Outside the Bag

Nearing lunch.  Not sure if I’m in a writing mood, from how busy it’s been.  But I was able to capture some valuable stills on the crush pad, with tons of grapes landing today.  Hot outside, possibly too hot for walking so I may just come back to this desk, share my boredom with you.  Lucky you!  But I’m not bored, not at all, not with all that’s around me unfolding and developing.  Through head, a ceaseless to-do list.  Not even a list anymore, more like a stomping dinosauric docket for me to catch, catch up on.  How will I do that?  Simplify, everything made more simple.

Words for lunch.  I’ve decreed.  If I’m at the desk it could be perceived I’m available.  Maybe I should just wait till day’s end, no writing now, just let it all compile and collect.  How I get to evenness.  Back from a bathroom walk and I was tempted to go out onto the crush pad and photograph fruit in the bins, cold soaking in the sun, maybe take some video of the guys raking fruit into the crusher/de-stemmer, but I walked away.  Out of character for me.  This writing and tireless father need act more outside pattern, if I sense I’m about to do something I always do then don’t do it.

Clocked out for lunch, but the writing father’s staying put.  Right here at desk.  Not speaking to anyone, and not to be rude!  But rather to immerse the writing father in his words, in his work.  Not budging from my thesis of working harder than I think I can, get more done than I did the day prior.  How I spend the lunch, soused in my sentences.  Too hot outside for a vineyard walk.  One after work, though.  Have to do one a day, at least.  Ultimate and encompassing freedom demands I seek nothing new.  I have all I need for my idyllic, right here, in my story.

Okay…  So the idea yesterday, that I mentioned here on bottledaux, was selling real estate.  I know, I’m laughing too.  Why that picture and possibility if you could call it that leapt into my perception is far beyond my current reasoning, at this desk.  “So what…” you say.  What do you mean ‘so what’…  It’s gone, now.  Selling real estate?  No.  I’m holding with my goals.  Staring out the window in front of my as I so many times do throughout the day, only antagonizes my dreaming, day or night dreaming really doesn’t matter—  Could use a glass of Chardonnay or anything right now.  Lunch, huh.  Not for this writing father.  Tomorrow on campus, then day next back here at the desk.

Say you’re more cursed than lucky if you’re still reading.  But, the working father, or mother, any parent knows what this is, only wanting to do to provide all and more for your children and your family’s entirety but you can’t think nor act fast enough.  You’d do anything, you’d work any amount of hours.  You refuse to slow, and your certainly won’t stop.  So what else to do but keep moving, keep processing the ideas like grapes on a crush pad.  Who knows what results.  Maybe something blissful, something unusually piquant.  Maybe the next time you sit at your desk you’ll be a different You.


Over the

3 o’clock wall, and the time drags.  Want to go for another vineyard walk, get out of the office just for a bit and enjoy air, sniff and sip it as the tourists do wines in the tasting room.  Wish  I could clock out early and do some tasting myself, be a tourist, just for a minute.  People all over the industry think this, think about ‘it’.  But I couldn’t be luckier as a writer even if I tried, if I scammed, if I plotted and planned.  My luck heaps, and I more than acknowledge.  I wish for nothing.  I write with and from what I already have in his wined, pre-written web.

Sbragia Zin, a stop

I needed a wine, a Zin actually, that had voice and conviction, command over my sense for sakes of calming, and it was there.  This 2013 Sbragia La Promessa Zin.  Have had it before but only in the tasting room and a couple ounces, at maximum estimation.  I’m here in my office, home, now more relaxed—  It’s euphonious blackberry and blueberry chocolate taunts have me more composed and calm, forgetting about day’s stresses.  Of course stress will try to come back around for another pass to unsettle me, but the Zin is there, with its foggy texture and bright jump of a shapely song.

Another sip confirms its woo.  And me, not much ado.  Just enjoying.  This is a cure, a delicious yield to a cosmos larger than my immediate stage.  I could get lost in this red but I halt and sip in measure as I have to run in the morning, but it cured me of the day.  And I’m thankful in many a way.  I needed a wine and I was with the right one after a day like this.  Thinking, meditating as it shed its jammy a-typicality and happily concedes to a more texture-purposed poétique.  Zinfandel and I have never had this conversation, where I orate with such loftiness and praise, where I’m such a Lilliputian, a dazed follower of this Druidic fluid.  Sbragia’s been there for me on more than one occasion but this night’s the more memory-promised of all them.  New ideas, new affirmations, all from that base on Dry Creek Road, with the valley view, atop pedestrian pace but welcoming everyone.  I need another glass, but don’t.  Save the remainder for morrow.  Best that way.  New chapter and song, removing nay-say in any day.  Should stop by and buy a bottle, for the next time a day like this strikes.

