IMG_9636This morning I know I’m not that prepared fro class, but that’s just what I’m intending… to present ideas in the moment I’m in— like this sitting here at the 12 & Mission Starbucks.  Can’t remember when the last time I wrote here was.  Thinking a year or…. doesn’t matter.  Not as many people as I thought I’d see in here.  Nowhere to park and for a second I thought I’d just make the U-turn and head to campus.  But not this morning… needed this, this sitting and this quiet with a more than busy morning, going back to the hotel for the bag then to Mom and Dad’s where Mom and I talked about a few things and my mind now completely focused on work—

For class…. Talk.  Hemingway.  Writing.  Reading.  Read with them.  Only keep them an hour, each section.  Tonight, have a wine chosen, and am going to buy some bottles, just a couple from my friend up in Washington, also a wine writer who perpetually insists that she’s amateur.  I get frustrated with her but from adoration and endearment, nothing malicious or truly spite-sown.

Iced coffee, this session.  Haven’t had one in a while… all I want to do with this final day of novel writing is write… not sure I much want to teach, even.  Then don’t.  Just offer ideas.. write as you go, in the little pages.  Still have to post last night’s wine reaction, sketch.  Or rather, yesterday’s but I wrote it last night as babies were falling asleep.  Me on the bed with Jackie typing on phone and hoping he wouldn’t get too distracted.  He didn’t.  Fell right into his little scale of dreams and I was about to jot, or thumb, what I could.  Not as excited about tonight’s wine but Jesse gifted it to me yesterday, stopping by the winery and tasting through a couple whites, all the reds.  I envied his day off.  I need a day off— No you don’t… you need to work.  You need to keep moving if you want to see what you want to see.  Just thought… can stop by St. Francis and get a couple bottles to write about, or maybe just one, or taste at the bar while they close if they’ll let me, if it’s not too much a bother.  I have this obsession with SFW, going back to where it all started, re-acquainting self with the wines and the counter, the tasting room, how now they have that T-Rex sized tree.  Plan confirmed… finish 100 maybe 50 minutes into, then head to “The Frannie”.  Now I start to feel the engine go, the ideas about their wines and all the notes I’ll meet, be greeted by.  Yes, I should be prepping for 1A, 100, but I can only see hear wine in the music I have in these little jelly-belly-ish earphones.  “Intro”, by The xx.  Love this song.  Puts me on a plain, plane, plan, while in cruising altitude, thinking about  where I’ll land, which wines I’ll taste, be coerced to write about.

The café— not much a café— essentially empty, but one chap to left on laptop.  Definitely not a writer.  Don’t ask how I can tell.  Will make me sound more judgement-beat than I already do.  So…. The Viognier I’ll be sipping tonight I opened before leaving the hotel.  Thought, “I haven’t opened a bottle of Dutcher this early in a long time.” Brought back to thinking when I’d go for my lunchtime walks and either write, take pictures and video, or all.  That time at Dutcher told me that Creativity will solve any occupational or professional problem or block, hiccup I experience.  These pictures I look through, so many of them from Debra’s property.  My vineyard… all I can think of.  Well maybe not all but certainly know it’s dominant in my vision, physical, temperament.

Leaving here in 7 minutes, 1 hour.  Have to make what worded dent I can in my day… wine, wine… my shop.  Day five.  Have a floor design in mind.  Much of it pragmatic, the rest just what feels right, from my experience selling wine.  Like I intoned Mom, I don’t sell.  I write.. I speak… I recite.  Wine should never be vended.  It should be gently communicated, oui, but gently, convivially, like you’re writing a love letter to that person or just a friendly note right there, when you’re on one side of the counter and the guest stands where they do.  Communication… now I can’t wait for class.  These ideas overlap.  But I can’t tell if my wine life influences the professor life more than the opposite arrangement.  Peut être (perhaps) it’s a realized harmony.  Maybe there is no distinction.  Maybe when I’m teaching I’m “selling” wine and when I’m at the bar or on property I’m more a “professor”, or educator, than anywhere else.

Answered a work email, now back to keys.  Not letting self raise head for another ten or fifteen minutes.  Writing about wine is much to do as I said with things you think have nothing to do with wine.  And you’re right.  They don’t, and proverbially do.  Shots from when I stopped in at Kenwood Winery, saw and old friend.  She poured me across the flight I thought I was so familiar with.  But hadn’t tasted there in so many years, even when I used to work at Kunde I never went next door on my lunch to taste.  Went to Deerfield once, but that’s it.  Wasn’t like at Dutcher when I would often visit close-by TR’s and see what their offerings said to me.  Guess I wasn’t as serious a wine writer when at Kunde.  Well of course not… that’s when I began to get a bit disenchanted, envenomed, by “the industry” as I called it, as so many called it and I hated it when they would.  Like when people in academia, community college or some university call it “the profession” like it’s the only profession.  When tasting at Kenwood with Betty I could only hear music in the wines I tasted, them begging me to keep writing about wine the way I do and to never stop— that THIS was my “calling”.  More than a vocation, or avocation.  More than passion.  More than religion or a sweep of beliefs.  I was me. It is me. I have to write ME.

