Not up at 4 as I’d hoped, shocker, but I’m up before 7 on my day off. “Day off” I should write and specify as I’m going into office at 2 to tend to everything T and I couldn’t when we landed the ship back at base. Today will be a day, I can feel. Picking up check at Idlewild Wines TR and getting in a run somehow. Not shooting for 10+ as I did last week. Just a healthy run. Maybe just 6.3-mike measuring run as I used to. Just note, reader and self, that I’m awake, alive, fiery and purposed in my present presence. I’ve been antagonized and self-catalyzed.

21:00.  Home

3f783641-3af6-422a-b9a5-b4814a6a08c1-24969-00000ff7a5f0b9d9_fileand on floor thinking over day, over a beer.  Great lecture in English 100, after meetings with co-workers and a positive, energetic, and animated new-hire.  I learn from everything.  My knowledge addiction doesn’t in anyway diminish or taper.  Only exacerbates.  AMPLIFIES.  Would love to talk to that twit who once accused me of using the word “amplify” incorrectly.  Yes, she is a career tech-laden say-in.  But I’m one of language and word ties and sentence storms, I know what I’m saying when I it say.  And as I said in the wine world, being a literary bloke in its walls, I’m now such in the tech world, making everything around me MINE.  From the desk at which I’m based, to the break room in which I was earlier writing, to the carpet, those chairs outside the break room that look like something from 2001 Space Odyssey, or The Jetsons, or Star Wars.  Everything is new, Newness for a literary body as I in tech’s step and compositional clef.  I watch and see everything, learn from everything. More about the internet and business functionality, 

Being new in tech, I don’t feel the intimidation or anything scary or over-my-head that so many said I would head.  Nothing like that. Everything invites, teaches, and as an academic I can only see what’s in that office in such a touch.  When driving to work this morning, I for some reason felt either anxiety or fear, or insecurity, something like that.  Soon’s I walk int through the doors, putting my badge in front of that sensor thing after saying hi to one of my co-workers and her dog, Frankie, a beautiful wolf-looking pup of some makeup, I centered, felt more me, the literary me in tech’s periphery.  Now that the day’s over, and with class late tomorrow night after a day in the office working on new projects and meeting team members, after more meetings, brainstorming more on more new ideas and possibilities… I see this, all of it. This is my platform, or launchpad of some kind, profitable and promising precipice.

21:15.  Starting to fade, get tired, feel tired, want to give up on the writing but I won’t let self before touching and feeling a word count.  I know, the whole quality versus quantity, or is it quantity then quality consideration, debate, I don’t know, but how tired I feel’s beginning to beg my concentration.  Has me straying from one thought to the next.  And no, it’s not the beer, as this is my only in this nightcap place, placement.  My character Kelly comes home from work, her new job in a tasting room and opens a bottle she was able to take home, to try, from the winemaker.  She feels herself getting tired, starting to fade a bit but doesn’t let her concentration erode to the point of not studying the wine.  She pretends it’s hers, what she’d say about it.  A Syrah, all Russian River whole-cluster with extended skin time and more than 50% new oak, French.  Like me new to tech, and she new to wine, there’s profuse truth in experiential design.

Day 11 – 

Sat down in break room/arcade/snack shop, immediately started writing.  Told self I’d grade papers on break, but not after the busy morning I’ve had.  I very much deserve this meditation, this collection in words, with my paragraphs paired with leftover pizza and sparkling water wife me bought at Costco, yesterday? No.  Saturday.  Anyway, I think of business.  This business that I’m now in, melding customer service and PR with hospitality and sales, tech, language, storytelling, everything that I am as a … everything that I am.  Truly.  This morning’s meetings with T showed me what I already knew but punctuated what I need more pay attention to.

I’m learning still, at my old age.  Learning to learn, learning to write, write everything down, make the moment and everything in it especially at a new job my own.  New knowledge, in every step and turn.  No exaggeration.  I can’t get anywhere close to enough, here.  Of everything.  From the product I represent, to the services… how do I make this my own, I think.  The same way I did, and still do but on my own terms with wine.  Words.  Speaking.  Performing to a lesser emphasis.  Here.  Present.  My story and in my business, my business in this business, learning about the internet and why Net Neutrality is important, how I as a consumer of information is impacted.  I’m learning, and that’s my fix, that’s my addiction and story.

