Been writing in more than one place for the ’19 story.  Oh well I say to myself with another glass of sparkling, Jackie over there playing on the tablet my mom and dad bought him this past xmas.  Nothing I’m writing lately I’m liking.  Certainly not loving.  So what’s the bandage for that?  One part of me says just write free, with less shackle and inner-hassle.  What’s that mean I don’t know so I re-focus on Jack.  The day he and I have had, his sister too.  She now off with wife and wife’s friend and wife’s friend’s daughter to Target to get who knows what.  Kerouac has some inner dialogue with himself regarding the game, if it’s a game or some scholastic, learning program…. “Jack, what are you doing?  What are you playing with?” He gives a bit of a mumble but I’m not convinced that was directed at me.  He goes back to doing that, whatever that is.  He rests the right side of his face in his right palm, right elbow on right inner-thigh as he sits on floor, legs crossed and lightly locked.  We just spent the past couple hours watching football.  Playoffs.  Or postseason.  Chicago versus Eagles, in Chicago.  Eagles pulled it by a point.  Just one.  I of course was on CHI’s side for various reasons—none of which I’ve told you so I guess I shouldn’t write “of course”—and so was Jack.  Both us disappointed in the result.  But we move on.  He with his game, or learning program, me with words and this morning before our together time, and time with his sister, a 7-mile run which I now feel.

Hoping to get some reading in, tonight.  Hemingway, Coelho, Plath, Hughes….  Not sure I’ll touch all four books, but one of them I’m rather confident.  Need to write more poetry, read Hughes more, and other poets like Cummings, Plath of course, Yeats, and from that collection of several poets I was gifted years ago.  Today teaches me to not work against existing momentum, ever.  What you want to do with the day is one matter, what you’re able to do and what you can do with what is present is quite another write.

Writing everything down….  Jack, quite poised and careful how he touches that screen. Face Ibn right palm, again.  He says nothing to me on his own, and I don’t want to break his connection to his current action so I just push these buttons while I look at him.  My little boy who daily loses his littleness to time— Time, that fucking animal, devouring all of us as a matter of duty and functionality, normalcy.  Why I deplore normalcy, the patterns.  The expected.  The unavoidable tumult of the clock.  I look at reflection, mine, and can see changes in my face, around the mouth and eyes.  Forty this year— fuck.  Have I lost some of my awareness and writing ability?  Am I starting to fade?  Looking over at little Kerouac, my little beat.  He’ll keep me young.  His sister, too.


Character Kelly, can’t decide on direction of her, in this current short piece.  But then it comes to me, me seeing her drinking some red blend that her cousin gave to her for her 21st birthday, four years ago.

Not going to write any more than that, saving all ideas for the short story collection, due in 10 days.  Hoping I keep with this current character, this writing challenge.  Not a challenge if I don’t it so deem.

Taking a break from basketball and catch, and kicking a ball back and forth on our street with son and watching one of his favorite cartoon movies, or I think it’s one of those Pixar movies… anyway I’m trying to stay busy while spending time with son on this “Daddy Day” as he always calls it and brags to his sister who still has to be in school.

I take a breath, see more of the character and what to do for her.

Son on couch, blanket over him, we both resting from our outdoor back-and-forth’s.  Monday… writing as a father and still trying to be Daddy.  Makes me think of a writing piece, some idea, a direction— a role, a new job… huh…..

Copywriter on lunch…

Wrote a little for client, now a little for me.  Will be up late tonight finishing drafts, no doubt.  Fine by me… hot in Sonoma County, but I smile and don’t feel the discomfort of the blazing atmosphere on the other side of the windows, thinking about the time Emma and I spent on the couch this morning, while she nibbled away at her waffle and I just held her, let her nestle into her crook.  Wedding on the property, today.  But should I go for a walk, record their set-up?  I don’t know.  Here I am, indecisive Mikey, again.  So decide something, then.

