pages and pages …

img_4946In this office quiet, with now NO sounds but the pushes of these laptop keys, I see the day that takes stage in just under 30 minutes for me, everyone I’m working with.  Counting today, 4 days left in this industry.  FOUR.  Can’t believe it.  What brought me in?  I remember in ’06, just wanting to make a couple extra bucks in a tasting room, I saw literary qualities in what I poured at St. Francis, and started blogging about wine and writing about what I tasted in some poetic and theatrically narrative form, I guess.  But how did I get sucked in?  To wineries like the other Sonoma Valley spot (May 2012-Jan. 2015), the Dry Creek fiasco before that (end ’10-March 2011), and too many more to count.  Guy I work with now I think has been at more wineries than me.  Didn’t think that was possible.  And whether he has or hasn’t doesn’t bloody matter.  It’s indicative of the industry, not him, not me, not anybody.  It’s the atmosphere, the anatomy of wine’s industry and “business”.  What kind of business is so indifferent and eager to let people leave?  I don’t get it, to quote my father, talking to him right after my son was born about how a winery wanted to hire me but refused to meet my wage demands which were anything but painful or unreasonable, and offered no benefits package.  He and I both said, “What’s the motivation for working for a place that does that?  And, in the negotiating parcel of the relationship?” Still don’t have an answer for this one.

Was reading up on Anthony Bourdain the other day, and learned that he wrote some book, a tell-all I guess you could say, about restaurant life.  Do I want to do the same with wine’s industry?  I think so then I back off then I don’t know, and do I want to give them that much of my creative life?  Then another side of my senses set say YES.  Take it all back, all the 12 years you gave to those drones and clones.  Do I start now, and work backward?  Do I start with that first day at St. Francis?  OR, do I start with my first winery memory, driving up that cliffside in Cupertino with Mom and Dad to get their Ridge futures?  Well, I’ll start here, now.  No?  Isn’t hat the most logical approach?  Knowledge in what I’ve seen and lived, heard and felt, feared and overcome since ’06….  Pouring wine, for the first time, just giving the obvious.. something like “Here’s our whatever-vintage Sauvignon Blanc… it has notes of melon, kiwi, honeysuckle, and whatever the fuck…” I don’t talk about wine that way now, of course, just listing “wikipedia descriptors” as I call them.  I go further…. But I don’t want to talk about that.  I will explore what I’ve learned from, in, this “business”.  One blaring bulb of sagacity, all the reasons why you should stay out, and away from it.  Be into wine, don’t be in the industry.  That industry, BUSINESS, has taught me that this is not where you want to be.  12 years of shapely proof and thesis support to put to page…

Interesting start to

img_3408this morning, thinking I had to be at a meeting at 0830 only to learn I didn’t have to be there at all.  Which serves as a boost and a boon, giving me time to write right across the street at the winery where I’m based.  Retiring… my first taste of retirement, from the wine industry, its slow-moving and barely-communicative facets.  No more tasting room, no more pouring for other people.  I will miss the words, though.  What people say about wine and how they say it, with that tone to their voice.  Like I wrote a while ago, I’m closer to wine and even its industry by writing about it, and leaving physically.

Retiring… to focus on teaching and generating ideas with student, philosophy and pedagogy, writing practice and journal habits… and business, and fusing my literary life and presence into the business world.  Writing and blogging and holding observations in esteem, as they build character, Personhood.

Yesterday leaving the winery early to write.  That’s always my first impulse and inner-shove when I have free time.  Write.  Why then lately has writing given me such a shake, been such a challenge and near painful to catalyze?  Have to write though it, I guess.  As I always say to students and write in my entries.

Going through past entries, where I was stressed about something in the wine industry, or in life, or with teaching, with something.  Find it interesting.  How from day to day we’re all the same character but there’s some sharpened corner, refined angle, or damaged dimension somehow.  I’m learning more, while aging.  That’s certain.  Even now, with no music on as I usually have, I only hear the building’s natural sounds.  I think a little wind from the other side of the wall, outside by trees, and the winery’s tanks and, or, pumps on the crush pad doing something, dinging and whooshing, making some released air clunk-sound.  I’ll share some of this with those registered for the classes I’m to teach this term, and some notes I’ll just leave here on the blog, or in a drawer, in the Burgundy journal.  Only two days away, when I see students for the first time in months, having taken off the summer.  Glad I did, as it taught me that I need a drastic momentum shift.  Something New.  A renewed ME, new story and pages, a BOOK.

