world, language, behavior pattern and way. I’m one with a little reluctance, but I’m using what I know how to do well, and from there amplify. Guess that’s my new tone and talk, ‘amplify’, and amplification. Think it’s safe to say I won’t learn how to code any time soon, nor design sights, install internet. I speak, I write, I guess I sometimes entertain, I speak (already said that, sorry), and story-tell. That’s what I do, what I know how to do. 13 minutes left in break and my eyes are still on that coffee drink. But I’d have to use my debit card. Don’t want to do that. Just make yourself another cup of coffee and let it cool off, I say to self. People play video games off to right, and again I take the energy here much more with a welcome write than how I felt at the winery in final days at Roth. And I hate to say that and keep mentioning that in these entries because I love wine, I love even the industry, or at least what I knew the industry to be before I was devoured by it. I swear, if I would’ve stayed…. I don’t want to think about it. Wouldn’t have been healthy, or beneficial to me, and certainly not the writing.
I’m eager to speak to this new hire, and see what the girl I’m working very closely with to a blessing’s believability, T, says. Questions, educating, me being educated while I’m more or less educating from the less than 12 full days of life here. I’m going to teach from what I know.. sales, speaking, not just relating to customers but listening, seeing what they need and providing a certain narrative and depiction of what Sonic is. Not sure why I call it “office new”, still. Habit, or just being a funny, quirky, language tussling and fiddling pen bloke. I don’t know.
Less than five minutes and I just made my coffee so I’m prep’d for the remaining hours in my day, here in tech’s step. I shouldn’t say that, I think. This office is much more than just a tech spot, place of business. I see Sonic as a consumer advocacy group as I said to T a few days ago and earlier today, I think. I’m learning how to do not just better business but more coherent business. More creative, more life, more education… I don’t know where to start sometimes when it comes to this new office. Sonic.. and me, the Lit and writing prof’, put into a new book and new storytelling assemble and vocal. Doing wha tI can in the breaths last, make them last, looking around the break room and feeding from everything from the video game sounds to the conversations right I listen to but don’t at all. New job, new words and walls, chairs and tables, coffee and doors. Everything a propellent, ascending action and atmosphere from one character to ‘nother. The observations and written reactions and reflections, MY business.
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.
The varietal that brought me into wine, that invited me into the collective compositions and narrative, luminous elucidation of it all. After tomorrow, I’ll only write about wine. Not be int he tasting room. Not have to look at schedules and calendars, first thing in morning when the coffee’s barely taken its place in my pulse. I’m sitting on the floor thinking about the past 12 years, in wine, the industry, the stories and people, everything. Merlot, from Dutcher Crossing, inarguably the winery that made me the sales and marketing and wine storytelling expanse I am. Or that I think I am. I’m nearly 40. It’s time to leave. And more demanded, time to enjoy wine as a true consumer, not one saying they’re the consummate consumer, which yes I have from time to time to generate sales, which makes me feel like a slimy industry gargoyle. But you do what you have to do.. to get that sale, oui? Integrity. I’m finding less and less of it, valley to valley, county to county. I’m a consumer, now. I write about wine. I’m finally a wine writer. Wow… I had to leave the business, or industry, the tasting room, whatever, to be what I’ve always wanted to… writer of wine.. translator of.
Haven’t taken my first sip yet. I’m just staring at that Dutcher puddle, fruit from Napa, Atals Peak somewhere. See it.. when I first arrived there, interviewing with two people now dearer than dear friends of mine. Time, whatever it wants it just takes, and that’s my time, my life, this Now, that Now, every breath and second in a tasting room. Now, I fight back. Tomorrow, my only plan is to thank everyone at Roth, at Foley, then start traveling. Now I enjoy wine as a writer, a traveling wine writer who looks for any vineyard and cottage, any hut or terrace he can. Why am I just being this, now? I’m a wine writer, ‘cause I left the industry. There’s more than forecasted knowledge in that. I’m learning of my control, the nature of my dominance in my story. Wine is part of it, but not everything. So now, I sip to sip. Imagine going to a tasting room and not identifying myself as ‘industry’. Look at stemless plastic glass, cup, again, and breath, lean my head and neck back into the couches cushion.
