Didn’t want to write.  Still bitter about the session I typed on my phone, on the WordPress app, and it just fucking disappeared.  I know better.  That’s not writing.  Why did I do that.  But I did it.  Got laptop out and am typing here in living room.  No more wine.  Sipping sparkling lemon water.  Told self I’d run in morning but I think I’d much prefer write.  In office tomorrow.  No field—  Goddamn my phone, me writing on the those non-buttons, those virtual touch squares when I should have been scribbling.  And I had TWO journals right there on the passenger seat, pen in pocket.  That would have been more writer of me, assured more romantic, more Kerouac, more beat.  But no.  I had to be one of those, people with a phone— those poor people I captured, not captured appropriately.  The runners, the cyclists and walkers, people with kids, people who brought their dogs and frisbees, balls to throw dogs.  Young couples.  Kids.  Teenagers with their phones taking selfies and pictures of each other in I’m not sure if it’s silly or just stupid poses.  All on a phone.  Avowed, last time I do that.

Now here in house, laundry going, me supposed to run.  No TV on, no wine, no music.  I need music.  Jazz.  That café or coffee house jazz station on Spotify.  Driving to SF today, and back, all I thought of was jazz and jazz musicians, the ones I admire, how they just compose and don’t think and if they do think it’s not to detriment.  No distractions, just all in the music, the notes of the moment and the measures they don’t measure to compose but just compose and offer to the world, the room they’re in.

Letting go of what I typed on phone.  I’m typing now.  On laptop which is on the table we bought at Ashely in Rohnert Park with my Aunt Denise accompanying wife to shop and later calling me down for an opinion.  The couch I sit on, bought on that visit additionally.  Nearly didn’t write this evening, was going to watch some foolish ass’ show and just stare, maybe check that goddamn phone here and there for messages or photos or something.  Need to make coffee for morning if I’m to write.  I will.  I’ll make coffee.  Put in fridge.  It’ll be cold.  That’ll wake me up quicker.

2019, year I turn 40.  Trying to ignore it but still pay more attention to it than anything else.  Acknowledge time.  End my war with it.  Work with it.  Study it.  And if not understand it then sing with it, celebrate the time I have, right now on this couch writing when the house is alas of more melodic volume.

Still not in much place to write, in head, thoughts, what I see and feel in this room.  But I make self do what it needs.  End day with some production,  page, me here, with water, music, momentary animation.


Made note in last doc, “From here, go to 2019…” Starting new year now.  Not waiting for tomorrow.  And not going to list everything I want to do but rather just actuate.  In a far back corner of this remodeled coffee shop.  Sentence for day, in that Happiness Project journal Natalie gave me years ago, “Nay-say to be embraced and studied in order to preserve and protect my joy.” Didn’t write last night after coming home from La Rosa dinner with wife.  Planned on inventorying the day.  Everything from morning with kids to going to Healdsburg with Jack hoping to get a haircut but the line was far too long so he and I went to Healdsburg where I bought him an ice-cream and went to toy store that I’d never been to and was actually a bit curious to see what was inside, how it was arranged.  All this after my 9-point-something speed work run at 24.  Took both beats to wife’s parents’ house, then back home for a much-called class of Chalk Hill Sauvignon Blanc.  Why couldn’t I bring self to write, last night.  Even now, I feel off.  But I write through it, or try.  Just as I advise students.  Writing and into the year, this new year where I feel travel.  I see it.  Sense the sense of getting on an airplane to somewhere I’d never been after not flying for some time.  The engine sounds of the plane utterly canorous for some reason.  They’ve never sounded like this to me, before.  

While stepping toward the new year in this Starbucks on Hopper & Cleveland, Santa Rosa, I go over my life, over the last 39+ years as far as I can remember and vividly and believably recall.  Santa Cruz, walks with Dad in Big Basin, my first day at Arundel in San Carlos, Kindergarten, looking back and Dad not coming with me and me feeling confused— “Why is he just standing there?  Isn’t he coming?” Obviously not, now understood after Jack’s first day.  My Road, still a Road… every job I’ve had, everywhere I’ve lived, studying my now for sakes of Freedom and being free, yes, but more.  More to my character, more to what I read and this, this seat, this 4-shot latte, this journal, my phone… more to everything.

Understanding Now entails a distancing from the Now, both in backward pace and forward flight.  How defies common association and what you’d call logic, I guess.  All notes going forward, through, are for purposes of getting me somewhere.  I step on New York streets, in Manhattan and other parts of which I’ve never heard— certain micro-villages and enclaves, neighborhood or boroughs as they call them.  Writing further toward new year, wondering where I’ll be sitting on my 40th birthday.  This year I turn 40.  FORTY.  Why.  How.  It’s just what happens.  It’s what always happens.  Time passes and doesn’t mind what’s in my mind or what I feel for the day, that sitting.  I look up and see a young family with their daughter, certainly younger than Emma and the parents younger than wife and I.  I’m older than some parents, my babies age past others.  So then, more…. More progression and trek into life.  It keeps going.  What do I do for day’s remainder?  Charting and timetabling isn’t going to get me There, I know.

