Emma booting me from bed, so I’m in this hotel couch which is so far from comfortable it’s impressive. Xmas tree, lit to right, Kerouac asleep in bed behind me. Emma in a crazed state, only wanting to talk and play and engage in games… Finally quiet, the writer thinks to self. Could change in a microbeat of beat. Hear people taking elevator just out door, walking, drunk I think. Fucking people. Why can’t we just be home. And why won’t these sloppy sludge-bladders go to sleep? Don’t they have to work tomorrow, any of them? My mood is low and I drank the last of the coffee in this room. So if I wake early I’ll just have to tap natural fuel, something to start session.

Think Emma finally fell to some sort of sleep shape. But then the clowns upstairs thump and jump and just hard-step on their floor ’cause they’re animal idiots who think this hotel is their private dumbshit den. Need sleep, I know, okay… It’s late, but not. And right now, I’m not. I’m a tired writing daddy, thinking about everything I have to do at the winery, and how to make the day read-worthy… Just go to sleep. You need bed, you need rest. Writers can’t always write.

Yeah, yeah…..

Two sips form tumbler.  And I’m off. 

Like the races.  Working at this hour like a former student who transports beer in those huge 18-wheeler trucks, all over the state.  ‘Mr. A’ I’ve dubbed him in a past entry or two, around the time Spring ’15 ended.  Yes, I decided looking at the time, and what wondrous victory for me in this day, and in this point in my life where I’m putting all existential eggs into the basket of writing, teaching, sharing ideas through writing and my push toward Total Wellness—  I’m up, I’ll stay up.  I have work to do.  I would invite any of my students to try this, wake at some painfully ungodly hour and write.  Just see what surfaces.  Again, for me it’s especially valuable as a writing father, having this time is better than money.. this time is a special tier of health.  But anyway, just try it, see what happens.

Can’t believe I brought myself to finally sip the coffee.  I had the usual stare-down with the mouthpiece of the tumbler, thinking “Shit do I really want to do this?  Once I sip, I’m up the rest of the day.” In the few past mornings when up at this hour, I backed down to that sight of the tumbler’s lip.  But not today.  Today I’m one of those Indy cars.  Testing my speed, testing myself, seeing what I can do, if I can surprise myself.  Even though this is time to Self, I’m still in daddy mode.  I’m always in daddy mode, with heightened hearing and sensitivity to the environment.  So realized, I think I heard Jackie upstairs.  Is he awake?  Not after the busy fun day he had at the track with us, right?  I have to leave the sitting, go inspect.  One more sip of coffee first.  Maybe 2…

Made it to the top of the stairs, heard nothing.  Maybe the early hour’s giving me too much sensory sensitivity.  After those two sips, I’m most amazingly like those cars yesterday.  Upshifting and downshifting, taking tight turns, dodging other cars.  Metaphor obvious, me here on this uncomfortable couch, seeing more about myself than I did yesterday, or the days and years before.  I’m sure some editor at some piggy publishing house, if they even read this and not tossed to trash, would dismiss my moments here in the dark, at the 4AM intersection.  Probably write it off as ‘unmarketable’, or something.  Ugh, “How would we market it, Jim?” I can hear some exec as his fellow exec.  They think about it for a second if at all then pour themselves some Scotch at 1PM, talk about their stock portfolios or where they’re taking their mistresses next weekend on the “business trip”.  Sickens me that this mold of character and attitude-fold could run the publishing world.  But you know what, I don’t care what kind of dragons keep it, the business.  They can bloody keep it.  I’m starting my own.  Two more sips.  Toast.  To day.  To me.  To the quiet.  To other writing parents.  To all whirls and riles positive.

After two more sips, I start to regret taking the others.  Why?  What would sleep do?  What would it accomplish?  What would it get done?  Can you write in your sleep?  Can you plan in your bloody dreams (Well, maybe I can…)?  I did the right thing.  5:02 now, and I’m more awake than when the alarm sounded, that’s certain.  No light outside, at all.  Not even a hint that it’s the 17th of September.  The day’s born but not, not as I see it.  I’m in a limbo now, both physical with the light and sensory deprivation but with ideas, with action—  “Drink more fucking coffee,” I tell myself.  Okay, I reason, “I will.” There, easy fix.  And now what.  Be like those speeding cars, with that high piercing, chilling hum as they by you dart.  I’m trying, trying.