For a second I thought I left my notebook, the new one, at home.  Have it in backpack— What’s my brand, what’s my “brand”?  Writing/working daddy… that’s it.  Show other dads that they can do whatever they want.  Show parents, principally.  Just ‘cause you’re a parent doesn’t mean you have to have or accept some expected job.  What kind of life is that?  Not sure how I got on this chord, but here I am…

Just over six minutes left.  Do I go for a walk?  Or stay here, write.  You know what… write.  You can walk and take pictures and video later.  Yeah.. this is me.  The indecisive epitome.  Could use a splash of something.  That white wine on the flight.  Can’t remember where the accent goes in Semillon so I wont’t write it.  But I just did.  What’s with me, today?

Readers— Don’t be indecisive, and don’t try to embellish.  Be as honest as you can in telling your story, showing who you are.  If you’re learning from who you are and your experiences, then others will too.

Semester starting in two days.  The next eight weeks… going to get compacted, maybe a bit stressful, but I’ll write my way through it.  Learn from it.  Learn from all of it.  All of this, readers, is your class.  You’re educator and enrolled.  Ready?

The day starts with a rile.

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.

6:18AM. Jackie comes to get me first thing, 

img_7191as yesterday morning he was at his Grammy’s house.. “I miss you, Dada,” he said, ordering me awake when all part of me wanted to do was sleep but the other part only wanting to be a Dada.  So we play with cars, no interruptions or intersections with anything that could take us off-course.  Jackie plays and lines them up, stacks them atop the other then changes the arrangement as he wishes.  I study his patterns and motions as to how he wants them arranged, he lectures as he moves but I’m not at his level yet, it’s apparent.  So I make coffee, just watch and note here on the laptop as my son entertains the reality of cars, their classifications, from color to model.  How he knows so well the type of car is beyond my mental holding.  My mood sinks, though, as I’ll be at work all day, and our time together is thin, and rapidly emaciating as I type each letter.  I frustrate, try to elevate my mood by focusing on him but it’s a futile gallop.  The more I enjoy my time with him only reminds me how brief it’s to be.  Thinking to myself, “Why can’t I have weekends off like other parents?” All day at the winery yesterday young families coming in with their babies, or toddlers, and me thinking of what my babies were doing at home, what were they playing, what were they learning, what was Jack was teaching nearly 10-month Emma about cars and how to line them up, the sounds they make…  How much am I currently missing, have I missed?  But I can’t do this to myself for too long.  I can’t be in this type of mood around Jack—  And why didn’t I get up at 4?  Tomorrow I will run for 10+.  That should get me back to a condition for the ‘half’, one week from today.  My mood is fragile this morning, wandering, in a punitively bent trot, I’m sure one of those dad moments that so many fathers, and mothers, can relate to— just wanting to stay home with your kids.  I will soon have more freedom in my work life and schedule to where I WILL be home with my babies on Saturday, Sunday, be able to play with Emma, Jack as he lines up his Porsches, Mustangs, Indy Cars…

Drinking my coffee as Jackie eats his cereal and watches Ninja Turtles.  “Daddy, I think you gave me to much cereal, I don’t think I can eat all this.” I respond assuring him it’s not a big deal, “Just eat what you can and Daddy’ll eat the rest, okay?” He insists we turn off the lights so it feels like a movie theatre.  My disposition’s repaired, and I’m more or less ready for the day but if I truly had my way, I’d be home.  “Soon,” I tell myself, “soon.” And I hope so, ‘cause I don’t want to miss too many more mornings or car workshops or anything of anything too many more times.  Time’s just growling by me, as if to punish me for something.  Odd, as all I want to do, really, is be Dada.




A night for everyone, especially Alice who now sleeps with Jack, and me downstairs with Emma after walking around this very lower floor and talking to her, kissing her right cheek, rubbing her right shoulder with my thumb from the arm wrapped around her.  No one in this house has slept.  But I leap upon this eventual invitation to write.  More and more seeing Ms. Emma as a sort of liberator, savior, or even a simple coach or instructor for my writings.  Helping me rise earlier and forcing me to produce material.  Of course I made coffee, but it’s not helping so much.  What does propel this writer is the sight in front of me, the petit professeur trying to sleep.  She squirms a bit but without  moan or cry, any kind of protest.  So at the very least I calculate I have a few minutes.  Luckily no work for me today other than prep for the semester, some writing, cleaning and clearing of desk, but that’s all.  On no one’s clock but my own, and hers of course.  And I know, she could be much more challenging as a newborn, 4 weeks old today—

I walk over to check on her, and eyes open, looking at everything around her especially the light hopping into her senses from the kitchen.  See?  Just like that the moment to write, that free collection time can evaporate.  Still, though, no crying.  Odd.  What is she thinking?  What does she want, if anything?  What is her pedagogical intention with this minute?  I sit here and do so bemused, abstraction and meditation, her and I as part of some momentum toward.. what.  I don’t need to know, right away.  Maybe eventually.

