me wine

img_0514I’m always telling my students, “Make the topic your own.” I need punctuate the same mentality in my wine industry life, I’ll admit.  When some times I get discouraged, or embittered.  Why?  I have to ask myself, “What the fuck are you getting so moody for? It’s the WINE industry!  Make it your own!” This morning, and now, now at 11:40, I force myself to see my wine shop, my wined travels, wined notes… to make everything around me WINE.  The other instructors here, in this department that walk in and out of this conference room, back and forth from their either shared offices or their own, interrupting my types but only ‘cause I let them… see them as consumers and producers, creators like me but I want to be the most noted producer of ideas.  Think of those collective tasting room with like severn or eight producers in the walls, or those one-story buildings with like five or six sovereign tasting rooms on their parcel.  I want to be the producer of idea producers in this department.  I start taking notes for today’s meetings, English 5 first—  “So?” I write at the top of the little page.  Wonder what this will encourage, discussion-wise.

Old wine writings, where I tried to be a critic, I guess you could say, to others which were just rants about the industry and about people that come into the tasting room.  There should never be the nay on a wine blog, or in any shape, style, tilt or tell of wine writing.  It’s wine, ‘get a grip’ I say to the old self in these old writings.  Wine… wish I had a glass now.  Seriously, why not.  When Alice and I did the whole Napa Wine Train thing, I had a glass of that Syrah at 10-something.  So why not now, at 11:46.  Well, I have no wine on me, for one.  And 2, I urge and surge, hurt to write.  I want to pile these wined thoughts so high, past any fucking ceiling or cloud cover.  Wine and I have a career to build… books to write… some re-writing and reconsideration to lament, cement.  Time to make a dent.

I thought about where I was earlier this morning, five years ago.  Haven’t gone on the blog yet to see what I was writing, but I know I wasn’t as content as I could be.  Or content at all, working under a tyrannical manager at a winery which was less a winery and more a wine factory, purchased recently by a big corp, and utterly surrendering its identity and integral narrative.  Antithetical to what I think of when I think “wine country”, or “going wine tasting”…. Here I am, now, nearly 39.  Might as well be 40.  Might as well be 80, or past that.  Time just keeps with its talk and sprint.  It doesn’t wait for us, wine reminds.  The other day talking with those two ladies in the reserve room, while pouring wine and talking the wines’ languages, discussing what brings people together and how the clock is a cruel reminder and insignificant, concurrently.  Still with those thoughts, still having that conversation only now with Self.  Making my wine life so my own that I’ll be envied, even by other frames of Me, my mind and meditative dimensions…



IMG_2756More words fly into my head, and thoughts of my kids, how they see me and how they’ll read this blog and these books, when they can.  Me, a wine writer.  A… well, I think.  I write about wine, but don’t, but do but don’t but definitely and definitively do.  Ideas for class today, are what.  Not sure.  Talk about something.  Music… life… what gives you life.  I think of all the winery, small winery that is, owners I’ve met over the years and all of them are so deep into it not ‘cause they have to or even want to, it’s just them.  THEY, are it.  It’s their thought process and progress and strut and shape.  So much more than a wine thing, if you think about it.  Actually, you don’t have to think that hard about it.  Not teaching over the summer, and no regrets.  Have to focus on the growing season, what’s out there in the vineyard and grow alongside my vines with these pages… pages and pages of me around wine and all the lives that walk into the tasting room.  Not letting any nay into my analytical gaze, just keep writing about what I see, hear and sip.

Me in the vineyard writing and walking around somewhat knowing what I observe but then knowing everything that I see.  Identifying with it interrogatively.  The vineyard and I having a discussion, the buds telling me to start a new book, go on a new trek and journey, exploration of self.  You don’t have that much time, the buds remind me.  SO, I journal with more fervor, more intention, less apprehension.  Decreeing new decisions, today.  This morning and with all my wined aims and thoughts.  Part of me wants to get out of the tasting room and then the other doesn’t want to be anywhere else ‘cause of all the material there.  People coming in, walking around then asking us what we specialize in…. Pretending it’s my wine shop and what I have to do throughout the day to keep the business in its creative and profitable vivacity.