Novel Spacious

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

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


Loop Do a True 

Frustrated with myself as I wanted to post a piece I wrote about Emma, earlier, but this evening is about a vent, a shelling of sorts.  Nothing negative, just that needle-esque candor.  Right now on floor of bottom floor of Autumn Walk Studio sipping night’s cap and thinking about day, how crazy it was at the winery.  How I love and loathe such momentum in tandem, how people that ask the dumbest, most self-absorbing probes of wine perturb and infuriate me— one lady today feeling the need to ask a question then use the answer as the foundation of her grievance— example: “Did this see any oak?” she asked about the Chardonnay.  “No,” I riled, “we wanted this to be clean and bright, expressive and charming.”

“Well,” she said, spilling the remainder into the pour ceramic in front of her, between us, “I like the oaky Chards, this is too thin.  Why didn’t you use new oak?” I dodged the question and told her something that made her feel more empowered so she’d shut the fuck up.  ‘It’s wine for fuck’s sake’, I thought.  Why do people get like this over wine, and I have to be honest it’s less than a percent of people walking through that front door-set that have such demeanor and lean.  I always watch from behind that bar, writer I be, to see what I see.  You have these presuppositions at times, we all do, but you never know.

Already I can feel myself getting lazy on this Studio’s bottom floor, and I haven’t even lifted the night’s capping of captain cappings.  So now what do I do, with this time to myself, after getting up when I did with daughter, then soonafter son— the writer’s a pretzel, self-promulgated in prose promiscuity, yodeling from this idea to that, and I get more frustrated with self.  So how is this helping.  I think of the vineyard walk I took yesterday, how if I were the owner I’d be doing the same thing as the current owner.  True acuity and familiarity with the property, telling a story.  It’s all a story, a zooming and tangibly scenic story-set.  I’m relaxed but not, as I see again how life’s shortness motivates us.  I’m angry, but then I’m not.  I refuse to smoke from negativity’s cig.  I’m here, now, downstairs, the fridge going mute, and me finally having a whale upon which to write.  Yes, each moment I can write while having two babies is like joyriding a whale, in the middle of the Pacific.

I’m okay now, with not touching the Emma piece.  I’ll get to it tomorrow.  Typical writer procrast’—  So now harm in my creative skin or waves, telling tide.  What’s going to happen tomorrow at the winery, who will ask what?  WHAT?  Feel like I need to know now so I can have some witty fucking response.  The wine industry’s like a circus, then like a business, then like a riot, then like a war.  Which facet do I better like?  Not sure.  You know what, curtly, I’d rather write about my daughter.


Ainsi, le Vin

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

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

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



day’s 3 pages


In being a creative, doubting yourself is death.  Plath said in one of her thousands of journal entries that “The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.” So, no doubting Self.  Ever.  This is more than some cheesy manifesto or declaration for me.  Another of my favorite authors, as many or probably all of you know, is Jack Kerouac.  One of the first bombs of urgency that he projects at us comes in the inaugural chapters, “The only people for me are the mad ones…” Mad people don’t ever doubt themselves, they just do what they do, and with mad beauty, mad effulgence and placement.  Today is Friday, but not for me, as I work tomorrow.  I’m working today at the winery but I only feel a push, a creative shove that will keep me creating and walking around the vineyard blocks staying motivated, decided.  And what have I decided?  To create, teach creatively, share what I’ve learned creatively.  Frankly, doubting yourself is death to any forward.  I’m not hoping to be a motivational anything.  Certainly not “speaker”, or … anything.  I’m just sharing what I learn.  THAT, is my pedagogy.  Positivity is not optional.  The creative act is contingent upon a dominant positive and yay-saying disposition that visible in all creative work.

My 3 pages today, sharing what I learn as I learn it.  Just now, as I walked in, I saw a cluster of grapes going through veraison, just the beginning stages, very beginning steps toward ripeness.  In my head I thought, “I need to get inside, clock in!” But what I did, just stop, enjoy that moment and focus on and enjoy the varying shades of green, deep purple and light purple, that purplish-pink, light red.  I took a couple breaths for me.  Yes, I’ve written about breathing before, but those breaths just outside this building (house, actually), made me feel strong, confident, dousing doubt in weight more mightier than itself.  It was like those burning stars Kerouac talked about in that part of ‘Road’.  Burning, Roman candles, wanting everything right then and there.  The feeling followed me in here— and I sit here a creatively animalistic mammoth of this new teaching mode.

