1/1/19

My beat isn’t as sped as I’d hoped it be for this first day.  But I’m here, present and done with grading.  Didn’t go as slow as I wanted but I’m not concerned.  It’s over.  Now I move on and prep for next term.  The class I teach at Stanford, or wherever will have me.  Philosophy or Reasoning, Thought and Overthought, thought of in differing ways.  Looked at clock and it reads 11:50.  Earlier than measured.

Emptied backpack.  Now the trick, keep it empty.  No more carrying laptop around like an unneeded part of me.  It’s not part of me, so unneeded entirely.  Re-shaping self from Literary character to one just of thought.  Plain thought.  Act of thinking, understanding where I am and why— What brought a writer here, what does he see, what does he want.  Is he being honest with himself in doing what he does or is he acting, doing what’s perceived to be “mature” or “professional”.  Not referencing anything in particular, but I will give more focus to …. Don’t say it.  That’s when you get into trouble, when you promise.  And, that’s when you get bored with your writing like you are right now.  Bored with this sentence… then the next one…. This one as well.  Fuck, I think.  Thinking of what to do with day to not just spice it up or garnish it with some unexpected electricity, but….

Quiet house.  No kids or wife, just me and this stack of submissions that are anything but bewildering in quality from last term.  There’s a couple, yes, that I guess you’d call impressive, or even strong.

My beat starts to pick up.  It does.  I notice myself start to feel like a student, again.  Like a “teacher”, even.  Part of me wants music, the other not.  The silence of the house notes its own notes and anecdotes for me in a new year that’s not all too varied from last, but still distinct in composition.  My composition changes.  I realize—  You realize where you’re headed when you change little attributes of your day-to-day.  Teaching Philosophy, starting with deconstruction and postmodernist qualities in the Now.

12:02.  Already half way through this first square, inaugural step.  Anxiety grips me, angrily.  I ignore it, or try.  It’s there from my acknowledgement.  Then I choose to not give it any sight or reaction.  Turning attention to when I was in graduate school, my thesis on Carroll’s Alice works.  I decide to start there, in this new beat.  The child finding herself in an atmosphere where the logic is anti-logic, but that itself is sound, it constitutes a form of reasoning that must be learned.  She attempts to adjust and she more or less does, finding herself in immediacy of too many pictures and too many conversations, as she wished for at the books very first utterances.  Not sure where my copy of the book is, where my grad notes are if I even have them anymore.  Doesn’t matter.  Start over.  That’s what new years are about, no?  Renewed self, renewed sight, renewed power of self-renewal.  And, ahead…..

12/31/18

Made note in last doc, “From here, go to 2019…” Starting new year now.  Not waiting for tomorrow.  And not going to list everything I want to do but rather just actuate.  In a far back corner of this remodeled coffee shop.  Sentence for day, in that Happiness Project journal Natalie gave me years ago, “Nay-say to be embraced and studied in order to preserve and protect my joy.” Didn’t write last night after coming home from La Rosa dinner with wife.  Planned on inventorying the day.  Everything from morning with kids to going to Healdsburg with Jack hoping to get a haircut but the line was far too long so he and I went to Healdsburg where I bought him an ice-cream and went to toy store that I’d never been to and was actually a bit curious to see what was inside, how it was arranged.  All this after my 9-point-something speed work run at 24.  Took both beats to wife’s parents’ house, then back home for a much-called class of Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc.  Why couldn’t I bring self to write, last night.  Even now, I feel off.  But I write through it, or try.  Just as I advise students.  Writing and into the year, this new year where I feel travel.  I see it.  Sense the sense of getting on an airplane to somewhere I’d never been after not flying for some time.  The engine sounds of the plane utterly canorous for some reason.  They’ve never sounded like this to me, before.  

While stepping toward the new year in this Starbucks on Hopper & Cleveland, Santa Rosa, I go over my life, over the last 39+ years as far as I can remember and vividly and believably recall.  Santa Cruz, walks with Dad in Big Basin, my first day at Arundel in San Carlos, Kindergarten, looking back and Dad not coming with me and me feeling confused— “Why is he just standing there?  Isn’t he coming?” Obviously not, now understood after Jack’s first day.  My Road, still a Road… every job I’ve had, everywhere I’ve lived, studying my now for sakes of Freedom and being free, yes, but more.  More to my character, more to what I read and this, this seat, this 4-shot latte, this journal, my phone… more to everything.

