6:42pm.  Of course now the laptop wants to cooperate, after I vented all over the social and bloody space and place about it.  This Rhône blend talking to me as most don’t.  Maybe ‘cause it’s from Monterey and I one day want to secure a dwelling of any size there by the beach.  Pairing the blend—composition of which I have no clue—with Sun Chips, I think sour cream and onion ode.  Yes?  Lifting up bag on side, learning I opened upside-down… and no.  French Onion.  Either way, nice harmony between the two bodies.

French Onion… have I had this before?  Tomorrow to Healdsburg to get a haircut then maybe a little tasting.  Want to put more, more into this, more… this blogging effort and step, how people see me as a blogger.  I’m no longer concerned with books, or at least not now.  It’s about the wine, this story.  This journal.  This ME project.  Who is Mike Madigan and what the fuck does he want?  About to turn 40… ran 9 miles yesterday on tread which he can still feel.  Today the company meeting hearing CEO talk and more than forwarded and fiery from his humility and knowledge, his containment, speak.

I see my office.  Right there.  Healdsburg Square.

Learning from Now that I need to calm down.  Not be so pressuring of self, Mike’s character.  Sun nearly all the way in its down.  Will go on patio and drink the rest of this blend.  Pour Self more.  Tomorrow in Healdsburg.  Where do I go, taste?

Feel like bed’s an option now.  Right now.  Go upstairs, make coffee for morning first, and bed in bed.  Sleep.  The wine doesn’t communicate much to me right now so what’s the point in staying up hoping it gives me some vision… some business counsel.  That’s what I want.. some free counsel for business.  Okay, a side of me says, I’m right here.

What do I do now?

What you’re doing right now.


Amplify, intensity, diversify.

I’ve heard that before from this voice and I follow it, or try.  I’m everywhere in my head after a longer than long week.

Then the red takes a shift.  Becomes more than wine.  Starts spelling certain spells and singing to me in odd octaves, saying that the day has taught me something.  What, it demand.  I try to explain but just take another sip, look left at the couch where I’ll be with babies in the morning, then think of them tonight going to bed, my daughter being silly and bragging about her new bed, and how no one can sit on it but her.

What wines do people want?  I’ve all but given up on wine as a business, saying now I want to be a professional consumer, whatever that is.  Can I start my own store?  Open one. Then another.. then another.  I don’t know.  I’ll play with the idea, but cautiously.

Old videos from my winemaking days, now having me thinking of other approaches.  Need this scattered ness to stop.  Write about everything and have that be your one thing.  Yeah, that could be a plan, right?

Laptop again giving me grief.

So I open the bottle of Monterey Grenache I bought at Bottle Barn a bit ago. Not letting it sour or soil the soul of this sequence of time I have to Self. First sip, and I’m spoken to by subtlety’s illustrative principles.

It’s still not speaking to me, doing what it’s supposed to do. This it. An it. Not capitalizing, not surrounding in any quote marks, even the singular. It’s a thing. A monster. A devil. Guess I have to buy a new laptop.

Throwing myself into this project.  What project?  What is it meant to accomplish I’m not sure but I have something new here, a book, maybe.  Again this morning I see a day ahead of me, one to do something and record everything.  But enough promising, enough cyclical prose, this cold coffee I made last night orders and loudly notes.  This house, like a parallel plain with no kids. The quiet is unnerving, really.  I stay working, productive, typing.  No wine to speak of last night and I’m quite glad if you should know.  Was too tired, too drained from day and wasn’t in any kind of oeno-analytic act or mood, desire.  Not at all.  Building my collection again.  Becoming a “professional consumer” as I told my friend yesterday at lunch.  What the hell is that.  I don’t know.  But it sounds cool.  Sounds like a job I’d want, could designate to self.  Couldn’t I?  Of course.  Where do I start.  One bottle.  When and where do I get it.  How ‘bout Oliver’s on way home.  Done.  Agreed.  Get two.  One for immediate consumption or at least near, proximal drinking and the other for never.  Drink it when you’re fucking 70 or something.  Forget about it.  The project becomes wine-burdened as I knew it would.  It had to.  People call me all kinds of wine names and distinguish as some wine-whatever.  I’m none of that.  I don’t want any of that.  I’m a recorder, recording everything, about wine and all else.  The day in front of me will feed me ideas for this professional consumer curiosity and who knows what else.  Wine leads, I write alongside not following but blindly in tow.  What am I after tonight… Pinot?  Cab?  Have too much of that with regular shelf-pull.  How about a Zin, or a Rhône blend, or a….


