starting to feel a form of famine, catching myself yawning, or rubbing my eyes, or my attention wandering, or too easily getting distracted by the conversation in the next room…  I rub my eyes again, yawn… shit, I need something to eat.  Think there’s some crackers left in the kitchen.  Having pizza tonight to celebrate the end of Alice’s school year, and for the Warrior’s game tonight, not sure I can wait till then.  Yes, the hunger is definitely influencing my concentration.  Maybe I should have a sip of something to “numb the pain” as my an old friend said once, years ago when I worked with him at another winery, telling each other repeatedly how disgustingly hungry we both were.  Think that was in ’09, or ’10.  So, so, SO long ago.  That too happens when I get hungry, dwelling and tangents, memories that lead to tangents that dwell on some random memory or conversation— think I see someone in the kitchen, eating something or having a snack.  I may be saved!  Hem said hunger’s great inspiration or motivation— NO, it was discipline.  And it is, but it fucking hurts.  And now I am definitely feeling that pain, or discomfort.  Wine would only make it worse.  What about water?  Grandma once told me water numbs hunger, or makes you feel like you’re full, something like that.  Maybe that’s what I should do— have a couple of those crackers and a shitload of water.

Need to market my freewriting course obnoxiously.  Keep my pitches short, and lessons loose and not too constrictive.  In other words, if lecture 8 is about dialogue, let the students know that we don’t only have to talk about dialogue.  Yes, that will be the nucleus of the lecture, its epicenter, but the ONLY aspect of prose we discuss.

4:23…  Yes, they have food.  I need food.  The wind outside distracts me, how it pushes the vines one way then another.  Have so much to do tonight.  Need to put myself to bed early, make coffee like I did last night, pour it into tumbler, be ready for early morrow.

More ideas about freewriting course.  The hunger fades—  Huh.


Fly Another

img_3318This morning with an interesting start, me already with two cups under my belt and a third on the way.  Again, no 4AM, but I have, pushing, till 8:20 to write.  Time currently 7:25.  Use every second, I tell myself.  Every blink is of value.  Going to post to teaching blog, the bottledaux blog, share article on Medium.  Look through Comp Book some more.  Huh, wrote on its cover “Spring ’16”, but multiple semester notes alive in its borders.  Who knows how many students and how many rushed lecture notes, how many at-the-last-minute scribbling and meeting plans just bloody thrown into it.  The Composition Book is always there for me.  Don’t want to start a new one.  This particular binding and I have an elevated association.  Love, hate, questions and answers, I just keep going with it and even with the rough start this A.M. it reinforces its solidarity with the writer.

Two assignments for day.  “I can do it,” I tell myself, and that’s the tone that needs to pervade this day and all the others if anything’s going to happen with my efforts.  This desk, a mess.  What if I just took everything off and set in piles just to my left side, slightly behind.

Everything off desk, to left, threw some paper strays away.  Even removed from this surface the laptop’s soft padded casing, and my wallet, keys, so only the coffee at left, and these keys.  But time is away chipped.  29 minutes remaining in shift.  Have to work with that.  Can’t wish for what I can’t and don’t have.  Started with a couple words for article on Arizona florist, then sip coffee— my chant today:  TIRELESS.  Everything’s a standalone.  Wrote something this morning.  Short, somewhat abrupt, but that’s all I had time for.  As writers and bloggers, and entrepreneurs, we can only use the time we have.  Me, learning, still so far from any kind of mastery I’m not sure you should be reading.  But this morning, with its quirky liftoff has gifted me something: a new lesson, a new appreciation of time, and like Mom and Dad say, “Don’t worry about your age!” And, said the morning, “Don’t worry about anything.” All are astute, valuable counsel for this overthinking and over-eager penner.  Spring ’16, this semester, technically over—well, regular instruction anyway—with its own individualized anecdotes and gems for my maturation.  But am I mature, or still just a dreaming dreamer who’s already use the ‘dreamt allowance’?

The Composition Book… speaking to me again from the floor, or inside of my bag which on the floor, right.  What it says, invite more instruction from surroundings; the newly-cleared desktop, the 3rd cup, the sweater you just threw on with the winery’s logo of the high-wheeled bicycle, keep revolving and developing, circulating and spinning, moving.  Don’t get tired.  I can’t.  Keep peddling, pedaling.  Your head is sure to be as clear and free as this desk’s top.  Bloody finally.



