Quiet.  Tasting room. 

Photo on 3-17-18 at 8.28 AMBackpack to right, having its own chair, and me in this chair writing for the next 40 minutes or so, centering self in a tasting room, before a day that could do anything, and I anything in it.  Jazz… prompting me forward like those Tubbs gusts.  Wine, all around me in the tanks, barrels, wine I tasted last night, not moving me any one way, really.  Looking for the most seismic, cosmic, significant and instrumental inspiration I can pin.  Today, especially.  I need it.  Yesterday telling me how close to the shop I’m getting, but when I woke this morning I was thinking, “Why can’t I really speed things up?” Not that I’m in a rush, not that this writer’s impatient, I just want to be there, behind my counter, study wine and everything about it, everything the people drinking it, or tasting it, in this room and on the patio, in the cave, have to say about it.  Wine… wine… wine… I write about wine and everything it does.  To me, to everybody coming into this room.  The TR is a different world, this early, at this hour, at this long polished wood table with the glass all around me, sound of the heater actuating its spell, making the atmosphere more cozy for a writer.

In this quiet, the backpack and I collect, yes meditate, but envision MY tasting room, the shelves, seeing myself there early to count, inventory, move some bottle displays around.  The act of this, writing in the silent meditative cove of the tasting room is my meeting, my meeting with self, to start the day and only think of what I can do with the day.  Wine’s stage, its intrinsic and definite anatomy establishes in me a new rile, and centeredness as to what I’m to do.  With this day, with my wined life and with my wined books.  Singularity, diversity… the diversity and the array is the singularity, with wine.  At least for me.  Pinot, never distracting me from my Cabernet luminosity and joy, but always seducing me into and oddly intense attentiveness.

Writing about the tasting room, before and after people are in here, scurrying and hurrying to the counter to taste down the flight and then use the all-too-famous beg of “revisit”.  We always pour again, whatever it is they want.  But the room is my focus… as I try to define wine I the same attempt to conceptualize and wholly grasp this room and what it does.  Building my business from that, I guess.  Or maybe not.  But coupled with the writing act, writing everything I see from the front glass doors to the tanks in the room to my left, stacked barrels the people can see as they sit and talk to each other, asking us always if they can walk around in there and of course we tell them we can’t, most of the time pulling from their face-shape a scowl or minor mope.  Day continues, though, and they easily distract from what they can’t do and then subscribe to what they’re actually doing— tasting wine.  Wine they’ve never had before.


Tasting room.  The quiet.  I can see, though, the day ahead of me.  People walking in and looking around if for the first time they’re walking through those doors, and then if returning buyers or club members, they walk into their other abode.  I participate and observe, intimately and closely harnessing myself to all expressive facets around me— people, wine, the view, the wind if any and how it pushes the patio umbrellas from one side to other.  In the tasting room, I taste the room, over and over… one sip then reflect, don’t let self react yet, then sip again— the atmosphere and visual of characters surrounding the writer.  I’m here so early this morning not just looking for propulsion or some edge of “inspiration”, but more definition, understanding.

Backpack just looking back at me, wondering what I’m doing with the simplicity of the idea of a tasting room.  Where people taste wine.  It’s that simple and singular, I guess you could rule, but there’s more here.  So many in the wine business and industry quickly exhaust from the tasting room.  Not just from standing on soles all day, but from the constant front-and-center of it all, always talking to people, always talking about wine and explaining winery history and the property, what’s neighboring, and all else.  They surrender, utterly give up and become disenchanted and disconnected.  A writer, me, sees each interaction and moment and Newness.  A standalone piece.  Something contributing to my book.  It’s more than a yay-say disposition, but then that’s all it is.  I don’t know many that arrive to work as early as I do to write about work, work on own projects, work for self, and obsess so loudly in what’s around them, what they’re about to do for the next eight or so hours.  The tasting room, I’m seeing, now, a commanding symbol and thesis to my book jog, jaunt, life.

