Never Done

img_1338Need another sip of this Dutcher Crossing Chard.. the Stuhlmuller.  No, a full glass.  Then relax.  Can write all morning, tomorrow, with wife and babies gone.  Coffee… already thinking about my coffee. MY travels… videos of the vineyards and people writing with me in them.. who wants to write with me in the vineyards?  Just a pen, Composition Book or Legal Pad, or whatever.. just writing in the vineyard.  Shit.. would do that tomorrow but it’s supposed to rain all bloody day— are you kidding me?  Now I really need another glass of wine.

Have second glass, and I’m without a thing to say.  Could be the hour, could be that espresso shot wearing off… who knows.  Tired of using ellipses between sentences.  Feel’s thought it’s a cop-out.  OR just fucking lazy.  The wine makes more boldness teach itself to be bold.  A postmodern ardor that’s truly unstoppable, like Plath poetry and all related.  This writer suddenly feels inner-yodels to be more confident and instructional in his writing.  Wish I could pull an all-nighter as I did in college.  Watch the sun come up and know I did something extraordinary, that few people on the planet have ever, EVER, done.

This Chardonnay, a planet to every palate, disclosing complexities and varying languages as it lands and runs away, returns with the sip next to orate its varied and contained thesis.  I’m motivated by what I sip as I am hardly ever by a Chardonnay.  I do feel the effects of what I’ve sipped but I’m still on this floor, after over 1,000 words written prior and still in my syllabic stampede.  This second glass will most plausibly be my last.  Looking left, see son’s shoes… oh shit, I’m a daddy… this writing has to sell.  How can I relax?  I have to work.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll write a fucking book.  I have to.  Bills, bills…. Kids, kids… shit, there go the ellipses, again.  Who on this planet thinks, let alone writes, like this?  I’ve mad gone— gone.  Another planet, on…

3/18/17, journal —

Then one day you wake up and you’re 11 days, two months from 38.  You have writing to do, you can’t keep perpetuating any kind of pattern.  Everything has to be done differently.  You map out a map, some plan for doing what you need to do, and you know… if you don’t follow this, you’ll go nowhere.  NOWHERE.  An option not.  So you type, you tell your story, every detail, even the ones that hurt like the details surrounding when you got sick in high school, the ex-girlfriend, all the nights you went out with an old friend when you should have stayed in and wrote.  Everything.  The story… the story…. Your story.

Just thoughts I had ringing in my ears and sight and conception as I woke up and while the coffee machine was making that horribly encouraging sound and song as it finished the cup—that forced airy rumble and growl.  This kitchen, the island counter, littered with parental evidence.  Tranquility in the house at moment current but that will be anything but, this evening.  And I can’t wait, frankly, have the babies home from their grandparents’ house, here with me and their mama at bath time.  And their daddy’s about to be 38.  How did that happen?  I can’t dwell on hypotheticals, potentials, and a tirade re-evaluation of the past.

Still quite taxed from yesterday’s 6.3 miles along Dry Creek Road and around the Dutcher property.  Need to get back in shape, I know.  But when does the writer have time?  Not an excuse.  Make time.. sleep less, get up earlier, write first thing.  And if you run first early in the A.M., as I always want to do but never do, then sit for ten minutes and take notes.  Just move the pen.—  Find that I’m teaching myself now how to write again, or something.  Do everything different, today.  Everything.  See yourself on a plane, traveling to a reading, a “lecture”, traveling somewhere to meet with publishers and discuss book options and tour dates.  I haven’t been dreaming enough, lately.  I haven’t.  And that’s gruesomely unacceptable.

I sip wine, I write about it— each sip should be at least 100 words, ideally 250.  Wine is everything in my life a the moment, in terms of how I make income finds its slithery and slippery way to my account.  And writing… teaching…  Why would I ever consider applying for some office job in a fucking real estate office… or selling software?  Mom once said, “Make what you have work.” Translating or analyzing her dialogue line like a professor, or professional reader, I see it meaning that I don’t have to only do what I’m doing, in terms of job quantity and location, but the elemental composition and worlds is where I should hold.  In other words, ‘Don’t move from education and wine!’ Approach those two solitaries creatively, and everything you want will find YOU.  In a way, 38 can’t get here quick enough…. I’m ready.  Not for a new story but a revision of the manuscript I’ve already composed.  (07:18)

Palooza Call

img_1088Had a beer here in the loft.  Only one.  Then… some food.  Thinking one of Jeff’s crazy inventive salads.  Today, Friday, so I’m quite confident I deserve it.  This will always be my favorite spot, my favorite writing spot, yes, but MY spot.  Palooza… and forget about it being a “writing spot”.  It’s my centricity for meditation.  This loft, and yes the writing has a lot to do with it, but now for example— the reggae playing, no one up here with me… just a place to inventory.