I still have a semester to get through, and I have to get creative tonight if I’m to grade what I have to, what remains.  What I had more than enough time to get to over the weekend but decided to instead write as I now do.  I should be eating this pizza, taking down this sparkling water, but I collect and mediate, recover on page.  Not that there’s anything to recover from.  This place, this company, everyone around me in this break room put me in a cumulonimbus composition of passion and creative… how to approach prospective buyers and how to approach the office every morning.  Writing down plans and goals for each day.  Yes, I’m doing so each day, and assessing the writer’s progress.  What I’m doing, how I grow, what I know and what I learn, how I grow from what I already know and the shapes and sequences newly-learned.  Feel like my story is only NOW truly starting… that the great consolidation of things and vignettes in my greater story only now’s noted.  Finally.  I shouldn’t say that, though.  I know.

Hunger catching me, I take a bit of the cheese pizza that I bought for the kids.  My babies, missing them this morning and driving here I thought of them and felt my soul sink, that I needed more time with them over the weekend.  But how could I have had more?  There were things scheduled, scenes already set.  Plainly, and I write this all the time, I need to wake earlier.  Last night didn’t sleep all that well, so ce soir I’m going to those sheets and pillows unusually early as I told wife.  See if I do it, and if I do hopefully it’ll trigger an early wake.  If I make a project of 4am, who knows what it’ll do.  I’m certain contribute to what I do here at the office new, this tech gem that found my story with a quickness and timeliness that very well could have saved my life, I see. In many ways.  Not just hyperbole.  I’m vocally convinced it did.

Have my eye on one of those canned coffee drinks in the shop’s fridge.  Not sure why I’m stuck on that at the moment, but I am.  I love the surroundings, here.  Do I miss the walks around the crush pad, in the tank rooms, in the cave?  Yes, I guess, but even those started to get old. They were just the same, replicated in each curve and angle, scent from barrels and tanks, cave rooms and tables.  Even my day yesterday in friend’s tasting room annoyed me, a bit.  People coming to taste wine but not really understanding them so they didn’t buy, or did but only a bottle here and there.  Thinking the next time I’m in a tasting room will be when I have my own. My own flight, offerings, when I’m pouring the wines I and/or my sister’s made.  Wine… still in head, don’t be confused. The industry though, as I’ve so many times in days recent said, put on the pages of this blog, is no more in my manuscript.  No more counting register, drying glasses, making those infernally pestering cheese plates.  No more.  Sipping what remained of that Pinot last night, and not much mind you, I thought of how just a moth ago, August 10th, I was in that room.  Behind the bar.  Pouring for people, giving tours, walking ‘round the crush pad and strolling with a joke or two cued into the lab to greet my buddy Chris… an act I do very much miss, as I loved the wine and winemaking discussions with mon ami, Mr. Chris… talking to the winemaker and asking him about growth in the vineyard.  Just under a month ago.  Time, here, flying faster than anywhere else.  More than enjoying myself, more than growth, but lesson that I need capture everything.  Note everything, and I do as there’s a lot to this new job of mine.  Field Sales Supervisor, a title which sounds rather industrial and clinical, boring and emotionless.  But its not, and certainly not how I’ll make it my own.

My pep, a strain to contain, hold or quarantine.  I’m learning too much, and not just about tech and the internet, client and customer relations, but about BUSINESS.  Am I a business blogger, now?  My knowledge need speaks from this new business I’m in.  I didn’t have this on property, certainly not behind that bar pouring down a tasting flight.  Meeting another fellow new hire after this lunch/typing session.  I know what I’m to say, then don’t.  I’ll learn from that, as well.  This is all learning. My business in this business, in this office, new, is learning, helping others learn.