Denoting and connoting curiosity, love, encouragement, wine persists.  And often, I feel, just for me and my projects.  My creative efforts and what I want from the business, “the industry” as they say.  Toward the end of yesterday, while closing, while locking the side door, I felt so utterly confused, but then a memory of one of the wineries at which I used to work, gathered my character.  Keep writing, it told me.  Only about wine and all wine brings with her.  Stay in the vineyard, go for walks, record everything and everyone… every day and detail.  That’s YOUR story… that’s where your books are headed.  Why do I ever stray or find Self in discouragement?  I have all my stories here, in glasses for me, bottles… to sip and sense, detect and accept.  Wine grants me hold of thoughts, that I thought not mine but have always been.  That’s musical.  That’s something to address in class, today, under an hour… tonight, I type and pour, note everything in head.. all vineyard visions and walks, old photos I unearth from this laptop… all.


Un rêve?


Being on the Road, writing about le vin.  Soon, my present.  I want to see wine in all its facets and forms, voices and songs.  Everywhere.  Chase it, to extend my story and appreciate life with more wholeness and worldliness.  Journaling all wined sights, and sights as a result of the wined jaunts around la planète.

Maybe it is a dream, but not for much longer.  I’ll be everywhere, writing everywhere, in old castles and buildings, villages and huts, on the lives there, not so much and often the wine.  I’ll be there with bottles, writing about them, but the intent is predicated on Human Beings, lives, the thought, learning from the act of travel and intersecting with characters I would have otherwise not met.

No more dreaming.


Mike sees everything from wine. 

IMG_6899Not from drinking it, tasting it, even nosing it.  But from the origin of wine, from the earth… the practical and metaphoric, reaching consideration of Life.  You’ve probably heard many say “wine is life” or something to such a bend.  But he sees everything from wine.  Teaching, being a father, a runner, a thinker, Human. The growth, the care, the constant monitoring of progress.  La vie, la vie, la vie …. Everything is life to him.  Wine, when he does have some, extends from the thought of being here one day, and not another.  From looking around the café and seeing people older than him, thinking they’re considerably more aged than him, a distant vintage, but as well understanding that one day not so distant he’ll be that bottle, on that shelf with them, even if they’re gone.  He’s a wine writer, but not the same wine writer you read in doltish publications that merely dumb down wine to simplistic tags and dopey descriptions.  Wine to him is the lens, the paradigmatic symbol and reminder of brevity, life’s curtness and brief movement, revolution.

Wine.  He is wine.  He embodies life as few around him do.  Nothing is insignificant.  He continues to age, grow, develop, think and realize his immediate play, place and voice on the planet.  It’s more than analogy, symbol, or even metaphor, but an actualization of belief.  We are mirrors of what’s around us, he believes.  And what more obvious orator than wine, those vines.  Today at work, he’ll be in thought mode, noting everything… wine as the speaker, on all topics— history and mathematics, science and philosophy, literature and grammatical matters.  He need not even use the word, wine.  As everything is. The older lady throwing her coffee cup away, the younger man sitting down by himself and taking off his shades, taking out phone and doing whatever.  Living… in-moment sight, realization, belief.


The writing father

can literally not afford to waste one second.  Forgot earphones in car and I think it img_9745beneficial I did.  I have no choice but to focus harder and block out all the chatting and noises and slurps all around me here in this Healdsburg Starbucks (Vine Street).  Will leave for client’s in 25 minutes, 11:48.  Man next to me works on something for his business, I think graphic design.  Design…  designing sites.  New Year’s plan… learn to do this.  Set up my own templates, maybe.. or something for myself as a writer.. just a ‘Mike Madigan, Author’ site.  Something to make self more marketable or just get more readers.. but my only fear is that would take from the writing.  So let me hold off on that vision.  For now.  Focus on the writing and what I have to do for the day.  Sell wine.  Prep for another attempt at a 04:00 wake in the morrow.

