from a journal

On a day off.  One lazy.  Now with some time to self and some Sauvignon Blanc poured, I think of the week ahead of me even though I don’t want to.  And the semester I won’t teach this summer.  Or the semester I won’t teach at the JC.  Choosing to write in complete silence, or to just kitchen sounds.  And for what… don’t know.  Just to write.

Told Alice earlier that I may be tiring of Sonoma County, of Santa Rosa.  So then what.  Don’t know.  Want to follow wine to some other place and shape.  Where.  Of course this writer’s mind goes to Monterey.  Teaching at the university, possibly, or one of the something like five community colleges down there.  Just thinking of course, but this time aloud and to Alice.  Mother of my little beats.

Again taking out Didion’s Magical Thinking ms and thinking of making it a reading assignment for me.  Put self back in school.  Learn how to do all this over, all over, again.  Be a student, have a devoted collection and stack of pages.  This day off I’ve been only twirled and twisted in thought, thoughts.  40…. Challenging self to challenge self more.  My life changed on the 29th, and then the other night with everyone here “celebrating” my birthday.  Why am I phrasing such in such a way, just where my mind is.

I re-focus and situate on the wine, this Sauvignon Blanc my sister made.  At first a but herbal and grapefruit tilted but now with more harmony and love-yell.  The wine reminds me to focus more on her, on all wines and songs that are said and singing to me in a moment.  Quiet house, me and wine, we talking.  Again, no music, just the ebb and pulse and poetry of our personalities, intermingling and interchanging the changing scenes of life and the Now.  While Alice and I walked around Spring Lake earlier I saw me at some beach café in Monterey or Pacific Grove and working on some book on wine.  On what.  The tasting room, walking the vineyard as I always do, meeting people from wherever and they commenting on my “impassioned speech on terroir” as one guy put it yesterday.  Everything wine.  Everything wined in all days, down there, by Monterey.  I see my writing spot, and I think SINGULARITY.  And then, wake up earlier!  Yelling to self before another sip, the SB now taking on more a vanilla or cream or soft silky melon-meant voice.  Not sure how to explain it.. but the shift in narrative for the wine is there. And who knows if my sister meant for this to happen.

After 4 in this day, this day that’s by all frames and decisions mine and for what I want to do, but wine has other ideas.  Taking last sip and putting plastic stemless bowl back to tile and me stopping.  What do I want, what do I really want to do as that one tasting room manager urged me to consider and meditate as he dismissed me from duty.  Something for which I was and am SO grateful.  So what do I do.  What does wine want?  As Joan cited, life can change and stop in a blink, a breath, an instant, a turn.  Turning to what, I don’t know.  I just know I have to perpetuate some peregrination of self, of me, who I think I am or want to be.

From left eye’s left corner, I see some table cover, one thin and paper and screaming 40 YEARS or something flaps and moves up and down.  I know, I know… I need move faster.  Holy fuck, I’m forty.  The SB calls me from the counter over there by the coffee maker.  Another, think more about Monterey, extend days by waking earlier so when you walk into that office you have no “expectations” as everything you wanted to do with the day you’ve already done.  Write.. Write MORE.

6/3/19

 

from a journal

5/27/19

Jimtown Store, Alexander Valley

Two days.  Not even sure why I do the countdown anymore.  Who cares… don’t want to dwell or fixate, fix or focus on that.  Writing at the JT Store.  First such sitting in ….. how long.  How long, ever, I wonder, with time flying by me as it does.  Wife upset she didn’t wake early to workout and me not happy with my continuing late wakes.  Going into this new year of my story… 1, no fear, of anything or anyone.  2, less editing and less thought, just fucking release all writings.  All writings can be sold.  3, 4am is GOD, and you WILL NOT be unfaithful to her.

I wake this morning getting into shower hearing my babies be silly as they often are in the morning call to me and play basketball with one of those hoops you hang from your door, Jackie’s that he received as a gift last xmas I think,

This latte… costing 8 dollars as the young chap behind the counter was nice and accommodating and I know that if I were him I’d appreciate a nice cash shove. So there you go an $8 latte.

Call intruding on writing but I don’t let it.  The morning, the latte, Jimtown, Alexander Valley and all the vines enjoying sun which reminds me I brought my camera and am committing self to taking some pictures, somewhere either close to the store, that vineyard across the street or near Lancaster, down valley.

2 days.  More writing, 4am or death, books over books, over more finished manuscripts.  Thought of the plan to just give all my writing away, but then no… I need to sell works just as my studies masters did.  Why am I afraid to sell my work.  WHY?  Why are any of us as Artists afraid to live from sentences?  Isn’t that what we want?