Standing and Writing 

Photo on 3-14-17 at 10.47 AMCoffee.  A day off.  But I don’t want any kind of a day off.  Busy over the week but that’s no permission for non-submission.  I’m writing today, and that’s all there is in my character and mind. Today I’m Jack Kerouac.  More than Kerouac, or Hem, or Carver, Faulkner, I’m ME.  I’m the me that had wine last night and doesn’t have to worry about speaking wine from having to speak about wine, today.  I’m free.  I’m free of wine’s industry and telling me what to do, busy tasks for the sake of staying busy… no.  No more.  I’ve said this before, but I feel obligated to again put such in these day’s pages—  Wine is what I write, wrote, again write.  Not the bloody industry.  Or maybe I am.  Maybe I should.  Again, my tell-all of wine’s world and functioning and lack of.  But that’s not where the knowledge is.  That’s not healthy to obsess, and to do some tell-all is from vindictive voice.

Head a bit foggy this morning, from that last glass of whatever blend that was.  Think Merlot and PV and maybe something else. Martin Ray’s Bordeaux varietal project.  Still see myself having my own label, someday.  Some little tasting room… but enough dreaming.  What am I making happen, forcing to fruition today?  A run.  And not on a fucking treadmill.  Just plugged in the running watch, that Garmin thing the wife-ish person bought me for xmas or something.  She bought me one of the best models and I have not used it satisfactorily.  So, then, a run.  Write and write and write….  I descend upon self whenever I don’t write or don’t hit some word amount, and I know why then have no idea why.  Today, new.  The Newness invites me to travel from thought to thought as Neal and Jack went from State to state.  I think about my life, where I am in it, riding from house to house on appointments yesterday with that tech whose name I can’t remember and so horrible I feel as we had quite an enjoyable day.  Finally eating lunch in west county, Occidental, eating sandwiches I bought for us under a tree, watching people drive by on that narrow main street drag.  The first house, not a house at all but a traitor on a bigger property, Windsor.  Felt bad for the bloke, later in his life and that’s all he had.  He was of elevated soul and disposition, saying “I’m great!” Then I felt bad for being bad.  He’s fine, Mike… I said to self. When we called to make sure he was home so we could do, or the tech, DAVID, could do what he had to.  Left Windsor then went to Healdsburg to connect something at this lady’s house, who lives with her photographer husband.  This house I found especially interesting as the house had a beautiful side area, completely shaded and set up like a cabana, or gazebo bar or lounge area.  Then in back of main structure to their shared studio.  Walking up small and steep little bright dark-blue stairs to a loft, the studio area itself where her husband’s photog equipment and her web developer area situated, catty-corner to the other.  There was a couch which I can only deduce was either a little gathering spot for the artists and their musings, gatherings, or a waiting area.  I thought to myself this is just the studio I want, just the office I’m aiming for.  I saw my office in a second home, in Healdsburg.  Just blocks from the square as this dwelling was.

Then in Occidental, we drove out, out to West County’s distant dimensions.  The lady’s house had some flawed connections, or some blockage in the phone line itself.  I didn’t quite understand what’d transpired till after we’d left and David to me explained.  What I thought was quite literary about this house was the envelopment of those tall redwood trees, if they WERE redwoods.  How nice it’d be to have a place like that to write, to have a studio or some office to finally finish my fucking book.  Then to lunch.  Saw one of my former students, which was quite startling and pleasantly perfect for the educating day I was having riding along with my new tech ami.  While the sandwiches were being mad eI used the restroom in the Union Hotel.  The original Union.  It felt historic, which it is, but something else I couldn’t place.  Not haunted per se, but something, something was there, something had been there, there were years and years of vacationers there and however many stories and characters… something there had me.  History, wine, wine’s world and town, more history and directions.  The Roads…