NaNoWriMo, 2 Days

In class with one student, listening to some Hotel Costes mix I found on YouTube.  Not much planned for meeting and I’m not planning much for meeting.  Going to speak freely and be free and see what ideas are generated….  Fruit shows up during harvest, the winemaking team may or may not know where it’s going or what they want to do with it, how they want to treat it or what.  So that’s where I am, using time against itself.  Further I get in my wine story, my story of writing wine is to be so into the one moment that time ceases, it stops, it loses its connotation and denotation.  What I’ll talk to them about today, is just that… time.  Where we are in the semester and how we’ll get what we want.  ‘Cause ultimately, that’s what all this is— getting something we want.  Reasoned that I won’t work out tonight but do some pushups and situps while the kids eat, watch a little cartoon.  I’ll get up early, like 03:00-something, as I have been everynight, or morning, and go.  No joke, each morning, I’ve risen at 3-something.  Last night, waking at 11-ish, or 23:30-ish.  We again went to bed rather assiduously.  So…. That’s the plan for now.  And not for the aim or sakes of opening wine and tasting but yes that is what I’ll do tonight, a bit.  At 3, head downstairs, run.  Check out treadmill, make sure it has a little ledge or secure spot for phone, so it doesn’t go flying like last week’s early run at ’24’.

12:28—  Have to use restroom but don’t want to.  Write… tasting flight for tonight, or tasting mission, sketch I want to sketch and character I want to survey, I think, is the Meeker CF.  Could use a little Cab Franc in my life.  Have to get little littles from school.  Of course I won’t forget, I never have been even close to forgetting to pick them up, but need to see the total scene and sequence for day.  Just wrote on today’s plan, “Why not just talk?” Yeah, indeed.  Why not?  Why does everything have to be so formal and procedural?  I feel my business side getting stronger and readying for the day when I have my own shop… my elucidations and deconstruction of the wine, my literary communications, on non-overillustrated tag, or plaque, or card, tablet.

The student and I continue to write our respective selves on laptops.  Not sure what she writes, but I’m over here just darting toward my wined There… me in the shop… this could be my shop.. just two customers (now 2 of mes étudiants in room).  Me working over here in corner, quiet, but available for questions, needed answers and explanations if NEEDED.  Though I’d rather not be bothered, if you must know.

Wine, my eventual shop, business, all the characters bottled I’ll be carrying, the preeminent metaphor for everything.  In my life, and Life.

NaNoWriMo, 4 Days

Cold in the tasting room, and with intention to kill the fruit flies.  Glass doors to crush pad/production area wide open, too cold even with this sweater I took from the stack atop the counter by the other open door to let more cold air billow in here to rid us of the little buzzers.  Rain, I sit at the tall table, somewhere I’ve never before written.  “In A Sentimental Mood” comes on, and I love the morning more.  Quiet, coffee, rain outside I don’t have to drive in, and a lesser population of fruit flies but as soon as I think that one comes flying around here, then another to see what I’m doing and enjoy the sessions with me.  Driving up here, white-knuckled on 101, I thought of my business efforts, where they’re going, where I’m going, and how to intensify them, expand them… somehow surprise myself today.  And I thought, write down descriptions of the wines right in front of people.  Sell conversation on the wine more than the wine itself.  Like I told the couple yesterday I took around the property and into the cave before leaving for Mayacama, “Come on over, let’s taste some wine today together, let’s be friends… let’s chat.” Sharing such after telling them, after they asked what my end-game is in wine’s business, that that’s how I’d market myself, my winery, how I’d “sell”.  Coffee relaxing me and making a writer work quicker, try to forget about these bloody fruities.

I focus and re-focus on the jazz.  I’m going to shock myself and my life today, more than I did last night with the beauteous pouring at the club and all the conversations and people I met.  Wanted to taste through a few wines, but as I think I noted, I had to drive home.  Safety, always.  If I’m dead or jailed I can’t sell, create, write, support my babies, wife.  How often do I fantasize about sittings like this… watching rain, jazz, coffee and composition.  The wines can wait.. so can the sales, the business.  Right now is my Now and I take it in for me, for my character’s intricacies.  Quiet tasting room, that time before a business opens, planning the day a bit I guess but more so collecting self.  Business plan for the day is simple…. Conversation.  Talk.  Kindness.  Meet people, listen, talk less, talk when you’re spoken to.  And if it’s slow, find yourself with just you and your co-worker, talk to her (Brittany, today—).  What wine she likes, what are her end-aims—  Think a fruit fly just bit me on the neck.  Little bastard.  He won’t be biting much, any longer.  Surprised how fervent and determined they are, even with all this cold air.

