from wine book

Sit.  Coffee.  Ahead of clock-in time, which I set for set at 08:20.  Last night’s wine still on thoughts, like a storm just hovering over some already-drenched village or enclave.  But here I am, a day off which I’m using for work, of course.  The work I one day will ONLY be engaged in.  Today I show people I’m a tireless writer, the papa of all bloggers.  Material everywhere— young woman to right, doing some kind of math homework or assignment or probably final as it’s the last week of term, with her TI-whatever calculator out, here head going back and forth, as mine does internally with the ‘SLH’ Pinot.  What was that note?  Talk about a singular address as I’m always trying to stress to students…what was it?  Wild herbs?  Licorice?  But then later transmogrifying into maple or some caramelized berry, then back to that herb or wild standing-in-a-field-like tone.  I watch people walk in and out of this room, waiting for their coffee or mixed madnesses of choice.  New visitor, young lady with her daughter, daughter climbing all over the chair.  Can’t hear what they’re saying, listening to Hutchinson, but I heard daughter say “This!” What, I wonder.  Now they leave, she carefully climbing down from the chair, carrying her book which in multiple colors on the front, each letter a different chromatic form, spelling ‘PIANO’.  She looked a little young for lessons, but then what is too young?

Too old, I feel, sometimes, to have these dreams, these visions of me traveling, talking about writing, wine, blogging, creative.  But how can I let the father of my babies think that?  Looking at the time, still before clock-in.  I have plenty of time, plenty.  And I’m not old.  Or, not as old as I think.  Sip the coffee again and let the wave ride, or let the ride carry me to whatever with wine.  May go tasting tomorrow, somewhere I’ve never been with my second day to self.  Wine is about learning, I’m seeing more and more, and exploring, finding what speaks to you—  “Write only about wine.” I tell myself.  So I have to search more, like Ray and Japhy, climbing mountains and just seeing what’s out there.  That’s the only way to know wine, and even then you may not “know” it.  Just a romantic partnership, or some elevated accord or collusion.  Write about wine, write about wine…. What was that note last night?  Am I looking for a descriptor?  Well, I guess.  Maybe.  But I hate that word.  Such a pseudo-wine journalist speak.  I don’t want to sound like them, but like me, actually.  So was it an herb I’m unfamiliar with, or some flower, some foliage?—  Dried Oregon leaves, branches with clay soil-powder doused in raspberry swaths.  What?  That’s the thing, I don’t know.  With wine, you don’t always need to know.  You know?  Now I’m just having my fun, post-Pinot night.  Going to break from wine for the night, maybe.  Just let myself simmer and stir, quake in wined ideation.

Read somewhere that today is “National Wine Day”.  Huh, I thought.  So what do I do in reflection and code of such call?  Write about wine.  Weird, illusionary descriptions and personifications, thoughts and connections.  Whenever I go to a tasting room and the wine’s poured, then s/he just lists notes, I always wonder, “What?  Am I SUPPOSED to be tasting that, or is that something I might pick up?” Example: Woman pours me some Rosé a couple years ago, in Kenwood, small tasting room, says, “Here’s our Rosé of Sangiovese… cherry, mint, white pepper, lavender, floral, waxy…” And then she stopped.  “Waxy?” I thought.  What does that mean.  And what am I supposed to do with all that stuff you just said?  No one else was in the room, and I know her, have known her, for years…. And she knows I’m ‘industry’.  Why did she recite the script?  And even if we didn’t know each other and I wasn’t ‘industry’.. even if I was in horrible need of “wine education” (a phrase which I think is a king joke of jokey-jokes), why couldn’t she just talk to me?  Pour me the wine, then ask, “So how’ve you been?” Or if she didn’t know me, “So where are you from?” Or, “So how’s your day goin’?” Why the obsession with these grocery list “descriptions”, which aren’t bloody descriptive at all?—  Then I’m hit… forget the note in the Pinot from last night.  Who cares what it is… what did the wine say to you, Mikey?  …. “Wildness, electric forms and directions to unknown cosmos, calculating without numbers, traveling and on my own exodus to redefine Pinot Noir, Burgundian perception…”

inward jot

Newness,  This morning I very much needed, need, Newness.  No corporate coffee stop, where I could have easily paid merely $0.50 for a refill that’s not at all a refill I only tell them it is, but rather stopping for my first-ever writing session at Jimtown Market here in AV, along 128.  Not sure how to begin, but I know the answer to that— just do so.  Monday’s over the past year or so, as you might now, have been fascinating me more and more, with how people dread them but should really embrace them, how so many around me talk about Monday and the coming of it rather that actually actuating..  Newness.  Try something new.  It could strike as simple and seemingly insignificant as stopping at a new place for coffee, or waking up a bit earlier and going for a run (which I need to do).  My coffee, at right, still, animated in its bizarrely hot hemisphere in that cup, ran $2.75.  That’s $0.25 more than Dry Creek’s General Store, and a gorilla’d $2.25 more than the coffee brothel of Starbucks.  But I’m fine with it.  More than fine with it.  Elated in it.  Triumphant in my sitting in this differently constructed and realized chair, with a flop or surface of leather or mock-leather, curving and bending down as you settle.  I’m more cozy, for sure, here than at the Starbuck spot on Vine Street.  In a backroom, by self, no one here but if some tourist comes in for breakfast or coffee, or forbid another writer like me, then my solitude is lacerated.  But I’ll writer-on.  Would just be more Newness and new ingredients for this writer, who needs to finish his book.  Birthday, 38, one week from today.  More urgency than a bottom-of-ninth soupçon… but I see it that way, calling on my baseball days… two strikes, runners at corners.  I don’t have to homer, just hit a triple.