Ordered the Farmhouse Salad, no blue cheese anything for me, sub in thousand island, and smoked chicken.  This spot is tangibly positive, immeasurably inspired and inspiring, about expanding and changing stories with beneficially bolstering momentums.  This loft is an escape for me, something elevating and reassuring, that you can have whatever you want from life.  It’s as simple and direct as ordering something from a menu.  Palooza, which infers endless party, is the bridge of fantasy and reality, a certain postmodern unionization of ideal and real for this writer.  Creative corner in this loft…. As Jeff reinvented himself, I self-actuate, the like enact.  This place, my place, where I used to escape on lunches when I worked at a nearby winery, miserable in a tasting room, I’d come here to re-assemble self and my spiritual and creatively sensible fortitude.

And this all started from a hot dog cart.  Now, my friends have a restaurant going on their third year of operation, serving everything from hot dogs to artisanal burgers, pastas and steaks, to a salad so unique that you’ll be photographing it longer than lifting it to palate.  This’ll be only one of many ode notes to my place, to this loft, to this long table by the pool table and empty beer kegs.  This is not a ‘once’, this is a life, a scribe sage, a stratospheric stack of Composition Books.  I’ll keep my life, my party, here, going, actuated and animated.

Woke in somewhat of a mood, but

that’s just me being stressed out me.  Started writing a poem in class, while students were in groups.  Hopefully will remember to finish it later.  Not in much a mood to go to img_1052Healdsburg but I’m going to force myself to work harder.  Will need coffee.  Much more coffee.  Well maybe not “much more”, but certainly more.  Was reading an article today that instructed on success in sales.  Was somewhat template and trite, but nonetheless valuable, and I guess encouraging.  One of the pillars, if I can call them that, was attitude, or general disposition.  And I thought of what that insurance agent told me years ago in San Leandro—  “Your biggest problem is your attitude.” Seems that it still is, sometimes.

Going to pack and leave after this sitting… giving self 8 more minutes.   I know what’s held for rest of day… sell wine for client, finish that poem…. gotta move— not feeling this conference room, and hearing the other instructors, the full-timers which could never understand this adjunct’s angst, start to annoy me.  Need to move, need to stop writing for a bit, return to this later— break patterns and find newness… be confrontational with the day, demand goals materialize, be more poetic, settle for NOTHING—

9:06PM.  Home, done with dinner, babies and wife asleep.  Me with Chardonnay, brainstorming move next with wine.  What if I turned into—  No.  Don’t give away the idea.  But I have to write it down.  Shit… where the fuck is my pen?  ‘A’ pen, for whatever’s sake?  No, don’t write it down.  If it’s meant to stick, it will.  The Chardonnay I’m sipping has me thinking of a trip, a trip to the East Coast where I’m by the water, back in my hotel room after a meeting, and winding down.  I call my wife and babies, talking to their visuals through my phone, already eager to be back home.  But I have work to do.  Wine brought me out here and I have to follow through with the story.—  Tonight’s a night of reinvention, the entire day, especially when I was thinking about where I am, about to turn 38—  I sat in my car eating some shitty lunch in Healdsburg, in a quiet spot behind the Safeway on Vine St, with a view of 101.  I could see the cars speed north and south, and wondered what each would think of my thoughts on wine, about me as a brand, my thoughts on wine and literature, how wine is entirely literary, that kind of thing—  AND, how my son will see me when he’s my age.  Need another glass.

I have another glass.  My evening’s last.  Want to get up early and work out here, home, strengthen core, lift weights, meditate.  This Chardonnay reminds me I’ve changed.  I mean, I used to tell people I wasn’t just one of those ‘ABC’ people, but I downright hated Chard.  And some would say, “Well, what about your sister’s?  Didn’t she build her career on Chardonnay?” I’d dodge the question whenever that happened. I’m different now.  I don’t know about more mature, or more open-minded, or what, but I’ve changed as a wine drinker.  And Chardonnay is one of the voices I look for on restaurant menus, on store shelves… everywhere, and for whatever justification I see ought.  Yes, there are still some interpretations of Chardonnay that perpetuate that stereotype and type I’d rather not drink, ever.  But right now I’m in a positive spot, sipping this Monterey version from ’15.  Not going to launch into descriptors ‘cause that’s just getting to be some exhaustive overplayed bullshit.  I’m enjoying my evening, out of any mood that started this morning.

Need my pen.  I’m going to forget that idea.  Not before another sip.  Ah, I love THIS attitude, this altitude.

(3/7/17)

Before Bottling

photo-on-3-3-17-at-9-00-amSpending the day appreciating the day.  Not enough gas to make it to winery so I’ll have to leave this Yulupa coffee spot early.  Think I have around 45 or 43 minutes to write.  Wine industry telling me not to move too quick, but I have to, stresses of money and life but then the day, visions of the vineyard I filmed while driving to downtown Healdsburg yesterday just after 4pm, everything in every vineyard tells me to re-plant.  Re-write.  So I’m here in the old neighborhood Starbucks re-writing 37 years.  Break pattern.  I keep talking about 4am as my wakeup time, how I’m going to do it, I’m going to do it.  Well, now I need to.  This morning I was pulled from sleep by something at around that time, but let myself fall back into dreams, odd dreams of SRJC and me on campus, waking with my mouth open and hearing myself mumble something.  Today’s already taught me, and reassured me, that everything I need to get ‘there’ is already here.  The sentence from Mom, again and again echoing while waiting for the mocha—  “Make what you have work.” As always, Mama’s sagacity proves itself more than apt, more than applicable, and more than just ‘relevant’.