Occidental Respite

img_0931On a  day off, I wanted to taste.  And I knew where I was headed.  I just wasn’t anticipating this magnanimous impression.  Right when I parked, down a scenically stretched driveway from Occidental Road, I parked just outside the Balletto tasting room.  Relaxed and removed Xanadu sense enveloping me from the first step on that gravel, following me into the cozy room which reminded me of the living room of a friend’s Central Oregon cabin.  Met by Ms. Charlotte, warmly and genuine invite to the bar, she pressured me with nothing, only setting a glass before me and pouring me some of the exceptionally rounded and balanced sparkling.  The to a Pinot Gris and Sexton Hill Chardonnay which had me equally struck.

I had the vision that I was over at a friend’s house, simply tasting wine and talking about the Russian River dimension, the styles of Pinots and Chards you find around the tasting room versus other growing zones in the state, or even the county.img_0924

She as well put some of the ’14 Rosé of Pinot  before me which struck me in how assertive it was with its flavor; not in any way passive or quick, or one of those safe Rosés that someone would say, “Yeah, it’s great for just sipping on a hot day.” No.  This Rosé of Pinot translation delivered an acute dactylic dance; the luminary stylistic effulgence you hope to taste from Rosé bottle, but don’t, ever.  Here you will.  Balletto shows there doesn’t have to be the humdrum pattern of Rosé production.  There can be narrative, there can be liveliness, and persuasive qualities in what you let prance on palate.

Two Pinots, the ‘RRV’ and ‘Burnside Road’, respectively.  Both were fiery in the catapulting of fruit and terroir-sewn inference, but still with that gentle, feminine, savory tryst that Pinot denotatively ensures.  I didn’t favor one of the other, they both roared when with me, and showed me more of the stratospheric intensity to which Balletto cares for their wines; how they’re produced and how they reflect site in addition to varietal interpretation and oenological intent.

Then, the ’12 Zin, which I have to say is one of the most distinct and playful wines (regardless of varietal, region, or vintage) that I’ve tasted since, well, anciently.  Nothing excessively jammy or serrated about the texture or olfactory setting; all harmonized and communicative, depth and amorous with what it does; black, red, and a bit of blue fruit insinuation in all measures of the song.  Again, fun.  And if I ever do drink Zin, I hope to enjoy, not be deafened by high alcohol and scattered fruit intentions.

Coming home with me after my visit with Ms. Charlotte at Balletto’s base, were the Sexton Hill, Russian River Pinot, and the Zin.  So I ask myself as a wine chaser and writer and professor, ‘what I learned’.  Or as I ask my students, “What am I walking away with?” Hard to say, as I walked back to my car across that gravel thinking so much.  But for one, certainly a new affinity for artfully arranged wine.  Nothing self-anointing about this label, just humble, precise, prowess-stricken oenology.  Anyone reading this needs to visit if you not only want to taste wines, notably Pinots and Chardonnay—and that sparkling!—but be taught something about wine.  By the wines themselves.  Not some pseudo-sagacious host only wanting to hear themselves speak.  Balletto’s keepers, most keenly Charlotte, offer conversation, avidity, and kindness.

I’ve been taught.


MOCK SOMM: Anthill Farms Winery, Mendocino County, Comptche Ridge Vineyard, Pinot Noir, 2012

IMG_9276That wooing style of Pinot I love, and chase, but rarely find.  But I have it now, oh do I have it now with the rose pedal flirtation and light red fruit with understated but still altogether relevant vanilla, encircling my senses with its little urging vignettes of flavor and voltage– olfactory momentum only augmented by what greets the tongue– syllabic syncopation and thorough exploration of the varietal’s ebb and origin.  Mendocino, more and more ardent in its stage presence and voice– even as the hour onward urges I write for this wine and not that it needs me to I just note so I don’t forget; this Pinot’s one I want to remember far after the bottle’s left vacant on the countertop, there just looking back at me, knowing it has me and its spell quite affective, it won I lost and I’m more than at peace with the peace it gave me, a piece of it mise en scèn, its ubiquitous aura and rush about my stages, imagined and actual, lost in the Pinot path again and I’m like an ant, looking for something, not food or any substance but reason, why it took my so long to find the farm, this shape of Pinot and these chapters that I sipped– the bottle looks back at me from the counter and I feel regret and victor syncopatedly.  I walk over to the bottle and just stare at the label, want to know more about so I do some research and now understand why I’m so driven and drawn to its design– they catalyzed humbly and understand and remain so.  Or not so, as this bottle can’t be ignored, passed, or spoken over, or for.  This is my rile reconfiguring my rationale, so pardon–  It’s autonomous and quite vaunting about its phenolic jargon.  Still talking to me, even after the last glass which I finished well over ten minutes ago.

