from a journal

12/3/18

So this morning my devilish laptop decides to work.  Part of me incensed and the other joyous.  I’ll take the joyous.  Going to take it in, anyhow.  Then to bank, then, by THEN, I should be run-ready.  Not sure where I am in the marathon countdown, but I’m sure close enough to frighten me or at least get me a bit edgy.  Jazz on, music the whole way here from Starbucks, getting a 4-shot mocha (that kind of morrow) and blueberry scone which they were slow to give me and when I brought it up to the ponytailed barista after she asked me a bit drained and feigned what my name was and what I was waiting for, was told there are a lot of food items that were ordered and had to be heated.  “That’s why.” She made a point to say.  I nodded.  When the scone was handed to me, unheated.  I left, not so much laughing on my way back to the over-mileage’d Prius but thinking I need intensify what I’m putting into this day, this Monday.  Music, much of what I do and how I see things.  “They Can’t Take That Away From Me”, a track featuring Coltrane and shoving me this way, then that, and I’m present, very much present at this counter, 08:50.  Should get going to the laptop repair joint.  So if he, Phil, nice guy whom I always seek when it comes to fixing this goddamn thing for whatever reason, takes the monster from me, how will I type?  Oh… use the office computer as I did yester’.  Sometimes when life changes the Road’s contour, you have to follow and drive as it instructs, implementing your own creative code and composition while along.

Bite of scone.  Tempted to heat it, but why.  Surprised the laptop cooperates this morning.  Last night Jackie grabbing my phone and pushing the blog shortcut on the home screen, trying to read what he could, saying “Daddy you’re a really good writer.” How he sees me.  Intensify, amplify, self-codify in this blogger way and practice, habit, maintains the habit and practice, my Craft each morning.  Day young, crumbling scone, mocha not losing a significant level of its temperature level.

Yesterday wine tasting on Olivet Road, looking at the vineyards and in the tasting room tasting through what I did, wine speaking to me.  Take a closer more analytical lean and approach, approach then lean to life and the wines in front of you that ONLY speak life’s language.  Thought in what’s present, what’s caught, what is not what’s not. 

I’m writing for my life, just before 40.  I’m going into 40 with more thought than I ever have, certainly more urgency but more command of Day, this day and the ones in succession.  Wine has always done that, even when I had no idea what the hell I was sipping in my San Ramon apartment.  Just buying that Merlot, 2000 from Blackstone, California AVA tag, and feeling something.  Not a buzz.  In fact that first night with the friend over I think I only had a glass and a half, if I remember right.  IT was the form of the wine, the voices inside, the music.  It was all music.  I wasn’t into jazz then as I am now, but there was immediate jazz in the introduction to the light Bordeaux’s vocals.

Scone nearly gone and continues to crumble to that little paper bag they put it.  I’m not a breakfast bloke.  At all.  But this morning it just sounded good.  I’m operating madly today, on whim more than pragmatics or forecasting, any prediction or plan for the day.  I’m more mad in this paragraph stray, wanting adventure of some latitude in this way, day.  This day, mine, in all its chords and chimes.  Telling Self this is my only job.  Writing.  Capturing where I am and what I’m doing, here in kitchen with a finally-quiet house, writing daddy enjoying his caffeine and dreams.  Models presented in head, of our next house, runs on coast, flight to Germany or Austria to taste wines and write about the towns I visit.  How to do….  There is no “how to”.  There’s just the DO.  As I see it now, this morning.  I’m quiet frankly tired of dreaming and thinking, envisioning, seeing, painting some illustration or convenient scene in cognition.  Now, actuation’s my only deliberation.  And I don’t deliberate excessively.  I’m moving, moving is the opiate.  Should go soon, to Phil, find out why this goddamn device keeps giving me that keyboard warning, or stall, saying it can’t find a keyboard through the bluetooth function but there’s a fucking keyboard RIGHT HERE.  Attached to the bloody device.  Can’t you see that, monster?  Feel like yelling that here in the ditch but what would that do.