Kids dropped off, now time to get REALLY crEATive.  Always tell my students at the JC that “creativity solves everything.” Period.  And that period’s intentionally part of the quote, not because some might see it as mechanically correct, but the emphasis and declarative feel’s necessitated.  Need to actuate what I advocate.  39 minutes and 38 seconds left in my sitting.  People around me, but I always observe that, them.  These other characters I don’t have time to get to know.  I’m getting whatever I even think I want from today.  Selling wine, building business, teaching—  Teaching myself to keep the mood aloft, to keep selling, and that selling is not selling.  Especially with wine.  Appreciating this day.  I get another day to build, to re-write, to keep writing and exploring everything around me.  But how do I break the consistencies?  What do I do different?  Have one idea, but not going to write it here, on this page, or screen in blog.

MLK said that stars are only visible in darkness.  True.  And I’m seeing everything… all the possibilities.  I do more than merely dwell in them, but thrive in them.  You should as well, reader.  Defy your mood if it’s ever low.  Just say, “NOT.” Period.  Be firm with yourself and harsh with your occasional low self-estimations, should you ever have them.  Log everything.  Find a lesson in everything.  People next to me… lady on this long sofa-like wall seat while man across the little square table, both are on phone, in their phones, those little screens, missing everything.  But not me.  Little boy across floor, at one of the tall chairs, elbows up on that long table, looking out window.  Probably no focus in thought, he doesn’t have to.  And maybe I don’t either, have to be so focused all the time.  I have to record.  Everything.  As vineyard managers write everything down about their vines and the winemakers with their little ledgers with all the notes and numbers of what the juice does during fermentation…. me as well.

If wine is my thematic, metaphoric anchor, then see this as a racking, moving the entity from one barrel, one ecosystem to another.  Change the profile, change the makeup, change the chart.  No filtering, don’t want to strip anything away.  But, precise re-calibrations need fruition.

Try it.  Let me know your results.

New Bottle Ticket for a Bottled Ox

img_0858Finally home after a taxing tasting room day, after my 7-miler morning.  First run of that length in some time.  Thinking of wine, where to go with it next… sipping the remainder of the Dry Creek Vineyards ’14 Zin I last night brandished.  Somehow lost the cork so I wrapped the neck in saran wrap.  I took it off expecting instant evidence of oxygen contamination, or at least some oxidized something.  But nothing.  It withheld.  It stood its ground, showing it’s more than an ‘it’.  This bottle shows unyielding intention, some derelict drive that’s admirably curious.  So I’m here writing my article or reaction to the day and night and wine, simply confounded.  Then I stall.  I need another glass.  Before siting to write I was tempted to turn on CNN, see what the new chief’s done now.  But why when I have this wine, when I had the day I had, literally rolling out of bed and running.  The wine tells me not to stop… time is like my oxygen, and not in a beneficial manner.  Like oxygen can be to wine, time is to the writer.  So I speed on.

One lady who came in today, absolutely obsessed with magnums.  Had a question about every one, and the vintage.  Each vintage, she’d ask, “So what about this one?” Not asking if I like it or not, but I knew that was her tonal subtlety.  “Well,” I returned, “if you’re asking me if I like the ’12, yes, I love it.” Then she did the same with the ’13, the ’14, and the ’11.  “Wasn’t 2011 a bad year?” She asked.  Ugh, I thought, the question.  Why always people and 2011?  (See why I began this piece with ‘finally home’?). I told her my defense of 2011, a little about ’13 and ’14, and then slid away.  No more, I couldn’t do it.  People should find out for themselves, about any wine or vintage, winery or region.  Wine, like literature, art, or your own writing, is about discovery, and risk.  You heard 2011 is a “bad’ vintage?  That’s more than bountiful warrant to go out there and try some.  See if they’re right.  And if they are, then you learn from it, what makes a less-than-towering vintage.  And if they’re wrong, you know now that going out and seeing for yourself is the most instruction and informed way to live wine.

Second glass at left, and I’m standing my ground— or sitting my seat.  Babies asleep upstairs, and I revisit the conversations from the tasting room in head.  Everything from those with co-workers toward shift-close, to the ones hours earlier with the larger group that walked in, many of whom were “industry”, telling me about the releases at their wineries and what they like to drink at home, to one of them whom makes his own wine and sells it online while working production at a larger Russian River producer.  There’s more than enough wine out there, in the world, for me to explore and write about, and beyond those simplistic descriptors and expected-to-be-mentioned fruits.  The personality of the wine.. this Zin, in instance— wild in its behavior but everything it speaks is poetic.. nothing foul about it, and unusually organized and dedicated to its palate narrative… a wine understanding the sipper more than the sipper conceives what’s in glass, eventually washing over senses.  It welcomes me home, congratulates me at the end of my day, orders me to relax.  This wine type you remember, you seek, you learn from.

(2/25/17)