This Cabernet is gentle, airy and rose-prone… teaching me I don’t have to appease anyone, honor any expectations… so I forward in wine’s bind, call.
I’ll more later write.
Wine sells wine.
And so, we are merely speak.
My winemaker sister, Katie, talking winemaker magic in Burgundy with Philippe Girard… (photo cred: our dad, Dan Madigan)
before babies and wife are moving about. Not the same feeling in writing as I had yesterday… Short stories from the tasting room and other wine instances….
Sitting on wood floor downstairs, coffee, day with son ahead. Nothing to now write as nothing’s happened. I know, make something up… like what…
Older man, late fifties, just retired and on his porch, glass of some old Burgundy in hand, listening to crickets and a couple bats fly back and forth… He thinks of what to do now, with his remaining life. Successful career managing portfolios and retirement funds, “And now what?” He thinks. He doesn’t know how to not work.
And then I look inward, and think, “Is this what I survived for, to be a part-time English Instructor and pour in a tasting room?” Certainly not. Adjust my own psychology, lead myself away from what gives me these moods and low self-estimations. Decide that I live from what I learn, put it to page and hopefully it elevates and mends others in some way. And again, I love wine and the industry, and teaching. But, like you, I want more. Like the retired man, I want to keep going. I want another chapter. No…. another book. A first book of this new sight and suggestion of self.
06:48…. Study son, today. Little Kerouac and all he wants to do. Write everything down, reader. Everything… what in the story do you want to keep, what do you want to vaporize, cut out?
Like you, if you haven’t already, I’ve arrived at a situational still where I need decide. “DECIDE”, I wrote in some gorilla-sized letters in one of the semester journal’s pages, last night while skip-sipping through that Viognier, then much slower the Kuleto Cab. Now it’s cold coffee, made before bed last night. I’ve decided… what I’ll die for. And no so much that but what I want my kids to say Daddy does.
Tomorrow is when it really starts. Into the Room with a freed scope and unconcerned character, but entirely invested in his story, what he’s doing. They’ll want me to care as. I have as them… be they industry guy who acts like this is his story. But, no, a set of chords and wires in the anatomy of my book. Or one of them. This first one, anyhow.
Still in floor…. flirting with story ideas, in and out of the tasting room. Jelly, the 20-something artist with a corporate job, selling paintings and working at a wine bar on weekends, only wanting to one day be in her own property with her studio overlooking grapes and just watching them grow… painting them as they shift from breaks on a vine to self-pollinating pictures, to clusters daring some vineyard manager to call the pick. My other character… me. Well, yes and no. Me, but no wife and babies. Mike the part-time professor who is convinced he’ll never get tenure, works in the wine business doing whatever he can to cover all nuts, writing and hoping. A morning, a single morning much like this one for his author, he decides to stop. Be a winemaker. Translate wine like no one before has, and no maker of wine ever will. He wants to intensify his relationship with the juice, the ground. The rocks and soil variations in some blocks.
The old man…
Much better than yesterday’s A.M.
at St. Francis Winery, showing me poetic vocal and encouraging me explore all heights and hillsides…
wine descriptions. Utterly odd…
Wet New York streets,
sweetened cat litter,
fast food cup…
And 39 just treks and trudges toward me. I have the wrong attitude about it, age 39 and it being mine, I know. At least I’m up now, gathering whatever thoughts are left from yesterday’s close of the semester. Now into Summer where I don’t teach but have only the wine and its industry to write about. Last night, a Chardonnay and Syrah. Think the Chard spoke more to me than the funky Rhône. Or maybe not spoke to me but showed me more of the language and a side of Chardonnay I haven’t seen before. The wine keeps me motioned, keeps my writing, young. That’s what I tell myself. It’s not the wine, it’s the writing I’m after. Truthfully, I only see so much in wine, can speak about it in verse for so long and have something to post on this blog. Last night’s offerings had a way about them, I’ll say…. the Syrah with its unfettered jumps and locomotive-like presentation and palate pummel, then the Chard with its instruction. A new induction, for me, wine… write more freely, as I told my students yesterday. Care less, be fearless, be free… wine’s distant inquiries and immediacies are for me, this summer and beyond that. If I seek to leave the tasting room and write more about wine and travel and speak wherever about my missions, then I need study my essays on wine, my notes, consider the meta of meta’s meta. 39 is nothing, I see now. Just a number and I would dispute even that. It’s a lose concept of quasi-reality.
Thinking of that Chardonnay, again. More than the Syrah. I remember going to Burgundy in ’09 with family, tasting more Chardonnay than I thought I could ever handle. Same with Pinot. The trip showed me I need more trips. Longer ones. Writing escapes where I don’t escape but self-station in new stages and scenes, thought mazes.
06:21. The winery…. the winery…. Have to find something new, there. Either in the cellar or out in the vineyard. Something about wine’s place and character, sense and way. Why have I been blogging about wine since ’09, at someone else’s suggestion. I got away from it, wine as a singular address, here and there, but would always come back to her and lean on her for ideas and a pulpit for me to speak my verses and translate and deconstruct her as a metaphor. I’m a bottled ox as my prowess and visible formidability generate in and from and for wine. People ask what I write about, what I blog about, a question as you might know used to send me through all roofs. Now I answer. WINE. That’s it. That me. That’s my best. Age 39 or whatever. Wherever. Typing next to some varietal, some glass, to a vineyard visual, the thoughts that from there compose. Wine as a symbol, an image to interpret and explore, defines and redefines composition in so many ways. So many that I don’t have time to catalogue and calculate, narrate. But, going over student essays yesterday and speaking on composition, the essay and what it does, structure and support, introductions and summations, I see wine as a foremost expository piece.
More later, I promise my aging self. But here I am, my thinking, at 06:29, 12 days before 39.