Wife texts me “Hi”.  Should reply.  But I can’t stop typing.  Feels more than good.  Writing for me isn’t writing, it’s not fucking “therapy” as some say, and I hate when people just pin writing as a therapeutic act, like that’s all it is….  It’s something, something.  I don’t know what.  Wine again speaking to me… those DeLoach Pinots, and the two Chardonnays.  I need to travel, I need write about, out, everywhere to understand wine and Self, this, life, why I’m here and where and what the writer’s meant to do with where he is.

New track.  JM’s Dream Doll by Mal Waldron.  Moody, slow, atmospheric and curiously haunting.  I’m in its notes and in line with the track’s progression.  I need produce a track a day, I said to myself while on San Miguel.  Will record when this note’s done.  Is it done, now?  Maybe this is the track, my track for the morning and the day, Monday, the week and for whatever I need.  Taking a break from the mocha as this writer already feels its gnarl and snarl.  Slowing with the sips.  Where’s my copy of Road?  Wanted to re-read it, on my own onus and timeline.  Just me on my Road, what I observe in Kerouac’s work and others.  Make time for reading today, I order Self.  Done.  Decreed.  Now, I for errands flee.

Technology not cooperating.

Laptop not cooperating.  Keyboard not responding.  Tried using this computer in office, the word processing doc program, and its cooperation was shit.  So I’m typing directly to blog.  Which I never do.  But, these blogs I’ve made my home and soon my sole career and composition, so I type here.  I know where to find these words.  And frankly, I like this bigger screen.  Need a break from that laptop monster and this occurrence gives me just the warrant and excuse to use this actual computer.  I’m using the office, the desk, the chair, the room, imagining it my eventual office in downtown SR or Healdsburg.

Kids play upstairs, agreeing to let me work.  This is definitely a morning of a writing father, a jotting daddy who needs things to work when they don’t, and they continue to defy, so I find ways to write.  I’m a writer and if I have to the pen and paper are my most reliable and ready ally in any tech scuffle.

Kids upstairs, playing.  They don’t have these worries, or any.  Jack asks projecting his voice what I’m doing down here.  Think he’s up to something.  I know he is after asking what he’s doing and he throws down the stairwell, “NOTHINGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG…..” I’ll trust him, or seem like I do even though I anything but do.  Don’t hear any thumping or falling of any objects.  Emma’s not crying so all much be composed, right?

Checked on laptop and it has no interest in cooperating, communicating, anything for me.  I come back to actual computer, the blog, the only anything I can use.  Day off but me self work.  There’s no such thing as “a day off” for writers.  I’ve forgotten about the laptop and now fixate on the day, later, a run I know I have to do but already dread, and if not dread than just want to think of anything to do so I don’t have to do THAT.

If I didn’t have this coffee, I’d be far more mentally disheveled and scattered, wrecked than I am now.  Kids play quietly upstairs.  The quiet is near unnerving– And there’s a funny noise.  Like a toy breaking, falling then shattering.  But I hear no vocal reaction.  This desk, the laptop, the morning, teaching me.  Lessons compounded and turned, around and in other directions for my story.  This writing pops.

Voices outside.  Neighbors starting their day.  “What are you guys doing?” My voices flies up the stairs from my office seat.  “Emma’s reading.” Jack says.

“What is she reading?”

“The puppy book.” Jack offers back, soft and in eased tone.

What are you reading, buddy?” I say.

“I’m reading the shark book then, um, I’m going…I’m going to read the dinosaur book.”

“Good!  Enjoy your reading!” I say to him as I say to my students before they read each other’s work in a class essay workshop.

Sip coffee and look down, under chin and see post-it, with note.  “Dear dad […] w  e love   yo     u”.  I smile then am interrupted in my enjoyment of a post-it with more life on it than I’ve ever seen by message from neighbor saying she needs her table back, the one she leant us for Thanksgiving.  I say sure and open the garage door and let her take it, return inside and ask upstairs how the reading’s preceding.  “We’re just doing a lot of reading, okay Dada?”

Back at desk, and the morning couldn’t be more for me if I had written it this way, or any way.  Neighbors wheeling stuff around.  Think there’s a collaborative garage sale sale going on.  Something like that.  What are they reading?  I hear Emma explain something to Jack and then he clarify what she’s attempting to elucidate.  Thinking I should go up there and read with them.

