Keep projects in perspective, and have each your project narrate a certain and specific perspective. Show life in your work, show self in your work. Have your work show who YOU truly are, the most truthful talk and form and finite framing of your voice. You are the work, you are the projects, and through such you are FREED.
to go back to music, speaking words.
One track by day’s end.
that there are certain moments just for me. That I don’t have to share. Life is mine, all of it, and it’s cruelly curt. It flies by with no minding and I can either observe or fly with it. Wine sings, again.
Telling the kids we have to go up and get dressed, brush teeth, get ready for day, but I give in and let them have more time. And I could use more time on the day’s story, this second day of a thirty-day measurer. What will I be at the end. Who cares. Have some time to self today, and I’m thinking after the run go somewhere, to some coffee shop, locally, and write. I do want to take some vineyard pics as well if I can. But Saturdays are busy, no matter where you are in the season, so that could prove problematic. Maybe just down the road, to Hook & Ladder, or De Loach. Don’t want to do too much driving. So remain close to this writing studio… needing to take a break, now, go cuddle with my babies, there on the couch and before they’re so grown they’ll avoid writing-daddy at whatever turn they see. I laugh to self, looking at them. I’m a dad. ME. 40 next year. So now I see the inner-shove for this 30-day project. Get self as close to what I want for self at 40 as possible. My office… travel… more wine notes and tastings, blogging and… yes, I need to go tasting today, somewhere just down the road. I’m thinking De Loach is my spot. Little Pinot, or Chard, think they make a Syrah of some shape. But, after a run. After a run, no buts. How far will I go.. how far can I go, what distance I can produce, better question. Haven’t been running as much as the running writer’d like.
After kids are dressed and with teeth cleaned, they draw. I’m back standing and typing. Wife on way home from workout and I need to put self in runner’s head. Will do normal route, then something added.— Jack harasses Emma by drawing on her sheet, Emma growls and I laugh which doesn’t help. Ready to run…. Between 5 and 10 miles. That’d be lovely. Lovely. Get some healthy mile count and come home and shower and head out to write more. Make as much use of the day, this “day off”, as writer and new techie can. Am I a techie? I’ve learned more new worlds and specifics, more Newness, at the office new than I ever did in the wine industry’s joke of an industry and business. I’m a wanna-be techie, I think. I have a blog, but that doesn’t make me a techie, tech, technically savvy strut.
Hours after run, 10 miles, then nearly 3 miles of walking, I’m tired. Kids back from pool and I write as I did this morning. Jack continues to contribute to his math workbook that he created and designed himself, this morning. Emma, little Ms. Austen herself on the couch with her laptop. Would be outside but too hot. And I don’t object. Walking around Bottle Barn I imagined my eventual wines, that I’ll make with sister, there. Just one bottle. Not too many. I’m very anti-inventory, since leaving Roth. Too many SKUs, too many blues. And, the counting is just a pain. More than a pain, like a relentless sickness. That just returns and returns. Tomorrow helping friend at Idlewild off the square. Don’t have to be there till noon. Wife heads out to Train Town with friend and her daughter, so I’m heading to my day and creative missions early. Take pictures of vineyards and walk around blocks, catch views of harvest if I can. Definitely heading to Roth, maybe Foley Sonoma, or something outside the Foley book. Just want to be in wine’s world and valley to do just that. BE there. Not working, just being, creating, writing. I’ll be Kerouac as well tomorrow, but a Madigan model and chronicle. Writing everything down…
Daughter slides off couch and walks around, dazed. Can tell she’s tired. “Emma, you wanna play with Dada?” She doesn’t answer, and I head back to these keys, hear train passing outside, Jack still very much in his authoring actuation. I ask Emma again, she lazily and with extended annunciation, “No.” Okay, so I don’t feel too bad about typing as I am. Again feel the depletion from the ten mile run. Wanted 13.1, but the heat stopped me. Surprised I got as far as I did. While walking around Spring Lake, I thought to myself about stress and how so often it coms from trying to control something and not being able to. So my new resolve, resolution and trenchant view involves just dong what I want and if something blocks me or impedes then loudly amplify ( a word I much prefer to “scale”) demiurgic movements. All of them. I watch both babies, Emma now visibly drained, trying to fall asleep on the couch. I offered to take her upstairs to nap with her mother, and then she revives with no notice.
