4/8/19

Done with singular piece.  About run.  May add to it, now that I see it’s only 3 pages, full, when double-spaced.  Have about an hour left to self.  What to do.. oh, have to plan for …. Walked away to get pen from mail room and can’t remember what I was going to say.  Oh, yes, plan for class.  Or don’t.

Overheard one of the full-timers say it’s raining outside, quite hard.  Tempted to go look.  Tempted to get something to eat but no…. Have water, gum, coffee, and I hate not too long before pulling into the spot I found in the lot outside Emeritus.  So I’m good.

5:53.  In shared office.  Much cooler in here than that conference room.  Want to be home with my kids…. Do bath, play, read books.  These night classes, especially this semester even though I only teach one, have truly incensed me.  Letting it go… enjoy this time before class.

 

Breakthrough In A Room

Notes to catch up on, and other directions pushing and pulling this morning.  On a fast, for I believe 16 hours.  For no other reason than discipline.  Last night the discussion with students on Wright’s Black Boy coerced me to re-think memoir, to rethink writing in its principle territory.  Writing, especially memoir or personal essay, or “creative nonfiction” a genre or type tag that I frankly loathe as what nonfiction isn’t in some degree and walk creative?—Demands more honestly. More boldness, more rawness and the moment itself in all its obtrusiveness and oscillation of concentration and code.

People walk into the room, this breakroom, I think new hires as I’ve never seen them before.  Or–  Friend Taj walks in.  I tell him what I’m writing about more or less and what we spoke of last night in class on Wright.  The Human dimension and collection of facets, emotions, observations.  I tell him about the student last night who said he can’t relate to the characters in the book as he didn’t live as they did, or didn’t see what they saw.  I disclose to Taj how I asked the student “Do you love anything?…Have you ever felt pain?…Do you have a mother?” The student I think felt a bit overwhelmed or confused maybe by my response, but I stood by my point and I at least wanted him to consider it.  Taj sees where I’m going with the thought framing and delivery.  He’s since left the room, after getting his tea.  Now a lady makes coffee or something from one of the machines, and I think fixes it or installs a new filter, something.

I’d be not much a memoirist or narrator if I didn’t put to page I was again sparring, fencing, or just plain boxing with a mood this morning.  Similar to the one I felt yesterday before the Pinballing piece, and very akin to what was over me last week.  And, honestly, I’m bored of feeling like that.  I need Newness.  I need be crazy and more wild and flight-prone.  Just taking off and not asking permission from any control tower.  The JPR project here at work very much was not so much a cause of the mood but a set presence in the mood’s movement.  I stop it all, taking this 30 minutes or so to this seat, these keys, going over in head what was discusses last night, and that one student, AGAIN, reading for class and having us wanting more of the words, more story, wherever it was going.  And that’s just it, he had us not knowing but wanting to know.  There was not so much excitement but obvious atmosphere and personality in the characters and what they may have been doing, or not doing.  This student not only shows promise as a memoirist, essayist, but as a teller, narrator, truth-teller.

Now, I plan the day.  This fast I’m on, what notes I have to input, and how the book’s going to tell EVERYTHING.

Details:

-8:17am

-Coffee cooling in old tumbler, black, bought as xmas present

-More people walk in for either eats or free coffee—eats, as I can’t see them, obstructed by newly-built wall which denies view of fridges

-Me, Mike Madigan, only one in here, certainly the only one writing memoir, story, any poetic effort to capture a Now

-No more oscillation, new code

-Sip coffee again

-8:20

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

La vie.  Être heureux.

In office, watching rain outside door decorate the scape.  Not in the mood to work as much I am to just write.  Goal for day is 3 pages and one salable piece.  Chipping away at the 4-shot mocha, and thinking of where to take the morning’s urges next.  Think I’m trying to start too quick, too quick.  Not a problem as that’s part of learning your writing pace and piece as a creator..

This morning is entirely about understanding where I am and that I have my health, that I’m alive and will stay alive for my wife and babies, take care of them in all parcels of reality, finish my books, continue this Ox’s blog and be alive forever in some creative tumble.  Listening to a Thievery Corporation remix.. and I think— MUSIC.  Not DJing, but having music be more part of what I do, keep track of what I’m listening to, playing, new artists I discover, and how I am one of them, those artists, with my spoken word pieces that I’ll soon read.  And that’s it, music brought me to another realization— the salable piece today will be a poem, 3 pages, intermittent riming, written to something either by Hutcherson or Coltrane.

Mother-in-law told Jack how she woke at 4AM, already has 4 walking miles under her belt for day.  Not that she was, but I felt she was poking at me, encouraging me, telling me something like ‘See, Mike, if I can do it you should be doing it as well.’ If that is was part of her cogitation, then she’s right.  But even if it’s not, which it’s not, then I learn further, the boon in waking at a cruel hour like that, get so much done before the day even thinks of starting, before it has any type of chance to get ahead of you.

Breaking for a bit to get some work done.  Will return to piece in a bit.  Have to jet to downtown Healdsburg to get some collateral, and while down there I’m sure I’ll envision and imagine where I want my office.  Right on the Square, or just off?  MY, office…

Back from the trip downtown, and folding some collateral into small envelopes, doing as much as I could before going completely mad, the writer’s back at his laptop for just a breath, before more winery work.  Not raining right now, and I would be ever thankful if that way it stayed, so I could get in a vineyard walk, take some pictures…  Music back on, ideas for courses fly through my head like birds racing each other.  Hear nothing but this music and the typing of my own keys… look down at all the cords on this desk, the two laptop screens.  Wonder if the owner would let me keep this office when mmc, “mikemadigancrEATive”, really gains altitude.  I’d be happy to pay rent.  Just thinking, and writing down whatever comes to the writer’s thought plate.  Happy in this office— reminds me of my answer when people ask me, “So what do you write about?” Life.  Being happy.  Before ‘writing’ itself, or wine, running, parenting (even though my babies are well over 90% of what makes me happy, and love life as I do).  Just “Life.  Being happy.”

(10/14/16)