Another lesson from this morning:  Graduating.  The act of graduating is not just in school or academic contexts.  You move from one page to another, one geography to next, moving upward hopefully and not in an exhaustive lateral.  Two students of mine, past ones from just this last Spring, are currently at their school of transfer, UC Santa Cruz.  They’re excited, you can tell, eager to start the new Newness before them.  I know what that feels like and I want it again and again, again, and I can get that, I tell myself.  No doubt, I can get that.  The next step is teaching myself to teach more creatively and go as far outside the conventional box as your mind will let you.  And this mind will let me do whatever I want.  It’s my biggest ally, supporter, like a wandering cheerleader entangling and untangling my anxieties and insecurities.  At this new age of 37, in fact, it’s quite eager to hunt down and kill the self-doubt if it ever steps into sight or some subtle tangibility.  It’s more than an enemy to my 37 mind, it’s a bouldering threat.  But we’re not afraid.  And, if you feel something coming, some doubt or challenge, or collision, get in front of it.  You’ll love how you feel afterward.

I know, “You said you weren’t going to try to be some motivational anything…” I’m not.  And if I sound that way I apologize.  I’m advocating a complete absence—no, VOID, a total VOID—of fear.  Fear and doubt work concertedly, often.  If not all the time.  You feel a fear of something, then you doubt yourself letting the fear trample your ardor.  Or, the doubt morphs into a ravenous fear.  Just stand up to it, all of it.  What’s the worst that can happen?  You fall down, you lose once or twice, or a dozen times, but you again step and step, move forward.  Again, please understand:  THIS IS JUST SOMETHING I’VE LEARNED.  I’M NOT A SPEAKER ON THIS SUBJECT.  But I can share.  I’m a sharer.  Maybe an over-sharer, yes, but I’m intrepid to the point of not caring, just putting my thoughts out there knowing my inner-pushes and motivations are to help someone that feels self-doubt.

Plath and Kerouac both had their doubts and troubles, demons and challenges, blocks and bumbles.  But they created.  They brought themselves out of their nay-saying maelstroms and wrote, put books together, added to their stories with unbridled withstanding.  I learn ever time I read ‘Road’, or ‘Bell Jar’ or some other Plath work.  This is a dance, with me and literature, my story and paginated steps back and forth and teaching myself that I can teach myself and learn with more vocality than I did when in college.  I will graduate.  Soon.  Be in my travels, sharing more positive pulses and peregrinations with anyone who’ll listen.

If this were a Pass/Fail course, I wouldn’t even see the word ‘Fail’.  What is that, anyway?  Who invented that bloody word?  Like those grapes outside I come into maturity, finally, at age 37.  I’m not old, but I’m definitely into life, deep enough into the story where I can’t and won’t and don’t see failure.  At all.  I’m like the cluster outside that’s standing in the way of aggressive sun rays, saying “You don’t hurt me, you can’t burn me, you only add to me…” Or something like that…  Lost my train of thought, enjoying a couple breaths at this desk and staring out at the vineyard.  Oh yeah.. the Pass/Fail thing… yeah, who’s to say what’s a failure?  You have all the time in the world to get what you want.  Yes, tomorrow’s not promised, I get all that.  But I don’t think like that.  The urgency is here with me, and that’s enough.

Enjoying the steady, slow, accommodating beginning to my day, with the outside vines, inside this house with my coffee, no ringing phone, my projects for the day cued up.  The day teaches me something else, even more crucial in value than the breathing outside next to my car:  ACKNOWLEDGE YOU’RE ALIVE.  ACKNOWLEDGE THAT YOU CAN GET OUT OF YOUR CAR, BY A VINEYARD, AND BREATHE.  Yes.  Like I’ve said and written on my blog I don’t know how many times— ‘You know how many people in America would kill for a view like this from their desk?’ True, so I need to slow down.  I offer you do the same.  Just try it.  Move a little slower.  Don’t worry, the self-doubt and fear won’t catch you.  If anything, I’ve just recently found, this makes you more impenetrable as a person, as a writer and creator.  This day has also taught me that you can’t create when you’re negative, or in a mood or funk.  Last night, a disagreement with someone only weighed on my thinking, and I tried to write but only paginated word-sewage.  I hated what I wrote.  In fact, I deleted the whole piece, close to 500 words and I never do that.  Enjoy the steady, smile, be positive, and enjoy your writing fly and you away with it.

Goals…  I am in no way an authority to talk about goal attainment.  Goals, I only just the other week developed a methodology which makes goal satisfaction more seamlessly embraceable.  So I won’t even write about my “methods”, if they’re even “methods”, but I will say play with your own methods… see what works for you.  Goals are great.  They’re there to touch, to enjoy when you reach them.  In fact, if you have some goal obtainment practice you want to share with me, believe me I’m all ears, eyes, senses and thinking.  You teach me, you share with me, I’d be timelessly indebted!

