Kids eating

breakfast, starting their Sunday with admirable intention and discussion.

Jack makes himself a checklist, writes a story on legal sheets.

Keep forgetting I’m at a winery, today. What does that mean?

Made self a list, after reading Jack’s.

Two weeks till 39,

img_4124tomorrow last of Spring ’18, and this glass of the St. Francis OVZ, my last.  Tom Wolfe died today, and again I’m reminded.. curt, life is a trash compactor wall.  So I sip and scribble and meditate over day at winery, where I wondered how many times I can wipe down a counter, how many times I can walk out to the vineyard, saying to self I should taste the Pinot Gris a couple more verses till it says something that actually says something to me.

This Zinfandel isn’t with my sitting, not here on this floor and with me and these keys.  Wishing self back to car, on my drive down to Anaheim in the harshest of A.M. dark time, morning, after getting coffee and letting thoughts trample me going across the Richmond-San Rafael bridge.  I don’t care about my age, not massively nor with minuscule sole.  I onward step and type and look to the light right above my head near a non-moving fan, hearing the fridge growl at me from left knowing the time is tempered and taught to squared legs.


Up. Managed to shave quite quick. Now, to iron clothes but babies still sleep. So I’m put. Staying. Here on couch. Busy couple days ahead with Winter WINEland, an offsite pouring tonight at a Windsor hotel, or inn. Feel a scratch in throat but this writer has NO time for ailment. Think to self, what else can I get done to speed things along this morning? Have no idea. Again, think I’m just put on this couch, in the room that used to be an office but again has become more a storage/dumping area. Like a messy crush pad or inventory province at a winery. Truly what it in the mind visually beckons.

Hear daughter sneezing. Son snoring. Needing this morning to progress pleasurably. So I’ll make it so. Just take a minute, here on couch. That’s all I can do, currently. Think about the semester coming… I’ll be loud in the classroom. Unwavering. This is the semester to end all semesters, to liberate me from realities of having to ask for anything– time off, switching a schedule around, anything. These early morning musings speak to me with pronounced sagacity. House quiet for now, before six, glad I didn’t go back to sleep. As a parent, and you’re a parent you’ll get this, mornings can be horribly frenzied. If you do things, most, the prior evening, all’s a melody come morrow. So why don’t I do that? Good question.

Definitely feel something… cold, something of the sniffle sort. Shit. Just keep moving, I tell myself. Don’t stop with these thumb types, and when at winery, always be with project.

Not supposed to rain today. Sad for that, if you’re to know. Yesterday, just a cloud block over all Sonoma County. Drizzle here, there, when driving babies home from school, but nothing of what I love hearing on roof, windshield.

Need coffee. Asked wife to bring one home for me should she stop to herself one. Let’s see if she does.


Early morning writing like this seems to be drug of sorts for me, one I don’t get to enjoy as often as I’d like, either ‘cause I stay up too late writing and doing work stuff the night before, or I have the last glass of red too late.. something, but I’m here now.  05:53, on couch downstairs while wife’s at intense workout class.  Like I wrote in the 1,000+ word waterfall I just wrote, I have the rest of my life to ‘go back to sleep’.  What I want to do with my life requires being up at hours like this, being uncomfortable and anxious, and creatively electrifying in that useful uneasiness.

More than a fruitful day at old Stryker property. 

Today I felt it more a testing ground for certain narrative approaches with how I speak wine, making my speak translate to sales and just more for me to write about.  And I’m not trying to proclaim or anoint myself as some sales sage… I’m a writer, but the way I spoke of the wines today very much translated to sales.  About 7 cases for the entire day, and three wine club signings.  But that’s not what I want to focus on— in fact I shouldn’t have even gave you any numbers, none.  I spoke the way the wines, I feel, would want me to speak about them.

Last night, tasting here in home a Foley ’15 SB then an ’09 Lancaster Estate Cabernet.  Both told me I need to be more, if not wild then certainly, feisty and fearless in my wine writings.  Stop trying to sound like every other sport coat-wearing sommelier or some cheeseball wine educator with some contrived acronym after his/her name.  I’m a writer of wine, who presently fights a sinus infection to write this entry.  Didn’t have chance to write at lunch as I left the laptop home.  No excuse, I should have written in my little book, the new one.  What I did do, walk the vineyards, take pictures around the property.  That added, wholly, to the fruitful posture of my day.