But, they come downstairs.  Slowly.  Emma saying, “Hey, Dada… what’s up?” I laugh and ask her same.  She then say something I can’t understand and don’t need to.  She says she needs to do something.  “I need get dressed.” The morning and its story cooperate where tech doesn’t want to.  And again, this shift in habit and writing practice teaches and reiterates dimensions to which I was already privy.

Writing my life, at this point in my life, to understand the story and my character and my writing, or anything, questions form.  Inquiries that will not halt.  I follow them, to more solutions then more puzzles to solve and codes to decode and deconstruct.

Jackie calls me up, I say I need five minutes.  Which I do and don’t.  I surrender the path that is the morning and day and just the sequence of songs in each set of numbers the clock reads play.  We wish for a lot, we Humans.  We focus on what’s absent rather than celebrating what’s present.  This morning reminds me to celebrate, to forget about whatever the laptop’s doing and just move, be mobile, be writing, be loving.  The babies upstairs losing their littleness and I age and we all age, so I capture everything.  Jack singing some song I can’t understand or identify.  Think it’s a Christmas  song, I don’t know.

Jack again demands I come upstairs and I agree.  Hear them playing and him trying to teach Emma about the functionality of some toy.  “Emma, turn it off!” I ask him to please be nice to her, he rationalizes “She doesn’t follow my rules…” Smile, back to writing more.  Love how they think, how they talk, argue and respond and in a micro-nanosecond turn their thoughts into something so convenient and obscure that only they can see connected dots.  That amazes me, their language.  Their thoughts and how they create and respond, occupy their time.  They never obsess over what’s not, only what is.  That, if anything this morning, more than that fucking laptop, teaches me.  I’m a student and they’re the collective professor.

Wonder how I’m doing in class.  My grade.  Do they like my blog, this after-laptop piece?

He calls again, little Kerouac.  This time, he doesn’t accept my excuse.  Up…..

12/2/18

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

Thinking of everything I can this morning. 

To do before class, prior to being taken away from page.  My sight of seeing other cities and reading in them, speaking in them, sharing ideas like I do at SRJC semester after semester.  Somewhere else.  And in different directions and momentums.  Do what I do there, just louder, and in more locations… more creatively, more creatively than I already do.  Yes.  Just do that.  Should share this idea with the students.  

Want to get somewhere, be something?  Keep doing what you’re doing to get yourself there, just with more loudness, more momentum.  More hunger and creativity.

Interesting place to write, this morning. 

0c7912a9-f190-4f4f-8b7b-b781b33bc8ab-6321-000003e349dc6a68_fileWhile car’s serviced at place I found on Piner.  Not there, but at Epic Center, or is it Epicenter…. Either way I’m here with a 4-shot mocha and laptop seated at tallboy table, with vent above me but not blowing on me thank goodness.  Need today to be a center of epic quality in my story.  Guy said car wouldn’t take long to be tended to.  So I expect this sitting to be interrupted which is fine.  Going with flow, more or less so today.  Writing daddy finding time to write after taking kids to school now that’s schedule’s changed, having Monday and Sunday off which I prefer anyway as to have time like this.  Seated in unexpected place, writing, gathering and assembling self before day leaves ground.

Below this paragraph, this new thought if it’s even a coherent, autonomous thought, I type notes for the meeting today, class, reviewing essays.  The workshop, but I want today to be antithetical workshop, not what they’re used to.  Past couple days or so I’ve been thinking about me as a teacher or professor, how I view writing and how I read, what I hope for students to take away from every meeting, and how that translates to my new life in tech, in the tech world and working with internet, in business.  Everything begins to intersect before me, musically, and like Kerouac said, “The only truth is music.” If this is musical, it must be truthful.  I know it is.  Before class, I’ll lock myself at some point in my home office, arranging books, looking through old notes, amplifying the professor-Me.

Last time I came here, during its normal operating hours, was with Jesse, one of my best buddies about whom I’ve written a few times.  Guy who was on my roof last October hosing it down do it didn’t catch fire from all the falling embers and little flaming pieces and bits of homes around that weren’t as favored.  We came here and bowled, had beers, walked around and watched people play games, talked, then had some more beer and walked back to my house.  Seems like forever-forever ago, and I just think about time as I always do.  Setting plan for today, trying to get ahed of time.  What can I do?  Nothing.  More and more I’m old, older, but I don’t feel it.  How do I reconcile that?  Maybe I don’t have to. Maybe I am where I am, where I’m supposed to be, like my friend Tasha agree a cosmic intersection. 