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9:11.  Getting ready in a bit to leave and launch into vineyards and take pictures of the vines that call out to me, that want my attention.  Which ones do.  I have one block in mind, close to Hannah’s property, across the street.  I’m even more compelled to cruise through vineyard blocks and just note what I see even more than capture it with some fucking lens and button.  What do I mean ‘even more’?  I’m a writer.  Not a photog.  This room, this back area where I imagine people eating breakfast or brunch, or just stopping for a midday beer or glass of wine, from far away like the people I met yesterday from Southern California and those from the other week from MN.  Everyone comes here and it blows me away.  Travel, the vines and this room tell me, travel… get out of here.  Go write about other rooms, other varietal blocks.  Photograph everything, write about it.  40 is now alarmingly close, and if something in my practice doesn’t alter, then I circle.

Yesterday tasting that 2-barrel Malbec, remembering why I keep coming back to wine, writing these essays if you could call them that, these entries, keep returning to the tasting room much I criticize it and its industry.  There’s a mystery and then the obvious, a helix heavenly and promising me to write this book and finish it then begin the next one before this one ends.  This book on thought, how so many of my thoughts precipitate from wine and barrels and my days at wineries, how now after all the industry battles and downright wars I’ve fought against the machine, I’m immediately free in the tasting room, at the winery, in the vineyard to do as I need to, as the books demand… more stemming from MY personal legend, or narrative, nor notes.

Today hosting a Napa winemaker, from one of my favorite Napa wineries that I can right now think of.  Know my approach, and know what I’ll talk about.. the wine, maybe, but life, why we’re both there, at that moment, in the philosophy of the Now, the narration constant and present.  I’m not planning or preparing for this tasting, I’m eager to talk wine with someone who writes in wine as I write in and from, more toward my own voice closing in on 40.

2/27/19

Second to last day of month.  See what today delivers.  New obstacle thrown in story, may have to cancel meetings and go to field.  I’ll see.

 

4:44.  What a day.  In such a gloriously luminous, loving and enigmatic way. Everything done.  Just finished lunch a bit ago.  Took it quite late as a result of consecutive meetings.  Not  much in writing today, I know.  But it couldn’t be helped.  I should be explaining it to self or apologizing.  Today could be written about, singularly, as a narrative or story or lesson, lecture, something for me. Like a longer note to self.

Today’s taught me to be more versatile, flexible, maneuvering in day-to-day, also to hold self to aims and visions.  To embody what the aim truly is in all its facets.  I’ll write about it, today, when on campus.  Won’t be keeping them long, note.  I need more time to write.  I mean really write.  Finish this goddamn book, Thought.  Thought… and what it is what it’s meant for why be in it, why have it be so integral in your functionality as a Human.

For class, reading.  Writing.  The journal.  Open mic, but for something else.  I want tonight to be reflective of my mood toward the academic institution, but with kindness.  A dose of defiance.  I have no class for Fall and I don’t know if I would take one were I offered one.  After today’s talk on Kerouac, I feel more self-sufficient, -reliant.  I don’t want to need them.  Then don’t, I tell self.  My thoughts on it all are non-thoughts.  But one.  It’s time to move on.  It’s time to test self, teach independently, be free of the composition confines of a campus classroom.

2/10/19

Morning following morning of marathon that was only a half for my, my thoughts are on and in literature, writing, teaching self and being taught from experience.  I don’t see yesterday as a victory or a defeat, but a prime lesson.  Instruction on everything.

Morning with family.  Kids on couch with their mama, my over here at kitchen island, writing, in Kerouac’s novel, wanting more of what Sal did, what Dean did and thought he did.  In travel, in wine, in music.  The wine I had last night, bought with son at store.  Jack telling me we need to buy some wine so can “do some business” as he put it.  Everything I need for my Road, for my travels, here.

 

Mike thinks about his day off, what he wants from it, how to approach it.  Thoughts, everything in thought, what’s in his thinking and the ideas that pass that he won’t remember, that he won’t write down.  Mike Madigan, analyzing himself and what he does.  Wanting to feel what Sal and Dean did in the car, at the jazz clubs, at all the unexpected locations with new people they’ve only known for so long.  The reason and reasoning, thought and philosophy to everything from people at a house to beer and tacos, to the sound of cars being parked in a lot, crazily.

