Espresso in the shade

at Lancaster. First time working here in over 5 years.  My aim today is to dominate everything I do.  Have a literary lunch that will change my life— wow this espresso’s strong, made by one of the winemakers.  Ready for day…hear woodpecker behind me blended with traffic sounds from Chalkhill Road.  This winery, probably more than the others, changed how I saw myself in the wine world and its industry,  

Cool in shade, little breeze.  Hear puppy on crush pad barking.  He barked at me as I went around back to get into building and see if the TR mgr was here.  She’s not.  I’m early as always.  Sipping espresso in the shade.  Wanted to scribble in new notebook but left pen in car.  No interest in getting.  I shouldn’t be writing right now, I realize.  But enjoying where I am.  Looking around, breathing the air.  Breathing the same air the birds are.. me, with them, one with them on this one property.  Used to call this “AV Winery” in past writings.  Now I want the name known.  Where I am, what I’m doing, what I have to thank for where I am.  Me now– that lion in the crest.

‘Nother sip.  My god that is strong.  Want a machine like that in my eventual-office.  This side area is perfect for my lit lunch.  Shade, trees, umbrellas and the sounds of cars looking for their next winery.  Maybe this one.  Here in AV.  Leaning back into wooden chair with left leg at 90’ angle over right knee.. meditation, collection before day.  Today.  MY day.  New day in this wined story.  Who knows where it will go after today…  Man, I can’t believe I’m actually here.  Back.  Full-circle, or something.  This is always the part in the story where something shifting happens.  Where the character is furthered somehow.  So how?  What happens next?  Guess I’ll have to wait and see, right?  I hate waiting.

Well here I am, 4AM.

Back to work, back to surprise myself.  But more than anything, defeat you.  Quiet as I ever heard the house– No, quieter.  One idea that pushed me away from the pillows, causing me to rise and turn off the alarm, and again not go back to the fluffy temptresses and under the blanket which is now merely over my lap– regret.  I’m tired of going a whole day cursing myself for not waking up, having to wait and work through the entire day just to hopefully again try the day next.  But I’m up.  Now I’m up.  4:06 and with words in front of me.  Time for me.  And this quiet, auditory opiate I could use and use excessively over and over.  Still thinking about the races yesterday.  I wrote the metaphor is obvious and maybe it isn’t.  Maybe I need to think about it a bit more, more and more–  So, speed.  Singularity.  One track.  When the race is done, onto the other.  Consider the atmospheric conditions of the track.  Vary speed…  I’ll think about those cars and sounds, my writing intersection throughout the day.  And speaking of this day and what I have to do, and not regretting, that kind of thing…  Running.  I have to get in a run before heading to the winery.  Only 45 minutes.  All the time I’m allowing myself like the racers only have a set time to finish their laps, till they see that checkered cloth.
Now in family room, or living room, the never-knew-what-to-call-this-room room. 4AM. Finally, I am here in this quiet and dark, and on this couch Alice’s grandmother gifted us. Alice is right, not as comfortable. But I’m glad it’s not. 4AM might have a chance of getting me back in bed. Huh… Comedy there, somewhere. So much I want from day. Story and three pages and just surprising the shit out of myself with what I can do. My thoughts are everywhere as I’m still waking up or adjusting to this adrenalin level. Fridge making some odd sound, and I’m so tempted to take a sip of coffee from tumbler— made self two cups last night just in case I actually DID wake. And I did, have, so why not sip? Don’t know, part this writer still wants to get in a little sleep before run, work. But that’s what I’ve always done. Why not not have now be when the day starts. Who else can say they’re doing this, have done this today? Would be willing to bet, no one I work with. And good for them. As pleased as I am that I finally woke for a 4AM sitting, the mess of mind it comes with is a lot to manage at such early hour. But this is the only time the writing father has to collect himself as he wants.
Afraid to lift my head from the screen. Afraid to stop even for the most abbreviated of breaths. Just relax, I tell myself. Enjoy your words and the sight that comes with it. Well, with words, my choice there in is funny as when I lift my eyes to look around room I can’t see a thing. This darkness I feel’s a reward for finally waking at the war hour for this writer. Can’t remember the quote a student shared with me, but it was something like ‘2AM is for the writers…’ Something like that. Shit. Now I want to look it up. But I won’t let myself. My time is 4AM. And we rarely meet. But we have this morning. What does this say about me? That I want something, something more than regular pattern and comfortable occupational orthodoxy. I want to go fast, faster than fast with my paginated aims, travel, “teachings” if you could call them that— Not sure why I always qualify myself like that with teaching. I do teach, just my methods and style is a bit more Human and approachable when actualized in the classroom. I tell my “students” that THEY are their best teachers. I offer ideas but it’s their onus to interpret and translate, process, the ideas.
4AM teaches me this morning to move quicker. Don’t measure so fucking much. Writer friend sent me a message with an attachment to an article about a woman who published a novel that sold 12,000-something copies and she can’t pay a single fucking bill. This enrages me, how publishers treat the ones plating their manuscripts. Seriously, I was disgusted. One the most powerful and convincing such pieces I’ve read about traditional pub. Just the reason I post my pages to a blog, aim to print myself— sovereignty, depending on nothing but my own checkbook and life to get my life where I need it, both as a writer and father, but as well a runner, teacher, thinker, person crazy enough to wake at 4AM to write.
This is a bit maniacal, I understand. But if I regretted not doing it as I have in the past, with those other mornings where I actually set the alarm and ACTUALLY woke, but only woke to turn off the alarm and hated myself the whole day… No. No more. I’m up to work. My day’s started. Love this time. And yes, parents appreciate this more that others. With both babies upstairs quite dormant, spouse resting. This time is all mine. Feel I should celebrate with a sip of something, so yes, COFFEE. But why am I scared? Think ‘cause I know once I sip there’s no going back to that soft stack and that wrapping stretch of cotton. What would you do, reader? Was once told this was a fool’s errand. Think he was right. But, being smart or mature, or anything expected is not my aim at 4 in the morrow’s pulse. So… I’m getting that tumbler, taking a wicked set of sips. Like the races, right Mikey? Well, quicker then! QUICKER.