Made note in class while student did their final prompt, “Be more a writer…” In habit.  How I act and how I work, from when I wake up to my daily page amount.  Going to everyday target 3 pages no matter what I have going on.

11:29, and I can’t think of what I was just going to write.  It got away, the idea.  “Goddamnit!” I say internally, but tempted to say aloud just to see how everyone would react.  Man next to me blows his nose.. gross.  Me with a couple more bites of this breakfast sand’, but plenty mocha.  Enough caffeine to get me through this sitting and through 5 hours of wine DTC work.  Writing daddy is enthralled with the day and the semester being done, so another starts.  More is beginning for me.  New year, new chapter, new narrative and sight.. books and travel, more mochas and breakfast sandwiches and useful sittings like this in a nearby Starbucks or coffee shop or what/wherever.

If anything, this is just more reason

to post everything to the blog.  I mean, what if my computer just dies?  Crashes or whatever they say.  Noting to myself here, but I should be on an actual page.  Take a break from tech…  Fill further the Carpe journal Mom and Dad bought me.  Need to breathe, breathe and let the day fly away and only be as significant as you need it to be.

Quiet in office, this cottage where I stare at the vines and think of the vineyard I’ll one day own, the house on property which I may use as an office or rental, or just another home.  Not sure.  But to get there, I have to deal with here, the 22nd of December–  Today.  The day that’s definitely in its attack mode and just for me.  But if I don’t acknowledge its actions or the day, empirically, then nothing hurts.  There’s no damage.  The story is what it’s always been and scenes only improve.

Loop Do a True 

Frustrated with myself as I wanted to post a piece I wrote about Emma, earlier, but this evening is about a vent, a shelling of sorts.  Nothing negative, just that needle-esque candor.  Right now on floor of bottom floor of Autumn Walk Studio sipping night’s cap and thinking about day, how crazy it was at the winery.  How I love and loathe such momentum in tandem, how people that ask the dumbest, most self-absorbing probes of wine perturb and infuriate me— one lady today feeling the need to ask a question then use the answer as the foundation of her grievance— example: “Did this see any oak?” she asked about the Chardonnay.  “No,” I riled, “we wanted this to be clean and bright, expressive and charming.”

“Well,” she said, spilling the remainder into the pour ceramic in front of her, between us, “I like the oaky Chards, this is too thin.  Why didn’t you use new oak?” I dodged the question and told her something that made her feel more empowered so she’d shut the fuck up.  ‘It’s wine for fuck’s sake’, I thought.  Why do people get like this over wine, and I have to be honest it’s less than a percent of people walking through that front door-set that have such demeanor and lean.  I always watch from behind that bar, writer I be, to see what I see.  You have these presuppositions at times, we all do, but you never know.

Already I can feel myself getting lazy on this Studio’s bottom floor, and I haven’t even lifted the night’s capping of captain cappings.  So now what do I do, with this time to myself, after getting up when I did with daughter, then soonafter son— the writer’s a pretzel, self-promulgated in prose promiscuity, yodeling from this idea to that, and I get more frustrated with self.  So how is this helping.  I think of the vineyard walk I took yesterday, how if I were the owner I’d be doing the same thing as the current owner.  True acuity and familiarity with the property, telling a story.  It’s all a story, a zooming and tangibly scenic story-set.  I’m relaxed but not, as I see again how life’s shortness motivates us.  I’m angry, but then I’m not.  I refuse to smoke from negativity’s cig.  I’m here, now, downstairs, the fridge going mute, and me finally having a whale upon which to write.  Yes, each moment I can write while having two babies is like joyriding a whale, in the middle of the Pacific.