This wine has me on its mission, to realize Pinot’s innermost character, the compounding of delicacy and assertiveness.  And as oxygen saunters into its makeup the floral notes and theses of vanilla and cinnamon, maybe saturated forest soil or something, present themselves and with artful rhythm.  And the Literary qualities?  Everywhere, in all stages of its development and stance, it doesn’t taper or fade or relent in its spell.  Narrative, development, contradiction and plot anomolies… and if I’m one of the ants on the farm I’m more than elated with such, my new story sipping this Pinot form.  I’m more than certain most I know haven’t tasted a Pinot of this expressive elevation.  Or maybe I’m wrong.  Either way this should be studies, not duplicated– well, it won’t be, it can’t.  Only by its creators.

Its own scenery, ambient consistency it how lassos your attention.  Like staring at the ocean, or walking in the Mendocino woods, there’s pace in this bottle.  Vineyard Zen couriered to the glass, and now to the writer– our narratives again soon hopefully meet.  And now I think more about what it said, what it commanded–  And I go back to my glass.  Another visit.



MOCK SOMM:  2 Wines from Jesse Katz 

Aperture Cellars, Alexander Valley, Red Wine, 2011

IMG_9274A wildly vocal blend, Bordeaux varietals, Cab/Malbec, and one that commands the sipper to be lost, twirled and whirled in the body of the wine and its speech; darkness of berries and vibrant and confident presence, impact and influence on senses.  And, you taste more than structure, you’re greeted by a communicative being from the bottle; the words and story of the vintage and winemaker, Alexander Valley’s relentless promulgation of Bordeaux varietals.  There’s no halt to this wine’s momentum and palate placement.  Like his father’s photos, you’re caught, not anytime soon release but held in one place to appreciate and be lost in the visual, the scene created and captured, measured and treasured.  Of course I’m partial loving Cabernet and Bordeaux blends, and being one of those fervent followers of Katz, and his father’s work, but I’m instructed to appreciate Cabernet and Cab-honed blends differently with this bottle and most notably since it’s from ’11, the vintage that so IMG_9275many of these wine “experts” and “critics” want to dismiss so knee-jerkingly.  This wine is a taste of place, the alchemical invitation to experience stylistic translation of Cabernet meeting Malbec in bottle, in the perfect accompaniment, actuating its own autonomous atmosphere.  This wine reminds me of my relationship with wine, frankly, what I’m after and what I’ve been after in wine; Literary qualities, a story, the sipped-written; Wines that have their own character development and past, future, that are part of my present.  And I found another, finally, from an old friend, now infused to my wined picture and life more clearly– another sip, and I hear its voice.  Again, again…


Devil Proof Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Malbec, 2012

IMG_9041A Malbec, on its own, defiant in its delicious dichotomy of a disposition.  Loud and assertive but still very much elegant and poetic, not at all overreaching or stretching into a stance it shouldn’t.  A harmony of red coupled with its principles as a Bordeaux.  And you’re thinking to yourself, “And this is 100% Malbec?” And yes, there’s no support from another varietal, and no odd adjustments or anything strange in the writing of its story.  And like other wines from Katz, we see that understanding, and that winemaker influence and innovation sans trumping the identity of the varietal itself.  So then… we sip again, and experience what wine should be, or wine of this elevation; Art.  A story, a new story and new IMG_9044adventure for Jesse, when I asked him how he knew it was time to begin his new mission and venture he simply responded with “It was the right time.”  and it was the right time in my oeno-apologue to meet this bottle, having me feel immune and impervious to all ill elements, and how could I be harmed with such didactic wine in my glass, and the woman smiling back at me, holding her cigar herself aware that nothing and intrude on her proverbial quietude?  Cinnamon singing from rich raspberry and antagonizing cherry and other wild berry suggestion, lively spice song and tannic accents supply memorable structure, and more story, more memory, and what critics say about Mr. Katz’s passion project matters but doesn’t.  There’s mastery, visible, tasted, cellared or poured, it’s there at your table and you live, feel, and see it.  All.  And you’re proof that nothing negative can puncture you’re moment.  So you smile with her.