While in the deli I looked at what wines they had.  Nothing too commanding or provocative, but even still I thought of what it’d be like to be just passing through the town, having lunch with whomever I’m traveling, opening a bottle of something, and just watching, observing the town breath, learn from it.  Since being with this new company, I’ve seen more possibilities in everything, everything that makes this writer who he is, how he wants to be seen.   From the writing itself, to business interests and aims, tech, blogging, photography, wine and food, Sonoma County, my running, health, truly all parcels of my person.  Now seated, and measuring, forecasting what I want at the end of this latest 30-day whatever.  Not sure if it’s one of those challenges, or just some new representative sample.  Of what I do where I am, when I’m there.  What I do with time when I have it as I do now with the babies on their first day of weekend, a day off for us all, watching their little cartoon from under their little blankets.  They lose their littleness by the day, and I know will one day read this, or one of my pieces or books.  So this 30 days, which was shoved into action really from curiosity and something I saw from one of those business/speak self-proclaimed authorities to know fucking everything about everything.  So I answer with humility and curiosity, hoping the humility eclipses.  What will happen in 30?  I stand back up, look at babies, knowing I need to have them ready for wife character in under an hour from now. 

To the Road.  MY, Road.


Have to find

a groove for this semester as cliche as that sounds. Seeing that as prime truth. Monday through Thursday, days with classes, trying. Tuesday/Thursday not as much with the later class, but still…

Now, lunch.


Have to start packing one.

Morning with babies.  Relaxing, on a day off.  Yes.  A day off. 

For me.  Can’t wait till tomorrow to be back in office new, learning anything I can and building with a new team… new ideas and projects, creative, new ideas to share and… everything.  More than an “exciting” time for me.  This is a principle re-write.  Of so much in my story and character.  This is the IT I’ve been writing about, thinking of, envisaging for years.  And now.. just before 40, I’ve arrived.


Yesterday writing about waking early and my obsession with, my barista buddy who wakes at 2-something to be in the shop around 3, or a tick after.  This morning up at 6:30, about, then resting eyes as Dad says for 5 minutes. Then up.  Play with Jack for a bit and daughter up right after,   Jack talking tirelessly about his most recent loose tooth.  ‘Nother cup of medium roast here in home just made.  I will grade papers, today.  I will.  Learn from the students… obsess in each day of this final semester.  Each one.  Each interaction is something to write.  Each student in a story.  Each walk from the C Lot to Emeritus is something to put to page.

Haven’t sipped the coffee, yet.  Just thinking, about tomorrow, class in evening, the next day, the week, next weekend.  Need to write my business plan for week.  Where I want to be on Friday, concerning understanding of wha this new company offers and how to speak the narrative in a storyteller’s sow.  This morning, the babies help me write and defeat the last of whatever held my writing in place and injects a quake of angst and mummified me in overthought.  The re-write is no where near cruising altitude.  More climb, more flight, more perspective for the writer.


inward jot

0c7912a9-f190-4f4f-8b7b-b781b33bc8ab-6321-000003e349dc6a68_fileIn office with one other person.  Tour earlier, first thing in day… 10 people from Florida.  All of them antagonizing my love of wine, again.  But, no changing what’s in motion currently.  The new chapter for me with this new assignment.  New stories, characters, places and placement.

Thinking of short fiction directions, but not sure about any of them.  I know as a writer I haven’t the time for any more stalling.  So I note on Kelly, her first days in the wine industry, her observations…. Someone either just left or came into the office.  Both, actually.  Bored, feeling now.  How to liven the day… take the rest of the day?  Off?  Write some more in Healdsburg?  Seems to be the consistency with me, lately.  Fiction… fictionalizing…. Stories from Kelly and going from San Francisco to wine country, not knowing much about wine other than she enjoys it, knows a couple varietals, regions.  That’s what she works with—  OR, do I go non-fiction.  Use ME, Mike Madigan in tasting rooms over 12-year stretch, seeing more of an industry and a side to human dynamics and dimension, principally, that I EVER thought I’d experience.  Was more than seeing.  It was living, learning, and being showed what is and isn’t for me.  OR….. do I incorporate that into Kelly’s character progression and development.  A writer, in crosshairs, at a certain crossroad, crossroads…. Contemplative intersection.  Just DO.  Stop thinking… goddamnit… how many times….