What I assign students to do, I should do.  Hemingway with his Feast intro paragraphs putting me somewhere.  Taking me back to Paris and showing me what I couldn’t see even if I were to now return.  It’s him, then.  More than time, though.  It’s his voice, his sight, his observational patterns as they situate in Paris, in that Café des Amateurs.  Before I go too far into the Café with Papa, I’m hearing this jazz in ears and seeing where I am, considering my person and Personhood as a teacher of Literature, and how now, in this day, in America yes but elsewhere as well, no one read.  NO. ONE.  Or that’s how it feels.  All these social media “stars” or champions, personalities and whatever they’re to be deemed, do nothing of Thought.  And, before I go too far down that sewer vein, let me go back to Hem’s thought stems.  He immediately goes for senses, smell and other, like a sixth sense you could even say.  In my beginning reading bing and lecturing for ’19, I get away from me and become he, Hemingway in his seat.  Smoke and the misted windows from the heat and all the people in the Café with him.  He makes me wonder what didn’t make it to page, what he observed but didn’t write.  Him sitting there noting as he did isn’t just a writer thing, but a Human act and practice.  Like magnified people watching for purposes of preserving the person watching.

When he comments on the people being drunk as often as they could, or even all the time, he touches on sense again.  Being stripped of senses as a result of intoxication, hence his rule of little or no alcohol while writing.  It makes a mammoth statement about them and their day, what they do with their day.  Now, here, 2018 on Hopper & Cleveland, I look around at everyone in their day as Hem does.  Couple taking two chairs and small rectangular table to my left.  I know nothing about them, can’t see their faces as I look down at these keys and I don’t need to.  There are similarities here as there are with Hemingway, where he sits.  People, lives, observation, noting it.  Where you are and what you’re doing in proximity to others and what they’re doing, where they are.

When you read Hemingway’s assessment of the city in this first chapter you have more than an assessment, but the start of a love letter.  Even when it’s sad or cold, or of horrible odor, you still have shared observation.  The inner-insistence to share observation is a consequence of consuming adoration for what’s observed.

Brought self here, music.  Beats.  Playing over and over and taking me with them.  In directions I didn’t see, foresee, forecast.  The pages filling in this journal and I credit this, here, where I am, at Sonic.  Have to keep writing new ideas for me, my team, but just the ideas for the ideas themselves.  This coming year I will take what I want wherever I want.

Choices, decisions, destiny blended.  I don’t know what this is.. where I am, what I’m doing.  Consequence of choices or destiny, happenstance, intersection of all.  I do, though, acknowledge where I am and what I’m doing.  And from that there is love.  There is wander and wonder, aimless exploration, stories and new stories.  Feel like I’m dry, drought-stricken, out of words to put to page, but then I see the words are the act, are the subject— we need to write our thoughts.  Yes it takes work and time, but that’s what confirms life. What confirms where we are, who we are, and why this character we’re given does what he and she does.

Place— coffee, the table, the self.  The music I listen to, with electronic components, atmospheric beats with light hip-hop influence, easing my disposition and pace at which keys are hit.  Belle musique, I say to self knowing I need more of my study, more of my exploration of French.  Coupled with music, more, wine and travel, running… everything I seek will be no longer sought before 19’s close.  New year reminding me of life’s cruel curtness.  What can I do, what can WE do, but write.  Write it all.

Two sneezes.  Not getting sick, I order self.  I not only can’t afford it but it will disrupt my writing for the coming year… lectures and essays, no “I” in any of them.  Just the ideas.  Not much “you” or “we”, either.  Just the ideas.  Ideas are what propel life, intensify and color it, make it Art.


Three days left in year.  Today counted.  Coffee in nook at work.  Break before work, or work before work depending on how it’s looked at.  As I noted yesterday, again I caved, having lunch at a nice spot actually on I believe 4th and Balboa— sorry, 5th and Balboa.  Don’t regret the chicken sandwich and fries I had with co-workers, friends.  But I should have gone to café.  Of course today I set out for same, but I dismiss the dilemma and set self in now where I’m set in this nook, at this new table and chair, writing spot for a writer going into a new year, on his second cup, made in the back office where you proceed down a somewhat sizable hall with glass offices on either side, then that one magical room with the coffee.

Phone, journal on desk, or table, right now it’s my desk or that’s what I have self convinced of.  Writing meditation, the morning, Saturday, next three days off with the new year cartwheeling toward my pages.  Not only learning, I always say that— but instructed by the intersection of one year, then another.  Me growing in story and character… we all grow, or don’t.  That’s a decision.  Yesterday at California and 7th, “Not everyday’s a treasure chest but work feverishly to get what you get.” Jotted before crossing street to next block where reps were speaking to people at their doors, remembering Plath’s words in Bell Jar chanting ‘I am I am I am’ in every street pavement square and at every stoplight. 