In a Tumbler

Finally, I can freely write.  Be the kind of writer I need be, right now.  Still with a good surplus of coffee before English 1A.  Just walked outside to make a call, now back in the adjunct cell.  Saw two full-timers in break room, eating whatever they brought to campus to eat, and now me here in this cell, thinking of plans— no, not plans, but action.  Immediate material action.  Can’t wait to get home and have some of the pasta Alice made last night.  I can finally eat and I’ve never been happier.  Fucking food poisoning.  Still can’t believe I survived yesterday.  I was sure when I landed on Dutcher’s campus, and I mean sure, that I was headed home early.  But, somehow, I survived.  And I very much credit that early conversation I had with those two Baltimore guys.

The coffee’s working, no doubt, in gymnastic jaunts.  But now I’m restless.  Need a walk.  Across campus maybe to the car, drop off some of the nonsense in my backpack then come back here.  All I can think about is that pasta.. the red sauces, its depth and color and texture… the meatballs.  Should I finish the Zin I opened the other night, or should I open something else— OH SHIT, forgot to post my reaction to that Zin on the blog.  No worries.. will do tonight.  What other wine would I get?  Or should I open one of the remaining Lancasters?  Should conserve cash, but I have a shitload of cash in backpack.  Tips from weekend, from private tastings and bar interactions.  Fucking money, always the issue, with everything.  New biz plans aim to remedy such, but still it remains on the writer’s mind and is a dote in every decision, literally EVERY one.

Hunger knots my attitude, thoughts.. do I get a snack or wait?  Afraid if I wait for the pasta I’ll be with another core ache, not like the food poisoning angle of the night other but similar and equally as fervent in its ambition to pain me.  What would I get for a snack, thought?  (All adjuncts think this at one point in their career, full-timers too but it’s not the same…)  The famine compromises my freedom, the freedom I now feel—  I’m no longer liberated, now it’s the opposite, instead of having no appetite I have now too much of one.  Just want to be home with my babies and wife with that goddamn pasta!  Just messaged Alice:  “Can’t wait for your pasta!!!!!!!!  SO.  HUNGRY.  GOING.  TO.  DIE.” Hoping to get a laugh from her, in my comedic seriousness.  Seriousness garnished with tongue-and-cheek whimsy.

