from a journal


Early in office.  I can tell people, some, don’t want to be here on their Saturday.  Thought walking down the dark hall to get coffee that I wouldn’t, couldn’t, have it another way.  Coffee and blueberry bagel, I picked up from spot just down block.  Thought they were CLOSING closing, for good.  Guess not, after asking the girl behind large glass display case that no, no they are not closing.  At one time they were thinking of moving, but no closing.  Shared my relief with her and left after paying with quarters.  Only $1.50.  No debit card usage today, and no cash.  Investing in my businesses more vigorously and with more tell and precision, closer to 40 I step.  The morning, complimented by music in right ear, beats and instrumentals I’d have playing in my wine shop, or tasting room.  Still think about it, literally on basis that’s multiple-daily.  This morning when I woke up I thought of having to spend the night at my store like the one guy I met years ago when working for the advertising firm in Marin where I was invited into a guy’s office at a Mexican restaurant and the man had a bed behind his desk, to the side of his file cabinet.  I always remembered that and think of it now, getting closer to 40 yes but even more near to my business.  I know wine will answer everything for me. She always does.

8:01.  59 minutes at my desk.  Noting on day, on what I need do for and with team today, then tomorrow.  Tasting with a winemaker I’ve always admired and followed, and a bit a friend of mine, Michael Browne.  My tasting with him was over 4 years ago, when he still partially owned Kosta Browne.  Part of me wants to plan my questions, write them out.  And I might to a degree.  But if I’m to write as the wine writer I wish be seen and remembered, I’d prefer the preponderance of it be unplanned.  Wine shouldn’t be an excess of structure. I remember myself saying once.  Just now writing on a post-it, that wine is more chance than anything else, a reminder to not forget about the moment immediately before you.

Notes in other places, on wine and what I want from wine…. Wine from last night, nothing too crazy, and the vineyard walk I committed self to, tomorrow.  As soon as I’m on Lancaster’s set, I’ll be in those rows.  Must be, continuously.  The rocks and soil contrast from one parcel of the property to next.  Being away from the industry as I have, and very much by choice, the vineyards more me call now.  I hear the birds from one close of Cabernet to the other, then the Merlot and Cab Franc behind it.  Each lot telling me something about what I’m doing and why.  That’s what wine is, why I’m in it so fiercely.  Wine is this morning, these things I demand do and what I’ve done from the bagel to the hallway walk, the office and the drive to Berkeley.  Wine calls for more of me, more of my writings, all of them. Each day and sight, thought and track I listen to.  To control and contain pace, put the paragraphs in the order the time, MY time and MY sitting, call for.

from a journal


Friday.  But you know my opinion and stance on Fridays.  So what.  It’s Friday yes and to some that’s something, but I don’t care.  I’m working tomorrow, and the next day, the day after that.  I’m a blogger, writer, writer before a blogger and always noting something, so days off are days of others, not me.

Resolving to not spend any more money, today.  Not one penny.  What about lunch.  I need something to eat at that time, always do.  So what do I do.  Use change.  Yes.  Get as many quarters as I can, that’s lunch.  The quarters don’t matter, today, this meaningless Friday.

At the coffee spot same as yester’, with a 4-shot latte and the back table all to self.  About 40 minutes to self before I have to get to office to be a professional.  Professional.  What.  I’m learning.  Educating myself closer to 40 I get, knowing that all I want is the world, every Road I can find, any wine I haven’t tried, and sip and scribble overlooking a street, a canyon with a river somewhere in Switzerland.  That’s my most vocal and mobile and noble of “goals”.

Every morning should be this, time with self.  Friday or whatday.


Ready for Field.

Letting poisons and anchors sink on their own.

Door to door, with my readers.

Want to know all of them. All. Each.

In Albany, seeing the world.

All of it.

Each province and corner.


5:10. Wife leaves for workout class. I don’t let self go back to sleep. Up starting with a bit of writing. Will do push-ups in other room in a bit. Not letting self go back to sleep. Quiet in home. This starts. IT… the practice of early morning everything.

Warm on this first floor. Waking up slow. Sipping water I poured for self earlier, around 2-something I believe. Hear daughter. Then don’t. Should start working out before I do have to go up there. This is dad life, stealth and silence, sub rosa movements are a big part of it.

Think the allergy medicine I took is actually working. And I say actually because I didn’t think it would. Yesterday’s attack was impressive, relentless and consuming. I thought nothing would work…

150 sit-ups, three sets of inconsistent push-up counts. One set where I’d go down for 12 and hold, then come back up. Abs are more a focus, though, getting older. Tempted to take weights from our room, but I can’t remember if one or both of the babies are in there. Have to check.. when wife is back I want to feel’s though I worked out. Want to be able to say that to myself, driving to the Sonic office.

More arms after bringing weights down, biceps and tri. 50 more sit-ups, and a 1-minute plank. What next…. arms… more arms.

50 more sit-ups. More arms. Definitely feeling arms tire and recognize this morning’s efforts. What now, I wonder. Need to buy some lighter weights. The 25s are becoming too heavy. Another plank. 1+ minute.