Not overthinking my sitting looking out at the rain, and how much I need moments like this.  I have one.  Go with that.  Business plan in place…. No excess thinking.  Just acting.  And no more wishlisting or promissory notes.  End of the semester, and I push the throttle further forward than it wants to progress.  All these thoughts in this morning’s scene, vibrant viands.  I taste each one and speak of them as others would wine— eyes out window and not in here with me, the cement wall as it’s doused with atmospheric result, the cushions ten times heavier than usual, the ground reflecting its past and current composition, me here in room trying to have some prophetic postulate to offer, but I swim in circles, just admiring the moment for the moment— quiet tasting room, cold, barely able to see tanks in dark…. If you’re in bed, get up.  Move.  Write something.  Write out a plan, a business plan, for your day in one word.  And just fly at it like these fruit flies fly at my screen.

Wine has always been a meteor metaphor, for me.  For so many reasons many of which I don’t have the time to elaborate on or expand into, upon.  Everything’s there.  Life, Death, narration, character, trial, weakness and strength—  Wine reminds us that our stories, collective and individual and purposed in polarity.  That’s where the gems rest, wait for our discovery.  So quiet in here I nearly don’t want to see anyone today, not even my co-worker.  Of course, that won’t happen, and I don’t want it to.  That’s not what the story intends.  But this void is precious.  Only movements filling the air, sounds, the jazz and my fingers hitting these keys.  The rain speaks to the Chalk Hill grounds with gentle aggression.  Nothing overstated or too voluminous.  Just the fancy melody I now need.

What is it in rain that does something to us?  Why do we stare at it?  Why does it help us sleep, write, relax, be more composed than when we have “perfect weather”?  This, is perfect weather.  Perfect for a writer, perfect for writing, perfect for redrawing some of the items on this business bloke’s slab.  Each drop, something said— I look at this one little province of concrete on the patio… barrage of drops, so tireless I can only envy their results, their tenacity and general activity, conversation— yes, they speak directly to me, ordering me to work quicker, harder, don’t think at all just act.  You only have so many hours, and who knows when you’ll have a quiet sitting ini the tasting room like this.  I don’t question those micro-splashes even minutely.  I type faster without thinking, hoping we are busy today and that more people walk through the doors than we can handle.  Not only that were do excelled business today but that I the writer get a heaping hand of material— the words and descriptions, silly questions and remarks and more questions that make me laugh aloud and I make it seem’s though I’m laughing WITH them, but…

09:12.  Already.  See?  You DON’T have time.  Create… write something down.  Ten words to begin he chapter, today’s business, today’s story, today’s YOU.  There’s no such thing as ‘no story’, or ‘nothing to write’, ‘nothing to create’.  Those are all decisions.  So, today, decide to be mad in your creative, your conversation.

At winery.  Have about 30 minutes

img_7280for this sitting.  Nearly forgot about pouring tonight at Mayacama.  Could be huge for all business dimensions of my life, my story, this story, this wined book.  Crush pad, horribly quiet.  Had that spooky feel I guess, or creepy sense walking across the dim concrete, tanks making random sounds and growls.  Have to pick up wines for pouring, and print menus, but as happenstance would have it I can’t get into my bloody email.  Today could go either way, I thought driving up here, then sitting down at this foldable desk in the middle of the cubicle office floor I thought… “Uh, no, it’s going to go my way and that’s just how it’s going to be.” Stressing when I know I shouldn’t.  It’s wine.  It’s the wine industry.  It’ll all work itself out.  Definitely caught myself overthinking things that shouldn’t be, lately.  Why do I do that?  Could be old age.  Could be my intensified ambitions with writing and selling wine, owning and running my businesses.

Want to taste something, but it’s hard with all the fruit flies in the tasting room.  And there again I go overthinking… what is with me, this morning?  Just have a good time tonight.  Be ready to recite and speak as she, wine, wants you to.  Wine… what have you done to the writer?  Why do I see myself sipping something white overlooking some cove off Italy’s coast?  Travel and more wild writing, more verse and music to wine’s stomps and sounds.  I look out at the barrels on the crush pad’s stretch.. the tanks and the art of no motion where there is usually more than just a surplus of activity.—  Sun touching one particular cluster of barrels and I can’t take my eyes from it.  No reason to be stuck in writing, or claim “writer’s block”.  Not here.  Not ever.  Not in my story.  Not only can I not afford it but I won’t allow it and I don’t accept it, really.  At all, never mind “really”.  And if I do become stuck, simply sip something and deliver to page what you feel.