Hard to believe I’m writing here.  Epic Center—  No, it IS ‘Epicenter’.  Oh well.  Doesn’t matter the name.  I definitely didn’t see my morning going this way, writing here, a place where I usually only visit when wife and kids are away and with Jesse to bowl and beer, and maybe play some game, something.  After this, thinking a drive somewhere, write somewhere else random.  OR, should I go home and arrange office.  Re-take the office which has recently been overtaken by the little beats, where they leave toys and sweet little drawings for me and their mother.  OR…….  Do I go to that collective crush pad, watch the winemakers and fruit come in, document what I can, be more of a wine writer than I ever had, just play around and fiddle with visuals and writing ideas like I do when here with bowling ball and beer.  Yes.. just go there and play with wine, and now that I’m out of the industry I can very much do that.

Looking for fruit, bins full of berries, winemakers I know, ideas for my little label.  Find stress commotion, people talking about what to do with fruit, how to treat fermentation, temperatures.  That place, Punchdown it’s called, is my epic of epic centers for creativity.  Now with this day off, I can work.  I can collect stories about wine and the wine industry and what people want from wine that work with it everyday on a production level.  Just made a note in today’s lecture and lesson plan, “What are you looking for?” Writing is experience, as is reading, bringing your life to the pages of whatever novel or memoir, book you’ve picked up.  Everything intersects, all elements connect.  In writing in life in work with reading, everything.  Like a game.  A ball down an isle, knocking over pins.

9/24/18

21:00.  Home

3f783641-3af6-422a-b9a5-b4814a6a08c1-24969-00000ff7a5f0b9d9_fileand on floor thinking over day, over a beer.  Great lecture in English 100, after meetings with co-workers and a positive, energetic, and animated new-hire.  I learn from everything.  My knowledge addiction doesn’t in anyway diminish or taper.  Only exacerbates.  AMPLIFIES.  Would love to talk to that twit who once accused me of using the word “amplify” incorrectly.  Yes, she is a career tech-laden say-in.  But I’m one of language and word ties and sentence storms, I know what I’m saying when I it say.  And as I said in the wine world, being a literary bloke in its walls, I’m now such in the tech world, making everything around me MINE.  From the desk at which I’m based, to the break room in which I was earlier writing, to the carpet, those chairs outside the break room that look like something from 2001 Space Odyssey, or The Jetsons, or Star Wars.  Everything is new, Newness for a literary body as I in tech’s step and compositional clef.  I watch and see everything, learn from everything. More about the internet and business functionality, 

Being new in tech, I don’t feel the intimidation or anything scary or over-my-head that so many said I would head.  Nothing like that. Everything invites, teaches, and as an academic I can only see what’s in that office in such a touch.  When driving to work this morning, I for some reason felt either anxiety or fear, or insecurity, something like that.  Soon’s I walk int through the doors, putting my badge in front of that sensor thing after saying hi to one of my co-workers and her dog, Frankie, a beautiful wolf-looking pup of some makeup, I centered, felt more me, the literary me in tech’s periphery.  Now that the day’s over, and with class late tomorrow night after a day in the office working on new projects and meeting team members, after more meetings, brainstorming more on more new ideas and possibilities… I see this, all of it. This is my platform, or launchpad of some kind, profitable and promising precipice.

21:15.  Starting to fade, get tired, feel tired, want to give up on the writing but I won’t let self before touching and feeling a word count.  I know, the whole quality versus quantity, or is it quantity then quality consideration, debate, I don’t know, but how tired I feel’s beginning to beg my concentration.  Has me straying from one thought to the next.  And no, it’s not the beer, as this is my only in this nightcap place, placement.  My character Kelly comes home from work, her new job in a tasting room and opens a bottle she was able to take home, to try, from the winemaker.  She feels herself getting tired, starting to fade a bit but doesn’t let her concentration erode to the point of not studying the wine.  She pretends it’s hers, what she’d say about it.  A Syrah, all Russian River whole-cluster with extended skin time and more than 50% new oak, French.  Like me new to tech, and she new to wine, there’s profuse truth in experiential design.