Clear

Mike walks around his small barrel room.  He thinks of tasting, but just wants to walk around.  Look at them with no real intention other than to look, realize where he is, what he’s doing.  When he taught English at the community college he’d always talk about the “magic of the meta”. Not complicating, not overanalyzing, just knowing intimately where you are, what you do, why you’re there and the character you are as a result of being there.

He walks, can smell the wines but not as much as last week.  He hadn’t done a sulfur hit in a while, and that was intentional.  Didn’t want to scare the juice, or try to force it to do something or saying something, express voice it wasn’t meant to communicate.

Changing his mind, he grabs a thief from his workbench, the one his father built for him.  Picks a barrel, no method or plan, or foresight.  Just picks one.  Syrah, block 3, lot 4E.  In, out, seeing the color encourages Mike that he’s doing the right thing, that he needs to today taste.  Puts a bit in a glass, about two ounces, possibly a bit more.  Tasting, he didn’t feel anything he recognized since the last touch, which was…. Didn’t matter.  He spun the deep, night-like tide in his glass.  Put her closer to his senses, what was that.  He doesn’t know.  Mike dumps the rest back into the barrel, tastes from another.  Same.  What is she saying today, to him and only him.  Is she telling him to back off?  He doesn’t want to taste from anything else.  To gun shy, wine shy, now shy.

Mike forces himself to walk toward the other door, then outside to the block, “3-4E” as he wrote it in permanent on barrel head.  He looked at the vineyard, and only wants to walk.  The spell, in steps, around the block, blocks.

 

5/9/19

Pinballing

Slow, my pace, and character, inner-narration.  Can’t understand why and I’m not giving it too much more consideration or any contemplative effort.  Class tonight, and in no interest to go.  But I will, I’ll force myself, see what happens.  See what ideas and thoughts form.

I’m not lachrymose, or of low ebb, I’m just not fully in character.  Why.  What is this.  Guy plays pinball just to the left and front of me, and the noises disrupt my dimension even more.  Fuck, that thing is loud.  I ignore it as best I can and look further into what’s happening in my circuitry, today.  Got a small latte from the spot up the road which I shouldn’t have done.

Still slow, but with more framing and purpose in these types.  Didn’t think I’d get to writing today, honestly, with this mood.  Or whatever it is.  Not sure it’s a mood, either.

My next plan of attacking it is to attack self and self for having any kind of mood.  What the fuck do I have to be even minutely glum about?  Money?  Not hearing back from a wine country lead?  SO. WHAT.  I move on, dismissing and disregarding all of it.  Only present here, where I am and what I’m doing at Sonic.  Project now—JPR’s.  Never done them before and I know that’s part of my stress stack, but again I just vow to write reactions when I get back and see where they go.  Much of knowing your Now is to just walk into it and see what’s read to you.  I’m writing the story, but it’s also writing me.

I get a text message but ignore it.  I want to understand this, this Now, me in the Now, and what to do for remainder of day here in office.  Tonight in class, this entry very well may be part of the plan, this pinballing avoiding paragraph stream.  Am I fighting those shrieking ding and dong sounds, and the voice coming from the flat vertical portion of the machine.  Forcing self to write, forcing self to ignore it.

He leaves, but some corny battle-victory song keeps playing.  No one in this multipurpose room but a writer.  The machine silences, and all I hear are noises from outside—someone throwing something in one of the bins, some vehicle driving off the lot.  My mood shifts, into curious curvature.  Haven’t written in here in a while.  If I was at low ebb, it rose, even before the pinballer left.

Just going to see what happens this evening, with class, with the first discussion on the newest book.  Memoir, narrative, everything we’ve talked about so far this semester.  I forget about the wine country prospect, the JPR’s, this large room.  I fixate on me, my day, the quiet machine now.

Almost forget about my latte.

Tempted to try the machine.

No.  Stay here.  Look outside.  Listen.  I’m writing today, more honestly.