Now she becomes more agitated.  I pick her up and put her in that shaking seat with the animals and the little pull-down mechanism or string, rope, lever or whatever that activates some bird sounds and short song snippets.  She’s made it clear that this morning is a test for the writer, “You better write faster,” she thinks, I know.  She grows frustrated, trying to move but can’t as I’m sure she’d like—

Back at keys after a 30 or so minute battle to soothe her, a diaper change where she wet more me than her, we’re back downstairs.  And it starts again, this is to make me as a writer, father, writing father, stronger.  More disciplined and direct with my efforts, I’m sure.  She again in the tremoring chair becomes colorfully irked but I let her frustrate, study from my peanut professor.  She calms then cries, reaches for the green circular lever and koala bear then cringes, yells.. what, I think, what is this lecture about?  She’s teaching me something, more than what I’ve already cited and acknowledged.  Maybe my semester has already started.  But as a student, not instructor.  I’m no authority here, very much a matriculant in the private seminar of Emma.

And the solvent, food.  Upstairs she nurses, forcing Alice out of sleep unfortunately, and now I’m here in total quiet and I feel odd.  And THAT, is odd.  I’m at odds with the result.  Was this in her lesson plan, to leave me flummoxed and scrounging for resolve?


12/29/15, 5:29AM

Whenever I see 529 anything I see it as a boon, yes because of my birthday numbers or numeric shaping, whatever, but being up this early is a most conspicuous creative shove, certainly a prize for the writer.  Downstairs with Emma after my wife telling me I’m up, it’s my turn and I’m more than happy to be up.  Only taking me a couple minutes of rocking her in her room, in that chair and downstairs where her beat father makes some coffee and opens his laptop for a write.  Thought about my first story in a string of 100 stories, 1 per day, 300-500 words, but I need freedom, true creative unhingedness for just a few moments; staring at my little girl while she sleeps, wrapped in her blanket, brought down here by her daddy who loves her like there’s not a thing else on this planet to love.  Must say I’m proud of her father on a couple counts: 1, getting her to sleep and quelling that crying so quickly.  2, putting her down in the rocking bassinet down here in the living room without so much as one of those sleeping twitches from her.  And finally, 3, that I’m FINALLY up early writing.  And with coffee.  AND….. Jackie not woken.  If he does I’ll make it clear he has to be with Mommy as Sissy and Daddy are downstairs asleep.  A perfectly appropriate white lie.

The coffee never tasted so animated and ravishing.

Day 4 in a row, pouring wine today.  Not getting at all burned out, in fact my passion for wine has never been so fiery, so mused, since Emma’s birth.  This little girl, and this morning being a beaming prime example, is just what my writing life and habits, project and varying pages, needed.  She demands the end-game of a family winery, for all of us…..

Checked my account, still above water.  Good.. evermore pushed to sell a piece or two after meeting those folks in the TR yesterday with that writer/blogger friend of theirs back home who “got picked up by the Washing Post and the New York Times”, as the lady in front of me with the yellow rain jacket put.  And from writing about being a mother, and life as a wife, and just her real life.  This group told me of her ‘100 story, 100 days’ effort, that’s where I pocketed such vision and so this morning is something alchemical in the regard that Mike Madigan’s a new writer— one more extreme and disciplined, precise, and quite frankly lethal.  There is nothing that can halt my paginated assault, not with this little priestess at my 12, and Mr. Jack upstairs, dreaming and surely soon to wake up with that tired look to his cheeks and hair, and some adorable utterance to follow.

Emma makes a couple sounds, a cute groan that sounds like a stretch but she doesn’t move.  Then back to sleep for the petit beat priestess.  Quiet sip from my coffee.. and my sitting continues.  Not in total dark as with past sessions when I have managed to wake early and hit the keyboard, but with blaring, atmospherically encouraging luminousness.. feel like I’m on stage.  Or back stage.  Or just back onstage, the audience, my little girl, today two weeks old, staring at me, wondering what the “star” of the feature’s to do.