Growing tired of my writing and the words I’m choosing so I imagine the white I sip looking down at the water from some high-up patio.  No idea what varietal, think I know the region but I’m probably wrong… bright melons and some dried herbs, a little coconut maybe… interstellar grapefruit, ardent apple…” I set the glass down, just look at the water.  Listen to the waves gently kiss the cliffs’ sides.  Think of that day at the winery where I couldn’t get into my email, was stressing about a pouring I had that night when I had no reason to stress.  It’s wine.  What got me here, to this view, to this glass of whatever Tuscan white was that stopped… I cut all nerve harnesses.  Wine taught me that.  Wine taught me to live and be wild and create, don’t care, just live and enjoy, sip everything.  Not only is every moment a standalone piece, as I say, said, still say in class, but every moment is a varietal, a type, something to sip.

Time to myself— like a whirling assurance that there’s more to my story, more to wine than I now measure and inventory.  Woodpecker on other side of the wall, right, nagging at me to type faster, I feel.  Only write wine.. the Cab last night and how she kept provoking more words, more notes and songs.. writing new ones in her tenure with me—  “…melodic chocolate, cubist and expressionist momentums of lavender, tar, vanilla shadows and peppered mazes…”

NaNoWriMo, 5 Days

Next morning I’m up, shower, find what clothes I can and after one and a half cups of the Verona they place here in the room to a writer’s blessing and benefit, I go downstairs and get some eggs, sausage, and one of those biscuits to bring back upstairs.  Déjeuner for a tired writer… didn’t post to blog last night but it doesn’t matter in the collective of this containment.  Hotel, writing with the time I have, then work.. if I leave at 08:00 or shortly following, I can be to winery by just after 08:30, which means more contribution to book and moments and blog and…

Sun, right into my eyes a second ago.  But, it shifted.  To my chagrin, a bit.  Plate just sitting there.  Why did I get it.  I have to write, not eat.  Who has time to eat when you have no time?  Notes on the Colonel’s Vineyard Cab from last night, “…own climate and aggressively wooing sway… love in quakes and sped movements that slow when you don’t expect and become taken and smitten and enveloped…” Nearly finished the bottle but thankfully stopped.  Last night walking down to the casino, not to gamble surely (if you know me and my fear of gambling), and not even to drink (though, I did have one beer), but to observe that commotion again, on a night, Friday night, where all the frenzy and brouhaha is assured.  Definitely an element I could live without, but I found it more than engaging and educational… reminding me why I illimitably propel and excel in the vineyard, creatively and other.  Approaching the bar, in the center of the casino floor, I saw a couple people in front of me be asked for their ID.  Pulled mine out sure I was next.  He just waived me in, the bouncer.  I thought, “What?” I was offended, or not so much, but sad, or not so much, but definitely in a grip of realization that I’m getting older.  Now, there is no denial.  The casino, that bar area and scene, dynamic and stretch, is not for me nor any writer my age.  I hurried to finish mon beer, unable to wait for the Equilibrium of this hotel room, jazz, wined jots, my own selfish time-shape.

In a storm of non-sequiturs, ce matin.  Just what my thinking’s doing and what I feel in this room, unable to finish the eggs, even the two sausages… and why in the planet’s play did I get a biscuit?  Have to rise and run, soon.  Be in the Sauvignon Blanc block, take pictures and maybe just sit in the car and write right there… in driver’s seat next to a row.  I don’t know.  Though, I need make progress, some, some significant, on this wine retail project.  Hate that bloody word, “retail”.  Wine merchant, mercantilism.  There, I think.  My notes assume a mucilaginous consistency, with possibility and vision, plan and brainstormings, visuals in the tasting room and on the sales floor, how I’ll have bottles arranged and… everything.

NaNoWriMore Wines To Write

11/20/17.  Woke this morning to alarm and went to gym, finishing with 6.34 miles and disbanding 743.7 calories.  Think those were the final totals but I can’t be sure.  And this morning, Monday, motivated by the prospect of new wines to taste and write about— last night my brother Chris’ 2014 Russian River Pinot, on his mother’s label.  The wine went right into its recital, she speaking in newly known philosophies and rhymes, everything from the rounded berry speak to the layered terrestrial and pepper-thrown dialects.  The wine had its own language and perspective about herself, telling me to explore more, and not just Pinot.  To write more wildly about wine and to not see any blocks— disarm them, these perceived stops, of their meaning and significance.  She more to me spoke, ordering more literature, more readings, more of my own writing and to throw myself into the musical hues of wine— the jazz, the spoken word— the percussion and euphonious atmospheres in each pour and sip, bottle and vintage.