I’m okay now, with not touching the Emma piece.  I’ll get to it tomorrow.  Typical writer procrast’—  So now harm in my creative skin or waves, telling tide.  What’s going to happen tomorrow at the winery, who will ask what?  WHAT?  Feel like I need to know now so I can have some witty fucking response.  The wine industry’s like a circus, then like a business, then like a riot, then like a war.  Which facet do I better like?  Not sure.  You know what, curtly, I’d rather write about my daughter.


At the counter sipping my beer and

watching the Niners-Bronco’s game, I thought of my self in another city, and how that would feel, what I’d be writing if I were on travel.  The beer was cold and just the temperature needed for end of day–  working in my book for what seems like a life, a life with distorted time sense.  Coming semester could very well be the final.  This is my final exam, and I’m intent on acing it.  Writing what I need to to solely be governed by my stream of pages.  It will happen.  It has to happen.  Self-absorbed narrator, so what.  I ignore my momentary insecurity and sip the beer.  Watch the game.  Pre-season but oh well, it’s football.  I miss football.  Even though I’m a baseball guy, I love the game, the run plays, the play with the clock.  But I’m too distracted by the thought of my travel eventual, how music will sound in hotel lobbies, what the people will look like as they pass out of the corner of my eye– my thinking just leads me and in imaginative irrationality.  I need travel.  Sooner than soon. I get quite agitated when people mention how much they travel for work and say so like it’s such a bare.  I don’t get it.  This semester will change everything.  Going to teach like I’m already there, with the finished book, with the travels…  Beer done, young girls on phone, and so am I.  They send pictures and text messages to their “friends” or other others in their lives, I make memoir notes.  I’ve never worked in a restaurant.  Not even in college.  Why.  How.  How did I escape that?  Seems like some mandatory transition everyone has to pass.  An exam of its own onus.  But I’ve never done it.  I start to obsess over and in all these young characters around me.  Bringing people their meals and many times dealing with assholes, hoping for a tip and getting nothing–  and how do they carry like six plates with two arms?  I could never do that.  My job is the writer.  Quietly observing, maybe a bit sinisterly. Watching their rush, their staring at computer screen registers, crumbling receipts, talking to their bully manager who’s such a fucking service expert, then they go to the back to check on an order.  Interesting, I think.  What are they talking about, those two waitresses over there, by the bar corner, near where I was sitting?  The counter, reminded me how necessitated travel is as a writer.  I was imagining.  That imagining need to stop, become actually actualized, become my actuality.  This coming semester, that starts in a matter of hours, really, is the definition of my definiteness.  It need be poetic from pulse one to last.  sure I’ll think about this on tomorrow morning’s run.  Class one, then two, and all the way to Week 18.  “Plan, for once!” I order Self.  Follow-through.  Right?  Yes.  Can’t thank that counter enough.  That beer, the game on the screen, the odd couple to my right, lone chat at left.  All for story’s purposes.  This all is.  Think…  Weather, travel, the organic in expressing yourself in writing… hmm, I think, ideas for day one.  4th quarter, under 2 minutes…


Facile (fluent)

Just finished shaving for following day, and I feel, I don’t know, off for some reason.  Like there’s something I should be doing but can’t remember what it is, and if it’s so important why can’t I remember that, so I continue in stress as to why I can’t remember.  I begin my re-read of ‘Moveable Feast’, but can’t find my copy.  Where’d I put it?  Walked around the office a bit looking for it but can’t find it and I’m too tired from the Fountaingrove run to pursue any search, “So fuck it.” I say to myself.

Sipping some Cabernet tonight, why not I think to myself as I don’t have to teach after the winery tomorrow, thank god.  Hit all corners today, I think— running, writing, fathering, adjuncting.  Well not quite the latter of latters but in my own way “taught”, or taught myself something about myself that I can do whatever I want, and that music need have a more roaring punctuatedness in my peregrination.

“Truthfully, when are you going to be honest with yourself?” I ask myself.

“About what?” I ask myself.

“About what you want to do.  When are you just going to fucking leap, and do something with your writing, and I mean really put yourself out there?  That’s the only way you’re going to be fucking noticed, you know…”

“Yeah, but, I don’t know.  I’m waiting.”