My own sort of game, I guess.

 

4/1/19

Lunch. Small latte in car. Windows down. Even with clouds it’s a bit warm. Excited about drive home as I want time to Self, quiet and music. The day is a bit odd now I feel, changing its tone and talk, character and code with me for some reason. I sent the day too much influence and say in my day. On Solano, in Albany. Was tempted to get something at a nearby Mexican grille but told self no and stuck to pb&j and latte guns. Now, time to Self. Cold air replaces warm and humid uncomfortable. The air, nicely pushing me, easing my edge and nervy echo.

Car next to me pulls out, back, drives away letting more speedy air at me from left. A Porsche Cayenne, then a ford, then a Civic. People going somewhere but where I want to know for story sales and just the curious strut mentally. This town I find interesting. Would never live here, but it’s different. It’s new. And the older I get I find that’s precisely the aim to everything. Newness.

Work. In the Field. Each day gifts Newness, but you have to manage your temperament. Then I think there’s nothing to write about in the cabin of this company car with a small latte and windows down, people walking by and cars zooming up Solano behind me. And maybe there’s not. But there is. I’m here and Sonia all of this. I could be staring at the screen of this bloody phone, but no. No. I didn’t let myself. Celebrating that I didn’t.

The classroom…  How I still, somewhere in my character want to be full-time, at a university, publishing and lecturing, traveling… why don’t I.  Okay, okay… before I go down that Road too far, what am I doing now.  Writing.  At work.  When I could as I see others be on my phone watching YouTube videos or just looking at the clock till it reaches clock-in time.  I’m not elevating self above them, but this reality has me realizing my purpose and what I’m to be doing.  The idea then comes into my head, go out to dinner tonight and write about the discussion, about the restaurant, about the quiet house.  Where I am, what I’m doing.

Someone walks their dog outside, past the window, dog pees on one of the bushes to right, I sniffle a couple times and then feel tired, take a sip of latte, then think of cancelling dinner this evening.  That time could be spent, should be spent, writing.  AND, I probably shouldn’t be going out if I don’t feel my most self of selves, no?

At 3:35pm I’m in a mood to write everything, try everything

with my writing as I urged when I started working at the tech company.  “TRY EVERYTHING” I boasted, and still do.  So what do I do with my day.  Have a sweater on, and feel a bit warm and uncomfortable.  There’s another instructor in the room with me now, obviously an adjunct as she uses one of the incredibly outdated computers in here and snacks on crackers she brought.  I feel hunger again, and not sure I can resist the hunger.  Would love a burrito or something from the cafeteria.  Have to save money.  Don’t do it, Mike.  If you get something, I say to self, use the change in the backpack.  There’s too much in that small outer pocket and it would make the bag lighter, so use that.  Maybe I will.  No more caffeine, after this cup which is almost done.  Want tonight’s lecture to be different.  For me, more than them.  I talk transformation but what I really mean is relocation.  Quite truthfully, I’m tired of this campus and the feel of the building the smell and sounds of the rooms, not having an office.  I really am resigned, not eager to offer effort to anything here.  So I move on, more than fine with the actuality of not having a class here in Fall.  So what, I say to myself.  I’ll teach independently, somehow.  Or, just put lessons out there, no charge, see who follows or signs up, responds.  I am hungry, and feeling venomous.  I do what Hemingway suggests and use it for my work, for this, my Now, right here in this larger cell of a conference room, opposed to the smaller cell that’s the shared adjunct office which anymore I refuse to set even a single foot in.