Mike forgot about Sausalito, about the marathon, about running altogether.  He thought about wine, again about self-publishing and wine, what to do from there.  New ways of approaching wine and teaching, books… Sedaris’ essays, Plath’s poems, Kerouac’s novel, Hughes and all his pieces.  Mike would re-read Road, note every sentence, including the first where the narrator lets readers know this is about him, Dean, how he felt right when he met Dean then onward into his life.  Mike has a son, daughter, since knowing them he sees the world with more reverence and hesitation—How does he live every moment as deeply as he can?  Why does he spend so much time thinking and overthinking rather than writing, living?  He didn’t have an answer.  Not this morning.  He wouldn’t.  He didn’t need one.  All he needs is them.  Those two.  Their mother.  The house.  Writing father seeking more reason and reasoning in everything, all that he does and what’s around him in his current scene and current.

Thought—everything in the appreciation of Now.

Living is literature, he finds.  He’s always know this and Mike has always seen wine as more a literary presence than some chemical or agro result.  Mike returns to wine, for this thought.  Sitting at the kitchen counter and looking over at the bottle of Grgich Merlot, ’14, that last night he explored and let speak to him.  He refused to let wine leave him, or him leave wine.  He’d write each sip, even if twelve essays or pieces or sketches came from the same bottle.  Wasn’t that the point?  Each sip, different.  Each second there is more in the jazz of what you poured.  Maybe this is the business little Kerouac was talking about, yesterday in the Oliver’s wine isle.

Wine speaks to Mike in a way it hasn’t, ever.  She tells him to move, move quicker.  Edit nothing.  Just express.  Self and the Now, thought and reasoning in what you sip, the appreciation of the Now… no going back, now.  The story is set.  Now he writes.. Several books.  With wine.  A marathon of book output, then another, then a marathon of written treks in the vineyard rows.  He sees it.  All.  All sips and steps.

New Affair

On campus.  Took nap before coming here, after getting some takeout brunch for self from Piner.  Was in a bit of a mood knot so I said “NOT” to self and went to get an omelette.  Regret a bit the nap, but I feel enlivened.   More than that, I feel snappy, with an unusual bit of comedic pep.  Am I prepped for class?  Not really.  And who cares.  How I’m dealing with these mood knots, now, going forward, my truest of true business plans if you would, just laughing at them.  Laughing at myself.  What do I have to be in a mood over.  Really.  Nothing…. Here over 90 minutes before class and plan on using every ounce of it for writing.  For words.  Oh, ‘nother nice thing, little treat for self was gift to book store.  Bought copy of Castle and the David Sedaris Diaries that came out fairly recently think.

Devoting life to essay, essay writing, essay philosophy and practice, the habit of that practice and how I, we, maintain such as essay writers.  Who cares, my approach to essay.  Which sounds dismissive and perfunctory, but not so.  Anything but the case.  In writing essays as I urge us all to, we write them not convinced with convention and structure, construction and orthodox diction and thought prism.  We write freely.  We write unconcerned.  While waiting for my Denver at Piner Café, I thought of all the essays I’ve written as a student, and all the essays I’ve had students write.  Have I done them a disservice by instilling and advocating the structure and formalistic tap-dance the course outline says?  I think a bit, yes, if you must know.  But now, who care.  Who cares.  Or, who else cares… Or, who cares who else besides ourselves cares is what I SHOULD say.  

I’m laughing at myself, writing this essay.  If it’s an essay.  Maybe just a free write that I could submit as an essay.  Submit to who, my own blog?  Is that where?  I’m in the conference room, not the shared office with adjuncts where they have us cooped like chickens or ducks or pigs about to be slaughtered.  Could write an essay on that, the shared office for adjuncts, or just an essay on adjunct-ing, or on students of the adjunct.  Essays should be rooted in singularity and extend from it.  After my nap, I’m a growling lion, or bear, hungry for more pages and more climates to feed the career of essays I’m about to paginate.  I feel exacerbated by the time I’m in, the time in my life where there’s a decision to be made yes but just where I am and not necessarily solely to do with age.  What exactly then I don’t know, though note there’s more vision.  Not doing this, following through with this recent singular call to build a career on and from, and explore essay would prove mordant.  So I follow through, and just follow.

Being on campus does something to me.  Always has.  Though I deplore adjunct-ing, and being an adjunct, I love the proximity to students and the act of learning, self-study, and of course the English Department where essay is the interminable nexus.  Or at least it is in my vision.  My proclamation today is that I finally have a proclamation to make.  Finally.  At nearly age 40.  Ugh, I sigh to myself and I’m pretty sure I did so aloud.  Cant tell with the music in my ears, but I know I did.  I know someone in the department heard me.  Essay… essay… essay… on daddy-ing, wine, reading, journal keeping and habit practice and maintenance, on ME.  I am an essay, and argument maybe.  What’s my argument.  Keep learning, about you.  Learn the outside but the inward is the apexing aim.  To understand self.  How is that vain?  How is that egocentric?  I offer it’s healthy.  And what more optimal approach and averment that with words.