Music in everything.  If we don’t see IT that way, then we’re only living, going to work then coming home and sleeping.  The worker shouldn’t see work as work— they shouldn’t work, they should be passion explorers, and if they don’t like their job, their “work”, make it something’s that not only liked but layered in love, loved.

Day’s end, and

Pinot is there to ease me, sing and educate, provoke meditation and new sight, exploration of prior hours. She instructs the writer to not work as hard, not feel so obligated to fill a page. See the room you’re in, she says. Walls sing alongside her and the floral scape of her animated way.


I caved.

Small eatery in 5th and Balboa. With Annjane, Sasha, Rose (Rosa as I call her).

Love the view of intersection. Lady at reg recommended in order chicken. Requested fries. With coke. Stressing about no-Sales day so far. Aggression, I tell myself to tell the reps.

I step outside to look at intersection. I’m in San Francisco. A reminder and a meditation, love note… restaurants and visits, cars and benches. All of it.


Driving home from SF, talking with co-workers about cinema, favorite films and what would, then with one of the characters in cabin with me while I drove, literature.  Books and characters, who likes Hemingway and who likes Gatsby— a novel I have always been free in voicing my qualms toward.  Home now, after drive, after walking up 2nd Ave, and up 3rd.  Or is it down 2nd and up 3rd…. Sipping Chardonnay and going over, somewhat proofing a note I to self wrote while in vehicle and then before when in the Chinese restaurant with someone I work with.  There has to be a better way of saying that, and not “colleague”.  How ‘bout just ‘with someone’.  In the context and scene you or a reader would know. I work with her.  Anyway, back from away from field, I jotted this note with thumbs on phone.  306 words at end.  Obvious presence of typos, and here at home and on second glass of this stainless Chardo’, I’m not caring too much.  Before writing this, I dreaded writing, writing this… thinking “Oh what am I going to write?” What’s happened to me as a writer?  I need regiment.  Militancy, at this stage in my life, the aging writer approaching 40 and not finishing a book but having two blogs and retired from wine’s industry and into another sales world which he likes assuredly but still self-doubts.  This writer, Me, mike madigan, sip again and a full pull from the bowl of the Wine Roads event glass.  House quiet.  Think little Kerouac is in our bed, which means I may be lodging on couch for suit which won’t be that much a negative as I plan on waking, hoping to wake, at 4.  For… something.  Christmas gifts and ornaments and remnants around me, saying something about time, that I have to let some things go, like I can’t control how fast my children age and that maybe the wine shop isn’t in my narrative—just thoughts of it are, or story ideas about it—that I may not ever have my own wine label or vineyard.  But I can write about it.  All of it.

Today in San Francisco, on that one street, I think still on 2nd, I saw and sensed my truest of characters.  Yes a writer that lately has had somewhat of a furrowed and sharp self-estimation and declination but sees.  He does see.  Sees himself.  This writing father, wine in his story, Chardonnay making him remember the Cabernet from last night and the Anderson Valley Pinot.  Driving home from SF, talking about these great narrations and me mentioning Raymond Carver’s short stories, how Mom has always told me to write shorts—  I go back tot he wine industry, the tasting room, those mornings where I’d open Roth by myself and taste through the wines, jot my jots and stock thoughts.  Just what happens now, for Mike Madigan.  He looks at his glass, pineapple and green apple, frenetic vanilla and mint, all around his thinking.  Road after Road in each sip, shown.

A street in SF.

Showing me the time, where I am. That now is when you say farewell to certain visions dreams whether serious or spontaneous and a result of momentary bewitch. The wine shop, probably not. What do I need devote ALL resources and energies to… this. Pages. “Teaching” if you could call it that. Studying the Now. How I arrived at this spot, this street in the Richmond. No winery before I die. I could live. No wine shop. Same. Remembered for books, my writing and talks. Not for a shop, counter, pouring. Chinese food in Richmond with one of the Reps. Tried to order fancy but just settled for fried rice and dumplings.. should have stayed in car, not gone out. But hunger distorted by fortitude.

Back from lunch. In car with two reps. Had lunch with one. In the city, culture around me. Want to write San Francisco. Write about it and write it a letter, one of those 10,000+ word expressions. Journal on lap, typing this on phone. Not scrolling through any feeds. Then the post-eat sink sets. I ignore it while rep I went to lunch with tries to fix vehicle clock. Says “fuck” after not being able. She tries again. Time and how it can be set, not set. We can’t make time do anything. We’re setting the clock, I tell her, we can’t set time.

San Francisco was for the longest time a tall stretch of mystery and unknown. Even though I loved just south of it, in San Carlos. I didn’t understand it. Was intimidated by the traffic. No parking spaces. Now, I’m here all the time. Look at the houses, see the oils stains in the few spaces you cans here in the Richmond for parking. Man with two young children riding bikes on sidewalk while cars behind me honk on Geary.

Video games. Wife’s fault. Gift for Xmas. One I kind of asked for. How often does this happen.