Looking around— the shop feel.  Retro, or vintage, rustic or artful, maybe all.  My business plan for this Monday is my book.  Finish it by day’s end.  I know I have a book’s gathering of material.  Just need to gather, colonize, maybe inoculate here and there.  Also.. a photo walk.  I want photography to be a more substantial part of my life, writing life.  I want to be a writer who photographs, and photographs seriously.  Should take one shot with camera, here in this room.  Why not.  If I don’t use it, I did it.  I did what I said I would do.  Something New…. Did so.  Slowly slid from one side of my new office to next, captured certain articles and specifics of the atmosphere.  Maybe when I’m writing with full autonomy I should make this my office, or my office outside the office.  Embrace the unfamiliar, put yourself outside your character… be a new character but the same one, today.  It’s just what you need, in one consideration or another.  Trust me.


Meditation, anywhere.

Don’t be complacent.  Don’t just stare off.  Even while pumping gas, or waiting in line at the grocery.  Use every moment to think, meditate, measure, envision, plan, or even constructively imagine.  All moments have value and usable qualities.  And you only have a set amount.

inward jot

A cemetery on the grounds… an amazing vineyard walk at new property, actually more than one… selling four cases to a couple from the South Bay, people with whom I spent a lot of time, talking about everything from the Peninsula where I grew up, the drive up to Ridge Winery in the Cupertino hills… the views… walking around on the grass just realizing where I am and the new wine story ahead of me…. And, of course, dinner tonight at a soft opening of a restaurant owned by the family that owns this new winery for me…. I’m reflective, contemplative, measured.  Sitting on the floor in the home office, realizing more my current reality and its currency, how I didn’t really write all day, just took notes and shot some still pics and videos with phone (which could later be translated into pages), the writer echoes inwardly, more, telling himself to not stress about times where he can’t write.  Like with dinner this evening with these new co-workers of mine— would I have rather been writing while at the table with them or enjoying their company, the various bottles opened, all the new plates put before us… the oysters, that squid, the burrata, the burger I elected then the desserts, my French Press coffee.  As writers we have to let the moment pervade and land, we study, then paginate later.

Dishwasher in kitchen, I take a break from my types to look at my photo’d record of the day.. wines, views, cemetery, food, friends— new co-worker’s birthday, mine ten days from now.  38.  Have to not think so much about writing and who I write about, and when I write, and WHAT about— just fucking write.  Right?  Tannat open, glass in kitchen and not by me so I can drink slower, and less, focus more on the page and my book.  Hoping to wake early, but just a hope.. but I hope not that it’s jut a hope.  Make it not just a hope, Mike.  And yes, the ‘NO WINE’ lament isn’t going to work, not now anyway.  I need to study wine, react to wine’s character, narrate it as I told that man and his wife at day’s end.  Tangled in my musings, that I’m not even sure are mine anymore but more possessions of the elements around me catalyzing them, if that makes sense.  My sensibilities caution me, against me.. this overly tenacious Self that wants everything and everything in the same timedrop, plated pretty like those oysters and that colorful and cubist burrata.

The stroll around the cemetery with Nic early warned me, reminded me, that this isn’t always.  That the morrow is anything but assured.  That all frames and standalone moment-pieces need be appreciated and examined and written about—  “That’s a lot of work.” Someone might say.  “Exactly.” I return.  That’s why I’m here.  Now, I can have a Tannat lot.  And after that what?  What do you mean, “What?” Whatever the moment is is what’s to be written.  There’s nothing of null gravity.

inward jot

img_256006:58 in adjunct cell.  First official day of new winery assignment, and my business plan is ‘LISTEN’.  That was my plan for the first day I was there a full day, I think on May 2nd, but now that I’m no longer in Dry Creek, and now permanently in AV, I’m going to speak very little, take more notes than I did as an undergrad and grad student combined, and sail away into my wined story.

Ordered a 4-shot mocha this morning with some tip money pocketed yesterday.  Sold two cases of wine hier, even with the slow traffic we had in the tasting room.  How did I sell?  By pouring wine, talking, by not selling AT ALL.  Why don’t people understand this?  Either way, I’ve recognized something in my character that precipitates sales.  NOW, I need to finish my written projects and sell them.  What am I more passionate about, someone else’s wine or my own writing?  Thought this thought a while back but haven’t returned to it since.  While waiting for my mocha it clobbered me, and pulled and pushed me, now I’m eager to finish my livre.