I’ll give the wine its own five hundred or so words at some point, but I need to be in this moment here, in the cubicle cloud, with the coffee I took from the hotel, poured into black tumbler.  Giving self about 35 minutes more to my sitting.  Behind on book progress, but I think not about that now.  Seeing myself as a Romeo to wine writing, to wine— my highest of loves in this particular breath set.  Today, focusing on reds, and drawing ideas for sales of reds, on both distributed labels and DTC/wine club offerings.  Wine… my Juliet… she’s always there for me, in vineyard form and from pour to assure me of which way to go, and how to answer that goddamn annoying inquiry ‘what do you write about’.  I write her.  I follow her.  In everything she does.  Vines now changing their colors forcing me and others to stop on Chalk Hill Road and in other AVA’s to take a picture, capture it, capture it all…. And why not.  You’re here once, wine reminds us.  As a winemaker, you get, what at most… 40-something vintages, maybe.  Oui?  So I’m doing what I said I’d do…. Write wildly.  Get back to France.  Like my blogger ami the other day wrote, “…at a certain point it’s time to do it.” I’m doing— writing— wine calling me from all sides and tells, pulses and metaphysical measures.

The crush pad bombinates, on the other side of the wall left.  I have to see more than just what’s on the other side of the wall and now I notice I’m doing what I said I wouldn’t do in this sitting— wishlisting.  No more promissory notes.  So… I’ll start with the Pinots, today, in the same key as what Chris last night me gifted.  Re-reading my notes on his bottle… “profuse and gentle helix of texture and sense; light leather and floral luminosity; iambs and dactyls, poetic steps in all clefs, into my perspective her voice voraciously etched—“ I follow with what he set, to Pinots…. May even open the Sonoma Coast ’14.  So that’d be 3… or then I can pop the Chalone, so 4.. why not?  I’m opening the Pinots not to be one of those varietally driven, annoying consumer, but to see the several songs Pinot is capable of singing, sewing in my senses.

09:05….  Notes from yesterday on this one guest, who had a comment about everything, about the Chardonnay from Carneros and how she KNEW it was from Carneros…. “I knew it, see, I can tell a Carneros Chardonnay, any day.” She said.  “Cool.” I said.  “What tells you it’s from Carneros?” I responded, very gently and as if I genuinely wanted to hear her explanation which I did not.  “Just the feel of it, you know?  All the flavors… you know this is Carneros when you sip it.” She concluded, sniffing it more as if all eyes were on her.  Her husband’s were, for sure, as he barely said a thing and followed all her orating, but my lenses and senses, sensibilities were into another Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills.

This novel writing month, I’m following wine, all aspects of the business from the corkscrews to the corks, to the foil (and I fucking hate foil, with all parcels of my inner-rattler, its venom), the counters and how we have to wipe them down I don’t know how many times during the day— counting the cash (which I have to do this Friday), inventory (don’t forget to order the ’15 Sonoma Coast Pinot and ’15 RRV as well), to the glasses we have to infinitely wash… then the wine.  The wine, wines, wine showing my character that everything is wine— What situates in the glass embodies all that can be embodies and straddles Philosophy, Psychology, Fitness, Wellness, Metaphysics, Mathematics (speaking of which, had a dream last night that I was back in school and missed a Math midterm ‘from being out tasting wine with my buddy, Robert, Master Somm’ for Foley, later finding out I was failing the class but I didn’t care as I scored a torrent of new bottles, all free, to write about and review if I wanted)…. Language, Poetry, Theatre… LIFE.  This is all wine.  This coffee is wine, if you must know.


It gives the wine writer fuel he can pin in any other tangibility.  It helps bee garage the page and stay focused and anchored to wine’s hold.  She’s everywhere, right now, around me, speaking and singing again, tirelessly like she has nothing else to do but be there for me and ensure I keep writing, finally finish this goddamn book.

09:15.  How did ten minutes pass like that?  All day, only eight hours, if that, will be noting on wines… collection of my own descriptions.  Some will be silly, of course, ‘cause that’s just fun to do, and others informative, and others just what comes to the penman’s cognition.  I’ll remain, and not just for this book, an agog denizen in wine’s stretch.  The wine last night, reciting— “Cherry code, varied notes, pulsing in dimension and unknowns— darkest of gothic chocolate sets abet a more venerated and self-effectuated charisma; no dilemma, only assurance, no burdens…” Everyone calls Pinot ‘poetic’.  But to writers comme moi, it’s different.  It’s heard, it’s felt, you’re coerced to your own verse.

