On Wine and Language…

Everyone wants to sound a certain way, I feel, rather than just talking, conversing about wine and sharing ideas and insights, what they taste and not in a superficial or snobby way.  When you sip your wine, the empirical focus should be on the wine and your connection to the wine, nothing else.  If you want to talk about what you’re tasting or what notes you pick up, it should be for fun.  And if you’re in the industry and you’re discussing it with colleagues or your fellow tasting room-ers, than there should be no trying-to-sound-like’s.  Wine communicates with us, honestly and with whatever flavors are primary to its character.  There is no competition, it just wants to share its identity.  While we sip wine, and if we choose to talk about what we taste, why don’t we all try to just sound like ourselves, delight in the wine we poured ourselves, and live.  Use your language, use your words, enjoy your time with the wine.

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.



Swivel Soul

Starting a new page as I need a new start of sorts.  Eight mile run out of the way, and little Emma finally asleep upstairs, the writing father has some time to himself but who knows how long that will last, as I’ve written so many times and so many more times.  Bored with my writing and words, and I said that I need to be freer and more crazy with my sentences and expressions— tonight in class, this comes out.  They’re to bring proposals for their final paper of the semester, this ridiculous eight weeks the college somehow rationalizes as a useful educational term, and will brainstorm and work with each other, ask questions, make suggestions—  Again, the same thing I’ve always done.  So what differently can I do?  Don’t know right now as I feel rushed, thinking my little girl any moment could wake and this writing sessions will be terminally cut.

Coffee machine ready.  That’s right, I haven’t yet had a cup.  And it’s almost 12:30PM.  Not sure when the last time that happened was.  But like I said, do things differently, right?  My writing needs a revival, still in this positive pulse but a certain dimensional rebirth so as to keep myself in love with my words.  Yes, ‘in love’, I want to love what I’m writing, I want to re-read it before posting to the blog and think something like, “Nice.” Or a simple ‘I like that’.  I need to be crazier if I’m to be on the road, traveling as result of my writing.  A winemaker friend of mine is on the road, promoting his winery’s wines and seeing new street corners, having coffee in places he never has, enjoying new food and wine and characters.  I won’t hide my envy as it pushes and usefully shoves my syllables—  I always say my freewriting and writing principally is like a wishlisting bravado bluster, a storm of affirmations that I need to catch up with.  And, I’m a dad.  AND, I’m 37.  AND…  I’m getting sick of the patterns, the predictable.  I’d hate for readers to think, “Oh, well it’s [whatever time], Mike must be…” I want them not even guessing but anticipating.  I want to be anticipating what I’m going to do and write and think and say next.  If I or the readers were to guess, then that means there’s a slight degree of measurement means, you can somewhat anticipate the writer’s next turn, speed and step.  Not what I want.

New page new day new me.  New story.  The writing father needs to dart at all seconds, like they’ll evaporate—  shit, they very well may evaporate, especially with a sleeping baby upstairs.  Getting her to go down, one of the more feral displays my Lilliputian love has ever offered.  But, daddy won upon skirmish’s close, thankfully.  First act, coming down here to write, begin this new page, new me, new language (as I’m deliriously past enervated with my words, speak, spoken habits).

Time for that coffee.  Some time for me in a void— collections and measure, but not too much.  No sounds, none.  Spontaneity is as well a conscious continent in this new Me.  So, off the office couch and to the maker, that will help re-make me.


French Word of the Day–

Maison – home.

Have to remember this, as home is more than just important, it’s where everything is.  Everything.  My babies, wife, OUR maison.  Where we grow and learn from each other’ characters, build a collective character and story.  I have a maison to which I return, every day.  All days.  No matter how bad a day is, it’s there.

For me.



I WILL finish the thousand word effort I started last night.  And last night/early morning, a skirmish with both babies, refusing to sleep and Alice and I trying to convince both of sleep’s boons there was no correlation in language.  So I sip coffee now and focus on the keys, the wine I tasted last night (the Ridge), and bottle of my ’12-something once back home.  My story is wine, my voice and patois.

At the kitchen island; brush, flattened cereal box to be tossed into recycling, pizza box… need the Square.  My Sonoma-Paris.  My Oakville table.

Centered and Not Copied

And on this Tuesday I find my Self in a more empowered mood than I’ve experienced or felt in days.  Here in the adjunct hole, hut, parlor or whatever I let nothing get to me as I only see growth with the mmc project and launching the ‘vvv idea’ in days.  The copycenter on the other side of that door to my right is all atwitter, people rushing and copying pages for instructors.. interesting.  Have to edit-down the winemaker interview from yesterday, I’ll do that at the Starbucks on 12&Mission after the 370 class.  We meet in just under 90 minutes to discuss our first taste of Sylvia Plath’s work.  Sorry, was distracted by a message incoming on phone.  I know I should let myself get pulled by a device, but I’m Human and am flaw-ridden.