No reason not to write, and to not have a book done… and mine’s been done for a while, my first wine ms, I merely keep adding onto it, never collating.  But now, this wine industry penner has something, from this sitting, this sight.  I’m managing myself with clear objective, clear project delineation, making notes on calendar what I want done and by when.  Wine book, by EOM.  End of month.  Then another by May’s end, before this writer’s life-day, 5/29.  The tasting room, my classroom this morning, telling me to keep writing, write about wine more wildly and when of shortage for page presence, look around you.  Three girls yesterday coming in, with skittish and adorable pup, tasting wines and talking with me about what they liked, what the sipped outside of the room they were in.  Story intersection, education and material for me, in awe, in study, to embrace now in this page hike.

Not stopping.  Trapping everything this morning, in this room, this canvas, my stage and visual tablet.


A guest said,

“All that funky stuff at the bottom of your glass and a little bit on the side there, that gunk, that’s the tannins and they don’t taste good. They give it a sour and tangy punchy thing in every sip.”

Action Adds

With last glass of this red, and thinking about my time at the desk today, writing and rewriting tasting notes for the winery, how that re-charged and re-catalyzed, reinforced my interest in wine a bit, to just enjoy it as I enjoy it.  A run-on, but that’s what happens when I think about wine, and how I think about anything wine-aligned .. rules are defied, altogether dismissed.


Emma cry, me going upstairs and Alice following, Alice sending me out of room so she can take over.  And a good thing, as she has that Mommy power than I’m in no way capable of mimicking.  Now on floor of living room.  Not atmospheric light tonight, just what’s on in kitchen.  And… tranquil.  Then Alice texts me from upstairs apologizing for chasing me out of the room, and I return with an apology for talking to Em when I should have just rocked her with no eye-contact (old parent trick, I guess).  I’m still learning, I guess.  I indulge in this quiet, and this downstairs writing peace, as it’s my truest of addictions.  More than wine or anything else (and there is nothing else.. if I had any vice, it’d be wine, but that’s so kept in check it doesn’t really impact or “count”).  Now I just think, and think quietly aloud in words, my venom and vivacity contained and colluded.  Summer starting in 4 days.  Have the coffee cued and the tumbler taken from car and put in position for early brewing, as Jack’s lately been rising at just after five.

Glad I had that last sip of red, feel like I had a couple cups of the French or Medium.  Tomorrow back in tasting room, and hopefully hosting some private groups that I can img_4268interact with and talk wine, and about wine as I do.  Need quotes prepped, like the one from Emerson where he he speaks of wine washing cares away, freeing him, cleaning him.  Tomorrow morning, my only goal: a toweringly prodigious essay.  500 words.  On anything—  parenting, teaching, writing, wine, punctuation.  Anything.  Anything I would read in front of an audience— no, a class.  A class at Stanford.  Now part of my business plan.  500 word read-pieces.  Would love to write a piece on the tasting room as an analogy for curiosity and self-education.  People overlook that, I think.  No—  I KNOW.

Quiet is odd when you’re a parent.  Which is precisely what gives it its befuddling and ensnaring rectitude.  Right now, no one calls.  Nothing calls.  Just this wood floor, the thoughts and visions of  a lecture at some campus on the East Coast.  I can see the writer talking about the semicolon in some Ivy League hall, the one where I call it “mutant punctuation”, and “insulting page decorative” (notes I made in the Dutcher tasting room on one of the many pieces of paper scratch/scrap by the register [my idea]… always propelled there, with those working en masse with the writer..).

Already thinking about that first cup, cometh morrow.  Yes, that’s addiction, but at this point in my life, and after running 11-point-something miles yesterday, I could give a shit.  And I do and don’t.  I’m in a free-spirited thought frolic that’s not only emboldening but inciting, I want pugilistic percussion with other writers. My mold newest, the competitive wildcat, wholly inviting ring occupancy.


5:10PM.  Started closing early.  Busy all day, so began with glasses as crowd thinned, began thinning.  So I’m allowed this meditation when all’s done, all’s squared.  Glasses, bottle count, counters, all— pretending this is my tasting room, the whoso cellars base where the wines are poured and shared, narrated, sold.  Not in a rush to dart through the doors, needed collection after such a day, all by self.  People pass, on way to dinner I guess—  tired, could use a beer or more writing time.  Which now is for.  So inaugural, as I usually just jettison.