Feeling tired, like I could go to bed right along with wife and babies.  They’re set to wake early to see illuminated hot-air balloons levitate above Windsor.  Think they’re set to leave around 05:00, if I’m. not mistaken, which leaves me here, alone.  Perfect taunt for writing, the wee and cruel hours of morrow I’m always hoping I wake early enough to see and taste but never do.  Will cue coffee in a minute, have some of that ’09 ‘LE’, and brainstorm further, get crazier and more deliciously distant with my wine writings.  The ’09 last night showing a certain gothic form to provoke even more a staged calculation of flavor and color, atmosphere and vintage-narrative.  Which I love, of course, as any more I drink wine hoping to taste vintage translation and not just some bold Cab or floral Pinot or buttery slut of a Chardonnay—  I want to be doused in time, the past, that year I’m sipping, and that’s what the ’09 accomplished, multitudinously.  Talk about “fruitful”, a word that all of a sudden annoys me—  Rewarding?  Enriching?  What?  Take the word out, that’s what I always urge students to do.. discuss the entity, the reality.. today was a day that revealed and taught much and with schematic eye, understanding that wine is where everything is for the writer.  Again… made me embrace and structurally realize, again.

Up early..  Family off to the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and me here with jazz

photo-on-2-10-17-at-8-48-am-2(Hutcherson) and some coffee—  thinking, thinking…. About?  Everything.  Career shifts, how to make more money… how to log and capture everything I do, even if it’s not exciting.  Right now.. thinking poetry while listening to this jazz.  Being up early is a gift, I’m seeing.  Most want to sleep in, most want to wait for that alarm clock.  ME, I hate the clock.  I hate the alarm.  I hate anything or anyone telling me what to do, ever.  So I’m up, writing and thinking about what I think about.  Last night’s wines still on mind, especially the Cabernet (Napa).  Feels odd not having class the whole week…. Just fetched Composition Book, dated page for today.  First jot— “Poetry.” Punctuated and primed for day, and not stopping like Hutcherson’s mallets.  Can’t afford to be that writing father that waits for anything, anyone.  Just soldering into my story.  If only I could have risen earlier.  I always say that, “If only…” and “4am…”.  That shit needs to stop.  I always write that, as well, that it needs to stop.  So, I act like an alarm clock to my own brain and cogitation and sever the detrimental consistencies.

Almost time for another cup.  Think I’m running out of coffee.  That is tragic for a writer like this.  No coffee in the house?  How?  How did I let that happen?  Money’s tight.. and the priorities lie elsewhere.  With coins, dollars, whatever I have rumbling and clinging and clinging around in that backpack.  Every time I’m alone, here in the kitchen, typing at the island counter, I get this way— focusing on problems and what I’m running out of and what I don’t have, rather that what I have to utilize, creatively weaponize, and work with.  I go fetch whatever books are in my bag.. Plath’s Ariel and HST’s Fear & Loathing.  When in doubt, put it back on the author, or authors… like I tell my students right before a paper or while they’re composing a submission for the semester, and are stuck, can’t think of what to write next.  Not that I’m stuck, or maybe I am, with all this free time and quiet on my hands, sometimes filibustering certain directions and impulses.  I have to always come back to literature, with whatever I do.  I’m a writer, a tireless fearless aggressively militant disciplined writer-father.  Then I feel guilt— why?  For what?  Like I should be cleaning up the house or tidying the kitchen, or something.  Straightening the toys on the floor or putting them into little colonies, something.  Why do I feel guilt about enjoying some morning time to myself when most people I know are still fucking asleep?  I get this way, don’t mind me.

Wish I was with the babies, wife, to see Emma’s face when she sees sharks for the first time, all those fish behind the tall glass walls.  Hate being away from my babies—  I know, “What are you going to do when you start traveling?” Have no idea.  What, you thought I had an answer for that, some mood or emotional formula to mitigate traveler-daddy blues?  No way.  I see Emma smiling, touching the glass, saying “Dada, dada…” wishing I was there, or thinking I’m close by but not.  I’m at fucking work.  Now my mood sinks and throws itself into some flashing warning, telling me to turn around, focus on your writing, “There’ll be a day when you work and write and work solely from home,” it says.  Huh, can’t wait for that.