Just told Emma she’s cute and she took such as an insult. “ I not cute, Dada… I big guuu’!” I laughed and went back to these keys. Like I’m in college, writing something just before deadline. Not editing a thing jus typing and using everything around me to get to demanded word or page tally.. Or a wine journalist and blogger, notetaker, feverish jotter, scribbling more on the wines I last night had, the Italian white then red blend, not Italian like other character, providing contrast valuable. Both said something to me about my relationship with wine, and how wine’s provided a platform for everything, everything, even getting into tech… the office new. Wine and I, together out of the tasting room. And what now… write something. Wine, writing, running in Sonoma County in view of vineyards, sometimes. Not today unfortunately. Just wasn’t in the story for day. 15:39, and I still have a lot to do. Stating and staying busy, working on this writer’s projects and everything in his writing ways. Just charged camera for tomorrow. Not sure why I’m so set on doing photography, tomorrow. Why not. See what happens. One of my secret aspirations is to be somewhat, I guess, a photog. Never sacrificing the prose, but more pictures.
Kids unusually calm, and me getting tired. Hope they don’t get frenzied and decide to confederate against the running writing daddy. Or, I hope they do. There’s more story and AMPLIFICATION in that.
Work. What some would say defines us. I don’t. I define and re-define conveniently my efforts, my identity. Maybe that’s not the most healthy approach, but that’s me. That’s my truth, my Now. Writing my day away and into the day, the work day, what I’m to do and all the silly expectations of a writer in the “professional” world. We’ll see, we’ll see. I’m more out for pride than professionalism, my children proud of their father and all his writings, travels, than how well he obeyed some institutional or corporate master.
First verse done. In the mood to only free write and compose more verses, something to read, and I need to read, I know. Collect the tracks, all my poems and record them, read wherever I can. Why did I come to the coffee shop? Why did I decide to write here in the corner? A man and what I believe to be his son, at left, son writing or doing some writing or math exercises in some workbook and the dad either critiquing or coaching, can’t tell and don’t want to know. Don’t want to focus on them who why am I?
The wine industry— could be at my end. What else is there for me, here? Should only write, and I will. Last night opening something from my “cellar”, or the shelf that I only have reserved for those bottles I’m to “lay down” or set aside for some occasion or dinner, having whomever over for dinner but then I thought, “No.. now’s fine… now is perfect for a writer to open something he ‘shouldn’t’.” In the wine industry, no one wants to pay, few offer any kind of benefits arrangement. Granted, the company I currently work with is nearly obnoxious in their generosity, so don’t think I’m citing them in this citation. No… talking about so many others. This one winery that has expressed an interest in my work telling me just last night that they wouldn’t match what I now earn, nor would they provide benefits or any 401k anything. This is my gripe, this is my ticket, my citation. Why I’m freewriting this morning and writing verse, poetry, being as anti-form as I can, battle any norm or pattern’d pattern and template for what should be done.
Today’s tracks, all about the moment, about me, what I want and what I’m thinking, now, in MY story. The only way I’m going to travel and see the world, read my work and taste wines from places I otherwise wouldn’t is if I completely break from this industry mold and circular cyclical cycle. Off to verse 2 in a bit.. what a poet does— the man and his son leave. Whole corner to self, but now I notice the air conditioning blowing directly down on this agitated poet. So, write about the cold… cold states, both Dakotas, Montana, parts of Oregon that I have seen completely under snow. What this reminds me of, what I hope to feel writing at some lodge overlooking a snow-doused field.
More poetry than wine today, in the tasting room, do know. More work on my pieces than that place, the tasting room which I so eager seek to escape. I want more, like anyone else, as I’ve told so many people. So what’s keeping me, I wonder. Is it the pay and benefits thing? Probably. Well, yes. But what if I could get it on my own? What if I didn’t need these favors, this “compensation”? What if I could just get it all myself? Through poetry, through music… through thought, seeing my life differently, my role in the game and the theatre of wine country with a different lens and leap? Oui…
This morning I know I’m not that prepared fro class, but that’s just what I’m intending… to present ideas in the moment I’m in— like this sitting here at the 12 & Mission Starbucks. Can’t remember when the last time I wrote here was. Thinking a year or…. doesn’t matter. Not as many people as I thought I’d see in here. Nowhere to park and for a second I thought I’d just make the U-turn and head to campus. But not this morning… needed this, this sitting and this quiet with a more than busy morning, going back to the hotel for the bag then to Mom and Dad’s where Mom and I talked about a few things and my mind now completely focused on work—
For class…. Talk. Hemingway. Writing. Reading. Read with them. Only keep them an hour, each section. Tonight, have a wine chosen, and am going to buy some bottles, just a couple from my friend up in Washington, also a wine writer who perpetually insists that she’s amateur. I get frustrated with her but from adoration and endearment, nothing malicious or truly spite-sown.