Understanding Now entails a distancing from the Now, both in backward pace and forward flight.  How defies common association and what you’d call logic, I guess.  All notes going forward, through, are for purposes of getting me somewhere.  I step on New York streets, in Manhattan and other parts of which I’ve never heard— certain micro-villages and enclaves, neighborhood or boroughs as they call them.  Writing further toward new year, wondering where I’ll be sitting on my 40th birthday.  This year I turn 40.  FORTY.  Why.  How.  It’s just what happens.  It’s what always happens.  Time passes and doesn’t mind what’s in my mind or what I feel for the day, that sitting.  I look up and see a young family with their daughter, certainly younger than Emma and the parents younger than wife and I.  I’m older than some parents, my babies age past others.  So then, more…. More progression and trek into life.  It keeps going.  What do I do for day’s remainder?  Charting and timetabling isn’t going to get me There, I know.

What I assign students to do, I should do.  Hemingway with his Feast intro paragraphs putting me somewhere.  Taking me back to Paris and showing me what I couldn’t see even if I were to now return.  It’s him, then.  More than time, though.  It’s his voice, his sight, his observational patterns as they situate in Paris, in that Café des Amateurs.  Before I go too far into the Café with Papa, I’m hearing this jazz in ears and seeing where I am, considering my person and Personhood as a teacher of Literature, and how now, in this day, in America yes but elsewhere as well, no one read.  NO. ONE.  Or that’s how it feels.  All these social media “stars” or champions, personalities and whatever they’re to be deemed, do nothing of Thought.  And, before I go too far down that sewer vein, let me go back to Hem’s thought stems.  He immediately goes for senses, smell and other, like a sixth sense you could even say.  In my beginning reading bing and lecturing for ’19, I get away from me and become he, Hemingway in his seat.  Smoke and the misted windows from the heat and all the people in the Café with him.  He makes me wonder what didn’t make it to page, what he observed but didn’t write.  Him sitting there noting as he did isn’t just a writer thing, but a Human act and practice.  Like magnified people watching for purposes of preserving the person watching.

When he comments on the people being drunk as often as they could, or even all the time, he touches on sense again.  Being stripped of senses as a result of intoxication, hence his rule of little or no alcohol while writing.  It makes a mammoth statement about them and their day, what they do with their day.  Now, here, 2018 on Hopper & Cleveland, I look around at everyone in their day as Hem does.  Couple taking two chairs and small rectangular table to my left.  I know nothing about them, can’t see their faces as I look down at these keys and I don’t need to.  There are similarities here as there are with Hemingway, where he sits.  People, lives, observation, noting it.  Where you are and what you’re doing in proximity to others and what they’re doing, where they are.

When you read Hemingway’s assessment of the city in this first chapter you have more than an assessment, but the start of a love letter.  Even when it’s sad or cold, or of horrible odor, you still have shared observation.  The inner-insistence to share observation is a consequence of consuming adoration for what’s observed.

Kerouac has

all interpretation and meditations leaning toward more. More exploration, more scenes, more looking around and acknowledging Now. Nothing behind, all ahead and in front of me asking to be experienced. What am I doing here, accepting any order, any regulatory, any institution. More, on that Road, the music, lights, cars, families traveling in winter or whenever. Sitting on unfamiliar boards, me…

A Cytological

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35th Avenue, San Francisco

A beer, and some quiet.  After today, which wasn’t bad, or a blah-day, just odd, I need this.  I need this time for ME.  I need collection, thinking about what I was thinking about this morning.  All that “thinking”, definitely overthought.  Has to stop.  Wasn’t going to take bag to work today but of course I did.

I literally can’t decide what to write about.  I hate this feeling.  Catch self…. Not liking reading ways, or writing, so I re-instruct the one now penning.  What I just wrote in journal.  And that’s another thing, no more ‘I’.  Starting to loathe that letter and word.  So, over again.  Back to school.  More education.  Exploring language and how it’s on pages composed.  That’s another thing, no more ‘me’ or ‘my’ or ‘mine’.  Wanting these pages to be about readers, YOU right now reading if anyone’s reading.  Taking writing away from author and with more consideration of reader, seeing now here in kitchen.  Quiet, just jazz… Mr. Coltrane speaking in octaves perfect in pairing with this beer.  Wine next, the Cab last night popped.

Free in the moment, in present education.  Hoping to wake early and jump to gym for running on belt, but feeling’s though this could be a night for writing.  A night for assembling new curriculum, new sights and ideas for education, ideas offered, building not so much a brand but a story, a new identity and if not one new then one re-written.