Sonoma County.  A cup of coffee, quiet house finally, and thinking about where I live and all the time I put into the wine industry.  What did it do for me if anything well of course it did something.  What.  What precisely.  To write about wine.  To never again set foot in a tasting room on anyone’s clock but my own.  Transported last night by that Pinot, sitting on the wood floor of this Autumn Walk home, the floor bothering me but me sipping through it and writing through it, seeing my book of some sort of shape being finalized, here and there and taking me from here to there.

And of course it comes on, “In A Sentimental Mood”.  Arguably my one Coltrane track that speaks to me like no wine or tasting room, not even the vineyard walks, did, do.  Seeing me in the late afternoon, on my deck, looking out at my vineyard.  Kids in house waiting for dinner.  There are wines that do that, sometimes.  Last night was one.  The Bernardus.  A Pinot.  2014.  A vintage I’ve always thought was overlooked, or underestimated, underrated.  I just thought, she fly me somewhere.  Back to Burgundy or to some part of a Carmel or Monterey beach.  I should be on a run right now but I couldn’t dismiss what me called, put me in this seat, instructed me to further be instructed and mentored by the Pinot’s physiology and psychology.  She spoke with temperament and tenacity.  She put me on a Road back to Monterey, back to the classroom.  Yes I write about wine but more what wine embodies and connotes more than denoted.  The inference of a Pinot bottle like that, to be in your current clock and time on clock like you’ve never before practiced.

Out of wine’s industry and in another business, one that allows and invokes more wine writing from me.  Wine was the institution, the university if you will, its industry and all the tasting rooms over the years that is, and now I’m here.  Helping build a business and thinking of a vineyard, my vineyard, the one I’ll soon see after achievements or certain goals that become ribbons or laurels.  Laureling myself into new wined pages, here in the kitchen, in the morning, seeing and understanding toward what I’m headed.  That Pinot did this, whirled and wove certain spells around me which I have no intention of dismissing.  Keep me trapped, I beg the notes I remember…. Jazzy cinnamon lanes doused in smiling cherry cirrus, thin but not dismissible.

In Sonoma County, writing about another county and one of its AVA’s, just dreaming and planning, writing way there.  And I ask myself, “What exactly do I want from wine, wine’s character aggregate and dialect.  I don’t know if I know, yet.  That’s what I love.  That’s what wine encircles ideologically to me, for me.  Just seeing where the Road goes, where your narrative’s to be thrown.  So many want you to know that they know so much about wine and wine areas, growing regions, how the industry works and their story in the business….  okay, but then what.  Why not be more professing of exploratory urge rather than advertising your fabricated mastery?  Try going from there to here, where you’re just on your Road, seeing, perceiving, tasting, dreaming, writing and re-writing.


October Saturday Pinot Write

img_8030Just sipping some Monterey Pinot, wishing I’d de facto be sipping it in Monterey.  But I’m here right where I need be.  Babies upstairs in their dreams.  Me with glass left, and thinking about what the wine announces to me.  She’s exuberant, evasive and pensive in the sip contact but when glass is down I’m left reciting something to self with which I’m unfamiliar.  About wine and my eventual vineyard, Jack and Emma laboring, assisting, with block inspections and sorting, even olfactory consideration when in lab.  I look down at the glass and prolong the next kiss.  I seek to wait, fancifully I want her to wait.  Tonight wine principally and this writer have a discussion about us… our past and future the constant current of thoughtful and philosophy currency with me on this wood plank ground.  Wine and I will ne’er be chasm’d, or sent to separate sets.  We’re coherently coded and with each other arrested.  Effusive ebbs in our sittings, walking around juxtaposed enclaves, France and San Francisco, somewhere in Mendocino, Napa, Santa Barbara, Monterey.  This Pinot has me on the beach, there with wife when we’d visit her parents when they there lived.  Monterey has always riles and magnified Pinot Noir for me in ways my county cant.  Not sure why, if its the vocal raspberry and cherry painting or the terrestrial spice equation.  I don’t know.  I’m not trying to know.  I’m caught and I’m smitten, I’m stolen from where I am on this  study floor.