Test to Self:  ‘NO. WINE.’  Thought this thought before as well, but I either surrender because of some bottle I can write about put in front of me, or I’ve had a shitty or stressful day and need to relax.  Now, no permission, no clemency.  No wine.  Indefinitely.  This will allow me to wake earlier, workout, write, finish pieces of books, and before the day has even left the ground.  This is ALL a life lesson of sorts.  Additionally in this challenge— (something to envision) My first glass of wine will be on my first business trip.  When I’m on the plane, or at the hotel.  And not a day, minute, second before.

This morning I feel like I could take on this world, some undiscovered ones, imaginary ones, and the universes they’re in.  Picasso said that inspiration exists, but it has to see you working.  Well, I’m working, and I’ll be waking a hell of a lot earlier from now on.  This morning is a morning with an alchemical will to it.  And me in its grip I refuse to stop even for a blink.  Life is short, so I do everything at once, somehow keeping inventory of what I forward.  See?  There… just did ten pushups here in the cell.  But this is no cell, this is a sanctuary for collection for this penner.  Always has been.  I hear the vent push out whatever air it wants and Michelle, on of the fullies in the department I can have true conversation with, talking to someone down the hall— her words broken randomly by her sweet, cheery chuckle.  Making me smile, I type on.  Time 07:11, wondering if I should go to 1614.  My room.  No.. two more minutes, please, just two more.  Not sure if this is inspiration or a new understanding of who I am, what I’m capable of and where I’m going.


Want to be in bed by 22:00.  Breathing easy downstairs while wife and little babies upstairs rest.  Long and significant day for the writer tomorrow, closing the semester and back at new winery assignment.  Time continues to assault the writer, but I need stay sharp, healthy, lively and awake.  Much why I’m going to bed so early. Getting my haircut the other day, or yesterday actually, and the gal telling me she doesn’t have a life, that she does everything for her kids.  Granted, she has three, but still I felt so bad for her.  I very much have a life.. a creative life, a teaching life, a LITERARY life.  For my babies–  OUR babies.  If I don’t follow my strengths and elevated interests, my babies are jeopardized.  Getting too heavy for this late hour, sipping Pinot and hoping somehow I wake early.  21:40, no sipping after 22:00.  Hear neighbor’s chimes outside.  Is it windy?  Huh.. term ending tomorrow.  Still have to order books for Summer.  I force myself to slow, put chin in curled fingers of hand left.  Exhale.  The moment tells me what to do.  You should let it do so, too.  Hard typing on this goddamn phone.  So why am I doing it?  Don’t know.  Can you imagine Hem typing on a cell at La Coupole?  Disgusted with myself for even using this devilish THING.  Sure my kids are reading this in the future and are ashamed of Dada…  sip then off. Take my deep sip but the Pinot discloses new dimension that tells me about poetry, about what impact a page can have.  Inwardly apoplectic, but have decision why.  Need again breath… paix, paix.  Just reassure self, all the writer can do at this hour.. 8 minutes left, and I feel fearful.  Wife might arrow– “Why were you up so late?” Valid inquiry.  What was I writing?  Where did the pages go?  Is the book finished?  

Go.  To.  Bed.

Earlier next time.


Last regular day, Dutcher.  Business plan for day.. write the entire time.  Taste through the wines, go for a vineyard walk, take pictures, leave the winery seen as the most creative and writing-addicted bloke ever to be there, behind the bar or out in the vineyard or anywhere on property.  Now at the Yulupa Starbucks, writing and taking notes for day, found the best quote I think I ever have from Pablo [Picasso].  I need to be working, always.  Why did I not stay up this morning, at 04:50-something when downstairs after helping Jackie get cozy in his room?  I just stared at the clock at thought about it.  Why?  Why did I think?  Why didn’t I just open the laptop and start writing?  Or even do some note-taking or writing on phone?  Doesn’t matter.  Here I am.  Now.  Working.  If you stalled in the past, leave it there.  The Now is without blemish.  Keep it pristine.  More counsel to myself this morning, with all these people around me— older couple, left, one drinking her coffee and reading paper while husband looks at phone and sips from his cup.  Nice guy.. agreeing to watch my stuff while I sprinted outside to get headphones from car.

Sitting here thinking about the last year or so at Dutcher.  All the story and writing I’ve accrued, what I am because of the winery— better with sales, more confident in how I talk about the wines, more in love with the vineyard, more fond of photog’ and incorporating it into my work.  This new assignment, I’m confident, will do everything for me.  Everything.  Finish my book, finally… travel, taste more wines and more poetic push to write about the wines the way I do.  That, with today, is much of my business plan— use today as practice, write about all the wines open, from the SB to the Chards, all reds, and even that port, with verse.. wild verse.  Stanzas that could be performed, read to crowds, leaving them if not stunned then thinking.