Iced coffee, this session. Haven’t had one in a while… all I want to do with this final day of novel writing is write… not sure I much want to teach, even. Then don’t. Just offer ideas.. write as you go, in the little pages. Still have to post last night’s wine reaction, sketch. Or rather, yesterday’s but I wrote it last night as babies were falling asleep. Me on the bed with Jackie typing on phone and hoping he wouldn’t get too distracted. He didn’t. Fell right into his little scale of dreams and I was about to jot, or thumb, what I could. Not as excited about tonight’s wine but Jesse gifted it to me yesterday, stopping by the winery and tasting through a couple whites, all the reds. I envied his day off. I need a day off— No you don’t… you need to work. You need to keep moving if you want to see what you want to see. Just thought… can stop by St. Francis and get a couple bottles to write about, or maybe just one, or taste at the bar while they close if they’ll let me, if it’s not too much a bother. I have this obsession with SFW, going back to where it all started, re-acquainting self with the wines and the counter, the tasting room, how now they have that T-Rex sized tree. Plan confirmed… finish 100 maybe 50 minutes into, then head to “The Frannie”. Now I start to feel the engine go, the ideas about their wines and all the notes I’ll meet, be greeted by. Yes, I should be prepping for 1A, 100, but I can only see hear wine in the music I have in these little jelly-belly-ish earphones. “Intro”, by The xx. Love this song. Puts me on a plain, plane, plan, while in cruising altitude, thinking about where I’ll land, which wines I’ll taste, be coerced to write about.
The café— not much a café— essentially empty, but one chap to left on laptop. Definitely not a writer. Don’t ask how I can tell. Will make me sound more judgement-beat than I already do. So…. The Viognier I’ll be sipping tonight I opened before leaving the hotel. Thought, “I haven’t opened a bottle of Dutcher this early in a long time.” Brought back to thinking when I’d go for my lunchtime walks and either write, take pictures and video, or all. That time at Dutcher told me that Creativity will solve any occupational or professional problem or block, hiccup I experience. These pictures I look through, so many of them from Debra’s property. My vineyard… all I can think of. Well maybe not all but certainly know it’s dominant in my vision, physical, temperament.
Leaving here in 7 minutes, 1 hour. Have to make what worded dent I can in my day… wine, wine… my shop. Day five. Have a floor design in mind. Much of it pragmatic, the rest just what feels right, from my experience selling wine. Like I intoned Mom, I don’t sell. I write.. I speak… I recite. Wine should never be vended. It should be gently communicated, oui, but gently, convivially, like you’re writing a love letter to that person or just a friendly note right there, when you’re on one side of the counter and the guest stands where they do. Communication… now I can’t wait for class. These ideas overlap. But I can’t tell if my wine life influences the professor life more than the opposite arrangement. Peut être (perhaps) it’s a realized harmony. Maybe there is no distinction. Maybe when I’m teaching I’m “selling” wine and when I’m at the bar or on property I’m more a “professor”, or educator, than anywhere else.
Answered a work email, now back to keys. Not letting self raise head for another ten or fifteen minutes. Writing about wine is much to do as I said with things you think have nothing to do with wine. And you’re right. They don’t, and proverbially do. Shots from when I stopped in at Kenwood Winery, saw and old friend. She poured me across the flight I thought I was so familiar with. But hadn’t tasted there in so many years, even when I used to work at Kunde I never went next door on my lunch to taste. Went to Deerfield once, but that’s it. Wasn’t like at Dutcher when I would often visit close-by TR’s and see what their offerings said to me. Guess I wasn’t as serious a wine writer when at Kunde. Well of course not… that’s when I began to get a bit disenchanted, envenomed, by “the industry” as I called it, as so many called it and I hated it when they would. Like when people in academia, community college or some university call it “the profession” like it’s the only profession. When tasting at Kenwood with Betty I could only hear music in the wines I tasted, them begging me to keep writing about wine the way I do and to never stop— that THIS was my “calling”. More than a vocation, or avocation. More than passion. More than religion or a sweep of beliefs. I was me. It is me. I have to write ME.