Had the idea yesterday, surrounded by all those photographers and photojournalists, and just guys hired by whatever organization to walk around with huge expensive cameras and take shots of wheels and pit crews, obviously the cars and parts, the track— that I should put more creative voltage into my photog.  Not sure how or precisely for what end, but to take pictures more seriously.  Make a business out of it.—  Hear Emma upstairs.. daddy mode.

Now downstairs with my youngest.  I type on the floor with her as she plays with her brother’s cars.  She’s not hungry, just wants to play, have a little company in this early hour.  She keeps putting the cars in her mouth and I say in a Disney voice of some kind, high pitch and low volume, “No no noooo…” She smiles at me as if to say “Ha, papa, you can’t order me around!” She’s right, obviously.  She repeats and repeats, repeats the repeats, and now it’s not just repetition or some sort of redundant act.  This is purposeful and emphatic, a stark reiteration.

Still dark outside.  Emma lights up this room with her curiosity and laugh and funny sounds.  Glad now I had all those coffee sips and/or that I started sipping to begin with.  Now I have NO option but to awake stay, with little Emma Cat play, go further into the day.  Race car daddy, writer and thinker, planner.  And what an ample invite for some photography, little Emma as my impromptu model…  Just took one picture, but I want to let her play, just watch her enjoy this early quiet hour like her daddy.  Surprised to see her this active so early, honestly.  She’ll last for about an hour and a half, tops, then I’ll lay her back down in our room.  Now she reads one of Jackie’s books, a Star Wars type that make sounds from the movie and engages the “reader” in plot development and character presence.  But that’s probably how I’m seeing it, frankly, as a professor, or instructor, or teacher.

Well here I am, 4AM.

Back to work, back to surprise myself.  But more than anything, defeat you.  Quiet as I ever heard the house– No, quieter.  One idea that pushed me away from the pillows, causing me to rise and turn off the alarm, and again not go back to the fluffy temptresses and under the blanket which is now merely over my lap– regret.  I’m tired of going a whole day cursing myself for not waking up, having to wait and work through the entire day just to hopefully again try the day next.  But I’m up.  Now I’m up.  4:06 and with words in front of me.  Time for me.  And this quiet, auditory opiate I could use and use excessively over and over.  Still thinking about the races yesterday.  I wrote the metaphor is obvious and maybe it isn’t.  Maybe I need to think about it a bit more, more and more–  So, speed.  Singularity.  One track.  When the race is done, onto the other.  Consider the atmospheric conditions of the track.  Vary speed…  I’ll think about those cars and sounds, my writing intersection throughout the day.  And speaking of this day and what I have to do, and not regretting, that kind of thing…  Running.  I have to get in a run before heading to the winery.  Only 45 minutes.  All the time I’m allowing myself like the racers only have a set time to finish their laps, till they see that checkered cloth.
Now in family room, or living room, the never-knew-what-to-call-this-room room. 4AM. Finally, I am here in this quiet and dark, and on this couch Alice’s grandmother gifted us. Alice is right, not as comfortable. But I’m glad it’s not. 4AM might have a chance of getting me back in bed. Huh… Comedy there, somewhere. So much I want from day. Story and three pages and just surprising the shit out of myself with what I can do. My thoughts are everywhere as I’m still waking up or adjusting to this adrenalin level. Fridge making some odd sound, and I’m so tempted to take a sip of coffee from tumbler— made self two cups last night just in case I actually DID wake. And I did, have, so why not sip? Don’t know, part this writer still wants to get in a little sleep before run, work. But that’s what I’ve always done. Why not not have now be when the day starts. Who else can say they’re doing this, have done this today? Would be willing to bet, no one I work with. And good for them. As pleased as I am that I finally woke for a 4AM sitting, the mess of mind it comes with is a lot to manage at such early hour. But this is the only time the writing father has to collect himself as he wants.
Afraid to lift my head from the screen. Afraid to stop even for the most abbreviated of breaths. Just relax, I tell myself. Enjoy your words and the sight that comes with it. Well, with words, my choice there in is funny as when I lift my eyes to look around room I can’t see a thing. This darkness I feel’s a reward for finally waking at the war hour for this writer. Can’t remember the quote a student shared with me, but it was something like ‘2AM is for the writers…’ Something like that. Shit. Now I want to look it up. But I won’t let myself. My time is 4AM. And we rarely meet. But we have this morning. What does this say about me? That I want something, something more than regular pattern and comfortable occupational orthodoxy. I want to go fast, faster than fast with my paginated aims, travel, “teachings” if you could call them that— Not sure why I always qualify myself like that with teaching. I do teach, just my methods and style is a bit more Human and approachable when actualized in the classroom. I tell my “students” that THEY are their best teachers. I offer ideas but it’s their onus to interpret and translate, process, the ideas.
4AM teaches me this morning to move quicker. Don’t measure so fucking much. Writer friend sent me a message with an attachment to an article about a woman who published a novel that sold 12,000-something copies and she can’t pay a single fucking bill. This enrages me, how publishers treat the ones plating their manuscripts. Seriously, I was disgusted. One the most powerful and convincing such pieces I’ve read about traditional pub. Just the reason I post my pages to a blog, aim to print myself— sovereignty, depending on nothing but my own checkbook and life to get my life where I need it, both as a writer and father, but as well a runner, teacher, thinker, person crazy enough to wake at 4AM to write.
This is a bit maniacal, I understand. But if I regretted not doing it as I have in the past, with those other mornings where I actually set the alarm and ACTUALLY woke, but only woke to turn off the alarm and hated myself the whole day… No. No more. I’m up to work. My day’s started. Love this time. And yes, parents appreciate this more that others. With both babies upstairs quite dormant, spouse resting. This time is all mine. Feel I should celebrate with a sip of something, so yes, COFFEE. But why am I scared? Think ‘cause I know once I sip there’s no going back to that soft stack and that wrapping stretch of cotton. What would you do, reader? Was once told this was a fool’s errand. Think he was right. But, being smart or mature, or anything expected is not my aim at 4 in the morrow’s pulse. So… I’m getting that tumbler, taking a wicked set of sips. Like the races, right Mikey? Well, quicker then! QUICKER.

