I walked into the store and just wanted some time to myself. Some meditation. I watch tourists walk around and stare up and eye-level at the shelves, all the shit the store situates as they do as they know the tourists will stare at everything just like that…. “We could us that,” the lady says to her I-think-husband, “that would be great in the kitchen.” Want to be a tourist. For a day, I thought as she said that, and as they get closer to me and shake the floor like these employees carrying boxes in and out of the back. What if I just stayed here? What if I didn’t go to work? What if I called in sick or just called in and said I had something to do, stayed here and wrote? “95?” she said with a thick, syrupy southern vowel-honed octave. “That’s us!” she throws at the deli counter. What did she order? What did I order? Coffee and blueberry scone. And haven’t even fucking touched either, really. Well, sipped the coffee a couple times but haven’t even looked at the scone. The tourists look at the shelves on the other side of the room, nearer me, after getting their sandwiches for the day. Guessing they’ll be tasting wine all day. But not me. Going to see how long I can go without even letting wine touch my lips. No sip-and-spit. No. Not even that. This store is another world for me. It’s a jazz tune.. Miles or Bobby… I’m encased in positives, in creative and narrative storytelling positivism. More than meditation or expected collection. I’m re-assembled, or re-invented— no, banal. Re-directed— no, not that either. Re-Me’d. YES. Insured against negatives with these words I’m tommygunning at the screen. Have to go— shit. Why. Why can’t I have fuller than fuller-than-full day? The store tells me to calm down. Inventory…. Everything. Keep yourself scribbling today. Make sure everyone sees you writing. Sees that you’re a writer. Sees that you are writing.. the act and practice and habit and discipline of writing. See it yourself— be the subject of your subject.
Something different. Not sure what it was, and still is at this late hour, 22:34, but I’m here, quite presently. Forgetting what it is to write, because of the laptop being out of some kind of commissioned commission. No more, though, after the walk at lunch along the creek bed, seeing the steelhead try so sharply to get up Dutcher Creek. I watched, and took so as instruction, the not-so-little fish telling me to swim against the current, create my own currency. The day started with a rile but after the event today he sits here, the writer, rather tired. The semester starts the day following tomorrow and I’m prepared but strangely nervous. Why. I always ask myself that. Do I have something to lose, as an adjunct? Am I afraid of something? Not being received well, in the lecture? NO. I’m just here, maybe thinking too much, but I’m thinking. Again, “strangely” nervous.
Babies asleep upstairs. Both. Emma, walking all over the house today according to Alice, and now sleeping in her crib. All the way down the hall from our room– or, just twenty feet or so. AND, the little priestess decided that today is her day of autonomous saunter. YES, the little poetess is walking. How and why I ask my self as I just continue to get old, old, me so old. I’m nuts, not at all perfect, just that aging daddy, here with no wine but knowing I need some. Fuck it, I think, I need some. Alice watches an old episode of ‘Sex and the City” and I sit here in this swivel chair not swiveling and thinking about Tuesday– day one of the semester. Hunter S. Thompson talk and the whole getting-to-know… Riding through the syllabus, and me trying to be the “professional” adjunct. But what’s “professional”?
Tangential, that’s what I’m aiming for, typing on this keyboard that’s thin and odd; not mine and just weird. The Merlot from sister’s winery tasting like it’s more instructional than that steelhead. Walking along that creek bed and just watching the water told me to be truly tireless, not just think and talk about it in some timeless cognitive perambulation. The wine has answers, the bottle has decision and speak. It speaks to me with certitude with wandering grandiose layeredness. Need to be more tangential and you should be, too. With everything. And I mean, really everything. What is normality? Something I want to avoid. What I peg as “just weird” is acutely something I should chase. Dance to and after. Sure of one thing, the story need continue and never close– the Merlot develops its ferocity and refuses to halt, even minutely. It sings with true angularity and throws its new pew. No weather outside, no fair, so I just harness self and speak to this most recent tangent. Like this morning, how it started, with newer than renewing new fire. This new year, now new, but I set something never-before-seen to its pre-set scene.
