Laces then Bell
For years, I’ve stressed to students that there’s no such thing as ‘writer’s block’. Yeah? Okay… then what the hell is with me tonight? It’s quite easy to blame the kids, my role as a father and my responsibilities therein and of, the fact that it’s my wife’s birthday— I could just blame whatever I want.d And whomever. But no. It’s me. IT’s all on me. “The onus is on me,” as I too stress to them, the first day of every semester. Tonight’s rain does have me motivated but not enough. Why not enough? Why don’t I just write?
Poured myself another glass of the Sangiovese I bought from Whole Foods earlier, just before five, going to get my wife some flowers and a birthday card (which was really quite funny, for once), a burrito for us both. Only $14.99 for the bottle. Couldn’t believe it. And where am I going with this? Shit, I don’t know. It’s one of those nights for the writer. And no I’m not blocked, I’m just ….. at a wall, or overthinking. Something.
Watching some boxing match on HBO. I need to approach this, these pages, all of them, more competitively, with more visually pugilistic movements. Take on other writers, affirm that I am the best. But am I? There’s that doubt again. A mess, this writer tonight, but I’m writing through it, or trying. When students come to me with woes like this, what do I say?….. Seriously, what do I tell them. Can’t remember right now. OH, “Stay in the chair.” And, “If you don’t write, then nothing’s written, no story’s told.” But, I’m not a student, meaning I’m losing my youth. I’m aging. 24 days, 2 months till 37. How much longer will I be able to begin my pieces with “For years, I’ve…”? Shouldn’t think like that. This is just a mood, and it’ll pass I hope.
Need another sip of that Sangio’. Should write more about wine. And, as crazy as I’m able to muster and mold. Be a Hunter S. of wine journalism. Oh my god… these wine people wouldn’t be able to handle it. I can hear it now… “You shouldn’t say things like that… it’s a small industry.” Yeah? And I give a shit. Now I’m starting to feel like these guys on the screen, how the victor talks after the fight, confidently but not tied in defamation. Or maybe a little. No fear. I just hop into the ring ready to swing.
No rain now. Quiet. And I feel uncomfortable. I’m writing, though. I am. Me, only, refusing to look at a blank page and just do nothing. That’s the fight… That’s the rumble of writer’s block. Fear. The anxiety and apprehension accompanying the writer’s reality when confronted with the void. He has to make it into a page, something worth reading. Students often blame that blank page, citing how menacing it appears, makes them feel diminished, lowered, paralyzed. But if you do that in the ring, just freeze and in place remain, you’re with lowered lids. On the mat.
So easy to blame. It becomes addicting, if you begin down that terrible tributary. Waking up after not getting much sleep from kids, both, being either sick or just in the mood to do whatever they can for attention. Complaining and then citing what they did and how my creative inaction is a result of something they did is simply writer-death. Worse than overthinking. What I’ve learned, just write. Just keep moving. Something will come out, some idea will beam from somewhere in my character and the fight is on then to finish it. Every finished piece is a win, warrant for satisfaction with what I’ve done, maybe a bit of boasting. I’m still so much a student, the further I get into my writing days and how I tackle any attempt, be it a story or essay, even one of those poems I challenge myself to write in less than a minute. A revealing, enriching gem is there. Wait for me, I believe.
An even more incredible bargain than the bottle of Sangiovese. This is Time, experiences made mine, costing nothing, I just have to be open. Accepting of the impetus’ current and that I react to it advantageously.. I keep writing, that is a choice. I mean, I guess I could just stop, give up and say “It’s not going to happen, Mike, do something else, find another ‘passion’.” ONE, surrender or throwing in some towel is not even removedly an option. Writing is not what I do, it’s who I am. Even when I try forcing myself not to write for a while, I malfunction and scribble something. TWO, something happening isn’t much of a concern, or even at all. Something happening, like with travel for example, I’m assured is in my story. When someone says something like that, that’s from their world and from their failures, simple textbook projection. And, “passion”: this is much more than simple passion. Passion is a world people in the wine world overuse, or people having to tell you they’re passionate about something. Again, projection. It’s obvious this is a passion, but one universally elevated. You don’t just ‘find another’.
I will say, though, I implore myself to be that undefeated writer. Finishing everything, knowing where every piece is; keeping better records and knowing acutely its geography in this house. This is all on me, the journalistic onus, the creative curse of finishing books and essays or anything I initiate.
The next morning, Jackie and I wake together, after a long night of wakings and his battling the ripples of a “low-grade flu” as the doctor yesterday categorized. He’s in his world, and I in mine. He tells me to stop writing and sit with him on the couch, “In a minute, buddy,” I say. Then I notice a character flaw, losing time with him and, or, his sister from the need to finish a piece, or just simply write, be a writer
That I don’t understand, yet.
6:54, just got to campus. Optional day for students. Thinking of new ideas for what I’m building in being a writer, and putting the novel on hold, or rather having it be my toy truck project. One student in room with me. My adjunct days, or the dependent/co-dependent days of living so are coming to an end. Won’t go off on that and I know you think I will, but I’ll refrain..
The wines from yesterday, and just how I felt driving around, introducing myself and finding new interpretations of varietals and business models.. has me thinking of expansion, and doing something MAMMOTH in the industry.. blogging and tasting and Art and photography.. all of it, and blending it with literature.. saying this wine would pair well with– OOOO!!! Just thought of something else.. have to type it.. “class” if you’d call it that starts in 3 minutes, now 2. Jackie and I up at 2 till after 3 watching cartoons, but I have coffee don’t worry. Told Alice I would sleep between classes but I don’t see myself doing that, knowing me and how much I want to write after yesterday’s RRV mission…
Home. And I’m writing. Posted wine review, see what happens.. think there’s something quite valuable and antagonistic, valuably antagonistic in this MOCK SOMM column.. again, we’ll see. I am tired but I know if I have just one cup I’ll write luminously and with seismic force.. I say that and cringe, thinking of the people in Nepal. How and why does life do that to people? Wish I could fly there, document it to tell there story, and help in other ways. But I know me and I’m certain I wouldn’t be able to handle it; the pain, the death, and the sight of harmed children. Was going to watch a WWII doc the other night and stopped when I saw a baby crying, atop rubble. I felt sad, sick, and ashamed I even saw that pained curvature to its eyes, mouth, brow, arm.. ugh, no more.