11:18. Been a day so far but finally I can sit, go through the few pictures I was able to pocket and store earlier from a vineyard off Guerneville Road. Sometimes you need to take yourself out of the picture to understand it better. That’s where my head is, presently. Could have woke just before 5 this morning but didn’t. No dwelling, just staring. At my pictures… the one of the leaf, the one of that wheel or jagged pulley. Wish I could have stayed out there all day. Wish the whole day could have been out there then it wouldn’t have been as it was.
Can’t upload one of my photos, or any of them with the reception here on campus so I just write. Refusing to be pinned and penned in that shared adjunct office I come here to the conference room. Have thirty minutes to write, and I have no idea about what. Today has shown me a harsh side to days, principally. But I’ll write through it. Out of it. What if I gave the best lectures of my career over the next few hours? I could do that, right? I will. Just talking to them. Will be in Room in 27 minutes. Which means logically I have 17 to write. But write about what. I’m an adjunct instructor of English here in the conference room of the English department fulfilling no part of my contractual duties. Should be grading, but no. Why. Want to feel free. Free from the day. Just for a minute. I know… this isn’t very wine writer-y of me. Not sure I care or even want to talk about that dimension of my direction, if it’s a direction.
All this change in my pocket. Every time I move it jingles and annoys to infinite annoyance. Write on. Write past. Or better, write further into. Ignore the annoyances not, but rather take them head-on. Defy them. Challenge them.
I’ll slightly edit and post shots later. Right now I need a meditation. A separation. Not so much a release, but reason, reasoning. Getting distracted by life and bills, obligations, appointments, and all compounded by certain ingredients since the fires. Nothing I can do now, and why get annoyed with what you see on the drive up ‘SM’, then on Coffey? Just drive, keep going. Focus on the vineyards as you did this morning. Look through my old photos for something of focus. And I find something… leaf during fall transformation. Need a walk, now… well, you’re going to get one. Across campus. To class. My mood falls, tailspins, just want the day to walk vineyards in France, Spain, Portugal, anywhere but here— Not right what I’m feeling but it’s what I’m ping-ponging, tirelessly back and forth in my total totality.
Reminding self that all I need is what I have in front of me— watered-down cold press coffee, which is still working and this typing speed is evidence of. My fire, my untitled syllabic tidal wave over and from, through and past my own thoughts. Since yesterday at the Windsor coffee spot, I don’t want to write around others. At all. May type a bit in Maggini Hall once I get there. I can tell the day is infecting my decisions, actions, perceptions of what’s around me. Take more pictures… even this plastic cup has an artful value and voice, presence and code. Just took a picture.. not sure if it’s worth anything but— of course it is. It’s my moment, now, here, me in this restless rile and tussle with my own ideation.
Know I should leave now, but don’t want to. Want to take time for me, ME. Why not. This whole day has been attacking me and insisting I do this, that, not get to my pages or work on book, this writing father, part-time teacher and winery person, wanna-be photog’… but maybe I don’t have to wanna-wanna. No… why should I? Going to note in Composition Book what’s to be done in class.. first. Conversation, Creativity… solving everything.
Maybe this is a talk with self that I needed to have. Feels that way. Mom always said that would work, has been for years. Need some sparkling water to dilute this caffeine impact, even me a bit. Print role sheets… shit, should probably do that now. But I don’t want to stop. Want to go through more of these vineyard pics, visit and revisit them as tasting room guests say.
Many times I feel I’m writing about nothing but then I see I’m writing me and I estimate this author as a bit more than a ‘nothing’. Oui? Time to go, I know. But don’t want to. Here, all’s clear. No— go give the lecture of your life. Print role sheets first. Do it now, before you forget. You always forget to do that or mismanage your time to a point where you just fucking can’t. Yeah… this isn’t a wine blog. Well, maybe it could be, like … wine is life. Doesn’t everyone think and say and suggest that? Too m any people around me now. So leave… leave! I will.
Much later in the day, evening, I sip a glass of some Pinot, think from ’12, and look at more pictures. Photog’ is now me, coinciding with my written vivacity…. Another shot, another, one from today along G-ville Rd. Want to take pictures of everything, write about them. If a picture’s worth a thousand words, what are the thousand words worth, if compiled? A book. BOOKS. A career. Took three pictures of my glass, Pinot with its light red/magenta/floral brown sugar shade. Only thoughts and thought going through my veins and circuitry, a distilling of poise and dereliction, commingled in fruition fission. A book. A career. Then, I’m fearless. Tireless. Today’s lectures and my pen-to-paper pulses, cardiac and synaptic in voice.