1,000 words — barrel 7

Up at 4:53 but went back to sleep, now 6:06 and I refuse to let my head touch that pillow after bringing Jack to our bed.  Downstairs now in this dark and I’m set on making today one of writing and content and money– yes, ‘money’.  I need to fill these income gaps as I’ve said and produce more money for myself, more importantly my family.  Writer dilemma, here in the earliest of morning, or not the earliest the earliest would have been at 5.  Was so close, but I’m here now, reader.  Writing.  And the day, the day is right there, and I’m in control as I noted last night, as I thought last night driving home from Mendocino, before being accosted by that CHP officer (he telling me to slow down, which I did otherwise there was no way he could have come to my window to tell me the obvious, the the road crew was working and that it’s a bloody mess on the road, 101, and that ‘we’re all gonna get through this’).  “What?” I thought.  I pity him, his life, what he was out there doing, after our lovely interaction, his invisibly pushing people onward with his flashlight.  That’s his job, when I’m sure all he wanted to do is being a real police officer, not a glorified hall monitor, patrolling California Highways.  Neither there, nor here, or anything of importance.. I’m here on this couch and I hear Alice wake or at the least stir, probably toward the shower as she always does, leaving Jack in our bed but I can’t imagine him staying too still, me having just brought him to our bed and him asking last night “Where’s daddy…Where’s Dada?” Alice told me.  I don’t mind this sitting being interrupt at all really, as I’m just warming up as a writer, this is my meditation, my inner collection and warmup exercises I guess you could say.

Meeting Glenn at Punchdown at 9:30– have to charge phone, and camera, need a new notebook, or no I don’t I’ll just use the Fall ’15 one.  Week 10, dead.  Thank the Craft, onward now, onward into my wined story and growth, and that ‘end game’ as Kevin said.  Which is, I think, my own wine.  And I’ve held that vision for some time now, truly, so that has to be it.  Something has to be IT, right?  I’m 36 with a daughter headed straight for me.  Yes.. the model of the big ad/media/blogging/content company then the side project, the “passion project” (hate that, yes too cliché, but that’s just what it is).  My winery.  Starting with SB, Merlot, as you know, and then maybe jumping into Syrah which I love and perhaps even Pinot, or some Rhône blend, some Rhône-something.  Wine’s a path to just be walked and enjoyed, not over-thought.  I’m in control.  And I don’t know why, I have to again note, this is hitting me at 36, such realization.  Why did I have to wait till now?

6:09AM, Friday, but it’s hard to see Friday like normal people, esp people who don’t write or blog ‘cause we’re always working.  Content is everything to us; life and family, and me now with this “daddy blog” idea, or startup– no, just a blog now, maybe it’ll turn into another “startup” like the vvv idea, but I want to explore and share, and LEARN from and TEACH MYSELF, and maybe others though I’m hardly an authority, on parenting.  How Jack, and soon Ms. Emma (whom I still call Ms. Austen, even though the ‘Jane camp’ is long, long gone– when there were so many potential names for my daughter I called them camps; the Jane camp, Emily camp, Emma camp, Catherine Elizabeth camp…)…  Just parenting I find so interesting now, and this is a direct extension and demonstrative of who I am and how I think, as a professor, yes, just more so one from the Literary world and seeing everything differently, processing life as an Artist, one with an ever accumulating book and journal.