And what else, this day… what else…..  Nothing much other than Alice and I have been married 8 years, which I can’t believe, another sharp and stark reminder of Time and its vicious persistence only aging us but uniquely motivating the writer in ways many.  May stop by St. Francis on the way to 12&Mission to pick up a bottle or two, and how symphonic, no?  As St. Fran’ was the wine chosen for our wedding.  Well, that and McManis wines, a couple of them.  Not sure if I’ll do any tasting but I really should, always, have St. Francis in the cellar.  Or, closet.

Already into Week 7.  And how do I feel, what do I want?  For it all to be over?  Not really, as this morning while buying one of those accordion file holders for my papers I understand and blazingly saw that there is material in the student submission.  Even in the weaker pieces– how they understand language and words and writing their own word and language to page.  And, how so many teachers become frustrated and incensed with what’s on a page.  I guess I understand the frustration of certain teachers, but more so I urge them to learn from it, and why the student struggles with the transference of words, thoughts, what’s “in there”.

The usual English adjunct, and the older Math adjunct in here with me.  She, ‘English’, is at one of the computers.  Around the corner, the edge of that tall grayish brown cubicle wall division.  But ‘Math’ is just to my right, grading some submissions and doublechecking work with a calculator.  She always looks at peace and quite communicatively connected to her work while he looks truly beat, disinterested and exhausted.  I said hello to full-timer at SRJC yesterday, in the Emeritus hall and he laughed, mentioning something about “decrepitude”, suggesting he either wasn’t happy, was frustrated, or just surrendered.  “And he’s a full-timer!” I thought to myself, walking outside to the 3PM meeting.

I again think of the “perfect world” discussion with Dad, at Monti’s a while back, where he asked about teaching vs writing.  The answer was obvious about both and he urged me to write about wine, creatively as I do.  So that’s what I’ll do and keep doing and writing crEATively for my clients and showing and sharing with people a different view and appreciation of what’s in the glass.  So, yes, I will go to SF Winery, maybe even say hello to my baby sister– in fact, let me text her.

I should target a varietal or style when there.. something to review or study.  So, then, obviously, Merlot.  And SB.  But what else?  What about a blend?  Bordeaux or Rhône or something odd or innovative?  Not sure what they have it’s been so long.  But I’ll walk in only with a Comp Book.  And I’ll not everything, slowly, and with loving labor and finite detail to all nose and palate parts.  The “End Game,” as Kevin and I discussed Saturday… for me: MY wines.  So I study and with angry passion and intention.  Oh I can’t wait.  Yes, I will taste after class and report my findings to my sister and see if she has an opinion on my thoughts and translation of what she translated through varietal and style.  Have several projects going now– need to make a list in my little black mmc book.

Heard from Katie, I’ll meet here there just before 3 and taste with her till about 3:15.  Researching their site, I feel out of touch with my first favorite producer– so many new releases and projects and varietally-centered efforts.  This is a re-immersion.  A certain reckoning of my wined Self.  Ugh– it can’t come soon enough.. so I center and meditate and wonder where I’ll be right when my daughter is born, a full-time writer, writing, Mike Madigan Author and business owner/blogger/wine consultant but not in the cheesy way, one offering honest and useful consultation, much I hate that word, on wines being poured, the order in which their poured, release dates and what be–

Just checked out the portfolio, and I am most excited to taste there with Katie.  And, I just learned she was voted “Best Woman Winemaker”.  How did I not know this? She’s a loft and stratospherically so with her career.  And I aim to catch her.  Not with some embittered competitive edge, not at all, if anything she my little baby sis inspires me like no one else does with wine and winemaking and showing me that you can have whatever you want in life, from your career.  I think quite frankly she’s a paradigm that can’t be mimicked, certainly not copied.

11:43– shit.  I need to get ready for class.  Okay, breathe… where did time go?  I know, I know, let Ms. Plath do the talking in what I orate in class, it will be here and her past and what she wants to share with us– the battles with Self and depression and the poetic urge to tell us all of it!


Bonjour…..  En fin

Je suis fatigué, mais maintenant je suis éveillé .  And I don’t know how it happened, but it did.  In a mood to write for Self after a little editing of the Tours article, and helping Jack with his toilet mastery a bit.  Saturday at the winery, assured business and a bit of frenzy, no doubt.  I’m trying to write faster and with more accuracy, showing you reader what it’s like to be a writing father.  Of course, no run this morning from me.  and I could scream at myself.  Didn’t even set my goddamn alarm… et pourquoi?!  Distractions, deciding to open one of my ’12 wines, not sure which one it was as they became jumbled in the move to this Autumn Walk stronghold.  Only had a glass, maybe a glass and a half, but still that’s enough to make waking at mother-in-law hour nearly impossible.  But no alarm so what does it matter?