A day. Now, ending. But I want it to keep going. More images. Lower level, emptier, me calm, in visually chameleonic Equilibrium. Pinot knocking on my inhibitions, then merely opening the door— no resistance. No more ruin, only rebuild, only color, greens and blues and bright cinnamon browns. I sit on the knoll, writing, corner of Coffey and Hopper.
Three thousand words today. No fail. And forever. Regardless of mood or what I have going on— obligations, whatever. Tired from event last night but sipping iced coffee and more than motivated to write today. Capture everything. Even being here in cubicle-ville, has me charged and fired up. Motivation? Yes, and no. This is just what I have to do as a writer.. as a writer of wine and literature, life and work, everything. Feeling freer than free after some revelations last night and this morning, educating self on what needs to be done to further far my life and “career” as a writer. But not now, no rambles.. focus on harvest.. the fruit in tank at the moment, and I believe all tanks are full. When I left last night, which was about, I believe, 8:20-something, I ran into Chris the assistant winemaker (after finishing my glass of the Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay, in the tasting room by myself, no music just quiet..) and they were doing one final pump-over. Just saw Dave the Cellar Master downstairs walking in, he on the forklift and me strolling in eager to write, sipping my iced, didn’t want to distract him so I said nothing, offered no greeting, then unexpectedly hearing “Good morning, Mike!” From behind that lift’s steering wheel. Made me smile, all the kindness from our production crew, hard as they’re working and as exhausted as I’m sure they are. Want to record some of their movements today, but don’t want to be in the way, of course. They always assure me I’m fine, that I’m not a nuisance and that I should record all I want, but I’m still reserved, cautious.
Freedom, today. Freedom to create. Freedom to react to the wines. Freedom to be me, the writer I always have wanted to be.. that I’ve always been. Can’t help but think of past jobs looking at the cubicles, but I don’t want to think about them. Quiet in here, and on crush pad. Don’t hear much happening, now. Maybe now’s the perfect time to go walk around. Well, then I wouldn’t be writing. At lunch, write as well. Take pictures in between pourings, in between guests. Surprised how much we sold, yesterday, and how much cash I was offered as gratuity. Putting all that toward the company. MY business. Have to check balances of accounts but I don’t have the urge or composition to do that either, right now. The winery’s alive and I need to record it— I’m a writer, working at a winery, wine everything… all around me. There’s no excuse not to be at, at least, two thousand words before you leave today. Done. A goal. A more-than-attainable goal.
First wine I’m tasting today…. Hmmm…. Thinking the Chardonnay I has last night, from Santa Rita. Loved its feel and bright sternness coupled with gentility and grace, amour and a movement toward all senses. She spoke, I listened. Can’t wait to again with her connect, in a matter of minutes. 08:59 now, can be down there at around 09:15… give self a little longer here to write, collect, go through pictures on the phone which a terrifically MUST do. More photography, and nothing too serious.. just visuals of what’s around me here at the winery… all the movements and characters, faces and words, the conversation and reactions, maelstroms of contemplation and deconstruction of what’s sipped. Crowds yesterday approaching me while I waited behind the bar and soon I was a bit overwhelmed but as well motivated and pushed to act and react to requests for shipment pickups, futures pickups, orders, single bottle requests… I was the consummate tasting room/writer-at-a-winery bloke. I wouldn’t stop moving. I couldn’t have. I didn’t want to.
Wine today, and every day. I don’t want to stop. Why would I? It’s wine. Arrant vivacity.
…sip again…. More herbal and green than the last sip, maybe even a little evidenced oxygen. Not so much attached to its character as I was with the first sip, and certainly not while tasting last night. Wine explains itself as it wants to, which is beautiful, but as a writer of wine I have to react honestly. With trenchant and poetic transparency. So, I’m tempted to pour the rest out. Should I? Or should I finish what I’ve started, the bottle… study the flaw and how the character has changed and what I as a writer of wine should do with a bottle that I don’t anymore delight in, am seduced by? Dilemma, I sip and hope something else is said but it’s clear the wine doesn’t want me analyzing it, and certainly not writing about its flaws. So I look around the room, not hearing that fly any longer, only the kids outside playing like angry chimps that somehow escaped their exhibit. The suggestions from what I sip change their shape without notice… now the cherry stage-takes more exemplary and demonstrative…