Novel Spacious

And the end of the day.  Opened what I believe to be the last of the 2012 wines I made.  This one, the ‘New Dad Cuvée’.  Can’t tell you how amazing it tastes, notably after today’s tempo and day-sort, all the prepping when I wasn’t that prepped which I should have been, after the run this morning, and now at the desk in my home office.  MY ebb’s a bit low, but now too trench-tuned.  Hear son coughing upstairs and I feel like I shouldn’t be writing, and if I am it should be something interplanetary, sending us all somewhere— overseas, to a new, bigger house on some enormous farm plot of our own.  But no I’m here conflicted about how I feel about this ’12 ‘NDC’.  And if I should have another glass.  Why not.  Of course I should.  But wait a second… why wine [Jackie coughs twice, and again…  Wife goes upstairs to him, insisting I stay down here], why do I need wine in my everyday’s day, progression, time and pulses all?

What this moment to me instructs is to embrace who I am, and what I want.  I’m sure someone reading this is eager to bow-and-arrow at me the ‘selfish’ tag.  And they can do just that.  Everyone in wine’s world and whirl is.  Popping a small tall thin can of Perrier sparkling water.  Need some hydration, the writer feels.  Downstairs in dark while washer and dry upstair go and throw, to too much fro.  So I try to collect down here, and I’m taken and pushed, bullied by the thought of ‘Why didn’t I hit 13.1 this morning?’  Yeah, WHY didn’t I?  Honestly, I don’t think I stretched enough.  And right now, my body so much it feels, in the right hip, the right knee, still both fucking ankles (inside, which has never itself noted before).  The run was good, I guess, but I can’t help jot it as a failure, a matriculation only to be a dropout.  Why?  Ugh… a mood sinks, Me stops.  It’s end of day, and I’ve been up since.. huh, when…  6?  Before?  Shit, now I’m one of those dads, it’s all starting to blur.  I’m losing my fucking youth and I’m going madder than the rabbit and that giggling jerk at the tea table.  “Calme-toi, mon ami!” I self-order, only wanting the night to get better.  Don’t hear anything from Jack upstairs but I’m that kind of dad, the one who worries, the one who loves his babies more than anything and even when they’re not technically ‘babies’, he’ll them so still see.  And when they’re all grown, no longer kids, it won’t matter— they’ll be his always-kids.  I’m not a ‘New Dad’, and I’m not an expert dad.  Just a dad, a daddy, a papa.  Washing machine, dryer, upstairs with their roars and rotations, jumbles and jangles, distracting and centering me.  Pulled in directions all.  But, chapter closed.  That bottle that was opened, now corked, in hangared.  The once-New Dad centers in his type-stomps.


