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 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.
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.
eat my self-doubt and spit it out.
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.
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…
If you want to be a better writer, forget about writing and read… read whorishly. Read everything. Even the tabloids in the checkout stand. Write something to yourself then read it and correct and criticize it. To write is to read. No reading, then you will never ‘be’ a writer.
Need 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…
And honestly, why would you want to? Even if what you’re reading isn’t sitting well with you or registering at its most optimal angle, take your time. Reading is meant to be intimate, meant to be personal, and measured. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard students say, “I don’t like it…” or “This doesn’t relate to me at all…” or something to that tune. Then, they either stop reading or as some sort of convenient confirmation to themselves they read but with irresponsible momentum. More than likely skipping sentences and dialogue lines but remembering enough to mention names and even cite certain portions of the story or narration in class, but deprive themselves of the author’s message, the text’s autonomous identity.
I tell students, every semester, “Take your time if you want to not only understand but have your own ideas.” Connected to the text, or not. You have to read and thoroughly excavate the text, regardless of size, to have your own ideas concerning it. I tell students it’s about you, and nothing is more true that with the act of reading. “What do you mean by ‘it’?” The experience… your life… your studies… everything. And by ‘it’ being about you, the student, you have to actuate a mentality of pronounced ownership. Speeding through a text, or anything, is to put priority on time itself, not the act. When the act is reading, you should engage it as you would another human— sincerely, openly, politely.
Plath wrote, “I am, I am, I am.” To read that quickly misses the point of her, her words, her story, of you in your act of reading. She gavels her identity to her work, to life in that moment… you have to read it slow. If you don’t enjoy her work, or someone else’s, that’s just the exact warrant I affirm is called for to read slowly, sincerely, with measured momentum.
14:16…. Been writing, but not as much as I’d hoped. Odd day. Slow. And when it’s slow at a winery you start to go mad, a bit quirky and funny-acting. That’s where I am. But what I’m learning is to force myself to write, which I was doing right before clocking out. So now I’m in the office writing while the winemaker has a meeting with either an electrician or serviceman of some kind. Tempted to eavesdrop, hear more of what they’re talking about, but I can’t. Need more points of discussion for class, come Monday, and I’m wondering if I SHOULD take the SSU section. Feel like whatever I will decide will determine something significant in my life— some term or tone, some angle or pace. Most of my character tells me to NOT take it. To move on, put SSU in the past and only go back to lecture if invited, for a day, or series of speaks.
Over 23 minutes left in break…. Hope Students enjoy HST, his writing and journalistic oddity. More notes in my little notebook than I thought, one of them reading “Before anything starts, collect. Collect your thoughts, feelings, your understanding and Self.” The time we have with our work isn’t forever, so what we do devote to reading, writing, reacting, all our projects, needs a precise intensity. So, collect. Have been urging students in these first two meetings, and for about three or four semester prior to this one, to collect themselves in writing (in journal) before speaking out, responding to one of the conversation invitations. More and more collection for me, after this first week.
Another note: “Literature begs sincere human truth. So in our search for freedom & suggestions of freedom, we should think of our understanding of things. Matters of all types. We more clearly recognize with what we connect.” I re-approach teaching in a way I haven’t thought to. And I growl at self that I’m only doing this now, at 38, but I’m teaching myself to teach.. to be a student… to be be one of thought, knowledge. Reading, Writing… growth in thought.
Plan on asking students Monday— How is HST interacting with you? If you’re a participant, what are you feeling? What have your reactions been so far? And, to what? My teaching “philosophy” ever since I started has involved the reaction, the momentum of involvement on a reader’s behalf and more telling of what’s seen than me telling them what to see, or even what to look for. Retention can only happen if the reader is involved, is a participatory reader and never a passive one. I’ll share more thoughts on this participatory reading, with examples from the HST text, where you can get more involved, etc. Definitely, no on the SSU class. And, I will write that letter, that statement on how it’s not professional, helpful, or anything positive to offer classes at the last minute like this. No… I’m not wasting my break talking about adjunct hell.
Now just over 6 minutes. Listening more to others in room with me, their talk of traveling back to WI on a sales trip. I, me, this writer, about to be 38 this year, needs his travels. Would the SSU class get me closer? No. Not in any stretch of convenient consideration of its impact. Now, what I can do on Tuesdays, after my 07:30 1B, with the whole day to me.. what I could write, what I could create, how I could grow my publishing and other businesses…. That WILL be what gets me to the Road.
Now I’m hungry.