In hotel room. (NaNoWriMolecules)

All unpacked.  This is exciting and odd, excitingly odd with concurrent flashes of education.  I sip what’s left of the Calluna blend and continue with the day, here quiet to me— and I think to myself, “Well, you’ve always wanted to write in a hotel room, on a trip, well here you go.” Laughing to myself and needing music in this odd, unfamiliar room.  Falling behind on book progress but the decline in pace isn’t terminal like last year’s attempt at a book.  This is so many letters.  To me and to students and to everyone and everything around me, that I accept it all and don’t resist a thing.

The wine tells me to put on some Hutcherson, or Coltrane, to relax and not think about a thing…. This is not for you, but for your kids, for your students.  You work for them, just know.  Getting a little hungry and wonder when the bar downstairs opens.  I remember they said 17:00 (they just said “five o’clock”, but that’s how I in head noted).  Irrelevant, incongruous, my overthought.  So I persist pervasively in this strange room.  If I were on an overnight, here, or say I’m somewhere like New York or Miami, Texas or Portland, what would I be speaking on, tomorrow?  Well, writing I guess.  And how what you write is more of a statement than what’s on the page.  It’s more than a statement of and on you, your like.  You’re tossing a significant thought stone into the collective brook.  It will ripple.  You should be mindful of the ebb and ricochet of your offerings.  Writing, reading others’ writings as well, has alway presented a bewildering intensity of intimacy to me.  So I always offer to students, “Don’t think, just write.” I admit.  But know yourself before you start typing, or start penning.

Finally, with some Coltrane.  “Equinox”.  I’m on the Road, literally.  Or I was, on the way back here after retrieving some particulars from the Autumn Walk Studio.  But I’m not going to overwhelm you nor I with why I’m here in the room.  I’m activating my son’s mentality, of this being an adventure… being excited to be here.  I’m here because of a disaster and that hour I now re-mold into a manuscript, this month’s/year’s novel.  A letter to me, you, the students, and everyone around me… the tidal wave of perception doesn’t halt and neither will the writer.  The Calluna deceives me in its gentle landing and traffic.  The prospective pathos forwarding me in a  tiered and tireless rhythm of Me.  This new writer, this new student, and I guess Educator.  What I’m learning from this, more than perspective, more than managing my attitude, mood, but opening my eyes…. Looking.  Understanding the scenic ingredient and calculating my composition.  You want to write?  Yes, just start.  But, know why you want to write.  I was recently told, “The ‘why’ doesn’t matter.  The ‘what’ does.” This remark had to deal with winery inventory, so the speaker was actually I guess correct.  But in the literary world, my world, my educating efforts, in the lectures and letters I’m about to offer the planet, the WHY is the functionality, what breathes, what circulates blood in the idea.  The what proves ancillary.

Tonight, while writing, or reading, take notice of where you do so.  “Location as character.” As I used to offer in class, more often.  Where I am.. this hotel room.  This hotel.  Never been here before.  Never seen this building from the outside before, I don’t think, let alone its guts, or this room.  My view… a pool, a hot tub, parking lot, casino across the street.  Love the room you’re in, even if it’s a dentist office, or cubicle, or waiting room, if you’re waiting for your car to be serviced.  This hotel room is like a place of worship for the writer…. Regret missing class today, and very much wish the day didn’t dictate as it did with it integral complicit contingencies and volume of steps in my house, people I didn’t know.  But it was there.  THEY, were there.  Didn’t want Alice alone.  So I stayed, called both sections, and am here now in a hotel with the sun running away and this seat, this jazz, this wine, and quiet.  No air cleaners, or people ripping tape off anything, people talking to each other about something I have no fucking clue what—  Relax.  This is the day, and the day is done and this quarter is my Now, mon espace.

Can’t believe I’m here.  Singular word for me, now, in this Now…. ‘Everything’.  I’m taking everything.  Everything used for the story—  Was just interrupted by a business call, someone tapping me for creative input for his friends’ label.  I’m flattered and inspired by the call, but as well a bit irked I was taken from my sitting.  Mr. Coltrane speaking to me through randomized note tangential.  Know the bar’s open downstairs, but I don’t want to hear any voices, not even my own.  No noise, just this room, this room, MY room.  Or at least at the moment.  The room tells me to stop writing, enjoy the view.  Then I respond, “The view is of bloody Rohnert Park.” It says nothing back.  Which means the writer/teacher/displaced daddy has to cull his next command.

Not really unpacked.  All the bags are here and I haven’t touched them since I put them all here, there, on the bed and floor and the room me makes anxious when I look up.  Empty glass, full thoughts, new notes, and this table makes a funny sound when I type now, without any justification since I plugged in laptop to wall outlet.  New Room, hotel… want to go for a walk, observe and capture all that I can.  Could go to bar and write what I hear people say.  Not have anything to drink, but merely sit, scope, scribble.  What’s left in the session, time-wise?  Not sure.  The pool behind me glows, that cinematic blue-green-white.  I have no idea what to make of it but I’d love to jump in, swim while it rains or drizzles.  Walking away and jumping into the pool could be MY statement, in this writing.