I look left and see what’s she’s doing on that computer.  Looks like grading something submitted to her from a student, either a paper or some online midterm or something.  My skin retracts and I feel anxious.  I have that stack I need to grade, in my bag, but refuse to touch it till after 5.  Right now is MY hour, time for me and my thought, my Now, my life.  We let so much be dictated for us.  Ever notice that?  Or that’s what I’m thinking now, looking at the wall of instructors, their older self and a shot from their youth.  And now, aged at least ten years from the submitted latter portrait.  Time is not our ally, or rival, just a force that pushes past the present.  Admirable and deplorable in the job it does, as I see it.  Can still hear her typing, and it sounds like the keyboard is one of those older PC plug-in’s, which it is.  I need a walk.  I need a new scene, new campus, new beat, new habits new music new story new project new everything.  So I try everything, again.

The cold brew, one more sip in it.  Starting to taste skunky, like the last half-sip of a beer in a pint glass.  Beer sounds incredible right now.  A full-timer walks in, looking much older than his later-in-life shot on the wall, with a long gray beard and slightly hunched, slow walk.  He exhales in the whistle fashion, not hitting any note but just blowing air.  He leaves this area then goes back into his office allowing the door to slam behind him.  I don’t want to be that, when I’m that.  Older.  I’m going to get older, I know, but what if I mock the aging.  What if I only vow to move quicker as the world around me expects slower beat?

 

At a certain point in Feast Hemingway says that he knows he MUST write a novel.  I’ve always wanted to, myself, but always either give up and lean on journaling and something resembling memoir or essay, or submerge in poetry.  I run the other way.  What if…. What if I took one of the dozen or so legal pads from the mail room right in front of me, in a drawer labeled “Yellow Notepads” or something, and wrote one.  Right now.  Okay, so that’s decided.  Or about to be tried.  Tried again.  Try everything, I sing in head looking at the last half-sip, I look at Feast, the current page, where he remembers a novel he wrote that was lost.  He writes about letting pressure build.  Is that what I’ve been doing all these years, up to now on 40’s lawn about to walk up three or so steps to knock?

4:03.  Writing a bit in journal, detailing expenses over past couple days.  Candy for babies, espresso drink bought at Los Altos gas station on drive back.  I put the journal back in bag and feel like I need to get out of this room, this conference room.   The only other place an adjunct can work.  Not much difference from the small shared office, just a bit bigger.  Still shared.  Will have to give into hunger here, in a minute.  Not able to write other than there’s not one idea in my head other than the one to get a yellow tablet, start writing.  You know, I bet if I just start writing I might finish.  Only other time I’ve attempted a novel was in a word processing document on one of my goddamn laptops.  This lady to my left and her chewing and typing and angry under-the-breath exhale-groans test my nerves and composition.  Going to walk around campus, however I can.  Maybe go eat then go to library and write or—shit, the stack of papers.  Won’t be saddened when this semester dies, I can tell you that.  Transformation, grateful I can.  I will.  Changing Roads and changing ME.

The novels starts with, her.  She goes to a café, starts sketching something, then is interrupted by a friend of hers from work. The friend wants to talk about work and everything happening there that has nothing to do with there.  Gossip.  She’s too nice to say anything.

1/14/19

Laptop suddenly working. Don’t get it. Doesn’t matter. It’s getting replaced. First day of new semester. Class starts in 4 min, 1 hour. I’ll be in classroom earlier than that, obviously, if there’s not one of those mindless instructors that is in no way aware of the possibility that another teacher may need the room. Introducing narrative, tonight. The singular idea that will dominate the semester. Narrative…. telling stories. Telling your own story. Knowing your story. Just wrote that last sentence into journal. The Germany journal. What will the students this semester be like. I keep wondering but with so much need to know. It will take a while term to know.

No lunching out, today. Must say I’m pleased with my discipline and poise, for once. Need at least 2k for new laptop. Just updated the OS, here in office. See if this does anything. Doesn’t matter like I said. Quiet in the adjunct cell… good to be back on campus, in Professor Mikey mode. Sharing ideas, knowing students and the student experience better. Put quarters in pocket to go get coffee. Could use a coffee now. Beats always drink coffee, no matter time of day or how it may impact sleep. Who cares. Off to get a cup. Don’t worry, small.

