Writing freely, done with coffee on a lazy Sunday not at all lazy.  Getting Starbucks for family then going to the jumpy house place up the street, then taking Jack to Epic Center, or Epicenter, and now home.  Was about to take a nap, but no.  Going through old pictures, a couple of them, and wanting to take more but not having any time to go out and shoot.  I’m a writer, not a photog, but I do want to get out there at some point and take some vineyard shots or pictures of production.  Something.  A media company, maybe.  Media and publishing.  Using what I have.. family, the kids.  Me.  I have everything I need.  And no more overthinking.  None.  Done.

Jack still over there watching Peter Pan.  2:46.  Hungry a little.  Found one picture that makes me think of my vineyard walks at Dutcher Crossing, or right before I’d go into work.  Seems like another life.  I move on.  Not Sonic and learning from it to get me to where I want to be… which is with Sonic and with my company.  Collaborating somehow.. telling their story, and imitating their ways, their discussions with communities, their focus on education internally and mentorship, goal-setting, life.  Business and life balanced like it is in no other workplace.  Anymore I think often I write about work.  The concept and obligation and place of work in our lives.  Why we do it, and why would we ever do something we hate for a living.

Waking early tomorrow.  My word.  I’m giving it here.  Writing about the 4am hour, what it does to me and how I make work out of it, a business…. A life of waking early and wha life would be like if I just continued waking at 6-something.  Which is a respectable hour, yes, but that’s when the house wakes— kids, wife, family.  I’ll be up before, far before.  Look at picture again, light and color.  More of each in my pages…

11/1/18—

New lunch spot in Berkeley.  Crepevine.  Ordered Denver Omelette with Coke.  Eating by self on a lunch break, finally.  No reps or leads with me.  And I love my crew, truly love.  But I needed a minute or set of minutes to self, to collect.  To write.

Lady brings over Coke and I’m more than content with my choice.  Other lunches I can cite I regret ordering what I did and not spending the time writing or doing something for writing, blogging, business.  Something.  The music of the day is more than just an encouraging nudge, but a direct instruction to make everything of the day I want it to be.  For a minute considering dropping the only class I have for next semester, but then rationalize it a marketing opportunity, and speaking practice.  Or, not so much practice but a training lab or ground for ideas new.  I see the chef or cook making my plate.  This town, as I’ve always seen it, one of activism of course but art, people and poetry, art and music, expression and freedom.  So I write in the same sense and sameness.

Chef brings over brunch.  Looks indescribable, if you must know.  You must know, I tell myself, and you. These Road notes, city to city speaking Sonic engaging the population and principle communities.  I want just a couple more sentences.  Tell self to put down just a couple more, older guy on other side of restaurant with wife and friend, looking at menus while group of younger girls sits outside and laughs, enjoying their mimosas and talking to each potter like they haven’t seen each other in ages.  This is what I do.  Write at cafés, restaurants, random places and what’s happening— Chef tosses a bunch of clean silverware in the holder at distant 12, on the other side of the counter.  Cook is on other side prepping plates, cooking or boiling, simmering something.

My time in Berkeley before working with Sonic is limited, to be brief.  I came here a couple times when I lived in San Ramon, early 2000s.  But now I’m here quite regularly.  And the feel and voice is perfect for where I am in my story.  Looking for more, more stories and more people, more experiences that contribute to my business identity and aims.  Sounds of the restaurant move me, provoke more.  I’m right where I need be.  This is where my story really begins its composition and construction.  If the Roads of Sonic and I never intersected I wouldn’t be here with this view of Shattuck, eating here, with this cold Coke, the omelette, the sliced sourdough toast, the ladies just outside the window at the small table eating salads.

Nearly done with lunch, thinking of getting a refill of Coke so I can write for a bit longer, just stay here and enjoy my time, the time to me to collect.  Lady sees me either getting ready to leave, or that’s what I think she thought I was about to do but I ask her if refills are free, she says yes and rushes to get me another.  All that remains on plate is some of the country potatoes and the sliced sourdough, which is surprisingly sour.  I’ve never found sourdough bread sour, really.  These slices are.  Not to their detriment, just I notice, that’s all

This will be my last meal out, in field, for a while.  That’s what I say now but who knows if I’ll hold to that.  Want to open a store, store front of some kind, or at least have my office set up.  Yeah, that’s what I really mean.  Just my office, my blogging hut, little literary parlor, outside home.  I pick at the bread, again.  I’m unusually relaxed.  And not just here at Crepevine, here in Berkeley, but today.  Today is a day for me like few are.

Catch myself spacing out a bit, and pull myself back to keys.  UPS driver a couple tables behind me having something for his lunch break I calculate, then chef tells one of the girls from outside group that he’s going to bring out some specialty crepe, complimentary.  I look up at see Chef holding crepe on plate with some mint leaves around it and a birthday candle.  Woman comes back in to check on it carrying her little one.  Candle lit and Chef’s daughter, I’m assuming walks it out, carefully.  She looks uncomfortable in each step, like she’s never walked out a candled plate before.  Hear them all singing, then clapping, then nothing but cars on Shattuck and the music they have playing in car.

