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

As someone who obsesses over work,

and what work he has to do, what I have planned the next day and the remaining hours of this day, I am honestly with nothing.  But I make myself write.  One student tonight saying one of her goals is, was, is to wake at 2am to get ahead in her studies and I assume write a little as she does write poetry and write in short lines, short stanzas, pieces that span only a page.  And I say ‘only’ out of awe, that she does so much to a page in only a page’s pulse.

Was nearly too lazy to write anything tonight.  Told self, “Just a hundred words, per blog.” But I can’t hold self to that.  Should I do what this student plans on doing?  Should I set alarm for 2?  Isn’t that the time of the artist, the writer and poet?  Didn’t I read that somewhere?  On my lunch today grading papers and writing in the Sonic journal as this goddamn laptop didn’t want to let me use it.  Of course, now, I do push the buttons and have a note in my writing normalcy.

Finish the fucking book, I tell myself.  Like my son said tonight as I poised to make his bed with new sheets, “GET TO WORK.” I am.  I say the same to self.  

Sip the Barbera I popped last night. It, she, more calm.  Me the opposite of anything tranquil at the moment.  Working in the home office which isn’t as common as I’d love to tell you it is.  But, WORK.  Work.  What I write about.  Force self to write when I don’t want to.  I do write about wine, but that’s not my only onus and thought light.

Now, I’m like a train with this, these writing thoughts.  I, not failed.  Not failing in my aims.  I won’t allow that.  No one should.  Why would you.  You are here, once.  And I’m not addressing the fact one only lives once…. I’m speaking to myself and you, that where you are, right now, the opportunity and life invitation to bring a project to completion is singular.  You see it once.

You are a train, if you wish be.  Some unknown animal of fruition, bringing works to an offering stage.  There are only stops that persist acknowledged.  So acknowledge none of them.  I see so many of these speakers and motivational-who-be’s profess all this counsel but don’t consider the most apparent reality… the audience member has to decide.  They only elect to act if they bring themselves to movement.  Tonight I could have just as easily poured this red from El Dorado, sat on the floor of this home study, went on phone and scrolled through some photo pour.  No.  We decide to draw, paint new plausible for our Personhood.  Decide to move, be alive, mentally, alive, wildly alive in all movements of your steps and actuating saunter. 

What work does for and to the character is animated in divinely lucrative chant.  Dodge the task, never.  Distractions and suitable sanctions to project-dodge are terminal.  The panacea, always, is preemptive production.  Never, labor deduction. 

10/15/18

Sonic Jot

Next day, the second where I feel like I’m on a rocket ship, just ascending and appreciating altitude.  Third day of victory, of production, producing, feeling my life and creative tide just going and rising and taking me with it.  On lunch now, peanuts and a ginger ale I bought from shop.  Stomach still a bit uneasy from that vegetarian burrito, yesterday.  Work today is more than enlivening and exhilarating.  I did feel this a couple times in the wine industry, but with no consistency.  Can’t remember the last time at Roth I had three consecutive days of pure life and topic ownership.  My story becomes its own storm, now.   Its own Now.  In this large warehouse-like quarter with Sonic everything all around me and everything that Sonic embodies, from the communicative facet to people just visibly enjoying what they do.  I’m definitely space-bound.  My work is no longer work but something that’s redefined and redrawn and re-purposed my literary purpose.

Walking someone through the office and into this break arena earlier, I could see the amazement and disbelief in her facial shape.  How the company encourages its people, how the “employees” are more so investors and partners, family members to the immediate and distant motions.  All motions overlap and intermingle, creating a creative concurrency.  Their own currency to be exchanged and interchanged…  I notice my own face change shape, sitting here.  Taking another sip, not needing any real lunch but just the snack I have and everything on either side— left and right, 12 and 6.  All these corners and visuals decide on magnifying my manuscript’s physiology, writing new one for this writer who anymore writes about work as he’s embedded and invested in work that binds to his moral and ethic etch.

I’m horribly saddened, honestly, when I hear of people going to places they hate for work. Of course someone could ask, “Why would anyone do that to themselves?” Yes, an easy question to ask, but not so easy to answer or attach any formula.  It’s not that they do anything to themselves, but haven’t found their pages, haven’t landed in their story.  What I recognize, appreciate and further analyze in my sitting here is that only now do I see.  Did I find not only a home, but a topic.  A book, and another one.  Me, a writer, literary guy, beatnik from the wine industry, now more fiery and eager and moved to words.  AT A TECH COMPANY.  But this isn’t some simple tech company, or start-up or wanna-be startup village.  This, here, the creative is basal, inherent.  Expected.  Sonic, like a university hopping around in exponent climates.  Here, you’ll hear people say how they write everything down.  You see other writers here, other thinkers, people seeking to enjoy where they work—  More than just “enjoy” it.  Live it.  Be it.  The IT, to it all.  What they do, yes, but more who they are. That’ how I see myself.