“Waiting.  For what.” The voice keeps with its virulent pester and interrogation but I don’t budge.  It seems to forget I have two kids, a wife.  I’m the dad, the household head.  So I can’t just act, do some crazy craziness, can I?  Maybe I can, just keep it all on page.  And no negativity, I know.  Be crazy in my positivity, nearly confrontational with it.  Okay.. fine…..  So tomorrow then will be the single best dat of my life.  Even better than my babies birth days.  How is THAT possible?  I don’t know, but tomorrow I learn.

After shaving I looked in the mirror, I know that trite contemplative moment, and usually when this happens I notice that I’m getting old.  But tonight I saw that I’m still quite young, and that I have so much to get done, I just need to chance a few things like when I get up, when I write, how I write, and what I write about to a degree.  Not depend on others’ reactions just keep with my narrative howitzer, blasting the blank page surface with honesty.  THAT, will get me to travel, seeing the world and lecturing on narrative and self-consideration and understanding through writing.  Have the ‘Writing in the Vineyard’ class approaching, and one of the first prompts I plan on putting before my “students”, or “colleagues” as I’ll refer to them as I do current matriculants, is just writing as crazily and carelessly, FREELY, as one’s able.  The only way to discover anything about your creative self is to be wild, free, lawless and with varying scopes.

Cabernet in the kitchen.  To make coffee for morning, and have glass final.  Je vais…

me:  8/15/16

Took both babies to school, this morning throwing my character into a swirl of daddiness.  Rushing back home to get on running gear, then attacking the Fountaingrove hills in 7 miles, just a touch over an hour.  Then went to get Alice a sandwich, bringing lunch to her classroom, staying for a while to see what’s she’s done with her room (ll incredibly creative), then coming back here to desk where I’m an intentioned animal in getting all this clutter away, emptying wallet and backpack.

On run, looked at all the houses, the architecture, colors and how the yards were groomed and crafted.  I smiled to self, overlooking a little ravine off to my right, looking down a slope steep and over to whatever distanced mountains those were.  Thinking about where I’m going with my writings, this blog, my story, where I want us as a family.  I will admit, I’m not too jazzed on where little Emma and Kerouac go to school.  For a rattle of reasons, none of which I really have time to catalogue or address now, but I need to keep with my writing and not get tired— like now, tempted to nap, and part of my thinking says, “Well, you ran 7 miles in Fountaingrove!  Take a fucking nap!” Too easy to give in, but I won’t.  Just going to keep writing, and clear this desk, do some budgeting.. oh, and take a shower, this running-writing-fathering adjunct.

How do I let all this shit accumulate in my wallet?  Look at this…

Distracted, by that ‘this’, all the receipts and business cards I had stuffed into my poor little heaping and overstuffed portefeuille (wallet).  But I type on, wondering what I can do with the remaining hours in day for me.  When to get babies…  Alice said not till 5, as Emma usually goes down for a nap and Jackie won’t want to leave, rather stay and play, and I’ll be bored.  Not me.  You know this writing father, I always keep busy.  Will take the Paris journal with me, and phone of course, finish verse I started earlier…  Writing father, with time running away from him like it’s afraid.  And it should be.  I’m not stopping.  Before anything, father to little Em and Kerouac.  So I have to keep moving for them.  I work for them.  And I can’t even a bit disappoint my superiors.  Not that they would be, but my standards are stratospheric for Self, so they can have whatever they want in life— all opportunities, possibilities, attained visions, all similar.

Wonder what they’re doing right now, at that school.  Tempted to go by.  Should I?  No.  Give them space.  Let them explore and learn and interact.  I’ll tell you, the urge is electric and taunting, to just drive there and spend the rest of my day with the babies.  But nothing would get done.  I was already late to this laptop, desk, clutter I need eradicate.  So I’m going nowhere, so we can all soon go somewhere.

It’s all up to daddy.  Or, that’s how I see it.  That’s how I want it.