6:56… no coffee in house, that too has to change, but I quite like this morning for some reason typing to no caffeine.  Depriving myself that heated palate eros.. somehow contributed to my Zen at the moment.  Oh if I could have the day to myself, have the time to run and finish these article edits and just write for hours into the Massamen novel.  That’s what it is, what it’s all about and around what it ever-revolves: bloody time! Maybe I should run after work– no!  Make yourself get up early.. come home, eat a bit, put on running gear, and go to bed.  Earlier than Alice, even.  That;s what a running/writing father has to do.  Jack in front of me in the little chair we bought him, his first xmas, and he’s content in a way I wish I could be at my decayed age.  When first downstairs, he shot directly to his seat, placed en face de his little toy chest with his cars atop, serving and looking like his desk or workbench.  He meant business, my little Beat, and he wanted to play and watch his fancied cartoons.

Now I wait for coffee, think about the other two articles, papers I already have to grade, running… not much wine, or wine industry.. but the short fiction café, I want to stay longer.. more short-shorts, sketches, vignettes.. just write all day.  Can you imagine?  Me in my office with coffee and sparkling lime or lemon water as I usually enjoy.  This morning I’m filled with unusually dinosauric confidence and sight.. see the blog expanding unexpectedly, writing later to pictures I posted prior (Earlier in day or couple days prior..).. and just writing, teaching through my writing and not in some box, some sterile institution bowl.  I’m Mike Madigan.  The writer.  And yes I have a blog.  But am I blogger, I guess.. off point a bit but I need to write something, show I’m alive and with my own beat, peripatetic in my prose pulse, and aims, what I want to do and how I want to be see– right now Ms. Alice goes for her run and my personage falls knowing I should have been up and running when it was dark.  I told her that I’m going out tomorrow morning, and I need her help.  She joined my cause and vowed to aid me in getting to bed early.  So.. I will run.  I will run.  In that early hour and see the sun take stage… so, so, tremendously musical, its lyric composition, for me to enjoy.



1,000 words to novel this morning. Alice and little Kerouac are at her, Alice’s friend’s house for a morning workout and for Jack to play with their daughter on some incredible swingset. And I’m here with my coffee that I rushed to get at the Hopper Whore House, that corporate coffee brothel– MY mood this morning, calm but determined.. making sure I stay in this novel.. so the novel, this journal or blog, then the ‘yrownjoy’ pages.. I’ll sell those. I can’t write on command, or do contract copy work. 1, I don’t have the time to research how to post and the website hosting and research Trip Advisor and Yelp reviews.. that won’t get me into the pages of the Paris Review, or the New Yorker, or the NYT.. that’s not who I want to be. Hope Shana won’t be mad, but I have to prep for summer alongside my personal writing aims.
Mom read one of my entries from the other day and is convinced my rattle warns predators and anyone around me away. Maybe that day, but this morning not so. I know who this writer is and I know what I see, I know what Emerson inferred about Poets and Scholar and those paragraphs sync with my scope, certainly. And another note: I get frustrated when my blog doesn’t function as I want it to, and now I’d have to learn some other site’s innerworkings? When does the writer have time for that?
Should get in the shower. Can’t wait to have some of that coffee today, at work, the type the chef brought down from the kitchen.. need to find out what type, take a still with my phone and buy some for this Autumn Walk base– oh Autumn Walk.. we have such a story to write.. I can see now: me here, writing full-time, having the whole day here in my new home to finish chapter and drink coffee like it’s something healthy to do and listen to hours of Hutcherson, Davis, Monk, Rollins….. Then when 5 arrives, open a Sauv Blanc, have Mom and Dad over, just as Alice and Jack get home, then we’re out front on the porch watching all the other children occupy and infest the small street. There’s a story here, one building, one rebuilding and nurturing, promulgating for my pages…..

8:44.. have to get ready soon but I don’t mind, and that’s one of Zen’s intentions as I understand it or at least the intention behind its practice, idea and place, no? Je dois étudier plus. (I have to study more.) Of everything: Zen, French, Literature, Theory, teaching, Kerouac and Hemingway and Sedaris and Plath.. Poe.. Faulkner….. Be a student, a real student again!