The adjunct just wants his nightcap before his client meeting tomorrow morning. Part of me growls, “Why can’t I just have a day off?” But that’s join of those thoughts I should have just kept a muffled thought and now put to page, but here I did, I did– The light of similarity is too bright, I write too much mirroredness. So I need embrace this theatrical tangential. Did I not study HST? I have no Fear, and I only love, no Loathing. My babies upstairs have a daddy downstairs who still grapples with his meditations. But, that, now, stops.
bored with my writing before I even start typing. What this is a symptom of, I don’t know. Guessing the time of day, how slow it is, day before xmas eve. But this remaining shift time will be keeping myself interested in all ways, tints and manners. Should I go for a quick walk again, photograph the low clouds and how their misty claw stretches over the hills west of our property?
Music on, keep self alive with music. Still haven’t finished the coffee in tumbler. And I can make more. I’ll head to New York with my book finished, self-printed and published, ready to speak on whatever. Kerouac.. journaling… reading more actively. I’m losing my mind trying to stay motivated. Finished a project for the winery, one entirely minor and quick to be brought to completion– A picture. Of outside. What the gray does to the terrain… “stay connected,” I tell myself over and over. Go slow, don’t rush. Just finish the hours here at the desk. What I learn from it, and what I hope to. To both: how to keep self interested– no, not just interested, but creatively connected. Finish the goddamn book! Students this semester heard me say over and over that “Only you can write your story.” So, then… actuate what you advocate, Mike.
Rain again, this time in a gentle but thick rhythm and consistency, meant to energize and replenish the vineyard, yes, but to get my attention. Keep raining, keep raining! There’s no excuse for getting bored at work. NONE. Take notes… make a wishlist… do some research….. Where do you want to be?
On the Road, teaching, writing, teaching from my writing, writing about what I teach.. learning from the travels and teaching/sharing ideas from what I learn. Life is too valuable and too active and musical to succumb to boredom. Boredom is injected, by self. Nope… I have a book to finish. That’ll be my gift to self– the book, finished, ready to sell. And me, soon after, ready for travel. What I’m learning from writing that before-sentence, is that this is a new year and it’s glowingly inviting for such to materialize.
Writing father not waking at 4, so the mood already angularized but I won’t let it slow me a bit. Chugging quick the cold coffee, made last night—well, not made cold but cooled over night, left tumbler at work so I left it in tall cup with aluminum atop—and I set my goal for day. Humble three pages. Day’s goal, stories and stories in my head and the magic hour of 4AM taunts me, today me not even so much as giving it a chance to gloat. Woke at 5-something, think 5:45, to get Emma from crib—actually go upstairs and get Emma from crib as Jack came into our room and evicted me from bed as he usually does. 4AM….. Such a warrior, when you think about. Always there, those numbers, everyday. I should meet it, those numbers, that time, everyday. Writers are heralded for their discipline and obsessive routines, at least all those I study are… ‘Nother swig of coffee, listen to Jackie’s Spiderman cartoon. See? Even my son has a routine, something from which he never breaks, morning cartoons and breakfast. What is my routine? How about in addition to the 3 pages today or at least part of it, write a word every hour in the tasting room to elucidate either my mood or feeling, curiosity or dream at the time.
Have to get in shower soon. 4AM, if I did meet you I would have had well over three hours of unabashed writing time. Untouched writing time. Time to write which would tell present and future readers how serious and manuscript-driven I am. But am I? Always questioning myself and scolding where I misstep, like with 4, can’t be a boon in any telling regard. Maybe I need a break from my character and go back to my character, Kelly’s. Last I recollect I had her in an ad firm in the city. She was mostly administrative but they let her dabble in the creative, but only dabble. She paints and draws, of course, sells pieces here and there, but can’t find the time for her craft as she also pours at a wine bar on the Embarcadero. She has no choice but these two jobs, with how much her modern SF rent is. She would get a roommate, but that’s no what she wants. She needs more quiet, she needs more travel, she needs more creative in her life and the Now is where she vows to attain such.