Stairs and Stars

He waited for his son to wake, with coffee.  He couldn’t sip yet.  Still with such smolder.. light blows on surface.  But he enjoyed the quiet.  Then he was up.  There was no more quiet, now only love for the chaos and catapulted conversation that was set to surround– the sharp paradiddle of sprints on the floor above.  He went upstairs to see him, what project he’d assigned himself now.  “Look, Dada!  Look at me!” he said, standing on the table, with quarters and pennies, and other coins he’d taken from Daddy’s work bag, in each hand, a couple coins falling, Dillon watching them fall with hands still extended out and up, fists closed packed with currency.

“Get down, buddy, be careful…”

“Daddy.. um.. Daddy, you help me?”

Daddy lifted him from the table, onto the floor.

“Daddy, let’s read books..” They both sat and he went through all his books, all his books, each one, taling them all from the shelf then rearranging them in little vertical piles in the thin, long white shelves that were set on the floor, still there from when they first moved in.  Daddy watched him look through the books, narrate where he wanted to for only a couple seconds then move to the next book.  Daddy noted each movement, studied and envied.  Why couldn’t he see everything as he did?  Why did he lose it and at what age?

“Hey Daddy, this book a special book!  A real special book for me!”

Daddy watched some more, helped him arrange the little manuscripts in their set piles– “No Daddy, you have to do like this,” he said, showing Daddy how to do it professionally and to Dillon’s right-then-and-there instituted standards.

Then they went downstairs, to Daddy’s coffee cushion.  Now cold but he didn’t care.. the chaos was too colorful and too educational.  Checking the time he saw he soon had to get ready for work–  “Hey buddy, daddy’s gotta get ready for work.”

“No no no work daddy, not today, okay?”

Good idea, Daddy thought.  No work today.. just more time in the new upstairs library, with his new teacher.  More to lean, more to be taught.

More to love.


Clocking in only a couple, literally two,

IMG_6585minutes ahead of anything resembling a schedule.  First topic of address: the young boy yesterday telling me how unhappy his dad is at work and how he’s searching for something else, “But, um, he’s looking for a new job…” he went on, and I just looked at him with interest and I guess pity, or if not pit then something of sympathetic semblance.  I’m near a mood not for writing but I maintain, and I think this should go to the yrownjoy project, but I haven’t the money to print so I just type on in this cafe, scribbling notes to myself for the first day of this Adjunct’s Summer, in only 3 days.  May take Monday off, but I’m not sure– now I’m sure my wife will have a comment or 12 if she reads this, but I’m transparent in my diarist leans and that’s what pummels my thinking at present.  I have trouble now writing and I’m not sure why, have to give this 4-shotter a chance to challenge my nerves and concentration.. much better flavor assembly than yesterday’s, no adjustments needed.  More ideas accost me for the Summer, ‘wanting & needing, being the same thing’, just hooped into my head, thinking of Kerouac’s Road and my Road and what I want to do for a living and where I want to be in 5 years– shit, I’ll be 41, and my second baby will be 5, and Jack will be 25– with how he acts.  This morning actuating a silly disposition then to something moody like his writing father then to wander, to roaming around the house looking for some distraction into which to lure us, both Alice and myself.  He’s that clever, mind you.  And me here in the café again, and for what, material.  Not in the novel mood, but I know I should be.  Didn’t wake early this A.M., no surprise, as I’d premeditated.  Woke up near 1AM to get Jack, he requested I stay with him but his bed was far too condense for my figure so I left only to hear him call for me when I stretched out next to a sleeping Ms. Alice.  I asked him if he wanted to sleep with mommy he said yes so I headed downstairs, under that soft red blanket.  Should have set my alarm.  But I didn’t.  And I woke to him running into the room, Daddy, daddy, I have cars!” he exclaimed, referencing the cars one of the children next door him gifted.  And I woke still very much feeling the run from yesterday.  Thinking of running tomorrow morning, waking at the hour of my mother-in-law, near 4:30, to hit possibly 8 miles.. that would be amazing.  Slight pain in knee left but nothing bothersome, nothing that woke me in the night’s middle. Interim before work, when I collect, but not like the last winery, this place welcomes me and my creativity from what I can see– oh, forgot I have to email my editor/publisher, sent her some thoughts on writing about Mendocino Wineries and Oregon spots, but she can only appreciate them at this time, which I of course appreciate and wait and gather more ideas and research if not for my own writings, the MOCK SOMM series or whatever.  Reviewing my friend Blair’s wine tonight, well as a Bacigalupi PS.  So that’s two Petite Sirahs.. I can do that, no problem.  I actually don’t now that much about Petite Sirah, I know it’s dark and used for blending a lot, and my sister made one that scored 90-something.. but not much more.  So tonight I’m educated.

