project

9/8/19

No deadline of any kind.  Any possibly that’s the problem, Mike thinks.  He digs through his notes, nothing hits him, strikes him, flirts with him tickles him or prompts him or anything in his functional writing being-shifts.  He types too much, too easily he thinks carrying his laptop everywhere and just opening and hitting keys with such ire and volume.

                Still nothing.  He thinks of what so many have told him about wine and how much he knows about wine—which he hates.  He can’t stand when people voice something to the lean of, “With how much you know wine, you should write reviews on your blog.” He hates that.  True detest.  He’d rather stop writing and wine in tandem.

                More notes.  Cabernet…. Singing storm of confusions and caresses.  He said this about a winery’s current released, somewhere he used to work, somewhat recently.  The man on his tour said that’s what he needs to do.  Mike asked what.  Man said this, this, the way you talk about wines… “You don’t sound like the others.  I don’t even know how they get paid what they do, or why people follow them so much.” Mike remembers himself nodding with synchrony of idea, sight, seeing that, writing wine.  But something happened.  Mike still doesn’t know what, but he didn’t follow that wave and ride of complimentary shove, and here he is.  Thinking of what to write on a winery day.

                7:18am.  To be at the winery in a little less than two hours.  He received a text yesterday asking when was the earliest he could be on property.  Mike responded curtly, “10.” His scheduled time.  He tires of the tasting room, much material as it provides.  He wants more from wine and the writing he does from it.  What, he doesn’t know.  Starting his blogging life if ’09, he now orders more from his self.  Maybe he should dismiss it, altogether.  And, stop even sipping wine for a bit to have it all in his pseudo and metaphysical internal illustrative.  Seeing wine made, sipped, tasted, the people swarming into the tasting room like yesterday when he dropped by Truett-Hurst to visit an old friend with whom he used to work.  Yes, at a winery.  She was a wine club manager and Mike thinks she does more or less the same thing now at Truett.  But she was helping a group, a pretty sizeable one.  Mike thinks she said something like 50 people.  Mike spied them for a bit, before walking around the property, through a tree awning of some kind, and onto a lawn, and over to a barn area where there were chickens seemingly talking to the people passing.

                What deadline should Mike rile.  Mike tells himself, “20 days”.  For what.  Something.  Something about wine, finished.  He doesn’t believe in “writer’s block”, in fact he completely dismisses the excuse.  And that’s how he sees it.  An excuse.  An excuse to not write, an excuse to talk about not writing, and just a frivolous scream of anti-compose.  Twenty days, starting today.  Should he?  A wine book?  About what?  Wine.  Just that.  That one word.  Wine… not what people should drink or even drinking wine, but the story of wine, the definition and anti-definition of her.  As Duke and Gonzo looked for some dream, American or otherwise.

                The dream is in the wine paragraphs, painting her with some syllabic rush and road.  How.  He’ll find out.  When.  Today.  And till the 28th.

                Just take notes, he himself tells.

Day FOUR

Latte.  Again the only one in bullpen as phone trainers leave.  Technical Trainers, I think is their actual title.  Headed to San Rafael, in a little over an hour.  Notes, today.  Only aim.  And put each note on blog or into some something-spere.  Aujourd’hui, que du bonheur…. The only way I’ll move and perpetuate my story.  Last night offering writing prompts and instruction to a friend in another department, feeling a bit not so much hypocritical but flawed, or not aligned with what I was assigning, if that’s clear.

Committing self to a standalone piece before leaving for SRafael.  About what… about opening a shop, of some kind.  A stationary story.  Don’t want it to be about wine, I know that’s what everyone expects.  So I want to do something different.  Maybe a fishing shop…. Fishing equipment, like the stores my Uncle Stevie used to take me to in Summer, fishing north of Sisters, Oregon, or in Sunriver, or along whatever river that was where we took the guided tour, escorted by a guy who wrote a book about fishing, fly fishing I want to say.  I’ve never lost that visual, and remembering the boat ride down that river, stopping at certain banks and casting into the moving water.   The singular piece has to be about something like that, I feel.  Something where someone does something that does something for other people…. Like a teacher, or a fitness coach, or instructor.

Love this part of the morning, in the office, and when the morning is shaped this way, with little sound and little intrusion.  Ransacking my thoughts for anything that can be in the story…. Me teaching, that one semester where I taught seven classes across I want to say four campuses.  Of course, I know now, no way to live.  But I have done it.  That was in ’07, twelve years ago.  Like more than eternity, a endless galaxy and time, solar system of time.  Latte waking me, think my solitude is about to die, as my friend approaches bullpen.  No… someone else passing.  I’m in a condensed and confined area, here, and can’t see who passes.  All the more reason for me to be out, as I wrote yesterday.  Need a vehicle switch, I just remembered, so I can charge my phone but also listen to something other than what’s on the radio.

Now I think the story should be about wine, a wine shop that also stands as a tasting room.  One that locals flock to on weekends and make it a point to visit during the week, to make the week more tolerable.  You know what I mean.  The story is dialogue-supported and commanded, like a script.  But not.  Character has tasting room/shop in downtown Windsor.  The first year was a struggle but now in year two the matters are different.  There’s talk, there’s magnetism, there’s a place where people depend on what the place provides aside from the obvious wines and their taste patterns and easing effects.  He refuses to be a business manqué, the same way I will not let myself be that type of penner.