Ah…. Now the writing father feels better. Not thoroughly improved, but enough to feel good about reaching 3 pages. Got Jackie some milk and water, now back to my morning highly critical meditation. 4AM has not dodged out inevitable meeting. And the writing father’s mood, only elevating. Jackie burps… and again… and I laugh. “Excuse me excuse me excuse me,” he says. “Was that a funny burp?” he then asks. I can’t stop laughing, and my disposition is completely repaired this morning. No more mood, please. I can’t bloody stand them. Doesn’t matter. They don’t matter. Today I invest in self, my pages and book, pages for Kelly and everything else off starboard. Wrote at the beginning of the month that ‘maybe I’m taking my self-assessment too seriously’, or ‘personally’. Either way, like Mom sometimes says, “Lighten up.” True. It’s Sunday, not that that matters as I’m headed to work while a trapping total of Americans get the day with their families. My word for this hour, now in my house with my son, 8:19AM— Puzzle. I’m terrible at puzzles but I’ve never had to solve with anything in balance. What’s in balance? How about my family, our quality of life, my happiness, my aim of traveling and taking pictures, writing, more photojournalism… How about fucking everything on the line? Is that enough motivation for me to solve the puzzle, THIS puzzle, this life? I think so. But, really, lighten up. Enjoy your cold coffee, your story, Kelly, her return to your thoughts with that 400-square foot apartment in the Marina. She wakes early, every morning, to just sketch, and sometimes just doodle but make the doodles somehow multicolored and magnetic with the color play and brush, or pencil, strokes. Her dream, having a loft/studio in Manhattan, “The typical artist dream,” she always tells people when they ask what she ultimately wants, avocationally. But that’s what she wants, and being trapped in that office and behind that bar watching people become asses after however many glasses is just the poignant propulsion she needs. “It’ll be here soon,” she tells herself. Every morning.
In the adjunct cell and I immediately started grading the English 100 papers when I sat down with this cannon of coffee. Now the adjunct takes some notes in the “holstered journal”, as I mention it to my students. Not sure where to go with this sitting just know I’m back on campus after taking Monday off, enjoying a day of writing and Self time to measure and contemplate, further deconstruct realities and possibilities. Dickinson said something like “I dwell in possibilities.” I do, too, but I want to more dwell and act from made actualities. Something immensely gratifying that I brought about, and I’m right there, I’m right there.
Hear doors opening and closing in the hallways. I’ll say, for some reason today, I’m so glad to be on campus, or ‘back’ on campus. Ready for both sections, but I’m not sure they’re ready for me and the energy I’m about to catapult at them. Time, 11:42AM, and I have more than enough time to meditate before class and collect myself here with these exposed Composition Book and Carpe Journal pages. ‘Nother sip of coffee and I think more of what I want, but maybe I should stop, think outside of the box, right? Noticing now, and of course at my old ass age, that I continue to have the same reality in certain respects and confront the same results on account of my practices don’t change that much. Well, now they are, will— no, ARE.
Uncomfortable in this chair, so maybe I should walk around the library till I find one of those chairs by the window, or one of the windows on the third or, better, fourth floor where I can see the entire SRJC world right there, write about the seasonal change and how today’s cooler than the last three angrily heated installations. I’m not stopping for anyone or any thing. NEVER. When the alarm on my phone sounds (set for one hour, to get all my prep and grading done), I’ll head for the bibliothèque. And I’ll go right upstairs. Being in this office is much part of the problem with experience excess similarity in existential momentum. (Wrote that down, “Existential Momentum”, for classes, then a sentence: “You don’t like it? Change it!”)
Another sip… Thinking of the wine I had last night, that Zin from Truett Hurst. How it was loud, both with the jammy thing and alc’, but somehow harmonizing and melodic, musical and narrative. I’ll write about it, and another Zin I took home yesterday from Dutcher, tonight. More wine writing, from me… NEEDED. Again, change that momentum. Wine and its industry doesn’t have to be the fang-set its in the past been. With this voluminous yay-saying yodel of mine across the page in recent months, I’ll change everything about how it registers with me, and fellow industry characters.
Alarm sounded, 11:51AM, but I don’t want to get up. And why should I? This moment’s mine, right? That’s just it, though, Mikey… Make it more your own by leaving. Going to the library. Be in the presence of goal-chasers, the driven young student who wants to transfer, graduate then go to grad school, or begin their career. Student noting me a few weeks ago, about how she graduated law school and passed the state bar on her first try, emailing me thanking me for all I’d done for her. How she had a 1-point-something GPA at SSU then took my class and was somehow enlivened beneficially. That’s the feeling I want to experience, over and over, over. Repeated. Yes that’s selfish, but it’s from helping others which makes me think it’s not as selfish as other endeavors. I could be wrong, but I’m just writing freely. Maybe too freely.