Knowing just what to write.  Taking ‘I’ away.  Not even so much about you, reader, all respect meant, sent.  This page and all following about the idea itself.  Thinking… decisions that turn your vehicle, that shift and shape your voyage and trek.  In traveling from page to page, writing to writing, observations and rooms, new instruction and curriculum if you will, need to travel light intensifies.  More than before in before-pages.  Learning from today, to plan ahead and not pressure character if something doesn’t align with the envisioned.  Life is a circle, then a triangle, then something of square-semblance, and after undefined.  Present at this counter, going over day, from the morning meeting with T, to the drive to SF, to the hike south on 35th, to my meditation on 35th and Vicente, to the drive back battling traffic and seeing all those faces in the lane left and right, and in 6-facing mirror, wondering what their day said to them, where they’re going. 

Taking focus away from he in this seat, and seeing all around me.  My neighbors, the people with whom I work, Mom Dad, winemaking sister, this beer bottle, kids cups just behind this laptop, journal and pen.. scene, scenes, interpretations, days, weeks, year ending.  Just remembered, a 30-day project or challenge still progressed.  Day 19, just learned.  What’s wanted?  Hmmm…. Not sure.  Read with more strength and excavating traits.  Writing, same.  In class.  Only one.  All this still, music, time to seat, self.  Something repaired, cured.  Now, new advance, or forward, instruction, induction… not-so-subtle deduction.

(11/7/18)

Reaction to this morning’s story, “New Policy”…

It’s obvious, with roots in my own life, from years ago working at the insurance office, and me wishing self closer to home, near Mom and Dad, laboring in the insurance office with an agent who yes did teach me a bit about selling I guess but always loved to flex.  That he was an agent, licensed, with his own client list and office, that he was he and I was me.  At the time I didn’t have any wish to make wine, but in writing the character Jack, named after my son most obviously, I now want my own bottles.  My own label, labels, to do pouring out of state.

And the title, also teaching me something after a re-read….  My policy, of not settling, not doing something just to do it.  Not having any more jobs but a catapulting of passion and working from that propulsion.. me and wine.  Everything has to be vino, oeno-.  Wine, forever, with this story… creative in wine’s wheel, MY policy.  And above anything, even wine and writing and writing about wine, making wine… to be HAPPY.  That is everything.  Talking to Mom and Dad recently about life and the composition of one’s life, all that brings and demands, happiness is the apexing apex in priority.

The character Jack to me holds a cliff of innocence but as well determination, and a bit of ire.  Ambition has to pull in a slight venom, I feel.  And when you’ve dealt with something for so long, eventually you just say, “No.” Saying no to that desk, to the office, to the character he sees everyday.  Rick’s and his own, in that office, at that chair, with all the insurance policies and clerical obligations and specifics I wish I had more time to write, but I only wanted this piece to be about 500 or so words.  Not too long.

Funny, as I write this reaction in a quasi-cubicle, at a winery, and I couldn’t imagine again being trapped in something like this, with no life around me, no view.  Certainly no wine.  Wine forwards in defiance, in separation from occupational normality.  That’s the purpose of this story, really… separation.  From doesn’t make you happy, from what keeps you from what you want.  Wine is the liberation, the leader in autonomous act.  Wine, realizing what I have to do with my winemaking aims, wine writing aims… here in the character of Jack, and what I wish for my son.  I want my son to work, of course, but if I can I want to provide him opportunities so he doesn’t have to deal with people like Rick, whose real name was Roger.  The short story allows for teaching and sharing of ideas like this, about the workplace, as decisions to leave are usually made in an instant.  Sometimes it’s not premeditated, or designed.  You just tell them, “I’m leaving.” The office can be a spirit-polluter.  And, the only way to be cleansed is to wholly depart.  And wine, all the magical facets and specifics in her configuration and metaphysical and physical makeup, abet.

notes

Now Emma home sick.  Wife coming home at noon so I can make classes, prep a bit.  Know just what to speak on, today.  But this morning, I feel like I haven’t written in days… which isn’t true.  Wrote yesterday in little notebook… just another night of disrupted sleep and a sick little girl that has the writing daddy a-wobble.  But I hold the mold of a fanatical diarist, addicted jotter, writing my book even when tired and even when heart still recovers from seeing little Ms. Austen get sick.  But now, she’s her usual playful, incredibly sweet self.  She stands on her singing chair and I ask her gently get down.  I look up at the playing cartoon, and think of my day’s lectures…. I think, ‘Attitude’.  But then I don’t realize I’m not liking the word, or the possible connotations.  ‘Perspective’…. What a perspective entails, how its built… associated with ‘world view’, one’s view of the world around them and how they believe the world around them influences their own identity and story.  This will be especially useful with Plath and the shorter pieces in the book I selected for English 100.