And my baby, little Kerouac, up early this morning with his cough and me bringing him downstairs to get his mind away from the discomfort, turning on cartoons. He was much better, more talkative and expressive for it, and we all went to bed for a couple hours following, so I have no regret in what I executed but my body and sight, thinking is affected. I’m slower, and sensitive I notice to sound and how I touch things, even these keys. But I’m sped in my keypushes so I’m determined and strangely comfortable, at Peace with this sitting (on floor, against couch, next to backpack).
Consolidating blogs at semester’s close, my left knee.. more coffee.. a nap.. haircut….. Jackie….. Just a few subjects strangling my sensibility at the moment, and how I discussed this morning with two of my stronger matriculants the contradictory and widely ugly hypocrisy of academia.. more I think about me and my story and role as adjunct I see these pages taking me away, and soon, and the inventiveness must perpetuate.. bottledaux as a company.. ‘WRITen’ as an idea, and the whole vinoLit philosophy I formed in ’09/’10… Think, don’t stop thinking.. brainstorm as I urge the students. When I look at some of their journals and see how heaping they are with thought and just true stormings of the brain, I realize I need to anger my own efforts. Antagonize them. TAUNT them. Treat them as caged cats that only want to fight back. SO I do I will I’m going to.. all day. No nap. Fuck a nap. What would that do but make me dead for an hour or more.. no writing when you’re sleeping. That sure as shit won’t finish a MS.
And back from a distraction. Email, social media, pushing the blog and what have.. So quiet in the condo, and I know I won’t sleep. And I’m not that tempted anymore. One of the social media tributaries is slow, or clogged, simply not functioning but I won’t let it damper. No.. I write on.. and I’m hoping tomorrow at Arista gives me more material on wine and wine thoughts and words as it has since I started. Huh, look at the writer fly across his keyboard. You know what, reader, I will have that next cup, if you don’t mind… And I’ll rise in a minute from this floor. Wine.. wine tasting.. winemaking. With more and more flowering showing up in the vineyards, my wine nears, my Cab. OR Pinot. Shit, what do I want. Why not try Pinot? The chemistry dimension or segment you can find assistance for, with. But how it tastes is my conduction. I’ll again study what we’re pouring and elect what tones I want visible. Yes, I’m challenging Pinot just as I’m sure it will challenge the writer.
Already coming to a thousand for the day and I can’t wait for tomorrow, for the reactions from how I describe the wines, which a better 99-point-something percent take to. And, sometime I instruct myself there, in the moment, in the TR while I’m connecting with a local or tourist on how the wine presents itself that day. Wine shifts shapes, I evermore appreciate and see and think that’s what people forget. “How will this taste in two or three years?” How the hell should I know, however the wine wants itself to taste. Now some winemakers will give you a thought that’s smattered in formula and some obscurely worded prediction (if they have their dictionary or thesaurus or ‘phonics’ book close by) . But I’ve found the wine is more cognitive that we give it credit. And, again, that’s why wine is quite plainly FUN. Why would you want to know what you’re going to get for your birthday, or xmas, or any occasion. Isn’t the tradition of surprise much of what contributes to and establishes life’s allure and cherished chase?
Looking at a picture from yesterday, of the soil in one of the VML vineyards. And I’m not sure, why, just the richness and texture and visual voice.. that image and.. I don’t know, but I’m captured and developing in my survey.. the seen, the scene.. I react and.. and….. I don’t know. Splendor, sense, Art, writing, a story, new ME: NEW MIKE. One I like, or even love. Again, I
Ideas.. a broadcast in addition to the writing.. just keep writing and working and thinking and capturing..
with prepping for 1B, for the most part. 1A this morning went quite well and I surprised with, 1, how early I was up, and, 2, how energized I was when I landed in the adjunct office. This morning seemed more still, more motionless than other mornings of the semester. Giving Self 10 minutes to type before getting into the shower.. write write write, I tell myself, and STOP THINKING YOU NEED TO DO SOMETHING ELSE! Yes, my hustle will diversify, but I’m doing what I set out to do, and that’s teach, write, lecture, be one with literature. Wine is fun, and I will write about it as Dad recommended and that’s it! And if I make wine it’s so I can WRITE about it. Same with any wine “business” endeavor I have… Last night I actually thought about getting into advertising.. what the fuck. Yes, me, in a suit, in an office– NOW….. if it’s my agency, and it’s creative, and all stems from the story then fine. But I’m not working for some pig agency in… well, anywhere.
Just finished cup 2 of the day’s coffee cannon, and I’m more than different this morning, and I know precisely why.. 1, I’m not afraid of grading, my procrastination in grading, nor student reaction to my grading. That’s been my handicap for years now, and today it dies. And if I let papers pile or if I put them off, put them here or there on the table, or just let them ferment in my backpack, that disrupts the writing, the writing of lectures and the compilation of confidence before orating that lecture.. And 2. There’s no ‘2’.
Still with a bit over 4 minutes to compose Self, meditate if you will, but I’m ready for a shower, to relax, let my thoughts do whatever they want. So.. then go… and enjoy the peace.. Namaste.