She reminds me to stay in wine’s page and paragraph cascade.  I would never use scores, I will never write those flabby flop-drop reviews the “experts” or wine “writers” cook in popular pubs.  I’m here, with her, this Pinot as she sways and plays in her versified daze, having me in my analytically excessive maze.  This is me, what I write, how I write.  Wines like this do just this to me, and I go to sleep seeing my vineyard and the Madigan babies doing something out there, either hounding the rabbits or counting rocks, vines, or looking up at birds above certain clone blocks.

I’m back in Monterey, on sand, sipping this and scribbling something either significant or just for the moment itself and that’s just what wine should be each occasion, each breath and turn of head and looking at rocks, the seals on the Monterey docks.

The wine now mollifies, has an oceanic framing to its recital and prophesying, perambulation.  Holding the glass to nose and typing with one hand, right, she instructs me to do just this THIS, for relationship’s sake, for understanding composition.  Not just the wine but writing itself.  Wine is writing.  I’m. Not just writing wine or “about” wine but pushing these keys for the writing act itself.  Composition.  A 1A class.  In seat and reading each line for its meteoric assembly and accentuation.  I’m caught, newly coded, shown IT.  What all this around is for, and why I’m here, doing what I’m doing with wine and literature…. Exacted in newly vinified habit.  Monterey, her Pinot Noir rows, me, words, thoughts, sights of years from now, and now.  My newly set Now.  Another moving of puddle, she says more, now singing.  Rocks and sand, sea Highway 1, Carmel, the tasting room, the first time I went to Bernardus.

Tonight. I pull a Pinot.

No real pragmatism to it, it’s just what I pulled. The only bottle on the top shelf in my cellar, really closet. Long day as always on a Tuesday with the class I “teach” from 7-9, I get home have a little dinner and tonight the wine comes after. Again, no real planning to it, that’s just what happened. First sip, not that blown away, or into it. In fact, if you should know, I had to convince myself, talk myself into this note, writing at all. The wine helps. Wine seems to always help. Actually, not seems to but immediately does. Wine is my topic. What I come back to. Soon as home, after the day collecting data in Petaluma then 90-plus minutes of Plath lecture, I’m here. With an Argyle Pinot. Think a ’16. Too tired to get up and look at label. And who cares. I’m here with wine, just sipping with all ease and no analysis. No even much intricate consideration as I always do. Just me, the wine, this time. And all times.


img_6934Finding I can’t keep up with what I write and posting.  Can’t post quick enough, or I write too much too fast.  Have time to gather what thoughts I have after this busy, busy day.  I do find I’m overthinking more than I possibly ever have, and I wonder why, why am I doing that.  No answer, so I breathe deep, deeper again, think about my wine novel, or wine novel idea, and writing, and teaching, and there I go.  There I go into a thought cyclone and wondering which something I’ll pick.  49 minutes to self in the conference room, teaching myself to be singular.  Writing out things I want done tonight, by tonight’s end.  There, done.  Well, I wrote them in my head, anyway.  Seriously I did.  Empty the backpack which I didn’t do yesterday or the day before as I hoped I would.  Post some past paragraphs to blog, clean home office, grade papers… oh my god those papers, frightening me.  The stack now more of a skyscraper, just gets bigger and bigger, yes intimidating me and I have no idea how to attack it.  Why do I let this happen literally every semester?  Why am I still teaching in this orthodox, institutional sense?  How come I’m not yet independent with my lectures and thoughts on journaling, writing, essay writing, Sylvia Plath and Jack Kerouac, poetry?  Enough with that, that line of thinking if you could even call that thinking.  I don’t.  I won’t.

Rubbing eyes again, picking up coffee cup to see how much I have left from the dose I took from Sonic.  Not enough, really…. Or maybe too much.  The book taking shape in my head, about the tasting room and teaching, where I am and— feel like I’ve written this before.  Fuck, I know I have.  Mom always urges singularity in my writing.  One thing. Then I stress the same in class to students. Then, what do you know I actuate none of what I advocate.  I should just write about wine.  That’s it.  Haven’t written about a singular offering in a while.  Hard to keep up with that, too.  Am I a writer or not?  Tonight I’m doubting myself.  Department Chair asking me how I’m doing and do I still have a house living in Coffey Park even though I’ve told her twice that I still do, then I start talking and talking and re-living the whole thing.  Need a glass of wine.  No bullshit, I’m going to meet with students briefly, then go get a glass of wine somewhere, and write about it.