Just off phone with Ms. Alice.  She ran 3 miles.  Her last weekday off before Summer School.  I IMG_6584sometimes forget, and I don’t know why, that we both teach, that we both value education.  And that we both love the students and acknowledge the students being harmed by the political scuffles and the skirmishes between instruction and administration.  I see myself a desperate journalist, needing a story, and I already have what I need in my reality with Jack and Alice and this new Russian River winery and the blogs I’m writing for, with the wines I’m to review tonight– no need to wish, I have everything I need, in this mocha no tweaks necessitated as this Beatnik readies himself for all the stories headed his way and all the notes and how the wines taste today–  Distracted by the people walking by, with their kids and I’m only kaleidoscopically turned in my visions of years before me, how Jack will see me in my profession, in my writing, and how the next little Beat will see me, how I act and how I write then I think of Jack reading my work in college.  And if anything, that’s becoming a prime aim of this writer’s, with my Beat and my new assignments and the promise they promote and boast and now more people swarm around me and invade the café– think they’re watching me write and reading this prose for free but don’t the “blog” readers?  Confounded and confused, astounded and amused–

9:22.  Still a good 30+ minutes for my pages and the character I want to shape for my children– “What’s your dad do?” someone asks Jack or his sibling…  ‘He’s a writer,” the answer.  Simply.  Confidently.  And with a relucent amour-propre.  That will be me, their father–  Blair, my winemaking friend with his own label messages me about some new label designs, I envy and enjoy and learn and some much else from him as a creator, then I second-guess my thought of not making wine this vintage, just stick to the writing.. what do I do? I don’t have the money to get the Cab from Cloverdale.  So there you go, solved.. just write, they’re subjects, the wines and the processes.  Stay in the bottle, you OX!

Have to restart phone.. ugh, tech, why do I do this to myself? Why not just write and post prose to this goddamn blog of mine?  ‘Oh cuz you need a visual of some kind..’ What the hell… okay.. just know the writer loses his patience and his cool and… all.  More likely I’ll leave early today, to gather Self and write more and contribute to the novel and write thoughts about the MOCK SOMM column and how I could maybe syndicate that and expand it as a brand and company and approach to wine; a methodology and kind pedagogy about wine; falling further into a love with wine, a true non-self-anointing characterization.

After 9:30– edit then leave.  A hurried penner, me, incessantly.  But one thing to be promised by this crazy writer, I will note all wines today at work and review my brother Blair’s when I get home.. he said the PS has to be open for at least 2 hours, and I trust him.. but I’ll see if I can make that happen, if not, then small poured and swirl the sense right out the bloody juice.  Narrative qualities in everything around me, all the people and what they order and the pictures I just took and how I feel about the future and how my children see me…  Like Blair, his kids should be more than proud of their father; independent, family-owned wine business and his worldly familiarity with all things wine, and all stories and voices of wine, everything from the bottle type to the cork style to the label, of course, and the fact there’s no foil.  Finally!  A wine that doesn’t need that added unnecessary flex of process.. with these Archival bottles, you simple twist into the tree, and pull, let breathe.. ugh, now I can’t wait to try the Chard and PS.  Asked Alice to find the CH in the rack and put in fridge.. hope she remembers as this has to be done, two pieces, which would give me 1,000+ words of material for the column.. work night, work in wine but not too much.  Need those miles in the morning, on a rapid relay to Wellness.  And my office.  The Road.  MY label, Self-publishing.. ZEN.