A memory pops up on my Facebook feed, from six years ago, me behind the bar, pouring at Kerry Damskey’s then-tasting room in Geyserville.  What was my life arrangement then?  My work?  “Career”?  That was 2011, and I didn’t teach that year.  Think I was just let go from some puss-bowl of a tasting room in Dry Creek, and Mr. Damskey to rely on from some pouring hours and wine story.  There needs to be a change in the writer’s story, which is what in the last few days (yesterday especially), I’ve enkindled.  Today’s Day 4… day 4 of a reinvention dash, sprint, race to tranquillity and a creative equanimity that will feed my family… give wife the option to work or not if she elects.  So much rolling and spiraling in this diarist’s dire head this morrow.

Today I’ll talk about the wines more wildly and poetically and HST-y that I ever have…..  Took a short detour to finish an article that I didn’t forget about but was just prolonging.  UGH, why do I do that?  Second cup made, but I let it cool on the little tin surface of the Keurig’s landing area (how it looks to me, like a helipad for my cup).  Hutchinson continues his jaunt across the notes as do I, this sped wine writer and blogger and journalist and creative wino, winding creatively around and about ambitions and aims.  Fucking staying inside any box.. no, not for the writer.  Certainly not this writer.  In many ways my situation hasn’t changed since that clip from Kerry’s tasting room.  I’ve realized this in the past few months, and have take drastic, somewhat forceful darts to manipulate it to my liking— more to be disclosed later of course, just know, loveliest reader, that there is a tidal wave of reconfiguration about.  And I don’t care who knows.  Doing all this for those little faces I every morning see.

The writer approaches 1,000 words.  How.  Where did the time go?  WHERE DID(!!!) THE TIME GO?  8:01.  Fuck.  Have to get in shower in 29 minutes.  Have to use restroom.  Have to drink coffee.  Feel’s though I’m losing control of my sitting and session and sentences—  “No.” I tell myself.  “Get it together.  You woke early and started writing early for a reason.  Keep working!” Think of Emma, Jack, seeing all those fish and otters and sharks… then I start writing feverishly again.


morning observations, 12/14/16

$0.25 for parking (4th & D, Santa Rosa).

Man in Peet’s drawing, working on a comic book.. (ideas… but I can’t draw…  maybe novelettes?).

Line, then wait, girl can’t break a $100 bill then can.

Me watching the guy draw his comics, fill dialogue bubbles.

Mocha ready quicker than I expected, so I sit at small circular table to collect self, make more notes.  Not worried about being late for meeting with department chair.

Today will do exactly what I want, and I’m intent on documenting everything… even the two guys to my left talking about working construction, on their way to a nearby site, not happy with supervisor.

opinionated peace (#MotivationMondayDose)

Morning as a Creative with Kids

This will show you how organized you are.  Test your patience, how well you have everything planned, if you have to wake up earlier or not.  This note for example, being “written” with shaky over-caffeinated thumbs on my phone.  An interruption is right around the corner, I know.  But I, we, need to keep moving, force ourselves never to slow.  

from this day’s 3 pages…

(10/17/16) 7:05, putting pants on, waiting for Jack’s waffles to toast.  Only one coffee sipimg_7646 under the writer’s belt.  45-minute run planned when I get back home.  Quite sure I’m going to drop the 3pm 1A class next semester.  Too big a gap between that and the earlier 7:30-9 English 5. I’ll take a second class, but one only immediately after the 7:30-9.

Use restroom, about to sip coffee, Jackie eats the waffles, watches Thomas.. Me over here thinking about the book I’m finishing.  Why did I ever think about or put even the sliverest of slivers into small page collections?  My impatience.  That’s it.  Obvious.  But I’m changing, I just thought washing my hands.  Telling Janet that I’m dropping the 1A for something earlier is a significant step for this writing daddy, adjunct.  Telling them it’s unacceptable, such a layover between classes, that I deserve something better, something that works for me– oh I can’t wait to tell her.  And not with any malice, just firmness.  I want to hear this new Mike say it.

Emma up… Starts with puffs then to apple saws– sauce!  No time to spell.. Typing in home.. PHONE.  TYPING ON PHONE!!!