The white wine I opened last night, an unlabeled bottle of the Cuvée Blanc from Glenn’s label.  Nice fruit, simple but not too.. just the type of white you open at the end of a long day, which I very much did, in fact I even thought of how I’d reward myself with that bottle, a couple glasses, last night.  And I can remember precisely when: walking from my car to the building where they have me in another goddamn adjunct office, shared obviously, crossing the street to the building, in that crosswalk, a car waiting for my self-removal from street, to my right.  And there I was last night at the kitchen island eating the salmon Ms. Alice had waiting for me, that little pasta with cheese & broccoli (which we call Jackie pasta as he used to love it, not so much anymore, which is another interesting reflective province of parenting– keeping some sort of reasonable, non-frustrating pace with their preferences).  Little Kerouac’s not too bad, but who knows what Ms. Austen has planned.  And speaking of Jane.. and books…..  Think I’ll order some today– no, have to get through the ones I have here on my desk, my reading list which includes that new Kerouac book which I’ve barely touched (‘Sea/Brother’).  And as I pity that hallway supervisor last night on 101 South, I as well some adjuncts that are convinced it’ll get better, that they’ll be tenured when clearly the system has no plan of that for them.  And why should it be about Them having a plan for Us?  Why can’t WE have more control?  “You need to be more involved,” one person told me, but it’s unpaid involvement.  With a house, and another Madigan about to land, that’s unreasonable of anyone to as THIS Madigan.  I need pay, and I need more, and I’m in control with my projects and writing and blogging so don’t worry…  I’ll get it myself.


1,000 words — barrel 1

Starting with yesterday now, Friday, as I had no time to type yesterday except for in the adjunct hole– immediately after class heading to car but when to wrong lot.  Parked in the spaces opposite side of Solano’s campus.. too much here to explain and far too boring to recount for me so I move.  Move on–  All day yesterday thinking of myself as a wine grape, and vine, and winemaker, budgeting time in my head as I couldn’t scribble while driving, and smelling ferm’ the whole way on 12, nearly.. nearing 3PM I had to decide what to eat, and I didn’t want to ingest any poison from the corporate fastfood dragons as I’ve shamefully done a couple times in weeks recent.. so I stopped at the Safeway on 4th, ordered a turkey&cheddar on soft roll– they didn’t have soft rolls, so then sourdough rolls.  No– “Do you have sliced sourdough?” She grumpily slugged to the other side of the counter, in back by a small fridge, she found some atop, held them, the bagged slices, up saying nothing.  “Great,” I said.  Got to my parked car in shade and devoured it– didn’t get a Coke as I thought of doing but rather a water, holding myself to the recent declaration and affirmation of getting back into running shape.  Finished sandwich, wondering what else the day’s story would tell me as a winemaker, grape or vine– time budget but not too planned, stay poetic and artful and whimsical, let no outside plans or forces fragment your fortitude.  Wanted so bad to call the 200 Mendo class, but no, I stayed on 101 North and again in Geyserville smelled the fermentation but this time with some exponent to it, it was speaking directly to my receptors, telling me to drive on deeper into the wine world and don’t stop, don’t change your vision or direction, to intensify my momentum and don’t secondguess yourself or you’ll never make wine, or write, like my sister said..the day now evermore speaks to me, yesterday the 15th, the Ides of October, it’s midpoint where I gather and inventory and see jazz in the bare vines where so many see desolation and the grapes’ absences, I see promise and new chapters, a finished novel, or memoir, a capture or literary leaps from the soil and the winemakers that translate.  And in class, once finally on campus I exploded with offerings and ideas from Plath’s Jar’d pages, her character Esther in all her emotions and struggles and emotional struggles, I realized that I onward trot in my reflective vineyard Literary lots– memoirs, short fiction novels poetry essay sketch or vignette, it’s all there for me to write.  And driving home, that cruel and challenging Mendocino dark, 101 South, I pretended I was Dad, flying over the North Atlantic after fueling the Passat and rewarding myself and my performance in class with a Dr. Pepper.  And the drive, not as bad as I remember, as it has been I should say the past few times with the nervousness and the closecalls and the lights blinding me and me steering in guess, hoping I stay on the bloody road.  And once in Cloverdale, I could relax (and after a traffic buildup from a flagger, result of a repaving construction project which I get but nonetheless a pain for the Beat adjunct who just wants to get home), sip the Road soda and enjoy my flight.  All yesterday, interesting with the grading in the adjunct hole, the run-in with that staring Math “professor”, the walk in the vineyard before I even really started the Solano drive, and all the meditation on my drives–  I know Plath felt this at so many points in her life, if she were going the right way, at the right speed, and when would the fruit come.  Winemakers are all Plathian in their professional movement, not so much secondguessing Selves but still wrapped in their calculations, and wonderings, wanderings through barrels and which chapters, or lots, best together blend.  But they stay tireless and keep with their aims and visions of the chapters, all the elements accosting them romantically and mythologically, the kalology of that palatable manuscript, vocality for a year and speaking for and to their reactions to conditions.  I want to be one of them and I will–  I already am, seeing each of my classes as a barrel, and this semester a blend, and which barrels do what to the pervasion of the story and the point being made by my typed efforts– all written and all meditated, thought over and under and diagonally with intensity I’ve never felt since now I see and feel the deadline, my daughter here in 59 days.