Wine calls me.

freewrite, 2/26/16

The wines, still haunting me from last night.  That Chardonnay… I bought it where I now write, Oakville.. mom seemed to like it, maybe I should get another bottle.  Why not?  May need it tonight if Addy (Jack’s best amiga) stays the night.  The patio here, more and more crowded, but I’d take a thousand packed Oakville patios to even one of the sbux outside areas, right by the drive-through intercom.  MY mood this morning, uncertain, rushed and impatient.  I want something to happen— and why the fuck can’t I wake at 4?  IS it that hard?  It is when you taste wine the night before.. fuck, so obviously the writer’s fault, I know.  But I’m still thinking, thinking about how to make today outstanding, to make it one of the most instrumental and decisive days of my life.  For my son, daughter, wife, parents and sister and everyone in my wined life that notices what I do and how I do with wine and words— the poetry and elucidating doubled haikus which I’m going to do more of.  The Hutcherson song tells me to write quicker, forget about stress and where you have to be in a bit (TR), and any appointment or schedule for next week, or at all.  Two older men talk at my twelve, several table away, in the farthest corner of the patio area, against the low wall, basically on the sidewalk.  In their late 50s, early 60s I calculate, or really estimate.  I think, “I still have so much to go before being them.”  But do I?  More urgency about me.. want to taste C. Donatello today, saw his lights on which I hardly ever do.. and there’s something for me to write about.. each day has to be wined in content, even on days where I sip not a fermented droplet.  OH— and Topel.  Tasted there YEARS ago, when I worked at that disastrous Dry Creek tasting room on Westside Road, or off Westside—  Man sits in front of me, with all these other tables available, to eat his sandwich.  Not sure why I’m so annoyed.. I focus on the new track playing, “December (2002)”, McCoy Tyner.  I swear, sometimes if I didn’t have music, more acutely JAZZ, I’d go mad.  And not the positive type madness that writes novels like On The Road.  No.. I mean destructively mad.. and see?  There?  I just forgot the sandwich man was in that seat at my 12 with his back trying to stare me down.  Now 11:26..  Another Healdsburg sitting, my office here on the patio.. some of the employees here joke with me quite often when I get my coffee or Coke, or sparkling lime or lemon water like this A.M., “Another day at the office?” Or, “Whatchya writin’ today?” I love it.  Soon, before meditation 100 and the semester’s finality, I will have my office somewhere near this square, this patio, on my own clock, able to to gather content as I wish and do whatever I choose with my “shift”.


Record every minute…  Now, still have to run dishwasher, put out pour-buckets, glasses, wipe down counter.. tasting room life, tasks, dimensions that can’t be omitted from any tell of this story.

Have to be outside, walk around a bit and further immerse myself in Healdsburg and the crowds that visit..

Everything out, I’m ready for whomever comes in and—  Notice myself getting bored with my writing, and the moment, so change it.. get outside, walk around, Oakville then back or to a tasting room, somewhere, do something.. change the beat!

Now known—  I need something happening, a motion, music…

Project A

In tasting room and giving my Self the five hours I’m here to do something, WRITE something, that will change my life, get me significantly closer to the Road, and that professor I want my students to have.  Budget… $0.  Not spending any more money to further my writing/blogging/entrepreneurial aims.  No one in room, not many on square, from what I saw.  But interestingly enough I had to park two — no, THREE— blocks away.

Music playing in the Sanglier Room, and definitely helping.. embracing this as my momentary idea studio, drawing board dock if you would.  No need for coffee.. the ideas are enough to keep my heart in a rapid sped BPM.

4 hrs 43 mins remaining.  Take a picture, I think to myself.. think about yesterday, the semester’s first meetings, the students I’ve already started speaking to.  Past students from other terms; Cooper, Emilio, Paula, Lila… time won’t stop for me so neither I for it.

I will acquire IT, my IT, regardless of what time intends.