6:15. Back in office. With decaf. Decaf. I ordered decaf. Mainly from being charged and directed in energy enough from today itself, training new hire and now in my element of elements sharing ideas in the classroom.

Everything out on this desk, in this shared office like every other semester on the first day. 17 minutes for computer, in whatever it’s doing. Who knows if it’ll work— WHY DO YOU KEEP THINKING THAT? You’re shedding it anyway, that devil thing you call a writing tool and think a necessity.

Another note in journal, for class— Your decisions in how you read and write, and immediately write from your experiences, or write your story, make loud your thoughts in the present.

No nap, today, fought against pull and push to do so. Thanksgiving over, wife out shopping at one of those shopping special eve whatever’s. Me, home. Wine. Just finished glass of Claret. The night passed with such cruel progression. Indifference. Babies asleep upstairs. What movie do I watch, my dilemma. My life’s trouble. Think of how fortunate I am with my family and to have such family, to be sitting where I am, here on this we seek to shed, new one one the way… Day of giving thanks, I need to show more giving of thanks, being thankful.

Tonight, I do intend exploring more wine. No aim to wake at 4am or 4:10 like this day. No. I may actually just sleep in. I will. What do I mean, “may”? May have to punch out. Take the night as it approaches me, describe and translate it, or in such order reversed… then wake tomorrow with more thought. More story. More ME. Tired now, forgetting I’ve been up since 4-something. Think 4:10. Has it been that long? Yes. It has. Me, that writer. Now. Time to Self and I sip wine and be here, writing. A writer.

Does the writer want apple pie or Chardonnay? Both sound like they sound, their own precise appeal and connection. I’m not torn between both but urge to be curved by both, somehow. 9:08. Feel like bed but I won’t. I can’t. But more, I refuse. Why can’t I be a human, just have dessert or drink wine. Is it that complicated? Are my thoughts the hinderance, the block and or impediment? I think it may be just that. Not in any kind of a writing swoop, and I can’t figure anything of it out. How does pine figure. What type a figure be me, I, this writer.

I feel like I’m not doing a thing, while doing too much. A mess. Should have taken a nap.

11/1/18—

New lunch spot in Berkeley.  Crepevine.  Ordered Denver Omelette with Coke.  Eating by self on a lunch break, finally.  No reps or leads with me.  And I love my crew, truly love.  But I needed a minute or set of minutes to self, to collect.  To write.

Lady brings over Coke and I’m more than content with my choice.  Other lunches I can cite I regret ordering what I did and not spending the time writing or doing something for writing, blogging, business.  Something.  The music of the day is more than just an encouraging nudge, but a direct instruction to make everything of the day I want it to be.  For a minute considering dropping the only class I have for next semester, but then rationalize it a marketing opportunity, and speaking practice.  Or, not so much practice but a training lab or ground for ideas new.  I see the chef or cook making my plate.  This town, as I’ve always seen it, one of activism of course but art, people and poetry, art and music, expression and freedom.  So I write in the same sense and sameness.

Chef brings over brunch.  Looks indescribable, if you must know.  You must know, I tell myself, and you. These Road notes, city to city speaking Sonic engaging the population and principle communities.  I want just a couple more sentences.  Tell self to put down just a couple more, older guy on other side of restaurant with wife and friend, looking at menus while group of younger girls sits outside and laughs, enjoying their mimosas and talking to each potter like they haven’t seen each other in ages.  This is what I do.  Write at cafés, restaurants, random places and what’s happening— Chef tosses a bunch of clean silverware in the holder at distant 12, on the other side of the counter.  Cook is on other side prepping plates, cooking or boiling, simmering something.

My time in Berkeley before working with Sonic is limited, to be brief.  I came here a couple times when I lived in San Ramon, early 2000s.  But now I’m here quite regularly.  And the feel and voice is perfect for where I am in my story.  Looking for more, more stories and more people, more experiences that contribute to my business identity and aims.  Sounds of the restaurant move me, provoke more.  I’m right where I need be.  This is where my story really begins its composition and construction.  If the Roads of Sonic and I never intersected I wouldn’t be here with this view of Shattuck, eating here, with this cold Coke, the omelette, the sliced sourdough toast, the ladies just outside the window at the small table eating salads.