Can’t post quick enough, I began this post.  But maybe I will if it’s just about wine. If I write everything about wine and post it here, edit minimally…. I want a Cab.  Whatever Cab they have at Whole Foods in Coddingtown, in that beer room or tap room.  Will people look at me funny if I order wine in a tap room?  Who cares.  I’m a wine writer.  It’s my job.  Or, it is now.  Gathering thoughts, trying my best to organize then and be centered, approaching 40, breathe deep, again deeper.  There.  I’m there.  I think.  Jesus Christ I hope I am this time.

Used to many times go to the Fountaingrove Hilton and have a glass of wine before heading home.  Just sip an SB, or Pinot, sometimes Cab, and do a little writing in the lobby area, or that entrance walkway to the bar and restaurant.  One year ago, today.  All of it happened.  The night of the 9th Mom, Dad, and I fled to Katie’s house in Sonoma to get away from approaching fires only to have to leave the next day.  Don’t want to talk about it, only wine.  Wine.  Old friend observing class so no early dismiss.  Good.  Need to stay in character.  Looking for ideas in one of the old journals I have with me.  Notes on wine, more wine, more notes and flavor suggestions from Pinot, to a Rhône blend, to a couple Chardonnays.  

This should be interesting.


Watching Ratatouille with Jack.  Haven’t ever viewed this movie in its aggregate, but I am presently.  Like the dialogue lines and principle parlance, and the character who writes about restaurants, has his column, is a known restaurant critic or something.  Has me thinking about having my column.  Some column.  Thought of bottledaux being its own publication as it already is and then I framed of the inward jots being their column, about trying to find total happiness or balance, or .. I don’t know.  And I know I’m overthinking.

Scratching face.  Have to shave.  I remember one time when I lived alone sipping a Pinot while shaving, before a St. Francis Winery xmas party.   Why don’t I just shave every day to wine, make it more enjoyable, I ask myself.  Wine, write about wine.  Everything I do with wine.  Only write about wine I tell myself. Happiness is in that.  Work is in that, intuitively.  The inward jots and bottledaux as an idea.  If this is my first article, have it be a vow, a manifesto of some kind.  Wine is always part of my day and lectures, even when only talking about hat first paragraph in On The Road.  Everything connects back to wine, makes me think of what I’ll the night sip.  Where I am, what I’m doing.  With wine.

Just had a little of the ’09 Lancaster Cabernet that I opened last night, the 375.  Poured  the rest into the sink.  The drain and all is pipes and curves and inner passages that I can’t bloody see better’ve fucking enjoyed.  Low on wine in this house.  Been saving money for, something.  I think of the wine shop up the street.  What’s for me there, what wants to be written about.  What will I sip first when back in Paris.  What did Mom and Dad sip last night in Sunriver.  What are my old tasting room friends doing now, how many of them are still doing  the tasting room circuit, the tour de tasting rooms.  What do I want now, what could I do now.. should I open the Zin now, the one I bought last night at Oliver’s?  Just thinking about wine, what’s in the bottle and what it has to say to me.  What I’d be sipping now if I were on a trip, in my hotel room now after giving a talk on literature or writing, or even tech.

Tech, my tech job, what made me more of a writer and wine bloke than I’ve ver been.

Watching the main rat in this movie, his passion for food, his love of the kitchen and what the cooks do.  The move tells me to follow with wine, from everything else I do like my tech life which I so much love and am cosmically moved by, well as my teaching at the JC and dad life which now has my motions and sights.  The room, the day, telling me my vineyard is close.  The day I walked into the tasting room for the first time to work, over 12 years ago, I only cognized that wine was something that made people smile, that wine was life and a vacation and where we are, what my family devoted so much to.  What was on the table, and now over 12 years forward I’m thinking wine.  Wine.  What she says to my sitting and immediacy, in this movie as the critic sips it, and later tonight while noting in my journal, mon petite tablette.