12/29/15, 5:29AM

Whenever I see 529 anything I see it as a boon, yes because of my birthday numbers or numeric shaping, whatever, but being up this early is a most conspicuous creative shove, certainly a prize for the writer.  Downstairs with Emma after my wife telling me I’m up, it’s my turn and I’m more than happy to be up.  Only taking me a couple minutes of rocking her in her room, in that chair and downstairs where her beat father makes some coffee and opens his laptop for a write.  Thought about my first story in a string of 100 stories, 1 per day, 300-500 words, but I need freedom, true creative unhingedness for just a few moments; staring at my little girl while she sleeps, wrapped in her blanket, brought down here by her daddy who loves her like there’s not a thing else on this planet to love.  Must say I’m proud of her father on a couple counts: 1, getting her to sleep and quelling that crying so quickly.  2, putting her down in the rocking bassinet down here in the living room without so much as one of those sleeping twitches from her.  And finally, 3, that I’m FINALLY up early writing.  And with coffee.  AND….. Jackie not woken.  If he does I’ll make it clear he has to be with Mommy as Sissy and Daddy are downstairs asleep.  A perfectly appropriate white lie.

The coffee never tasted so animated and ravishing.

Day 4 in a row, pouring wine today.  Not getting at all burned out, in fact my passion for wine has never been so fiery, so mused, since Emma’s birth.  This little girl, and this morning being a beaming prime example, is just what my writing life and habits, project and varying pages, needed.  She demands the end-game of a family winery, for all of us…..

Checked my account, still above water.  Good.. evermore pushed to sell a piece or two after meeting those folks in the TR yesterday with that writer/blogger friend of theirs back home who “got picked up by the Washing Post and the New York Times”, as the lady in front of me with the yellow rain jacket put.  And from writing about being a mother, and life as a wife, and just her real life.  This group told me of her ‘100 story, 100 days’ effort, that’s where I pocketed such vision and so this morning is something alchemical in the regard that Mike Madigan’s a new writer— one more extreme and disciplined, precise, and quite frankly lethal.  There is nothing that can halt my paginated assault, not with this little priestess at my 12, and Mr. Jack upstairs, dreaming and surely soon to wake up with that tired look to his cheeks and hair, and some adorable utterance to follow.

Emma makes a couple sounds, a cute groan that sounds like a stretch but she doesn’t move.  Then back to sleep for the petit beat priestess.  Quiet sip from my coffee.. and my sitting continues.  Not in total dark as with past sessions when I have managed to wake early and hit the keyboard, but with blaring, atmospherically encouraging luminousness.. feel like I’m on stage.  Or back stage.  Or just back onstage, the audience, my little girl, today two weeks old, staring at me, wondering what the “star” of the feature’s to do.

NaNoWriMo so

…a family.  ‘ME’ is me but not.  At the end of a torturous eight hours at the winery, pinned behind the tasting room, I sit in the condo’s study and relax, ignoring the copywriting work I have on my plate, I’m just far too fractionalized for such attention.  I merely have to let mind wander and wonder about this portrait.. the me in this frame, the me now at 36 at my age and what it’ll all be like when.. when.. why say ‘when’.

…goddamnit I think of my poems and verses, the two I wrote this morning on my phone while waiting for my 3-shot mocha.. taking an inventory, both for sale.  I have to subscribe myself to my own subscription.. everything I write is inventoried and on the shelf for vend.

…on vacation in Montana of all places, a cabin removed but not too much so, and surrounded by wildlife and trails for us to traverse, and for me to run early in the morning.  I guess the conflict is no where in my mind as I can only write how wondrous the country is and what we do there, the theatrical peace about its facets.  and I’ve never been to Montana, just did tidal waves of research–  I challenge myself to get to 500 words, then 1000, then 1500.  Then I stop, open another bottle, red, this one a Cab, and have only a little glass

…no reason not to laugh, not to smile and know where I am and what I’m doing in this wined story.  I look down at my lap, the part of my leg barely showing to the left of the laptop, covered by pajama leg, the black and white and grey checker pattern.  I should go to bed, I should, especially if I’m to write that newsletter for client, but I’m too into this story, the Montana cabin, walking with my family, my children, and wishes wishes, doors opening and closing, this inventory of poems and how those poems and verses worthy of voice could do something for me, for this, this story–  I think of that Kerouac poem where he recites about where I grew up, San Francisco down to San Carlos and all the people walking around, the sounds of the train and the restaurant at the station, people eating breakfast and the scents of English muffins lightly doused in butter.  I go to my lunch breaks when working at the box, typing like a thinning fiend at one of those tables to another 3-shot mocha–