8/7/19

7/28/19

Mike turns around—the Mike I’m writing—goes to a book, one of Kerouac’s.  Thought he’d bring something different, like the Sea pages or the Dream Book.  But no.  Road.  Seeing himself as Sal, needing an inner Dean not so much, but a self-embracing quietude about character.  Regardless of age.

            My kids on couch starting their Sunday, talking to each other and watching one of the dozen or however many Harry Potter films.  And me here typing, Emma saying “Daddy are you working….?” I tell her I am and know I need stop, go over there and become part of their lazy Sunday way.

from wine pages

6/19/19

Starting day slow.  Can’t wake up truly or get into some loud creative stride as I want to.  Meeting at 9, then after that literary lunch around noon.  No run today.  Everyone around me talking distracting and disrupting what I’m trying to write but only ‘cause I’m allowing, I get that.  No word from possible department of transfer, and not holding my breath.  And I don’t write that with malice, at all.  I write it with praise, praise to self, and herald of this character I’ve arrived.  Computer keeps doing funny things, I act in defiance by simply writing through it.  Coffee taking a bit of a grip on my sitting and structure as character, but I’m still moving slow.  Has to be the sun exposure yesterday in Brentwood.  Has to be.

Keep self working and writing and working on writing efforts, the book, ‘thought’, till I clock out and even after.  Last night opening the Zin from Foley Sonoma, and I’m more or less convinced it was partially corked.  Not fully, or maybe not at all, but there was something TCA-y, if that’s it, about the wine’s flavor and communicating body.  Have no idea, but it said nothing to me.  Not many wines have been saying much, not much to write, no much to reflect upon.  Just not me, not for me, not for the page.  So what do I do then as a writer of wine, one who says he writes wine and is a wine writer.  I guess do just that—write ABOUT wine, itself.  About her, her SELF.  What wine is in my life, how every time I walk the vineyard, I’m more me and more alive than I am anywhere else, with anything else.  Everyone associates me with writing and the writing act, yes, but wine as well.  And it’s no surprise to me now that I’m waking, that wine IS writing.  The writing movement and sight, composing something to be read, to be studied or at least mildly considered.

Someone yesterday, or the day before I believe, said how much she enjoys my vineyard videos.  How she enjoys them yes but actually looks forward to them.  That my words wake her in the morning when she’s feeling slow or low or doesn’t know how to go about the day.  I thought again, that’s what I am… a wine writer, but still a teacher.  I’m here, I’m listening and present in the vineyard.  Even now, in the office, I’m in the vineyard.  And if I am awarded or granted this new position, I know how I’ll approach it.  Like wine. Sell everything and write everything, speak everything as I do wine. Now I’m awake, and what did it, like the co-worker from Monday who complimented my camera work, MY words and wined thoughts.  This.  Just writing.

Thinking I’ll go to that café down the street—oh shit, if it’s open.  Not sure it is on Wednesdays, now that I think closer.  So where can I…. OH, one of those thinking pods.  Those space age looking chairs or seats by the multi-purpose. Done.  Decided and decreed.  Should start prepping for meeting…. Looked over notes and I’m essentially ready, far as I can see.  40, and learning certain corners and angles, ROADS, all over.

Also at lunch, read more of Destiny Thief.  Book Mom and Dad gave for Father’s Day.  Love the title, and what I’ve read so far is not only very much ME but what I want to see, where I want to go as a writer, how I wish perceived by not just other writers, but anyone really.

The office gets quiet, and quickly.  What reason.  Don’t know.  Why.  Today and this morning, me here thinking of the vineyard and what I want to grow on my eventually vineyard.  Looked in my cash envelop this morning and thought it could start with just that, couldn’t it?  Journal the journey from that envelop to my first vineyard walk of my own blocks.  Cabernet or Chardonnay, or something else maybe I don’t know.

8:33 what the clock says and finally, finally, I’m falling into my writing form.  What I want from the day… to feel more like a writer. Lately just been noting notes in the Kerouac journal or elsewhere, and not collecting them. Just posting them.  And yes… I could return to later, but I haven’t been feeling how I want to feel as someone who shares he’s a WRITER.  Of wine or whatever else.  Write everything I tell myself.  Someone just walking by my desk and outside possibly to walk along the front of the building to get to breakroom, walk in and get coffee or something form the market.  Which reminds me I should put my sandwich in the fridge, there.  Now the latte’s 4 shots are speaking to me.  What are they commanding.  Focus on the vineyard, on that envelop. Don’t take ONE bill from it. Nothing.  See yourself pouring your wines, but more importantly telling and sharing the story of how you got to that table pouring the wines and telling the story of your vineyard.

10:38 and meeting having finished a but over 30 minutes ago I’m ready to go.  Ready for not so much an easy day but one of personal production and precise productivity.  Again I note on the Road to my own wine room, tasting my wines for and with people, the language and story around my wines and their story.  Everything for that Room…. Three wines to start.  Chard, Merlot, Cab.  Or a blend maybe, no Merlot.  Or maybe then my label, tentatively dubbed whoso cellars, or whoso wines.  MY life’s work and story, from that envelop to that Room.  My interest elevates and intensified and even though I’m done with the latte I type like I’m still hitting the caffeine quite fired.

Money.  More.  From writing, blogging… this.  Writing about wine and what wine tells us all to do, and only now at my old age am I listening. Quicker, more purpose and poise, passion and composition.  MY narrative is not just ABOUT wine, but actuated from and for and toward the wine, it vineyards, my Room.

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.