Emma becoming more silly and with precise humor and mimicry as the morning goes.  Needing coffee, I tell her “Okay baby, one more cartoon then we’re going to get coffee for daddy.  Okay?” I think she said, “Alright.” But it’s hard to tell.  I wonder what her perspective is, this little beat… what she think about right before she goes to sleep, when I’m drinking her to school, while she watches this episode of Arthur.  She laugh and say something unintelligible, then “Dada…. DADA!!!… Mama…” Laughs at her own words then takes a sip of water from her owl sippy cup.  MY perspective, changed.  By her, her brother…. I’m a writing papa…. everything I write is with them in thought-consumption.  Know exactly what my classes will entail for today, thanks to Ms. Austen.

(8/24/17)

Home after dinner with wife in Windsor. 

Kin, one of our preferred stops, spots, restaurants with all its activity and offerings.  No babies in the house ce soir, and I think about having another glass of that Meeker Malbec my friend ‘J’ brought me.  A gift.  Waking early tomorrow.  And I know what you’re thinking, reader—  “Yeah… sure you are… no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be as disciplined as your wife.” Well… yeah… THAT may be true, but I am waking early for a run around the Coffey/San Miguel zone.  Air conditioner on, kids no longer with their chatter outside, and I can feel the last of that Chardonnay encircle my functionality.  Odd feeling, having to delete then retype… what happen to a writer like me, but this writer isn’t likely the others… I enjoy running, exercise, health and fitness.. but then I’m here, sipping wine and writing.  Exhausted from the day and prep for tomorrow’s ‘Burgers & Bocce’ event.  Should go to bed now, the writer knows, but a glass of that Malbec as a night’s capping sounds resplendent, and why not.  That’s what life is— short, and instructional, telling me or maybe more so urging me to turn down certain streets.  So I’m here.. on the couch, just typing the night into more night, wanting a salvo of meditation about me, the glad freedom  wheel that will make sense of everything around me, even that which I have no interest in understanding.

Hot in the home office.. so what do I do?  Read something.  Fuck the wine.  Leap back to literature.  Words from Kerouac and Plath, al the heroes right there.  OR, just keep drinking the Malbec till something hits the page that teaches even YOU.  Can that happen?  Has to, oui?  Guess we’ll see.  Night’s cap of certain captains, in cup.  So now, only down and up.  Like Wonderland, my Master’s thesis, revisited.  All over.  And again, again…. Maybe just notes, but with some wherewithal, color and animation, maybe.. not sure what I’m trying to say.  Nearing 50,000 words in this document… and what don’t I have a fucking book out?  Some of these independent musicians have straddled and secured fame and artistic autonomy for their self- distributed boldness… okay… take the rest of the night off, as I’m sure Mama would say.  Obey.  But the writer in me’s addicted tot he act of writing, just putting shit to page—

Well, there’s part of the problem…

Never Done

img_1338Need another sip of this Dutcher Crossing Chard.. the Stuhlmuller.  No, a full glass.  Then relax.  Can write all morning, tomorrow, with wife and babies gone.  Coffee… already thinking about my coffee. MY travels… videos of the vineyards and people writing with me in them.. who wants to write with me in the vineyards?  Just a pen, Composition Book or Legal Pad, or whatever.. just writing in the vineyard.  Shit.. would do that tomorrow but it’s supposed to rain all bloody day— are you kidding me?  Now I really need another glass of wine.

Have second glass, and I’m without a thing to say.  Could be the hour, could be that espresso shot wearing off… who knows.  Tired of using ellipses between sentences.  Feel’s thought it’s a cop-out.  OR just fucking lazy.  The wine makes more boldness teach itself to be bold.  A postmodern ardor that’s truly unstoppable, like Plath poetry and all related.  This writer suddenly feels inner-yodels to be more confident and instructional in his writing.  Wish I could pull an all-nighter as I did in college.  Watch the sun come up and know I did something extraordinary, that few people on the planet have ever, EVER, done.

This Chardonnay, a planet to every palate, disclosing complexities and varying languages as it lands and runs away, returns with the sip next to orate its varied and contained thesis.  I’m motivated by what I sip as I am hardly ever by a Chardonnay.  I do feel the effects of what I’ve sipped but I’m still on this floor, after over 1,000 words written prior and still in my syllabic stampede.  This second glass will most plausibly be my last.  Looking left, see son’s shoes… oh shit, I’m a daddy… this writing has to sell.  How can I relax?  I have to work.  Tomorrow morning, I’ll write a fucking book.  I have to.  Bills, bills…. Kids, kids… shit, there go the ellipses, again.  Who on this planet thinks, let alone writes, like this?  I’ve mad gone— gone.  Another planet, on…