What’s right in front of me, what I write about.  At least now.  And maybe onward.  Take fork into hand scooping some peppers and bit of onion and potato, bite.  Wonder how I’m still hungry but I only had that cereal at desk this morning.  I look down at a more barren plate and realize I am still hungry.  Need to wait.  Need to write, what’s here for me in Berkeley, my new writing city, the streets and communities and the more collective community of this area.  Couple more bites and push plate forward with napkin atop.  I’m done.  Now, just sipping the Coke refill and typing.  Man walks in and asks questions then leaves, thanks the lady for something.  Directions possibly.  I can see this as me when I’m on the Road, like this but more expansively, in other states and countries.  What’s in front of me, my topic.  Restaurant staff ever-observant of what happens around them, who’s here and who’s walking by and the ones that actually stop here.  And am I ever please with my election to here stop, order the Denver, sit here by window.

Readying to leave.  Walk over to crew in the Safeway parking lot.  Chef talks to hostess, which I think might be his wife.  He jokes with her about a dollar bill, about money or something.  All in fun and good.  Feel a bit tired, sip Coke, more people come in.  Rub right eye once.  Then I tell self not to leave.  I don’t want to leave.  Pies in display case behind me and to left, chef and consistent cook laughing about something.  Wanting a shop of my own…. But of what.

Again catching self in an overthinking maelstrom

I leave the house.  Come to downtown Santa Rosa, to Beer Baron.  A place I’ve only been once.  Ordered a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, one I’ve never had before and don’t think beyond that.  Just enjoying this whim, this sudden cruise downtown.  Not sure where the direction of the writing’s going, and I don’t need know.  To the characters I was thinking of in the tasting room.  Yes…. The two that are behind the bar and want to get out of the industry, starting their own wine gallery.  That’s what they call it at first…. I came here just for this, for new ideas and brainstorming, not be at the drawing board but to draw a board of ideas.

All this before class.  All of it, of this, my new stories and wine thoughts, wines I’ve tasted recently, yesterday with the St. Francis Chardonnay then some Kobler Viognier when home.  Everything in the pages, on them, constituting them.

This place, a serious bar more than a restaurant or any wine bar I could see myself opening.  Earlier thinking of self as failed in some wine aims and dreams.  As the waitress just now puts down the glass, I find I’m not in any way “failed”.  Have I even really started?  What if this could be my office, everyday, I think.  Come here and work from noon to whenever.  Why not.

I stare at the Sauvignon Blanc for a bit before smelling it, and much before tasting.  I let it be a symbol, a reminder of wine’s life in my life, its presence and my past and present, all futures.  I won’t let self take a sip just yet, but rather draw my characters at their winery, at day’s end, having a glass of Pinot on the patio. They talk about just going for it.  Saving whatever they have saved and putting it into some wine business.  A brokerage, they think.

But then I as the writer put the idea on hold and think of how I’ll approach them, this story.  Their stories.  The wine story coupled with their stories and mine.  I stop everything and focus on them, Jane and Elly.  Jane out from somewhere in the midwest, always wanting to work in the wine industry, years ago and now here and tired of being tasting room locked.  Elly, from San Francisco leaving her corporate corner to be in wine’s everything.  She’s worked two harvests, then to tasting room as production for some reason just wasn’t her thing.  She knew why, and didn’t know why.  She loves the winemaking process of course and everything that goes into harvesting and fermentation, barreling-down lots and pressing, even the shoveling of tanks.  But the people in the tasting room and the words they’d say, the interactions with people, called to her and wouldn’t let her ignore.

I take my first sip of the SB and focus on me writing, what brought me here.  Then the two characters.  What we all have in common.  They of course, or maybe not so obviously younger than me.  I keep writing.  Till this is the ONLY thing I do.  Writing about writing and people and what they do for work. How work and our jobs, labor, determines so much of our character and how we estimate the world around us.

Think today is the day I finally killed overthought.  I’m not editing, or measuring, forecasting or worrying about how anything I write, type, is perceived.  I’m just moving and not allowing any stationary sets for this writer or any of his characters.  The two girls start a website, for anyone coming to wine country.  They see themselves as fashionable intel, something to make people more pleased with their choice to come to Sonoma County much the way I’m please with my election to come here and write.  Relax before class.  See me in business with son and daughter, eventually.  I quit the wine industry but am very much back in it on my own accord and set of terms, rules, and I guess some regulatory rattle.

Second sip.  Such real and truthful tropical body and bravado.  Nothing invasive or excessively aggressive.  This is a character that has me more into my characters and these new characters I’m writing.  I return to them and what they want, what would make them happy, what in wine they want to grow toward.  What do I want to be, grow toward.  Wine, travel, speaking on wine both metaphorically and immediately.  Tonight, open something new.  Study it. Let wine dictate my own fate, give me direction and more introspection.  Tempted to take the night off from class.  No.  Use it as speaking practice.  Not practice at all, the second sip says, and I sipped minutes ago.  Can still feel that tropical shock and rush, set of steps. 