At the Hopper coffee spot, I sip from a 4 shot bomb and I need it, get these words on yesterday to the screen as it’s been stressing or at the very least perplexing me as to why I can’t detach from the scenes from yesterday glued to the walls of my cogitation.  Some weird writer syndrome I guess.  Tonight I’m planning on opening something but I’m not sure what.  Maybe I should go by bottle barn or– no, save money for writing projects.. but I need material!  NO, save money.  Wine writers can never have enough wine, one mentality, while the other, this current ME, says “there’s gottabe something in the cellar, something you haven’t tried before, something new, something for this YOU.  Save you money for Self-publishing, the business, the expansion.” Later today we have family pictures taken at St. Francis, one of their vineyards, as we did last year, and I know I’ll want to take pictures, or even write but won’t be able to like the drive yesterday but if it sticks as yesterday did, does, then it’s meant to be in prose.

This new character I’m thinking of…  How to carve, craft– compose.  She doesn’t drink wine.  In fact, she doesn’t drink anything, but rather paints, sells her work.  Similar to an old character I used to write, but different.  I need wine to think outside this box I’m now in, I’m thinking as freely as I should be I know even with these four shots of espresso but I’m trying, trying, she walks into her studio and looks at all her materials, all the blank canvases and knows she has to fill them, but how and with what.  That Artist question–  And her name her name what.



Solano, and my mood has seen the rollercoaster this morning, and I’m sure but not sure what it’s from, so I log more in my mood log, this collection of writings or whatever it is– I can’t surrender my visions of writing, blogging, running and growing my own business, which is what I feel like doing, to be frank.  But later I meet Glenn at the crush pad and I know my disposition and cognitive translation of the moments will change.  Just focusing on wine and making my own, selling my own bottles, going on trips to Florida or Vegas, or Seattle or North Carolina, and telling my story of an adjunct who just became fed up with the system, not the literature and not the students, not the reading or the authors, the stories… but the system itself.  So to further stretch this funk away, I think of the authors I most love, Plath and Kerouac, Hunter S., Faulkner, Poe… and how they get to me and why, I want the same for the bottles I produce, the wine I pour and how I talk about it the same way Plath tells her story and “confesses”, as so many like to label her (“confessional poet”), I’ll do so my motivation for making wine, starting my own label. 

A maintenance guy keeps walking back and forth behind me, out of this adjunct hole then back in and to some back room.  Should have stopped at the Starbucks nearby, worked there.  But I’m here and I embrace the moment I find myself in and keep writing, trying more to rid myself of this goddamn mood– think poetry, wine, little Kerouac, my family, everything I love and that forces the moody writer to smile.  That’s what will get my to the winery and my office, to the Road, sooner.  This morning spent near $10 on a breakfast sandwich and mocha– shouldn’t have but I needed to do something to make me more elevated, with a luminary mood and different disposition, do something nice for ME.  And why not, I never do.  Which is partially to my compliment as well as character corrosion.