Plank done. Will stop there. Kids are awake. Son calls down to me. Going up. Daddy mode and form. Thought about going to gym tonight, but no. Will run tomorrow morning. Turning 40 assessment just a small realization over a month away. Going to get clothes, ready for day. Jackie says something funny again, I go up..

from a journal

Class.  Not many left this term.  Am I upset.  A little.  I’m here, though, and I’m moving…  They don’t care, the department, the full-timers, the administration and certainly not those shiny high-tower pig trustees and the “board” they form.  Getting to the office this morning I can only think about that, even this morning when both kids were rioting and protesting everything around them and in life all I could see was the classroom last night.  Going over how Black Boy ended and what narrative means, tossing ideas from one side of the classroom to the other.  That’s my place, but now not.  And not the physical of it, but what it embodies, the classroom—thought and freedom, liberation and ascension of self and more toward what you want from life.  It’s more than learning for me, more than reading a book and answering questions, more than essay assignments.  It is the classroom, but not.  Not at all.  It’s where you feel your story deciding itself and with you certain directions.  No idea what I’m saying, post-kid upheaval, but I’m seeing them get older and myself get older and everything moving forward, and moving faster than I am right now, this morning.  So…. The students, their notes, this one student taking notes and highlighting in different highlighter shades, little marks as to bring her attention to one point and another.  I’m more a student than them, I often feel.  This morning I feel like I’m behind in a class, or something.  Like I need to make up something, get credit for something I’ve missed.  Is it not having a class?  I mean, does it bother me that much?  In a word, yes.  But then, no.  I’m relieved I won’t have to go to campus and walk down that outdated hallway and to the conference room that looks and smells and feels and then again smells like something from the 80’s.

When I saw myself teaching, in high school when taking Mr. Sullivan’s Creative Writing course, I didn’t see this.  The adjunct thing.  I promised myself I wouldn’t write about this anymore, but this morning I’m wondering why… why can’t I have what I envisioned?  You can.  Just with different framing, I guess.  I need to assemble self, snap out of this, snap out of it quicker than quick. I need to re-write this present, put self in the classroom—What if the students were reading this?  I think.  What would they think of the character, Mike, what he’s feeling now? What if I were reading, while I write about me reading but then more a reader than the present writer?  Clear, Mike needs to shift a few masses and belief movements.  Be more free and wild, FREE in his writings, teachings.  And just ‘cause you’re not at an institution anymore does NOT conclude your teaching, academic, thoughtful life.  I’ve said all this to myself before but not with this sharpness of zeal.

Before beginning my workday, typing here in the breakroom as I often do, I see the syllabus.  The day, a class.  Hours 1 through 8, and past.  What happens in each?  I’m not going to write it out like an actual syllabus, but in sight I have certain points I have to hit…. Shit, more of the promissory notes.  Just be in moment, retreat into writing so you don’t have to retreat as the JC is.  And yes, they are the ones retreating, not me.  They don’t have a section for me, and that’s the push I needed.  To fall further into these pages and offer what I offer to students with more encompassing edge.  Getting caught up.

Richard Wright, and reading his book with students, has reminded me of the self, and what it can do for the character, how things can be reshaped when you request such of self.  However many meetings I have remaining with English 100, I’m set to spring into a more rewarding and exploratory angle of my book, books.  My frames and stories and settings, senses.  Everything around you is there not so much for a reason, but for furthered reasoning and so you can punctuate and self-prove in your own reasoning.  So, there’s no more scheduled classes for me.  So what. I schedule my own. MY, OWN.  The way I speak in the classroom, now, will be the way I write, the way I note and decide more knowledge for Self.  SRJC will determine NOTHING for me. Why did I ever feel upset about not having a class, ever?  This isn’t the first time.  Past terms, I’d nearly, well, not so much beg but much closer to begging for assignments than I’d ever want to be.  Calling and asking if something had opened up, if there were any sections that somehow I could fit into my, at the time, wine industry life.  Now, at the tech company, my schedule is more predictable and more aligned with ubiquitous work models and weeks than the wind world.  Means, I can only have a single night section.  There isn’t one, and I move on.  That simple.  No more thinking about it.  Only notes on today, and what I want to learn, what ideas I want to share.  And that’s how I’ve always seen “teaching”, as a genuine and humble sharing of ideas and not some tight accordance to a course outline and reaching a word count for sakes of reaching it, a number, a count, a contrived demand.


We need to see ourselves as answer mills, that we can get to destinations with principle autonomy.  That overthought and wondering which way to next turn and whose permission do we land to move…. Just stop.  Stop.  You are your best educator, your most excited and lively, hungry student.  This whole matter with the Junior College is only a matter as I’ve made it a matter.  What if I stopped?  What if I halted?  What if you just didn’t give the momentum to what you do?  What if you saved it all for yourself?  All the angst would be axed, all the stress would stop.  So this morning, let’s promise each other, to catalyze our own revolt, our own re-write.  For ourselves.  No department, no office, no institution, nothing on outside.  Here we are, and we move.