No meeting, but I meet with myself.  With this page.  Just felt a chill, a bluster of terror that I couldn’t write anymore.  That either I forgot or I’ve lost some intrigue or interest in and with the act itself, or something.  But it’s not true.  It’s not me, not the present… nothing of what you’d see in me right here typing in someone’s cubicle.  Not sure if she works here, anymore.  Work… what we live for.  What I feel I only do.  So why not have it be not just something you love or are passionate about, but plainly who you are.  You’re a winemaker… you’re a writer… you’re a teacher… you’re a doctor.  Yes, it’s your job, but it’s YOU.  You own it, you own you… you own your onus.  Have a meeting with yourself, see what transpires.  Write it down.

Following my own instruction, I write it.  “I. AM. A. WRITER.” Learning more about me and why I am where I am, what I’m doing.  Letting the immediate scene and observational pattern teach me as to what next do.


Biz In

fullsizeoutput_1a77Waking early this morning with Jack and his friend that slept over, then taking a nap, having time with family, getting coffee for wife and I then later making buy-fly pact with wife for breakfast, me flying she buying.  Haircut, errand, now finally back home to quiet house tow rite.  Focused on work, MY work, what I have to tomorrow do in this brand management meeting.  Branding, much I don’t like the term it is a consistency and consideration, a determining reality in business.  Business and all the forms it can take, all the business types, yes, but as well what people decide will be their business, and why.  I lately have been overthinking my business but no longer with one easily expected singular word— DO.  No need for excess deliberation and forecasting in business, I’m learning.  Yes, you want to plan a little, but when it comes to “branding” I see the most healthy and essentially obvious option is to just act, start a conversation, start a small project then link with another.

Older I get, I’m annoyed with my excess measuring, diminished cut counts.  Now, I just cut, write, act.. here in the kitchen with a finally-quiet house, I exercise ME, my identity and “brand” if you wish to it tag.  The tireless writer, learning from everything, from my early rise then soon after nap when Jackie’s friend left.  I wrote that resting isn’t a sign of weakness but strength, as warriors know when to collect.  Writing down the ideas I’ll share in the meeting tomorrow, which aren’t many, but all revolve around conversation, information, informing your prospects and would-be buyers why they should buy and who you are, and what’s present in your story, your reality.  MY work, is this.  Thoughts.  Putting ideas into practice and seeing what lands, what produces.  Being eased from sleep by little voices, I learned to stop being so stressed, stop thinking so much about what need be done and just DO.  And, have fun.  Enjoy the act of actuating, the story of the build.

And if you’re in business, or a writer like me who’s also in business, or a thoughtful Human, PLEASE take moments like this not at all lightly.  Times where you can sit in a quiet room and collect yourself, think about what you;’re doing and precisely in what direction you want your story to sprint.  OF course I advise write it down, ALL OF IT, being a writer, yes, but if you don’t want to then concentrate on where you sit, where you walk— beach, park, woods, or around the city.  When I left the pillows and sheets this morning I knew today, eve of my meeting, that I would be different, that all has to be different, starting today.  With July half over, I don’t have time to measure the material.  Scissors are out, and I cut the shapes I’m made to create.  I start a conversation here, with myself and you— what are you doing?  What are you creating?  Where are you having your story go?  How are you managing the brand of YOU?



Peace.  Out there.  The quiet encourages, renews.  In business, there needs to be more peace consistency, as I see it.  In the vineyards I find myself thinking about what people say isn’t attainable, and I see it utterly immediate.

I find out there what I don’t in the general containment of business.  And I do this FOR my business, these five to ten minute pilgrimages to the wine plants that are around so many of us everyday but we only see them as the juice supplier.