‘On The Road’ taught me to just go.  Don’t think, just go.  Do.  Overthought is writer-death I always share with students.  And it is. It’s goal-death as well.  Just bloody try.  You won’t fail.  In fact, what others so hastily tag as failure is really character assembly, and addition to Personhood and thought fortitude.  Sal and Dean had destinations but more importantly they had a penchant for the journey, the travel, the Road.  They were high on ‘The Road’.  The Road was the pursuit, not some city.  As with writing and being a creative, we do have our deadlines and projects, the manuscript and tangible we rush to complete, but it’s the process and practice that keeps us positive, keeps us mentally live and more immune to self-doubt and fear, those horrible pessimism anchors that love submission.  Reminds me of this George Bernard Shaw quote for some reason, where he says, “You see things and say, WHY? But I dream things that never were and say, WHY NOT?” Just get up and go, right?  No meditation or measurement, just act, just create, just run, just write, just live.  Overthought in many realities is the offspring of self-doubt.  So, no thank you.

Happiness is the path…  I remember a friend in college, undergrad, fellow English major always used to say this.  Think it was a quote from Buddha, I think.  But, I’ve always remembered it, sometimes say it to self while driving Dry Creek Road to work.  I’ll get out there and walk, let the day and the vineyards teach me more.  I have more to learn if I’m to forward as a strong creative.  When out there, I’ll take pictures of what the vineyards tell me.  I’ll let the atmosphere and stage’s character instruct me.  I have no reason to doubt the self if the vineyard’s promulgating me, supporting my curiosities and scholastic rhythms.  I know graduation’s near.  Where am I transferring?  The world.  The whole planet.  Writing in spots you wouldn’t think to write… a bus stop in Zurich, a field in Norway, a café in Egypt.  Travel isn’t a goal just to be a goal and to travel, just to tell people something trite like ‘oh I travel a lot for work’.  Annoying when people say that, like they’re so burdened by the flights and the hotels when they know so many would love to experience what they are.  I’m on a tangent, I feel…  I’m just motivated for graduation, to my next campus, passing to next stage— out there.

After my walk in the vineyard with a co-worker, taking dozens of stills of clusters and the canes, the rows and soil, irrigation lines, I’m not just ‘moving’ upward, it’s become a sprint.  And, I just realized, maybe this goes beyond instructional and matriculated containment, maybe it’s life, the life of a writer and style of life (not necessarily ‘lifestyle’) of a truer than true writer.  Thinking and brainstorming on a separate sheet of paper from the Composition Book and I know that my first travel is close, that assurance and coated affirmation, coated in assurance from what I see around me in the vineyard and this very office, that what I want is right there.  To live madly, having any self-doubt so far at my 6 that it dissipates, halts in any memory or semblance of existence.  The walk was the topper, icing on cake, cherry atop, whatever cliché you insist be inserted.  It’s there, here, now, with me.  Like visual music and poetry.  We can all have what we want, all of it, I’m just now learning.

You know who, or what, or more so who is the motivational speaker today?  This vineyard.  That one across the street from us.  All the patches and stretches and blocks I saw driving to work.  It’s more than motivating, or “inspirational” for me.  It’s the Road, it’s the Roman candle, it’s a story that doesn’t stop.  Happiness with exponents with exponents.  Today’s been like that day in the semester where you know graduation is near and you want to conclude the term stronger than you have the others.  You’re strong.  The feeling is a cosmic intoxicant.  you can’t get enough and you wouldn’t if you could.  In fact, the thought of it leaving you or getting your fill frightens you, but emboldens you.  You’re going to pass to the next campus and stage in your self-education and edification in ways that you’ll yourself want to study, repeat and repeat repeatedly.  You’ve acknowledged that you’re alive, your life is being written, by you—  Before you say anything, I’m not in motivational mode.  Not at all.  I’m in assurance mode, or affirmation morphology, speaking to myself and sharing what I’ve learned and what I’m realizing about myself and what I’m capable of, with you.

Creativity is life.  My life.  If you write or draw, take pictures, make music, make wine from the grapes out there, or express yourself with and/or through anything, then you’re lively with an alive liveliness for which you should compliment yourself.  Keep creating.  you’re far from that doubt, now.  “Huh,” I just thought to myself, I may have a goal strategy now.  And if not a rock-solid strategy then certainly a thought of one.  That’s a start, right?  I’m passed what was, forgetting it completely no, but moving past.  It’s part of the writer’s past, which is essential otherwise I’d have no present nor future.  We creatives ramble, which is precisely what I’m doing right now, a consequence of condensed inspiration, the atmospheric nudges from vineyards, views of vineyards.  Always coming back to those grapes, the canopies, the leaves and extending canes.  There’s life out there, self-life, self-education, my newest self sense.