First sip of the entity, and I’m in a tasting room. I’m thinking of how I’d speak it, how I’d “describe it” if that’s what you want to say, to a guest. I can’t tell, anymore. I’m just into the wine. Staring at her shade and shape, sense and poetic form, radiant rile and speak from dimensions theorized. I’m lost, found, loving the delicious duality and dichotomy of not just this wine but my wine story, the past, since ’06…. No miss. Only a cherishing tryst. I think. Again, I’m lost in this, not sure if celebration’s the word, but something to the tune and tilt, tone of.
this morning, thinking I had to be at a meeting at 0830 only to learn I didn’t have to be there at all. Which serves as a boost and a boon, giving me time to write right across the street at the winery where I’m based. Retiring… my first taste of retirement, from the wine industry, its slow-moving and barely-communicative facets. No more tasting room, no more pouring for other people. I will miss the words, though. What people say about wine and how they say it, with that tone to their voice. Like I wrote a while ago, I’m closer to wine and even its industry by writing about it, and leaving physically.
Retiring… to focus on teaching and generating ideas with student, philosophy and pedagogy, writing practice and journal habits… and business, and fusing my literary life and presence into the business world. Writing and blogging and holding observations in esteem, as they build character, Personhood.
Yesterday leaving the winery early to write. That’s always my first impulse and inner-shove when I have free time. Write. Why then lately has writing given me such a shake, been such a challenge and near painful to catalyze? Have to write though it, I guess. As I always say to students and write in my entries.
Going through past entries, where I was stressed about something in the wine industry, or in life, or with teaching, with something. Find it interesting. How from day to day we’re all the same character but there’s some sharpened corner, refined angle, or damaged dimension somehow. I’m learning more, while aging. That’s certain. Even now, with no music on as I usually have, I only hear the building’s natural sounds. I think a little wind from the other side of the wall, outside by trees, and the winery’s tanks and, or, pumps on the crush pad doing something, dinging and whooshing, making some released air clunk-sound. I’ll share some of this with those registered for the classes I’m to teach this term, and some notes I’ll just leave here on the blog, or in a drawer, in the Burgundy journal. Only two days away, when I see students for the first time in months, having taken off the summer. Glad I did, as it taught me that I need a drastic momentum shift. Something New. A renewed ME, new story and pages, a BOOK.
No meeting, but I meet with myself. With this page. Just felt a chill, a bluster of terror that I couldn’t write anymore. That either I forgot or I’ve lost some intrigue or interest in and with the act itself, or something. But it’s not true. It’s not me, not the present… nothing of what you’d see in me right here typing in someone’s cubicle. Not sure if she works here, anymore. Work… what we live for. What I feel I only do. So why not have it be not just something you love or are passionate about, but plainly who you are. You’re a winemaker… you’re a writer… you’re a teacher… you’re a doctor. Yes, it’s your job, but it’s YOU. You own it, you own you… you own your onus. Have a meeting with yourself, see what transpires. Write it down.
Following my own instruction, I write it. “I. AM. A. WRITER.” Learning more about me and why I am where I am, what I’m doing. Letting the immediate scene and observational pattern teach me as to what next do.
A freeness of self, of moment, of this coffee and my typing each key that puts a letter on the screen. Wine has always been about freedom to me— What do I mean “been about”? I guess, entailing. Ordering. Being synonymous with. Seeing a formula take shape, being solved before my eyes and other senses, not like it’s meant to be decoded, necessarily. But answers I’ve been seeking for years are now plating themselves for me. Right here, in this sitting. Have you ever had that happen before? So many ask me, as I’ve written here I-don’t-know-how-many times, “What do you write?” Now, I’m quick to say ‘Wine’. But, education is my focus, and not education on wine. Wine is the metaphor, the symbol and solvent to everything in my career, which could be seen as education but wine is always present in its inference. If that makes sense. It doesn’t? Okay. I’m working on it.
Hundreds if not thousands of wine and vineyard pictures on the laptop. And for what. To capture where I was, to remember it and later use it either on blog or some other expressive effort. I was educated in that moment, even if I didn’t know what I was looking at in the vineyard. I knew I was alive, right there, and meant to be right there as I meant self to be right there, in that row, staring at that cluster. Right now writing in a café is wine. Where? In the growth from the moment, from this peace and meditation, the people around me and what they hope for, want in their stories. It’s all not just connect but dependent on the adjacent narrative and characters, ideas. So really I’m not taking a break but inventorying what I’m now seeing. And in that, freeness. I’m being educated, so I can’t say I AM educated.
See the sun going down behind me, my shadow on the wall, left. Want to fit in a vineyard walk, take another set of shots, but I have enough here in this computer and on my camera that I’ve failed to utilize. Not “failed”, just haven’t yet. This coffee shop, my moment tabernacle. I’m collecting, introspecting… see everything, and everything is wine. The barista in front of me, changing the garbage bag… wine. How? Growth. Work. Labor, strain, sense, understanding, duty, the movement of everything is poetic. Wine only sings the deepest and most convincing of verses.