Reading through my journals and diaries today I see these lulls or stalls, funks surface every-so-often.  And now, I forecast less of them, less occurrence and their beat which I loudly detest.  I’m here, gathering thoughts for class, and for me, thinking ‘Who cares.’ With a smile, with eagerness to see more in this day and learn from everything.  If not learn then gather, collect scenes, write them all as there’s singularity in all.  Just a moment ago having quick chat with a full-time professor about beer.  She told me years ago she was a beer fan so every time our presence eclipse, we talk beer. One of the only full-timers here, if not the only, I enjoy talking to.  That I even have any interest in exchanging words.  Note of our talk in journal.  So what.  Little revision, little concern, free in my thoughts.  Could use one of the beers she just mentioned to celebrate.  Do I finally now have a job, a dream job, any job— writing composition.  Who else cares?  I don’t care.  I’m preoccupied with the essay form, and how so many in this department think they know what an essay is.  How to write one.  Where have they been published?  Forget that question… have they even self-published any of their work?  And if so, where is it?  Did they only offer it once?  Maybe some of them can write, but how far away from the course outline have they composed?

Sinew in this renewed page stride.  Edit minimally.  Delete nothing.  Free.  Freedom.  If you’re to write an essay, you’re to surrender to yourself, perforce and ambivalently.  Remembering my master’s thesis, other essays written at SSU, Foothill, even in high school like the one I wrote about Bubba our pet rabbit and how he would always lead me to chase.  Any mood knots remaining are now carrion.  I’m understanding self more in the last hour, since getting to campus than I have in the past ten or so years.  What did that nap do?  Was it the omelet?

(11/5/18)

As someone who obsesses over work,

and what work he has to do, what I have planned the next day and the remaining hours of this day, I am honestly with nothing.  But I make myself write.  One student tonight saying one of her goals is, was, is to wake at 2am to get ahead in her studies and I assume write a little as she does write poetry and write in short lines, short stanzas, pieces that span only a page.  And I say ‘only’ out of awe, that she does so much to a page in only a page’s pulse.

Was nearly too lazy to write anything tonight.  Told self, “Just a hundred words, per blog.” But I can’t hold self to that.  Should I do what this student plans on doing?  Should I set alarm for 2?  Isn’t that the time of the artist, the writer and poet?  Didn’t I read that somewhere?  On my lunch today grading papers and writing in the Sonic journal as this goddamn laptop didn’t want to let me use it.  Of course, now, I do push the buttons and have a note in my writing normalcy.

Finish the fucking book, I tell myself.  Like my son said tonight as I poised to make his bed with new sheets, “GET TO WORK.” I am.  I say the same to self.  

Sip the Barbera I popped last night. It, she, more calm.  Me the opposite of anything tranquil at the moment.  Working in the home office which isn’t as common as I’d love to tell you it is.  But, WORK.  Work.  What I write about.  Force self to write when I don’t want to.  I do write about wine, but that’s not my only onus and thought light.

Now, I’m like a train with this, these writing thoughts.  I, not failed.  Not failing in my aims.  I won’t allow that.  No one should.  Why would you.  You are here, once.  And I’m not addressing the fact one only lives once…. I’m speaking to myself and you, that where you are, right now, the opportunity and life invitation to bring a project to completion is singular.  You see it once.

You are a train, if you wish be.  Some unknown animal of fruition, bringing works to an offering stage.  There are only stops that persist acknowledged.  So acknowledge none of them.  I see so many of these speakers and motivational-who-be’s profess all this counsel but don’t consider the most apparent reality… the audience member has to decide.  They only elect to act if they bring themselves to movement.  Tonight I could have just as easily poured this red from El Dorado, sat on the floor of this home study, went on phone and scrolled through some photo pour.  No.  We decide to draw, paint new plausible for our Personhood.  Decide to move, be alive, mentally, alive, wildly alive in all movements of your steps and actuating saunter. 

What work does for and to the character is animated in divinely lucrative chant.  Dodge the task, never.  Distractions and suitable sanctions to project-dodge are terminal.  The panacea, always, is preemptive production.  Never, labor deduction. 

10/15/18