Nearly done with lunch, thinking of getting a refill of Coke so I can write for a bit longer, just stay here and enjoy my time, the time to me to collect.  Lady sees me either getting ready to leave, or that’s what I think she thought I was about to do but I ask her if refills are free, she says yes and rushes to get me another.  All that remains on plate is some of the country potatoes and the sliced sourdough, which is surprisingly sour.  I’ve never found sourdough bread sour, really.  These slices are.  Not to their detriment, just I notice, that’s all

This will be my last meal out, in field, for a while.  That’s what I say now but who knows if I’ll hold to that.  Want to open a store, store front of some kind, or at least have my office set up.  Yeah, that’s what I really mean.  Just my office, my blogging hut, little literary parlor, outside home.  I pick at the bread, again.  I’m unusually relaxed.  And not just here at Crepevine, here in Berkeley, but today.  Today is a day for me like few are.

Catch myself spacing out a bit, and pull myself back to keys.  UPS driver a couple tables behind me having something for his lunch break I calculate, then chef tells one of the girls from outside group that he’s going to bring out some specialty crepe, complimentary.  I look up at see Chef holding crepe on plate with some mint leaves around it and a birthday candle.  Woman comes back in to check on it carrying her little one.  Candle lit and Chef’s daughter, I’m assuming walks it out, carefully.  She looks uncomfortable in each step, like she’s never walked out a candled plate before.  Hear them all singing, then clapping, then nothing but cars on Shattuck and the music they have playing in car.

What’s right in front of me, what I write about.  At least now.  And maybe onward.  Take fork into hand scooping some peppers and bit of onion and potato, bite.  Wonder how I’m still hungry but I only had that cereal at desk this morning.  I look down at a more barren plate and realize I am still hungry.  Need to wait.  Need to write, what’s here for me in Berkeley, my new writing city, the streets and communities and the more collective community of this area.  Couple more bites and push plate forward with napkin atop.  I’m done.  Now, just sipping the Coke refill and typing.  Man walks in and asks questions then leaves, thanks the lady for something.  Directions possibly.  I can see this as me when I’m on the Road, like this but more expansively, in other states and countries.  What’s in front of me, my topic.  Restaurant staff ever-observant of what happens around them, who’s here and who’s walking by and the ones that actually stop here.  And am I ever please with my election to here stop, order the Denver, sit here by window.

Readying to leave.  Walk over to crew in the Safeway parking lot.  Chef talks to hostess, which I think might be his wife.  He jokes with her about a dollar bill, about money or something.  All in fun and good.  Feel a bit tired, sip Coke, more people come in.  Rub right eye once.  Then I tell self not to leave.  I don’t want to leave.  Pies in display case behind me and to left, chef and consistent cook laughing about something.  Wanting a shop of my own…. But of what.

I’m awake and working out.

Did first hold right before five. After that, push-ups and planks. Some sit-ups. Not really counting, just wanting to keep motion continuous. Set stop watch, not a countdown. Just keep the motion motioned, what I’m telling self. 05:12.

Conscious of the noise and mood of the morning. Everything I do on this hardwood or just wood floor make a sound, loud thin and audible. Like an airy crack, or crackle. Wife leaves for her workout offsite. I start coffee. Vowing tomorrow morning with the day off I’ll go to gym at 4-something. Not only enhance the shape I’m in, but start a new way, new story. Yes another promise, more so though a plan than remark avowing anything.

Can already feel the little I’ve done. In legs from hold, abdomen from pushups just a moment ago tallying 100, and arms from planks and pushups. Time for coffee.