Not sure if I’m opening up anything tonight, and I don’t need to. I have enough from wine for the day in terms of what’s around me. When my sister-in-law, someone I greatly respect and admire as a business person, told me years ago that I should start a wine blog, I didn’t know what to think other than I didn’t want to be someone who just “reviewed” wines and wrote some remedial descriptor cascade and thought of myself as some kind of expert. I in no way have ever wanted to be an expert with wine. I want to explore it, like with my own life, and try to have some definition associated, or at least some conceptual framework from which I operate, self-educate.
Sitting in kitchen, seeing how none of the winery’s wines provoke any kind of reaction after the Carliss Malbec. Barely sold a thing over phone, just a bit in TR… but you can’t hit it out of the park everyday, as Mom once told me. Much as I’d like to and as much sense as it makes on paper to just call people and tell them we have these amazing bottles at some special offering, you just can’t kill it everyday. Today’s additional lesson, I guess. Can only think of the Corliss Malbec. Do I open something else tonight? Or… keep with the Malbec. I don’t want wine to go to any kind of waste, and frankly I can’t afford such wasteful habits as other wine bloggers, writer, self-anointed “critics” or “experts”, or even my somm’ amis.
Hear someone in the tasting room. Not sure how many. Not in the mood to get up, peek out the winging kitchen door with the circular see-through. Wonder if production has any more coffee. Could use another shot. Probably cold, though. I’m fading…. This happens, yes even at a winery. There must be at least three people out there. Want to look but don’t want to. Have had just enough to eat, so I’m not slowing from anything other than slight boredom, and if not boredom then activity… have to get creative, converse with self— what now. What now, indeed… talk.. words, wine descriptions and personifications. Poured the two Merlots, one-to-one, and every elects a different winner, if you will. Couple that just came in said the ’14 was easily the most interesting while the other coulee was split, and I stood with my ’13.
Want to taste some whites, now. We have a Pinot Gris and Chard open. Hmmm…..
Peeked head out. One guy. Think a member here or at a sister property, talking about the fires. I couldn’t listen, hurried back to my chair, right here in front of the island, silver counter in this odd and not in any way organized or thought-out kitchen. Need some Chard…. At a winery, you taste wine. Don’t really drink it, unless you day is barbarically putrid either from sales or customers or both, or you’re just not into it. But you work through it. I, am working through it. Writing about the wines and everyone that comes in here to taste, so eager to share their opinions and disagree with me on the Merlot issue. Most of them, I assure self in head, don’t know what they’re talking about. Or, they do— Of course they do. They know what they like, they what tastes better to them so who am I to think I’m.. anybody. Either way, some with the all-too-eager vocality and impatience to just slap me with direct disagreement unnerves me. But I deal with it. After all, I’m a “wine professional”. Whatever that is.
Only minutes left. Okay… Chardonnay… inspire me. Make the day more… more…….. something. I need story, stories. I don’t want to talk about the fucking fires. I’m a winery, so are you.. how ‘bout we talk about wine.
All unpacked. This is exciting and odd, excitingly odd with concurrent flashes of education. I sip what’s left of the Calluna blend and continue with the day, here quiet to me— and I think to myself, “Well, you’ve always wanted to write in a hotel room, on a trip, well here you go.” Laughing to myself and needing music in this odd, unfamiliar room. Falling behind on book progress but the decline in pace isn’t terminal like last year’s attempt at a book. This is so many letters. To me and to students and to everyone and everything around me, that I accept it all and don’t resist a thing.
The wine tells me to put on some Hutcherson, or Coltrane, to relax and not think about a thing…. This is not for you, but for your kids, for your students. You work for them, just know. Getting a little hungry and wonder when the bar downstairs opens. I remember they said 17:00 (they just said “five o’clock”, but that’s how I in head noted). Irrelevant, incongruous, my overthought. So I persist pervasively in this strange room. If I were on an overnight, here, or say I’m somewhere like New York or Miami, Texas or Portland, what would I be speaking on, tomorrow? Well, writing I guess. And how what you write is more of a statement than what’s on the page. It’s more than a statement of and on you, your like. You’re tossing a significant thought stone into the collective brook. It will ripple. You should be mindful of the ebb and ricochet of your offerings. Writing, reading others’ writings as well, has alway presented a bewildering intensity of intimacy to me. So I always offer to students, “Don’t think, just write.” I admit. But know yourself before you start typing, or start penning.