So quiet in the Autumn Walk zone, now, and I think about how hot it’s to be today. How busy the Room may be and how wonderful Chardonnay would taste if this heat were with me in Sunriver, with Mom and Dad or in Paris, or in India, in a highrise like Amber had.. think Alice & J are home, shift–



IMG_6163Thinking of Wellness and the notion of practicing it from when I woke which wasn’t too long ago. Only act left to execute is dressing little Kerouac.. keep blogging, all day… Still not totally convinced the teaching blog needs to die.. actually, it’d add to my Newness in adjuncting, if anything.. thinking now that it should stay alive, and keep the posts short! Same with bottledaux.. post post post! All day. More is better, where some see as less being better with their models and modes, and that’s fine, but for me as a brand I want readers to see me as tireless and always writing, ALWAYS!
Will take a fifteen minute break today to post prose to bottledaux, the MOCK SOMM piece I wrote last night. And what else.. just everything and everyone is material.. writing the wine world and what’s in my head as a writer and teacher and how Wellness will be attained– should set up the coffee machine in this Autumn Walk fort.. will find it tomorrow when Alice and I look through and ATTACK the boxes in the garage.. no clutter synonymous with Wellness. Not letting anything or -one under my skin or into my head less they have a beneficial additive for the writing. Jackie needs me now, done with his waffles and we need to leave earlier as his school is all the way across town, now.

At the Starbucks on Yulupa after dropping off the little BEAT, and I listen to everyone around me, many going to work or watching after the kids or just out on a Friday, maybe the day off for them, wouldn’t know what that’s like but I’m doing just what I planned and IMG_6164listen to the salsa music falling on me from the ceiling circles, knowing I need travel for Wellness, and need Newness, never enough, for my Wellness. Didn’t run yesterday as I didn’t have the opening for, and didn’t work out with weights from same reality. I’ll wake early tomorrow morning before work and either run or lift.. so far, just a breakfast sandwich today.. and getting ready and stressing and venting to Ms. Alice as how I couldn’t find a single fucking piece of clothing, not attired peace: Wellness is 90, 95.. no 98% mental and cognitive, and I might even assert ‘spiritual’, and I never say things such. But I realize that my spirit and Wellness rely on Equilibrium of mind. Thoreau said “It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.” And this reminds me of Michael Browne and when he affirmatively uttered that “blind people can see and deaf people can hear…” There’s more than what greets our senses and when we realize and truly souse our Selves in this scope, more is visible, more is writable, and more is to be lived.. oh, this moment and its value, my Composition book open and me looking at all I’ve scribble over this semester and the one before. I’ll never leave the classroom, but I’ll be free, freer.
9:04, should leave soon to get that early lead in the day. Want to walk away from this café with three posts, so I should give Self till 9:30– writers and Time. We lose, eventually but we can make it difficult for the clock to stop us, or worry us, or have us stuffed in a worrybox–

IMG_6165MOCK SOMM piece posted, now I have to rush this entry.. will do third post from winery.. today I listen, and barely talk, write it all down.. no podcasting, no video.. just pictures and prose.. that’s it… looking for 300 words from winery, from the garden, find the Wellness and ZEN I need for this pageset.. 9:17, and I feel like I’ve already reached a thousand words.. have I? Speed writing and typing and living but all with peace and Wellness and Equilibrium about my lettered shout. Two younger men have their coffees, walk past me then stop to get cream and sugar– who are they, I wonder, and what are they doing today.. where do they work? What are their dreams? Do they alway want to “get fucked up” as one of them, the one with the red hat and holstered knife to his belt, just said they did last night. Now they talk about a friend who just got fired, “They took all his shit,” he said to this friend that still waits for his coffee. “Did he call his union rep?” the other said.
“No. It’s all fucked up.. his hand’s not even healed..”
I imagine the story and what they want to do and what happened to this friend of theirs. Reminds me that I need to be, MUST, be self-employed, by these writings and the scribbles and the lectures.. literature.. came across the Poe quote from ‘Red Death’, where he narrates “Darkness and Decay and the Red Death held illimitable dominion over all.”… The workplace, the Man, the Devil, continues to show itself as death to me, never having our lives in consideration, or at least substantial consideration. “I feel bad for him, fuck…” the knife kid says before they both have their cups adjusted with the cream sugar and whatever else. Exeunt.
And me as well. Nearing departure time but I don’t want to rise from this chair and I think I deserve to be late a couple minutes as this morning and the move and little Kerouac even have all decided to challenge me. But I’m calmed in mind, quieted musically in my epicenter, no quakes, no tremors, no disruptions. And this be what the writer takes to his day.
Fulfilled.. oh this pouring of Time into my advantaged cup.. calculated, a bit yes, but mostly lovely chance. In no box, this writer, and the day’s lesson seems to be all with Wellness, and how I pocket it and write it and have it recorded into my foremost functionality.. Namaste.

Not bothered, by a
thing, no, I just stamp and stamp
and affirm no– each