Getting gas… No run.  Will write for 120 mins when home.  Set the timer.  Today has to be a day moving me. Loser to the travels, to my reality– the me I need be.  Cold outside, no rain, crisp atmosphere.  Maybe I should run.

Home.  Decide no run, even after seeing that girl running on Marlow.  Should I?? No… Devoting whole morning to writing, my book, my career.. How I want to be seen.  Coffee machine cuing, me waiting, enjoying quiet house after frenzy morning, another one.

Cup one, brewing, typing on phone realizing I’m five minutes late to sitting.  9:30 was my clock-in time.  Good thing I’m self-employed.  Or at least today I am…  Now cup two a-brew.  Will sip both from the mother-in-law tumbler as usual, put on Hutcherson station, and fly– cup done, now to work…

9:42 and at laptop, listening to an old Miles track, “I See Your Face Before Me”.  Seeing myself on an airplane, traveling east, hardly able to wait till I can fly back home to see my babies, wife, be in my own home.  I know I wanted the travel, but I only want to be with my kids.  This morning in the quiet house, all to myself, sipping coffee and wondering what next semester will bring with only one class, if any classes at all.. where is this story going, of this writing father?  Well, I guess I’d have to ask myself, where do I want it to go?  Distracted by the fucking clutter on this desk.. aggravated by the mess, the stuff we unwillingly compile in our lives.

Interrupted by my own lack of concentration, pulled away by the piles and piles, putting one on floor and moving another from one side of the desk’s top to another.  “Lotta good that did,” I say to myself, sneer.  Sip the coffee again, tempted to check my phone but won’t let myself.  Sip coffee again, think, put phone on other side of desk.  Why did I do that?  That girl I saw running on the way home—  Maybe I should go out, just for 45 minutes.  No, stay in the goddamn chair, I yell at myself.  Not just “say”, but truly order, instruct.  Writing for  me has now become something different.  Somedays I’m more serious than others.  I tell my students to know their habits and places where they like to write, who they are as writers but I have satisfied nada of the above.  What I’m trying to change with this sitting, this hour or so in the chair.  Love this song, “Cool On The Coast” by the Brubeck Brothers Quartet.  Relaxes, and not as stressed as I was earlier getting the babies ready for launch to school, I write on.  Déndendu (relaxed), me, finally.  But am I just killing time or am I writing with some purpose, some mission or grand intention?  I want to go outside and scream at the day, tell it, “Well, sorry if you have other plans, but you’re doing what I want you to, okay?” What do you think it would say?  Does it have the gall to answer back?  Same writer, ab initio, but not.  I’m trying to figure out in this sitting exactly what I want to say, what I want to do, so I can stop the wishlisting and the vows and promissory writings I annoy myself with.

Not worried about typos from earlier, even though I’m now tempted to scroll up and edit, revise and polish but “no way, fuck that” bounces around in my head like my son Jack was around the family room floor this morning, Emma just looking at him in either amazement or terror.  I know that if I just woke up earlier, so much would change.  Then why the ‘feck’ don’t I?  How ‘bout this, a last promise, or wishlisted speak: Tomorrow, 4AM wake, 3 pages before leaving for winery, start readying for early vicious session now, or after these thousand or so words.  The writer-father need get ahead of time, and the ONLY way to do so is to wake earlier than I ever have, and not just make it an occasional thing, but a pervasive lifestyle shift.  I demand people recognize me as a militant and disciplined writer—  Okay, then start acting like it.  Agreed, ‘nother sip…

Messages from wife, asking if babies were okay this morning.  She’ll have to read the blog, and later book, to get complete account.  10:03.. I’ll get in shower right before 11.  “Ahhh…” I hear my mind sigh.  Just enjoying my morning jazz, coffee, words, confession or inner detailings of a writing father, just wanting singularity, simplicity, no more of this adjunct nonsense, the 5+ hour layovers between classes.  Today is monumental, where I tell them what I want, just like I tell the day, and this sitting, the coffee, myself.  I don’t see anything around me— no clutter, no phone, not even the Kerouac books, or my composition book, the running magazines, my keys, the check I wrote the other day to Ricardo the successful housecleaning entrepreneur without which my wife and I would subsist in constant ick.