I pick up the glass and nose what remains, which is a good two sips I’m guessing.  40 next year.  That’s where my head is.  And then what.  Maybe I’ve overthinking that as well.  Sure I am.  Look at the wine, focus on it… wine writer and journalist, one who actually writes and journals and doesn’t just take a blare of ridiculous shots of himself and other wine “experts” or “writers”.  Glass up again, sip….  Follow the stories, MY story.  Don’t think at all.  Just write.  What I tell the students, every semester.

Talking about writing, tonight. That’s it.  Beyond simple argument, or any attempt to persuade which was the chapter they had to read in that “Prose Reader”.  Or maybe that’s singularly what I should discuss.  I think about taking notes, but the wine says no.  Be in the moment.  Or be above the moment, flying and hovering above simple time and whatever that clock reads, dictates.

Finding that when you write down ideas, they speak back.  They instruct you on possibility and presence.  They talk back, love back, write back.  Thank fun to the Story, and everything, LIFE, for today.  For the embrace and blind subscription to whim.  To not sink into overthink.  To blog and jot against any overthought.

With he glass done, I slow.  Thank of the walk yesterday with my son in the vineyard and showing him the remaining clusters on the canes.  I had him taste a couple….  I thought of us, in business, how our visions of our company will differ and will be surprisingly in some places identical.  All this from wine.  Thinking of wine, living wine, writing wine.  Wine writing me, since my first day in the St. Francis tasting room, 2006.

10/22/18

Laptop again giving me grief.

So I open the bottle of Monterey Grenache I bought at Bottle Barn a bit ago. Not letting it sour or soil the soul of this sequence of time I have to Self. First sip, and I’m spoken to by subtlety’s illustrative principles.

It’s still not speaking to me, doing what it’s supposed to do. This it. An it. Not capitalizing, not surrounding in any quote marks, even the singular. It’s a thing. A monster. A devil. Guess I have to buy a new laptop.

On break.

Got through small stack of papers.

This semester and I are now officially feuding. I will be sure there is not a single paper to evaluate.

All papers, graded when handed in.

My assault plan is to halt all before there is any assault, on either end.

Wake earlier. 4am, or face failure.

Sunday will be the grading day for me. Learning learning. More knowledge, more knowledge on knowledge itself.

Week 9…. oh week 9. Today’s lecture, on semester consideration. Noting your progress. I’m doing the exact.

2

Sonoma County.  A cup of coffee, quiet house finally, and thinking about where I live and all the time I put into the wine industry.  What did it do for me if anything well of course it did something.  What.  What precisely.  To write about wine.  To never again set foot in a tasting room on anyone’s clock but my own.  Transported last night by that Pinot, sitting on the wood floor of this Autumn Walk home, the floor bothering me but me sipping through it and writing through it, seeing my book of some sort of shape being finalized, here and there and taking me from here to there.

And of course it comes on, “In A Sentimental Mood”.  Arguably my one Coltrane track that speaks to me like no wine or tasting room, not even the vineyard walks, did, do.  Seeing me in the late afternoon, on my deck, looking out at my vineyard.  Kids in house waiting for dinner.  There are wines that do that, sometimes.  Last night was one.  The Bernardus.  A Pinot.  2014.  A vintage I’ve always thought was overlooked, or underestimated, underrated.  I just thought, she fly me somewhere.  Back to Burgundy or to some part of a Carmel or Monterey beach.  I should be on a run right now but I couldn’t dismiss what me called, put me in this seat, instructed me to further be instructed and mentored by the Pinot’s physiology and psychology.  She spoke with temperament and tenacity.  She put me on a Road back to Monterey, back to the classroom.  Yes I write about wine but more what wine embodies and connotes more than denoted.  The inference of a Pinot bottle like that, to be in your current clock and time on clock like you’ve never before practiced.

Out of wine’s industry and in another business, one that allows and invokes more wine writing from me.  Wine was the institution, the university if you will, its industry and all the tasting rooms over the years that is, and now I’m here.  Helping build a business and thinking of a vineyard, my vineyard, the one I’ll soon see after achievements or certain goals that become ribbons or laurels.  Laureling myself into new wined pages, here in the kitchen, in the morning, seeing and understanding toward what I’m headed.  That Pinot did this, whirled and wove certain spells around me which I have no intention of dismissing.  Keep me trapped, I beg the notes I remember…. Jazzy cinnamon lanes doused in smiling cherry cirrus, thin but not dismissible.

In Sonoma County, writing about another county and one of its AVA’s, just dreaming and planning, writing way there.  And I ask myself, “What exactly do I want from wine, wine’s character aggregate and dialect.  I don’t know if I know, yet.  That’s what I love.  That’s what wine encircles ideologically to me, for me.  Just seeing where the Road goes, where your narrative’s to be thrown.  So many want you to know that they know so much about wine and wine areas, growing regions, how the industry works and their story in the business….  okay, but then what.  Why not be more professing of exploratory urge rather than advertising your fabricated mastery?  Try going from there to here, where you’re just on your Road, seeing, perceiving, tasting, dreaming, writing and re-writing.

10/14/18