Now it’s oddly quiet in the halls, throughout this building.  Heard a door close but no accompanying commentary, like how the full-timers laugh so loud like they own this building and how they share with other how idiotic their students are rather than discuss success stories and shared remedies.  You know, something to do with actual teaching.  (What a fucking idea.)  Think the food poisoning forward new sight into my bravado, my character.  Situated in this adjunct cell, with lively cells about my circuitry and total anatomy.  But I’m hungry.  GOD. DAMN. IT.  I’m hardly free, but enslaved to my ravenous rumbles.  But, this is new, this sensation and seated liberation.  Everyone should get food poisoning, I’m thinking.  Yes… work a full day while at the equator of its symptoms.  Quiet in halls maintains itself, targets my peace as well.  Free?  Hardly.  Lean on coffee.  So very me, ai-je raison?  Now, uh…..

Fall 2016, Day 3

Nice first meeting with 100 section.  Now I sip coffee after posting to blog I set up for students, thinking how I can intensify creatively the momentum for this semester.  Have a plan for 1A, but I’m not too jazzed about it.  What do I do.  How many teachers, especially adjuncts, ask themselves this, or have such a dilemma?  How to make it more exciting for the students and myself as well, and with graduation on the line for me, maybe some of them…  I’m left thinking about all my approaches, and that binder I want to keep for this semester, having everything in one spot, an idea I wanted to share with the students but not till I truly and visibly practice what I’m promoting.

3:48PM?  Huh, doesn’t feel so, at all.  The coffee helps, but now I’m starving.  They didn’t have blueberry muffins in the little café by the that other, larger cafeteria-like area.  Music playing, people in the hallway (whole reason I put tunes on, to angrily drown them… out… but their volume is incessant and boastful, all of them laughing with each other, in their tenured never-having-to-worry-about-classes octave, nice), still talking, but I imagine my travel next year, where I’ll go and what I’ll speak on.  Honestly, after this afternoon’s catalyzing talk on Plath, I think I want to write more on how that book is yay-saying rather than nay, that it’s read wrong over 80% of the time.  The meeting with English 100 taught me something, or at least emphasized something to me.  That I’m a teacher as well as a writer, that I will share ideas, or what people call “teach”, IN what I write.  Like now, again I’m taught and share the idea to grip every moment and mold it to what you want.

This morning, started day with a run.  How I wanted to start the week, the note or chord, musical feel I wanted lamented immediately in wee hours.  Set out for 13.1, but stopped at 11.5.  Pains in both ankles, well as knee right.  Either way though, I ran.  I pulled the trigger on this week’s gun with a beautiful run into Howarth Park then into Annadel’s thickly dark woods.  The run teaching me that I can have whatever I want from today, this week, this semester, next year when I’m traveling.  There’s a certain picture of me and I WILL have it.  I will continue “generating new ideas” as I heartily suggested to the 100 section.  Explosive run, then enriching lecture.  I sit in this shared office more than ready, in fact impatient, for the 1A meeting.  3:58PM now.  1 hour, 2 minutes to go.  This morning’s run and my pace, which wasn’t that impressive honestly, extends to now.  To the notes I’m about to scribble in the Composition Book, then to when I share them with English 1A.  Okay…  Now I’m jazzed.  I’m electric-jazzed, spastically jazz.  I’m all jazz.  Now go get that binder, from the mailroom, where they keep the supplies.  Is that only for full-timers, or can we adjuncted wees help ourselves?  Topic for another time, yes.

(8/29/16)

Framing All

Lunchtime freewrite.  Already walked the vineyard once and am now in my office where I usually am during week.  Quiet collection.  No noise.  Just a gathering of thoughts and I’ve reasoned that I won’t write after dropping off babies tomorrow.  Rather, just launch from their school.  Planning on 10+ miles, into the park and forest as I used to.  May even attempt a trail.  Don’t think I’ll get lost but if I do then I find my way out.  No big.  Had idea this morning of fiercely pursuing this idea of wine country running and fitness lifestyle.  Not sure how the business would shape, and how it would be different from #25fitwrit (which I still need to write specs on), but it would be its own entity, one with which I would lecture and speak on.  Mostly running, but cycling as well.  Have to buy a bike, first, find time to cycle, but when do I have time for that, this writing papa.  Who knows.  That’s what it always boils to, time.