Little over 18 minutes left in “lunch”, which of course I forgot to bring, and now chew gum to make self forget about eating, having some sandwich from down-the-street deli.  I think about how I spoke the wines to the Floridians, and how kind and attentive they were, how enjoyable.  No contests, no challenges or inadvertent heckles, just conversation.  Humanness.  What wine should be but the industry strips wine of that, insistently.

This cubicle, giving me anxiety.  Luckily, I can leave.  Go back to the tasting room and … And, what?  What will I do?  Maybe I should go to H-burg, write at.. where?  The Bear?  Oakville?  Duke’s?  Or, what is it, Flying Goat?  Coffee spot.  Not much a fan of their coffee but do take to the decor and atmosphere of the café itself.  Want to be in Hemingway mode, writing on a street.  Writing, not typing.  I’ll type later.  Wake up early and chip away at book, either Kelly’s or mine.  May need to get to know her better, my character, Ms. Kelly with her art and studio littered and arranged with her own illustrations.  Or.. just start with me. Not a tell-all as some do, but something like that I guess, a book that highlights wine’s industry’s flaws and appeals, illusions and delusions, charm and character, and toxic repetitions.  But then I think, do I want to devote a whole manuscript to them? No.  And it wouldn’t be FOR them.  It’d be for me.  To be further free.  To be closer to people like the Floridians than the execs and upper-management boils in their limp, moldy, vomitous ivory towers.

Iced coffee,

before babies and wife are moving about. Not the same feeling in writing as I had yesterday… Short stories from the tasting room and other wine instances….

Sitting on wood floor downstairs, coffee, day with son ahead. Nothing to now write as nothing’s happened. I know, make something up… like what…

Older man, late fifties, just retired and on his porch, glass of some old Burgundy in hand, listening to crickets and a couple bats fly back and forth… He thinks of what to do now, with his remaining life. Successful career managing portfolios and retirement funds, “And now what?” He thinks. He doesn’t know how to not work.

And then I look inward, and think, “Is this what I survived for, to be a part-time English Instructor and pour in a tasting room?” Certainly not. Adjust my own psychology, lead myself away from what gives me these moods and low self-estimations. Decide that I live from what I learn, put it to page and hopefully it elevates and mends others in some way. And again, I love wine and the industry, and teaching. But, like you, I want more. Like the retired man, I want to keep going. I want another chapter. No…. another book. A first book of this new sight and suggestion of self.

06:48…. Study son, today. Little Kerouac and all he wants to do. Write everything down, reader. Everything… what in the story do you want to keep, what do you want to vaporize, cut out?

Like you, if you haven’t already, I’ve arrived at a situational still where I need decide. “DECIDE”, I wrote in some gorilla-sized letters in one of the semester journal’s pages, last night while skip-sipping through that Viognier, then much slower the Kuleto Cab. Now it’s cold coffee, made before bed last night. I’ve decided… what I’ll die for. And no so much that but what I want my kids to say Daddy does.

Tomorrow is when it really starts. Into the Room with a freed scope and unconcerned character, but entirely invested in his story, what he’s doing. They’ll want me to care as. I have as them… be they industry guy who acts like this is his story. But, no, a set of chords and wires in the anatomy of my book. Or one of them. This first one, anyhow.

Still in floor…. flirting with story ideas, in and out of the tasting room. Jelly, the 20-something artist with a corporate job, selling paintings and working at a wine bar on weekends, only wanting to one day be in her own property with her studio overlooking grapes and just watching them grow… painting them as they shift from breaks on a vine to self-pollinating pictures, to clusters daring some vineyard manager to call the pick. My other character… me. Well, yes and no. Me, but no wife and babies. Mike the part-time professor who is convinced he’ll never get tenure, works in the wine business doing whatever he can to cover all nuts, writing and hoping. A morning, a single morning much like this one for his author, he decides to stop. Be a winemaker. Translate wine like no one before has, and no maker of wine ever will. He wants to intensify his relationship with the juice, the ground. The rocks and soil variations in some blocks.

He’s decided.

The old man…


Now, me.

Much better than yesterday’s A.M.