For some reason, I stressed about this sitting, asking myself shit like “What do I write?” And “Where do I start?” Isn’t that the exact thing I advise students against?  Either way, I catapult my intricacies to page, my attention sharp this morning to the coffee’s layered chants and instruction.. winemaking team on other side of wall hosing something down, and me here with the keyboard, with the stack of papers I still have yet to grade, in head.  On drive up here, I thought of the tools at disposal, for me a writer to get to his Road, his travels… see and record the world and everything in it.  And it’s simple— all has to be on blog, and all has to  direct and drip in one angle or way or form reconnect and embrace the material metaphysics of wine.  Both as symbol and actuality.  Picture from yesterday, the Alexander Valley Cab in the glass, a dark, gothic, depth of thought, meditation and form.  Narrative, poetic and musical singing to me and needling me, “STAY HERE.  STAY WITH ME.” She said.  Wine, poetry, music.  Not so much a formula but ingredients and constituents in a much more grand composition for the writer.

Then another idea lands…. My worry about not getting to my vino letter.  Why worry, why fret, why beat myself up, but rather use this sitting as the communication with letters, the NaNoWriMo sprint to not just 50,000 words but a bloody finished manuscript.  Huh, imagine that.  Me, finishing, selling, traveling.  This coffee in its paper cup… what about it.  So much about it.  So much about me and what I want from my “career” as a wild wine writer, or journalist.  All the sounds from the crush pad made specifically for me in this sitting.  Making wine then just staring at it in the glass as I did yesterday when Britt and I had just a micro-microcosm of still, peace, a quiet where we could collect and ask each other, “So what did we have to get done today?” The people just kept coming through the door, which I love, couldn’t get enough of.  The first group being toured around by me, tasting from barrels and walking around the crush pad, me sharing with them the idea that wine is more than just “alive” as so many people say and more than just something to be sipped and hoping for some effect.  It’s a story, a series of efforts and lives coming together to make something that represents time, place, the sounds and smells, feels of the tanks as they cold stabilize something.  All senses and senses that aren’t even recognized or categorized… 6th, 7th, 12th.

3,000 words.  Can I please just reach that today?  With all this wined story around me, if I just stay on task and keep writing throughout the day and between tasks, between moving all those cases into the tax paid and wine club cages, it shouldn’t be much an img_7049issue.  So many thing working at a winery is just taking pictures of the vineyards around you and walking around in a haltless gawk, tasting wine all day, chatting with people, then you leave.  Vacation five days a week, forever, that’s your career.  No.  What I’m gaining more of a penchant for is everything antithetical to the perception, to the stereo types.  That’s where the gems are for wine writers… in the sweeping, the cleaning, the inventorying (which I still hate and am forcing self to love for page’s sake)—  Winemaker from other property, Mr. David Drake, Lancaster, coming in to drop off some bottles of sparkling for another employee…. See?  Occurrences just the like are what feed my motor for wined manuscript.  SO, I take a growling chug of coffee, thinking my move next, 08:59.  Oh shit, how?  Time, it doesn’t care.  And you know what, nighter does this writer, not this morrow, not at all.  I’m just typing fire to the image of her dark apparitions and seductive geometry.

Offices were never really for me, till I started having visions of my own, a wine creative/creative marketing/creative writing/creative sales solutions office.  Mine, where other creatives lurk and practice their penning and art, for movements in wine and moving wine’s awareness and principal, material story into more known solar systems.  Oui, wine has me everywhere this morning.  All I want to do is write about her, blog her, every step of her construction and rile, till it’s in a glass, tasted, part of a sipper’s story.  What I sipped last night, the Matanzas Creek SB, showing me I need to stay a student of wine and invite everything.  Write about everything.  Even the BOL I just signed for the three sparkling bottles from Foley Sonoma that were dropped off by Mr. Drake.  Everything is to be written about, the Blanc ordered.  So get to work.  Just write.  Stop thinking so goddamn much!

Nearness in feel, in color, wine and coffee.  Not sure what that understanding conveys, but I see it.  The write toward and into his further pages by both.  These winemaking teams, if they didn’t have coffee…. I don’t know what the result would be.  Don’t want to entertain it, really.  David telling me that not much is in barrel, and that they’ll be pressing a whole slew of tanks this week.  Told him I’d love to come by and see but don’t know when that’ll be, with teaching and the myriad that’s my writing daddy life.  This morning, not going back to sleep but hopping to my Keurig to brew cup 1.  That the Craft I did.  That’s what brought me here, in this chair, at this mock-desk in the middle of the cubicle office, seeing self as a wine writing roué, the fulfillment being in the collaborative act between she and wine, telling these wined stories and oscillating and cementing observations while working at the winery.  There’s too much here, and in the wine scape, sometimes I meditate.  But there’s not.  There’s not too much, there’s not enough, there’s never ‘just’ enough.  There’s the stage, the theatre of wine, I write, the sensual sentences connected to each sound and light, tank, barrel, scent, pour.