This office, which I ALWAYS call the ‘adjunct cell’, is more freeing than I credit. Why? I’m liberated from the commotion in the hall. I’m all to myself, thinking for myself and the benefits of others, most immediately my students, and I can just collect. Like I do on a run, after some brutal stretch in the sun or some uphill scuffles and then the ground evens, or is slightly downhill. You collect, you recover, you sprint on. (Wrote that, or some derivation in the Carpe as well.) Right now this isn’t an office, or a cell, or even a room. It’s a ship, taking me from one “possibility” to the next actuality. Reward, rewarding my Self by pushing, moving with agility and unusual acumen. Forgot I was uncomfortable in the chair. Well, actually, now I’m not. In fact, this is the most relaxed I’ve been all day.
11:59AM. Now into the afternoon. You know, I’ll just head to my classroom. My plan for the day is to not ask for too much student participation. Do most of the speaking, presenting. And not to show off, or gloat, or be too aggressive with my young colleagues, but to throw self back into character. I have no regrets about taking Monday off, taking little Em to the doc, but it takes me out of character a bit, frankly, makes me lose momentum. I won’t have some lazy, gradual immersion back into instruction, but a forced placement of my educator self back at the front of that room. I realize how stretched and wandering my thoughts are, but that’s enjoyed by the author. From last night’s Zin sips to taking the babies to school this A.M., to me now readying for detachment from this shared bureau (office, in French, I just learned), to the walk to Maggini Hall where I teach the 100 class… all purposed. All purposeful. Free now, which is why I stayed in this once-odd chair, where I have to sit up straight but not too straight otherwise the back hurts— and the back part is too far back to lean back… But I don’t care. The moment’s mine, as is the page and my class, the students’ eyes and hopefully ears. New day, new story, new fold, new form. Carpe… CARPE!
Nearing lunch. Not sure if I’m in a writing mood, from how busy it’s been. But I was able to capture some valuable stills on the crush pad, with tons of grapes landing today. Hot outside, possibly too hot for walking so I may just come back to this desk, share my boredom with you. Lucky you! But I’m not bored, not at all, not with all that’s around me unfolding and developing. Through head, a ceaseless to-do list. Not even a list anymore, more like a stomping dinosauric docket for me to catch, catch up on. How will I do that? Simplify, everything made more simple.
Words for lunch. I’ve decreed. If I’m at the desk it could be perceived I’m available. Maybe I should just wait till day’s end, no writing now, just let it all compile and collect. How I get to evenness. Back from a bathroom walk and I was tempted to go out onto the crush pad and photograph fruit in the bins, cold soaking in the sun, maybe take some video of the guys raking fruit into the crusher/de-stemmer, but I walked away. Out of character for me. This writing and tireless father need act more outside pattern, if I sense I’m about to do something I always do then don’t do it.
Clocked out for lunch, but the writing father’s staying put. Right here at desk. Not speaking to anyone, and not to be rude! But rather to immerse the writing father in his words, in his work. Not budging from my thesis of working harder than I think I can, get more done than I did the day prior. How I spend the lunch, soused in my sentences. Too hot outside for a vineyard walk. One after work, though. Have to do one a day, at least. Ultimate and encompassing freedom demands I seek nothing new. I have all I need for my idyllic, right here, in my story.
Okay… So the idea yesterday, that I mentioned here on bottledaux, was selling real estate. I know, I’m laughing too. Why that picture and possibility if you could call it that leapt into my perception is far beyond my current reasoning, at this desk. “So what…” you say. What do you mean ‘so what’… It’s gone, now. Selling real estate? No. I’m holding with my goals. Staring out the window in front of my as I so many times do throughout the day, only antagonizes my dreaming, day or night dreaming really doesn’t matter— Could use a glass of Chardonnay or anything right now. Lunch, huh. Not for this writing father. Tomorrow on campus, then day next back here at the desk.
Say you’re more cursed than lucky if you’re still reading. But, the working father, or mother, any parent knows what this is, only wanting to do to provide all and more for your children and your family’s entirety but you can’t think nor act fast enough. You’d do anything, you’d work any amount of hours. You refuse to slow, and your certainly won’t stop. So what else to do but keep moving, keep processing the ideas like grapes on a crush pad. Who knows what results. Maybe something blissful, something unusually piquant. Maybe the next time you sit at your desk you’ll be a different You.
Alarm ignored. But I’m up now with that temptation that any writing parent feels. To just go back to sleep. But I think daughter has a cold or ear infection, something, so she’s been up through the night. Can’t let myself go back to bed. Not sure when I’ll have time like this to self again– this quiet, this space, slice and selection of seconds.