At the counter sipping my beer and

watching the Niners-Bronco’s game, I thought of my self in another city, and how that would feel, what I’d be writing if I were on travel.  The beer was cold and just the temperature needed for end of day–  working in my book for what seems like a life, a life with distorted time sense.  Coming semester could very well be the final.  This is my final exam, and I’m intent on acing it.  Writing what I need to to solely be governed by my stream of pages.  It will happen.  It has to happen.  Self-absorbed narrator, so what.  I ignore my momentary insecurity and sip the beer.  Watch the game.  Pre-season but oh well, it’s football.  I miss football.  Even though I’m a baseball guy, I love the game, the run plays, the play with the clock.  But I’m too distracted by the thought of my travel eventual, how music will sound in hotel lobbies, what the people will look like as they pass out of the corner of my eye– my thinking just leads me and in imaginative irrationality.  I need travel.  Sooner than soon. I get quite agitated when people mention how much they travel for work and say so like it’s such a bare.  I don’t get it.  This semester will change everything.  Going to teach like I’m already there, with the finished book, with the travels…  Beer done, young girls on phone, and so am I.  They send pictures and text messages to their “friends” or other others in their lives, I make memoir notes.  I’ve never worked in a restaurant.  Not even in college.  Why.  How.  How did I escape that?  Seems like some mandatory transition everyone has to pass.  An exam of its own onus.  But I’ve never done it.  I start to obsess over and in all these young characters around me.  Bringing people their meals and many times dealing with assholes, hoping for a tip and getting nothing–  and how do they carry like six plates with two arms?  I could never do that.  My job is the writer.  Quietly observing, maybe a bit sinisterly. Watching their rush, their staring at computer screen registers, crumbling receipts, talking to their bully manager who’s such a fucking service expert, then they go to the back to check on an order.  Interesting, I think.  What are they talking about, those two waitresses over there, by the bar corner, near where I was sitting?  The counter, reminded me how necessitated travel is as a writer.  I was imagining.  That imagining need to stop, become actually actualized, become my actuality.  This coming semester, that starts in a matter of hours, really, is the definition of my definiteness.  It need be poetic from pulse one to last.  sure I’ll think about this on tomorrow morning’s run.  Class one, then two, and all the way to Week 18.  “Plan, for once!” I order Self.  Follow-through.  Right?  Yes.  Can’t thank that counter enough.  That beer, the game on the screen, the odd couple to my right, lone chat at left.  All for story’s purposes.  This all is.  Think…  Weather, travel, the organic in expressing yourself in writing… hmm, I think, ideas for day one.  4th quarter, under 2 minutes…


Ainsi, le Vin

Reminded today that wine is about life— a tidal wave of vivacity and expression, music, love, and communication.  Lunch with Paul M., sandwich I’d never before had at Dry Creek paired with that Pinot Blanc from Michele-Schlumberger, and the interaction that transpired, following more reflection in head that precipitated on ride to the delicatessen.  My vision was full, as it is now, love and life in this log, this essay of a writing father trying to fit everything in— sitting on floor or living room while wife and babies upstairs sleep, me with this gifted Pinot from PM— huh, just realized, ‘PM’, time of day I’m most essayist, and most internally narrative.  Haven’t seen my friend in over five years, we agreed, when I once saw him out on a town night in Napa of all places— and I say ‘of all places’ postured to me, as I’m never there, PM’s home enclave.  Nothing abbozzo in my life, currently.  All I sketch or paragraph I need release, not just from the interstellar adoration of wine and sentences, but from the commitment, my immovable sight in the atmosphere around me— from when I walk the vineyard on other lunch breaks to when the writer’s seated on the wood floor of his Autumnal Walking base, sipping a Papapietro Perry Pinot, listening to music at the end of an other wise carousel humdrum day.