Didn’t post thousand words from last night before class. Will today from whatever coffee spot I can find in the Sunset. Sight 1 for day is that, coffee and composition in the City. Second, hit a few doors with the reps. Then, a poem while walking whatever avenue we’re on. One of the views yesterday from 28th and something, I just looked out at the ocean like I saw something or someone in it. The air’s olfactory makeup told me to keep walking and keep watching. Feeling some goal or aim, some aspiration or creative desire sprint from San Francisco, for me. And if it weren’t for Sonic I wouldn’t even be there having these observations and reflections.

05:31. Waking this early, a badge of sorts. Hear son move around in his bed, and if he wakes early and breaks this sitting, I don’t mind. It’s part of the story. Part of the story but the whole of who I am– writing daddy getting in whatever time I can to write. At work at my desk between little addresses of some spreadsheet, or organizing, or prepping for some meeting. The subject is me. The story, each page, and I never need be sorry.

The workout, over. Me on couch in qualified dark, fan light overhead on my dim setting so I can have some isolator writer mood in here. I keep forgetting it’s harvest right now, and so many of my vino people are out there, right now, pulling clusters from rows and into bins, into a gondola pulled by tractor, a driver up early and away from his family, doing what he needs to them feed.

05:36. I feel like one of them, right now. One of the early. One of the characters they defies law, the expected, that doesn’t sleep in. They can’t. Their minds won’t let them. Mine won’t let me. At all. This morning I’m alive with Sonic and supersonic thoughts of speaking, words, fearlessly sharing ideas from one city to next on work, business, writing everything down and so many say that and never do and if they did, my god, it would not only help what they do but wildly and poetically shape their business and their place and placement in it.

Could go back to bed even if a writer wanted to. Hell, even if my body and functioning orders em to. My thinking’s of a beatific defiance this morning, and only accepting sentences. As a workplace, Sonic tells you to be more of you, it challenges me and how the wine industry never could– Telling me to not only keep doing what I’m doing, but intensify. AMPLIFY. Diversify. Play with form as you do in poetry, poet. And more. More.

05:41. I ask myself where the time went and nowhere, nowhere. It’s still very much presented and around me, present. Gifting me with this couch and all the musing I need for a day in the city. Will I wake as early tomorrow, or early as I have written… I have to. I know how I’ll feel if I don’t. I know my mood if I won’t. Set alarm, every movement today for tomorrow’s early steps and words, lines, however many miles I run on tread or however many reps I finish. Not waking early, and I’m citing hours like this, is in no way literary. Writers don’t sleep in. We can’t sleep, for the most part. We deplore rest, and idleness. Just laying in bed and scrolling, sitting on couch watching a show, or just hanging like a coat from some hook, some executed prisoner from a tight meanly knotted and enclosing circle.

05:47. I love this. I do. I don’t have to think about what to write. It’s right in front of me, blatantly. No sun or suggestion of it through the glass door to right. This is true morning to me. When the sun steps and straight lay stands communicating with the world, its day. It’s started. The day is off and you better find a way to catch it as right now you’re surely not ahead if you haven’t been up. I’m here, knowing I’m ahead of the day. Time again, my topic. Twelve hours from now, I could very well be in traffic. On 101 somewhere. San Rafael, the Novato narrows, Petaluma. Somewhere. I have twelve hours to do something to my story… I do it. Start the timer. 12 hours. Get to work and collect in writing for a bit, then attack tasks. Reps get in before ten, so we head out early. Quick, this Friday. My writing will equal, rival, buzz by pacing.

Son definitely awake. 05:52. I could get a stet in day, again. Teeth and shower, dress, pack, take stuff out of bag as to bring laptop for written lunch and be lighter while hiking the SF streets. Keep the motion motioned. To halt is to fall. And I can’t. Not this close to 40.

Diet for day… Coffee, only healthy snacks, no full meals till dinner, and then do note to lightly eat. Speaking of my beloved coffee life… I sip…

10/5/18