Noticing I’m a bit hungry, but no way I’m eating right now. Waste this zen, this composed scene on eating? Idiotic. Being a writing parent I’ve noticed, of late, has been tangibly more challenging. And not just with finding time isolated to self, but with budgeting time, fitting in other small wants. Next semester has to be different, I tell myself, but can I really afford to teach only one class? Can’t cut down on the winery hours, as that’s what provides my benefits… Mentioned in my walking vineyard verse yesterday something about a ‘map’ and a ‘trap’. Can’t remember exactly what I spoke but I know the impetus behind my intonation. There’s a plan we all follow, the path of maturity and responsibility, not to get too careless or wild, but following such IS a trap, it’s own surrender and death. But what can I do? I’m a writing parent, not some single early twenty-something living in a studio downtown. I’ll figure it out, but I have to move quicker, be more outside of character, put self on a beneficial edge. Waking early like this is some kind of start, I’m hoping, but I have to make it a lifestyle, a truthful lifestyle change.
5:41AM– Wish I would have risen when that alarm went off… Goddamn me! Why do I just go back to sleep like an unmotivated jelly bot? Starting to feel a certain virulence kick up, a mood that will push this writing daddy to a beneficial breaking point. “Good,” I think, “maybe that’s what I need.” Of course it’s ‘what I need’. So what else can I do besides write prose on my phone early in the morning like this? One thing I thought of is putting myself in character, with whatever I do, in a way I never have before. With the winery, with my adjunct instructor life.. everything. And write more. And try to distance myself from anything that slows the production and composition of this prose. I know what I’m referencing I’m just electing not to chisel specifics into this paragraph. All components for any idyllic frame are already present, I merely need to put them in place.
5:48. Again, GODDAMN ME! It’d be 4 something in this session had I elevated when I had planned. But, under the umbrella of resolution, utilize what’s immediate, don’t dwell on a wish-for or erased hypotheticals. Don’t hear Emma upstairs. Maybe she fell asleep. Have to iron pants, can’t forget, shower somehow, and get to winery early– hear wife trying to put daughter back down in crib… “Please go to sleep,” I say to myself… That’s all a writing or any kind of parent wants, for their children to snooze if parent is trying to do something. Can hear her squirming, moving, those light little grunts… “No, no, no… Sleep!” I need to charge this–
Walked with my light burglar ballet steps to other room, where charge is, plugged into laptop. Nothing from upstairs but I bite my tongue as that could change in a light lick of a partial heartbeat. First sip of coffee from tumbler. Think I can somewhat catch up, be where I’m supposed to be writing-wise had I shot from pillows and sheets at 4, or a little after 4– What am I talking about. No way am I going to get to a word count like that– never mind. Just keep writing, daddy. Was wishing for quiet like this all day yesterday at the winery. Let a mood somewhat take over my character, didn’t embrace and immerse my role behind that bar as the writer should have. But again, dismiss that rear view portrait.. Push down on gas, or climb that mountain, that ‘goddamn mountain’ as Jack said. I will, I have to… Fuck what have I been doing living so safe and understated. No wonder I’m not fucking traveling yet. Sipping this coffee again, and ANGRILY. Now that’s a sip, that’s how an early waking writer-father should glug-glug son café (his coffee). Huh, and my French.. What happened to that? Need to do what my father made me do in sixth grade, write out a loose plan for the entire week. That is, for each day he’d have me simply write each class, one thing for each, and that’s it. I’d add as things were assigned, if that makes sense. What Dad was punctuating, and he still does, is to be three or four steps ahead. So today– French … Music … Poetry … Photography … Blogs … Fitness/Nutrition … and that’s enough for now.
6:05. Have to begin readying at 6:30. May take a day off tomorrow. I rarely do so, such, which is all the reason for this writing father to collude. Still typing on phone, and it acts strangely, slowing down in some typing sprints. Why do info this? Why can’t I be like Plath when she wrote early, actually put a pen to a line? Again, STOP. Move forward. Have some more coffee. Funny to think how some right now may be sleeping off, or trying to sleep off last nights drinks, drunk, well this writer sits here on a hard wood floor writing, contributing to some book effort, or vision, possible hypothetical some something. Not sure if that’s admirable, or just fucking demented. I’ll go with ‘maniacal’, not ‘demented’. Why didn’t I wake at 4? It’s time now for writing papa to get ready for his longer than long day in wine character. “Take possession of it, Mike,” I say.
There’s a story to write, only you can write it, so stop thinking so much.