My story just arrived.  At 39.  Late?  No.  Lovely timing.  If anything, it’s more than punctual and optimal, just before 40.  This place has me forgetting I’m 39, if you should know, and you should know if I’m with your attention.  I just fixate on the day, whatever project to which I tend. The company’s name, Sonic, denoting and connoting sound, and speed, something audible, and then I think of course of music and being a literary bloke hear Kerouac reminding me that the only truth is music.  Here, in the break room and in the office proper, between enclaves and hamlets of encouragingly and electric and eclectically adorned cubes and desk, you hear it.  See, feel, then a sixth and eighth sense.  Someone you acknowledge or you think you do adequately but only know you’re there, in it all.

New writer, new vision.  New understanding and embrace of purpose.  I am writing a book, about this place.  More than a place but a dimension, a warp of time, timing.  Forgot about the ginger ale, peanuts.  Hearing co-workers talk of their projects and ideas while on lunch.  They don’t talk about any TV show, who’s dating who, where they’re going this weekend. But work.  WORK.  It’s not work. It’s more than passion.  It’s creative escalation and an impassioned saddle of axioms and projects.  Seeing each day as its own book, not just a chapter.  This is not a new chapter in my life but a new life, a new armada of books I’m about to write.  This day— what would it be about?  Learning, something new.  Spreadsheet.  Yes, me doing spreadsheets.  I was deathly afraid of them, before coming here, and up until yesterday still quite unnerved at the thought of toying with rows, columns, cells, formulae.  No longer, though.  My self-certain, assurance and general fortitude eclipse any anxiety.  Moving at a speed I’d deem supersonic, frankly.  And I don’t see myself working, I don’t.  I see the growth and the metaphysical and ontological model re-write itself over and over, from this company’s thesis. New song, everyday.  New chords.  New opus offerings and new interpretations of everything around me.  And, again, spreadsheets are part of this paragraph, part of this elasticized praise for where I now sit, in this lunching province. 

Stomach, solved.  Today did so.  Cured me of whatever that restaurants plate did.  And I forget it, universally.  I’m made more healthy and assembled as a writer in tech’s clef and step.  Anything past workplaces instilled, left, far in days behind me. Today’s book, then tomorrow’s, where I’ll be at Month 6, and yes I have a specific aim and tangible destination for such.  Never did that with wine’s world. I didn’t need to, as no such thought was ever invited or encouraged. The culture of not only writing and taking notes here, but education both from self but colleagues makes me feel like I’ve discovered some cryptozoological wonder, asking myself What is THIS? and Where am I?  Imagine that, being not merely in love with where you are, what you do, where one works, but seeing yourself as healthier, happier, more composed as an immediate consequence. 
10/3/18

Noting everything I learn in the tech scene,

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.

9/8/18

inward jot

img_7107First literary lunch in office new.  One finger tip a bit numb from colder than normal training room.  Or computer room.  Having last of what’s left from dinner, night prior.  Club sandwich which I usually don’t order when there.  But… class tonight.  What will I teach?  “Teach”.  Thinking more on Road, and singular addressed.  My story compiles and composes itself with more complexity, with the tech company.  Telecommunication…. Difficult writing in here, just have to find my rhythm.  Have just under an hour to collect on page where in the wine world I had far less.  Far, less.  Only 30 minutes.  How bloody ridiculous is that?  I think if I miss the industry, the tasting room.  And I’ve concluded with loud, nearly roaring certainty that I don’t.

Some guys far to my right play video games, talk about whatever project they’re working on.  Definite culture shift away from the wine world.  Had to happen.  Needed, especially with me not learning a single new thing with the last company.  But no more of that.  I’m here.  Tech world, startup surroundings, more life.  More words.  More me…. I’ve discovered who I am, I think. Finally.  At this age.  Just before 40.  But never mind that.  Mom and Dad tell me that I need to stop fixating on or even mentioning my age.  And I think they’re right.  In fact I know they are.  I’m the only one writing in this room, this rather large room with a snack shop, video games, several tables, a fridge and a pingpong table aside from much else.  The activity encourages me… people walking by talking about projects and what they’re going to do over the long weekend.  What they want to do after work, and what they have in mind for their current projects.  Nothing like this was int he wine industry, and not just from the short “lunches” they ‘let” us have.  There’s more color here.  And the fact that there is no wine is a boon.  No distracts, no slowing.  All the free coffee here a writer can possibly take for his prose.  Should finish this sandwich so I can hit another cup.  There are two speed to choose, consider… medium roast, then dark.  I’m in a dark mood, coffee-wise, while my characters tone and emotional shape is bright and effusive, elevated.  I can only be so, in this tech stage, sphere and sentence stream.  I’m here, I’m new, renewed… listening to people and how they speak of their projects and it’s with far more interest and connectedness than anything in the tasting room, certainly, and to a degree anything I heard or overheard in production.  What took so long?  I won’t lie, as ridiculous as it is to pester self with such inner yells and deconstructive yodels, I still do. I can’t help it.  I feel more home here, really.  There’s more of my momentum and my steps, my speak and creative seek, here.

Finishing my sandwich, and only wanting to capture more of what’s on either side of my typing tips.

8/30/18

On the eve of me leaving wine’s industry, I sip a Merlot.

img_6931The 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.

img_6934

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.

8/22/18