Finally, with some Coltrane. “Equinox”. I’m on the Road, literally. Or I was, on the way back here after retrieving some particulars from the Autumn Walk Studio. But I’m not going to overwhelm you nor I with why I’m here in the room. I’m activating my son’s mentality, of this being an adventure… being excited to be here. I’m here because of a disaster and that hour I now re-mold into a manuscript, this month’s/year’s novel. A letter to me, you, the students, and everyone around me… the tidal wave of perception doesn’t halt and neither will the writer. The Calluna deceives me in its gentle landing and traffic. The prospective pathos forwarding me in a tiered and tireless rhythm of Me. This new writer, this new student, and I guess Educator. What I’m learning from this, more than perspective, more than managing my attitude, mood, but opening my eyes…. Looking. Understanding the scenic ingredient and calculating my composition. You want to write? Yes, just start. But, know why you want to write. I was recently told, “The ‘why’ doesn’t matter. The ‘what’ does.” This remark had to deal with winery inventory, so the speaker was actually I guess correct. But in the literary world, my world, my educating efforts, in the lectures and letters I’m about to offer the planet, the WHY is the functionality, what breathes, what circulates blood in the idea. The what proves ancillary.
Tonight, while writing, or reading, take notice of where you do so. “Location as character.” As I used to offer in class, more often. Where I am.. this hotel room. This hotel. Never been here before. Never seen this building from the outside before, I don’t think, let alone its guts, or this room. My view… a pool, a hot tub, parking lot, casino across the street. Love the room you’re in, even if it’s a dentist office, or cubicle, or waiting room, if you’re waiting for your car to be serviced. This hotel room is like a place of worship for the writer…. Regret missing class today, and very much wish the day didn’t dictate as it did with it integral complicit contingencies and volume of steps in my house, people I didn’t know. But it was there. THEY, were there. Didn’t want Alice alone. So I stayed, called both sections, and am here now in a hotel with the sun running away and this seat, this jazz, this wine, and quiet. No air cleaners, or people ripping tape off anything, people talking to each other about something I have no fucking clue what— Relax. This is the day, and the day is done and this quarter is my Now, mon espace.
Can’t believe I’m here. Singular word for me, now, in this Now…. ‘Everything’. I’m taking everything. Everything used for the story— Was just interrupted by a business call, someone tapping me for creative input for his friends’ label. I’m flattered and inspired by the call, but as well a bit irked I was taken from my sitting. Mr. Coltrane speaking to me through randomized note tangential. Know the bar’s open downstairs, but I don’t want to hear any voices, not even my own. No noise, just this room, this room, MY room. Or at least at the moment. The room tells me to stop writing, enjoy the view. Then I respond, “The view is of bloody Rohnert Park.” It says nothing back. Which means the writer/teacher/displaced daddy has to cull his next command.
Not really unpacked. All the bags are here and I haven’t touched them since I put them all here, there, on the bed and floor and the room me makes anxious when I look up. Empty glass, full thoughts, new notes, and this table makes a funny sound when I type now, without any justification since I plugged in laptop to wall outlet. New Room, hotel… want to go for a walk, observe and capture all that I can. Could go to bar and write what I hear people say. Not have anything to drink, but merely sit, scope, scribble. What’s left in the session, time-wise? Not sure. The pool behind me glows, that cinematic blue-green-white. I have no idea what to make of it but I’d love to jump in, swim while it rains or drizzles. Walking away and jumping into the pool could be MY statement, in this writing.
22:17… home and tired from event. Running tomorrow morning, somehow. Not opening that bottle of Pinot I brought home. Just this note, then bed. My mood, a non-mood. Hear the neighborhood’s kids outside playing and I go upstairs and am so proud of our babies early in bed. Not saying they’re better or anything like that, just glad they’re upstairs. That’s all. The Bocce even taught me a lot today— about all… me in the wine world, wine, people drinking wine, wine club member retention and education, hospitality, events… not sure how to inventory and categorize it adequately as I’m kilometers beyond exhausted. After this note, which will be in a few words, I’m set to relax… just watch a show, no guilt, then go to bed. Running in morning. Should charge watch— I mean, Garmin…
Charging. Now with night’s cap, and reviewing day. But I’m too tired. I want to be lazy. I deserve to be lazy, at least for a couple minutes. Tomorrow morning, if I fail to run, I fail in other realities and ambitions. So it has to happen.
Business on the mind, hard to shut off. Travel… others doing it, and I waiting for chances. That’s my problem, an obtuse error. So, reshape, rekindle and revamp—
Felling comfortable in home, this Autumn Walk Studio, and no longer lethargic.