No clouds today lingering like yester’ only a vocal sky and vines that want me to again walk them.  Again.  But I need to write.  Didn’t run this morning for 45 minutes as my wife and I conspired but I’m writing at least.  AND, I got in those pushups, some physical activity.  Should be eating lunch now but I assume the form and stubbornness of a disciplined writer, only wanting to tell my story of aiming for total Wellness and FREEDOM, owning my own business and eventually my own winery like Debra.  Thinking and taking notes in head, though after this “lunch” I’ll be with my Carpe journal, noting in between pours, notes on the wines and what I see out that glass door.  Oh this quiet, my newest of newly renewing and richly enriching opiates.  The views, pulling me and my declarative sentences toward me and toward them, all parts of Dry Creek, repeated as if some otherworldly strings connect with me, being puppeteered willingly.  I’m free in this writing, just know, and I’m not concerned with centrality, or any consistency, I just look out that window, stare at the Bella hill, those vines.  You know what, I will walk them, one more time before returning to TR.  Time passes me… have to ready for weeks lecture.  Also this morning thought, along with all my other business thoughts, that these two SRJC classes are their own business.  100 and 1A, Composition and a Creative approach to both, exchanging ideas, embracing wild creativity and having voice always return to freedom, the poetic, the liberating lawlessness of candid and unfettered expression.  This place, the vineyards, Dutcher Crossing and its encouraging story do this to me.  I knew today would be different, and I was more than with reason and accurate sensibility.

My inner seismology if more than yay-saying, it’s confirmed.  And, this wine life is not just defining me, it DETERMINES my stories direction.  It will take me to the Road, to my novels, my characters, speaking on the words entailed in the planted visuals.  All there, all here on this page, and in everything written by Mike Madigan.  Yes, needing another walk, more capture, more of my own code, more narration from I see and don’t.  Gripped, and I haven’t even sipped.

(8/28/16)

Ainsi, le Vin

Reminded today that wine is about life— a tidal wave of vivacity and expression, music, love, and communication.  Lunch with Paul M., sandwich I’d never before had at Dry Creek paired with that Pinot Blanc from Michele-Schlumberger, and the interaction that transpired, following more reflection in head that precipitated on ride to the delicatessen.  My vision was full, as it is now, love and life in this log, this essay of a writing father trying to fit everything in— sitting on floor or living room while wife and babies upstairs sleep, me with this gifted Pinot from PM— huh, just realized, ‘PM’, time of day I’m most essayist, and most internally narrative.  Haven’t seen my friend in over five years, we agreed, when I once saw him out on a town night in Napa of all places— and I say ‘of all places’ postured to me, as I’m never there, PM’s home enclave.  Nothing abbozzo in my life, currently.  All I sketch or paragraph I need release, not just from the interstellar adoration of wine and sentences, but from the commitment, my immovable sight in the atmosphere around me— from when I walk the vineyard on other lunch breaks to when the writer’s seated on the wood floor of his Autumnal Walking base, sipping a Papapietro Perry Pinot, listening to music at the end of an other wise carousel humdrum day.

Also reinforced with the 16th of août, my afflicting affection of so many things in being alive.  All around me.  As stated with those walks in the Chardonnay and Cab, and Rhône blocks, at Dutcher, wine directs me to certain certainties that are difficult to delineate give the qualification I’ve imbibed this eve.  Love and living in this page, and all from where the writer lives, what he sips, the music listened— some mix tape from Thievery Corp’, if I’m not so off.  Quiet down here for the writing father— another sip.  This write is free, I’m free, and that’s my right as writer.  Consider this a direct and staunchly tied reverberation from the conversation with my brother Paul.  Sipping the Pinot again and as I tilt back and the light from this laptop extends to the bottom hemisphere of the Govino glass and into my eyes, hearing this obscure track, I think I’m on the Road, traveling, somewhere, writing about wine and all the yay-saying tellings of its voice and cultured angularity.  “This doesn’t have to be a ‘dream’.” Wine says.  And I agree.  Wine with its love shoves me to a savory reality— romantic Hemingwayan notions and Plath pulses, my Feast so Moveable and my Bell Jar fuller than full.

And it’s again reiterated my the components of my moments that this is the mode I’ve chosen.  Writer in and of wine.  So.. recite more.  Keying my notes for the next noted key in my fermented free.  If I would have had more time at lunch, who knows what we would have webbed.  But that’s a wish.  Wine’s at my right, or left, or right, to actualize.  No need to act in a guise.

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(8/16/16)