My friend Paula yesterday, telling me of her nursing studies, how now it’s becoming more visual and tangible, more real, more than just a bloody classroom and textbook.  And that’s just what I need from wine, its world.  So…..  What’s my next move?  Start the website.. order your cards.. put more into vvv.–  Messing around with technology right now when I should only be writing, writing what’s around me, now 4 other adjuncts; one math, one English, on “medical terminology” (whatever that is)… and one more math at the table next to me.  The math man sits at one of the computers, in the chair but doesn’t look at the computer, just stares off and swivels around every so and again, sometimes looking at me which I find annoying and uncomfortable and with my fragile mood don’t see as anything positive.  Want to leave, want to get back on the Road and just head back to Sonoma.. meet Glenn at the pad and talk about nothing but wine, winemaking, how wine is pictured in his mind.  Again I’m distracted, that has to be from my state in this room; not wanting to be in here or at this school and I never will again, devoting everything to wine and writing about it and my fiction; my classes at SRJC.  It’s too late in my life for mistakes like this, taking classes at Solano or Mendo–  The math man leaves, then the woman– and I’m more centered a bit, as there’s less crowd in here, less of that adjunct film and atmosphere, that feeling of attempted passion but materialized inevitable bitterness.–  Nearly got pulled away from this page again but no.. now another adjunct enters, I think she teaches, not sure, but she leaves as soon as she opens the door.  I think she may be a student with some part-time admin role here..

And the jazz plays on for me, “Good Old Soul” by Tina Brooks, that rhythm that tells me to snap out of it, that this is my day and I don’t have to do anything I don’t want to, that’s not part of the story I’m writing.. and what I’m writing is to art and freedom, wine and its trails and traversings around me day to day– the wine I sipped last night, that 2013 Rouge blend, the blaring coherence of it and the delicate but rich and assertive steps it takes on your senses.  One of the wines that reminds me of where I need to be.  And with that, I smelled the fermentation again today on my drive, it telling me to calm down, enjoy the drive and the Road and the coffee–  enjoy the days you have and all the characters and words that round themselves in your wiling envisage.  Vines, soil, barrels, the glass, the glass full– the notes I take and many times they’re just notes, arranged to formal prose later.  Now the song takes a calm turn into a piano solo, and I just want to leave, drive more, go back to my vineyard walk at Scribe, sit and write in my Composition Book, poetry and prose and a blend there in and of.

Now just two adjuncts.  Me, the other English.  She’s in the conference room, earphones in, grading papers.  I’m refusing to grade papers this morning.  I deserve a surge of moments to myself, no interruptions or distractions.  Only dreams in this early stage of day, of my wines, my travels, returning to the life of a student like Paula–  Today I’ll ask Glenn to teach me something about making wine; when something either goes wrong, or the wine is lacking something but you can’t quite pin what.  I also want to know what his approach is to “selling” the wine.

I’m picturing myself right now, in my tasting room, opening bottles, preparing for the first appointment; 4 people from GA, first time out here and certainly the first to my little Room off the Burg’s Square.

The math man comes back, sits at a different computer, begins his latest swivel pattern, reminding me of planes at an airshow.

And I feel my mood falling again– what can I do to stop it.  What can I do to shift the momentum more in my favor and more in my moreness.  And I know.. I know.  Rather than these momentary and jerked knee writings, finish something; a book.  OF ANYTHING.  That’s always slowed me– and I’m 36.  Do it al-fucking-ready.  About me about wine about writing, about teaching and becoming so disenchanted that you can’t help but curse “the profession” as they say over and over.  And think about all the people you know with their own businesses.  Literally CRAZY people with their own offices, that travel quite often and make a significant annual sum.  Are they more skilled at what they do that you with words?  With your paragraphs and poems?  Your lectures and thoughts that you have the bravery to push onto a page, share fearlessly with the world?

11 more minutes of freely writing, then I have to plan for class, go over the Plath chapters and talk to them more about this blasted CME, which encompasses “Composition Mastery Exam”.  And this is for a developmental section.  Have you ever heard of something so insane, so asinine?  MASTERY?  What a joke.  Anyway, I do have to prep a bit, the maybe get some more coffee from the caf’, or at least some water.  How about water to calm me down.  I’ve had enough caffeine.  How I can’t wait to get out of here, for the semester to end, to never have to come back to this bloody dingy campus again.

And the math man was just staring at me.  I hate it here more than I can articulate.


I looked back up at him.  “Hi”

“Hi,” he said.

“Can I help you?”

“I’m not looking at you.  There’s an interesting picture behind you.”

“Whatever,” I thought to myself.  Still rude.  Still uncomfortable.