Also reinforced with the 16th of août, my afflicting affection of so many things in being alive.  All around me.  As stated with those walks in the Chardonnay and Cab, and Rhône blocks, at Dutcher, wine directs me to certain certainties that are difficult to delineate give the qualification I’ve imbibed this eve.  Love and living in this page, and all from where the writer lives, what he sips, the music listened— some mix tape from Thievery Corp’, if I’m not so off.  Quiet down here for the writing father— another sip.  This write is free, I’m free, and that’s my right as writer.  Consider this a direct and staunchly tied reverberation from the conversation with my brother Paul.  Sipping the Pinot again and as I tilt back and the light from this laptop extends to the bottom hemisphere of the Govino glass and into my eyes, hearing this obscure track, I think I’m on the Road, traveling, somewhere, writing about wine and all the yay-saying tellings of its voice and cultured angularity.  “This doesn’t have to be a ‘dream’.” Wine says.  And I agree.  Wine with its love shoves me to a savory reality— romantic Hemingwayan notions and Plath pulses, my Feast so Moveable and my Bell Jar fuller than full.

And it’s again reiterated my the components of my moments that this is the mode I’ve chosen.  Writer in and of wine.  So.. recite more.  Keying my notes for the next noted key in my fermented free.  If I would have had more time at lunch, who knows what we would have webbed.  But that’s a wish.  Wine’s at my right, or left, or right, to actualize.  No need to act in a guise.



Facile (fluent)

Just finished shaving for following day, and I feel, I don’t know, off for some reason.  Like there’s something I should be doing but can’t remember what it is, and if it’s so important why can’t I remember that, so I continue in stress as to why I can’t remember.  I begin my re-read of ‘Moveable Feast’, but can’t find my copy.  Where’d I put it?  Walked around the office a bit looking for it but can’t find it and I’m too tired from the Fountaingrove run to pursue any search, “So fuck it.” I say to myself.

Sipping some Cabernet tonight, why not I think to myself as I don’t have to teach after the winery tomorrow, thank god.  Hit all corners today, I think— running, writing, fathering, adjuncting.  Well not quite the latter of latters but in my own way “taught”, or taught myself something about myself that I can do whatever I want, and that music need have a more roaring punctuatedness in my peregrination.

“Truthfully, when are you going to be honest with yourself?” I ask myself.

“About what?” I ask myself.

“About what you want to do.  When are you just going to fucking leap, and do something with your writing, and I mean really put yourself out there?  That’s the only way you’re going to be fucking noticed, you know…”

“Yeah, but, I don’t know.  I’m waiting.”

“Waiting.  For what.” The voice keeps with its virulent pester and interrogation but I don’t budge.  It seems to forget I have two kids, a wife.  I’m the dad, the household head.  So I can’t just act, do some crazy craziness, can I?  Maybe I can, just keep it all on page.  And no negativity, I know.  Be crazy in my positivity, nearly confrontational with it.  Okay.. fine…..  So tomorrow then will be the single best dat of my life.  Even better than my babies birth days.  How is THAT possible?  I don’t know, but tomorrow I learn.

After shaving I looked in the mirror, I know that trite contemplative moment, and usually when this happens I notice that I’m getting old.  But tonight I saw that I’m still quite young, and that I have so much to get done, I just need to chance a few things like when I get up, when I write, how I write, and what I write about to a degree.  Not depend on others’ reactions just keep with my narrative howitzer, blasting the blank page surface with honesty.  THAT, will get me to travel, seeing the world and lecturing on narrative and self-consideration and understanding through writing.  Have the ‘Writing in the Vineyard’ class approaching, and one of the first prompts I plan on putting before my “students”, or “colleagues” as I’ll refer to them as I do current matriculants, is just writing as crazily and carelessly, FREELY, as one’s able.  The only way to discover anything about your creative self is to be wild, free, lawless and with varying scopes.

Cabernet in the kitchen.  To make coffee for morning, and have glass final.  Je vais…