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.