And at

day’s end, I collect.  We should inventory, much I hate that word, and evaluate what we did, how it contributed to our character.  Only an hour and one minute left in day, and the quiet of the house speaks to me as it did the other morning when I was up well before 6.  Now I’m tired, yawning and forcing self to type.  But I’m doing it, no?  I’m working when I’m sure others I know are out, partying or drinking or doing something that does nothing to forward them to their There.  Sounds like I’m judging but I’m not.  I’m citing reality.  And if not reality, then a blaring likelihood.

Tomorrow morning, HAVE TO wake early.  Earlier than early.  03:45, like the student from Spring term.  How did he do that?  Not missing one class, and always walking in more than awake and telling his colleagues of how he went to gym after his alarm pulled him from sleep at 03:45.  How… I’m going to know.  Wife upstairs and before going up, her verbal— “Don’t stay up too late, Mikey…” Oh, I won’t.  Believe me.  I have so much I want to get done in morning.  A run, being one.  Where is my running watch?  Think in desk drawer, somewhere.

Photography.  What do I do.  Looking at past shots in the vineyard, and seeing the vines as more than vines, more than some plant, more than a grape-providing forum.  I separate for a second, from the photog and the images therein… just think of what wine’s done to my life, what I have in my glass— yes, I confess I poured the rest of that CH (Chalk Hill) Estate Pinot I opened two nights ago when Mom and Dad came over.  The spiritual yell from this wine tells me to relax, not think I always have to write— then we tussle, slight fight— “Who are you too tell me when to scribble and type?” I cannon.  No response.  The wine’s smarter than me, not interested in nor having time to quibble with an agitated Beatnik like Mike.  My moment assures, poised—


11/11/17.  Not sure what people notice in ’11/11’.  Up.  Not as early as yesterday, sipping coffee and I think I’m ready for the day.  A day where it’s only myself and one other person behind the bar.  Have to do what I said yesterday, and just breathe, and work with what I have which is me, her, bottles to pour, that’s all.  ‘Nother sip… why didn’t I wake earlier?  I have no time to write this morning… well, I do but not as much as I’d like.  “Well, too bad.” One side of the Gemini says.  The other stays quiet, doesn’t say a thing.  Manipulate… manipulate the moment to suit the story.  Idea I just had.  Nearly took breath from my vessel.  Need to do personal finance budget… will do at work.  Not going to shower this morning but just brush teeth, wash face, find something to wear and zoom out the door like a lawyer late for court.  Be in car AT 08:00, driving, if not earlier.  Move quicker, quicker than other humans can.  Other humans don’t write, or at least not like this, not like I do, not like a tireless writer— and certainly not these wine writers, or the ones that embolden themselves to the point— self-deceive themselves to the alter of anointing themselves ‘journalists’—  No.  I’m me, the only of me, and I manipulate my Personhood and all its caveats and coursing, directions and partial directions as I want.  Shit— 07:25.  Already feel the coffee.  So what.  What does the writer do.  Have to use restroom but I don’t want to stop.  Sell wine as you sell yourself, as you did yesterday over the phone with that guy in, where was it— MN.  Yes.  Bought two css of the single-vineyard Cab, Alex’ Vall’.  And over the phone.  Couldn’t believe it.  Or I could.  I was selling me.. my words, my language in talking about it—  Gothically painted Cabernet with its very assertive translation of not only vintage and varietal but where it’s from— dusty and slightly sweet embers, chocolate and volcanically-pulsed dust, a thick air of anomalous narrative—  Now I want to buy some.

Friend came in yesterday and said how much she loves to hear me talk about wine.  Not that I’m bragging, but I’m a little bit bragging.  I know where my strengths are, is, are, and coalescing wine and spoken-word is one.  This moment transfusing my thought cascade differently and the same, a postmodern maelstrom that only makes a writer more garrulous but not on matters at all meaningless.  11/11… it’s the visual, how it presents itself on and to and in the page.  So be me a writer, aujourd’hui.  Echoing in my reason and vision and letters to self and students, and you reading this if you’re not a student or someone I know or…

Toys around me, evidence of dad-dom.  I do all this for them, and the rest for others.  Just realized that none of this, really, is for me.  I want parents to of course be proud of their writing son… sister, same… wife, as well…. I’m not doing any of this for me, I see.  Huh.