Each leave, light integration, voice and seductive sense in each step I take between rows pushes me further into needed meditation.  For my business, and health.

Some Wine Industry Thoughts

IMG_0008People so many, many times ask me why there’s so much turnover, and why so many in the industry work at so many different wineries, different companies.  Why is there so much movement?  I see two malignant causes.  And yes by writing “malignant” I don’t believe it’ll ever change and certainly ever be cured.  Those two being pay, and communication from management and keeping your “subordinates” happy.  And stimulated.  Encouraging them in their pursuits and curiosities.  Giving them new projects that encourage their interests and strengths.  This sounds like common sense.  It is.  Or I thought it was.  SO, why isn’t anything being done at certain companies?  Good question.  The cure has to come from these people in the industry that aren’t encouraged or supported, promoted, kept in one spot and never being let leave the dock.  I’ve come to the thesis and conviction of making everything in the industry your own, focus on the brand of YOU.  They won’t let you leave the dock, or maybe they were ignorant to you even being there, only seeing sales numbers and you as an employee number.  Fine.  Make it your own.  Give yourself a promotion… give yourself a raise.  Cut yourself free from dock.

I’m not moving anymore.  I’m focusing on this wine writer… me.  ME.  That’s where I work.  I’ve left the harbor, on my wild wine writing voyage. If you’re int he industry and frustrated, don’t be.  Write a plan for yourself.  And have that be your only only.  It can only work, working for yourself, having your wine “brand” be the finally found panacea for the malignancy of wine’s circular industry.  Nothing needs to be done, just keep doing what you’re doing, but intensify loudly.  Waiver not even a milli-millimeter.  Waiting for someone to do something for you, in this business, is a self-death sentence.


Reaction to this morning’s story, “New Policy”…

It’s obvious, with roots in my own life, from years ago working at the insurance office, and me wishing self closer to home, near Mom and Dad, laboring in the insurance office with an agent who yes did teach me a bit about selling I guess but always loved to flex.  That he was an agent, licensed, with his own client list and office, that he was he and I was me.  At the time I didn’t have any wish to make wine, but in writing the character Jack, named after my son most obviously, I now want my own bottles.  My own label, labels, to do pouring out of state.

And the title, also teaching me something after a re-read….  My policy, of not settling, not doing something just to do it.  Not having any more jobs but a catapulting of passion and working from that propulsion.. me and wine.  Everything has to be vino, oeno-.  Wine, forever, with this story… creative in wine’s wheel, MY policy.  And above anything, even wine and writing and writing about wine, making wine… to be HAPPY.  That is everything.  Talking to Mom and Dad recently about life and the composition of one’s life, all that brings and demands, happiness is the apexing apex in priority.

The character Jack to me holds a cliff of innocence but as well determination, and a bit of ire.  Ambition has to pull in a slight venom, I feel.  And when you’ve dealt with something for so long, eventually you just say, “No.” Saying no to that desk, to the office, to the character he sees everyday.  Rick’s and his own, in that office, at that chair, with all the insurance policies and clerical obligations and specifics I wish I had more time to write, but I only wanted this piece to be about 500 or so words.  Not too long.

Funny, as I write this reaction in a quasi-cubicle, at a winery, and I couldn’t imagine again being trapped in something like this, with no life around me, no view.  Certainly no wine.  Wine forwards in defiance, in separation from occupational normality.  That’s the purpose of this story, really… separation.  From doesn’t make you happy, from what keeps you from what you want.  Wine is the liberation, the leader in autonomous act.  Wine, realizing what I have to do with my winemaking aims, wine writing aims… here in the character of Jack, and what I wish for my son.  I want my son to work, of course, but if I can I want to provide him opportunities so he doesn’t have to deal with people like Rick, whose real name was Roger.  The short story allows for teaching and sharing of ideas like this, about the workplace, as decisions to leave are usually made in an instant.  Sometimes it’s not premeditated, or designed.  You just tell them, “I’m leaving.” The office can be a spirit-polluter.  And, the only way to be cleansed is to wholly depart.  And wine, all the magical facets and specifics in her configuration and metaphysical and physical makeup, abet.